Your audience is interested in the content you’re publishing, otherwise they wouldn’t have clicked onto your website. The best way to keep those readers sticking around for longer is to engage them, and that’s where these best practices for audience engagement come into play.
Just by considering audience engagement, you’re already one step ahead of most. The majority of small and mid-size digital publishers don’t have an engagement strategy in place. That may work for a time, especially when a publication covers trending topics or puts out keyword-heavy content, but at some point you’ll need to develop an audience engagement strategy to take your publishing business to the next level.
Consider all the hours you spend putting together newsletters, editorial content, and sponsored advertising campaigns. What are you focusing on as you put these things together? How much thought have you put into the actual readers who will be receiving your content? Readers are only compelled to read and engage with content when it is relevant to their interests at the moment they receive it.
We’ve put together this guide to the best practices for audience engagement, covering everything you need to know about how to increase subscription rates by keeping readers engaged.
Audience Engagement Best Practices and Pro Tips
1. Understand your readers.
Who are your most loyal, longtime readers? What makes those readers different from people who arrive at your website via a Google keyword search? The most obvious answer is that longtime readers are clearly interested in the content you’re publishing. Maybe they are interested in the topics you cover or how the information is presented.
Getting to know your audience gives you insight into how you can better serve this market. Specifically, you will want to cater to the needs of readers who have purchased paid subscriptions and those that are likely to purchase paid subscriptions based on certain demographic factors. (For example, if readers from Kansas are more likely to subscribe than readers from Tennessee, then that is who you should target.)
The easiest way to learn about your readership is by tracking what your readers are interested in at the individual level. Create topic tags for the content on your website and then use an analytics tool like Google Analytics to track which topics your readers are engaging with. Not only will the data you uncover be useful as you develop an audience engagement strategy, but you could also use it for selling and targeting sponsored advertising campaigns.
2. Define your goals.
What does having an engaged audience mean to you? We all want people to be interested in the content we’re publishing. However, achieving next-level success requires defining exactly what your goals are and putting those goals down onto paper.
A few examples include:
- Higher visit frequency from loyal readers
- More comments on the blog
- More social follows and shares
- Higher conversion rates
3. Make your website engaging.
Website design plays a big role in audience engagement. If your website isn’t designed in an intuitive way, readers are more likely to bounce and they are less likely to return. Working with a web development agency that specializes in digital publications can help to make sure you’re meeting all the marks. For example, today’s websites should look just as good on a smartphone or tablet as they do on a desktop device. They should also have something known as flexible internal linking, which means visitors have options to go in different directions depending on their preferences and interests.
(To learn more about the web development services that Web Publisher PRO offers, click here.)
4. Hire an agency.
Multitasking publishers can track which links receive the most visits and social shares, and analyze things like open rates in email newsletters. For publishers that don’t have time to handle the minutiae of audience engagement, hiring an outside firm can be a real benefit. In addition to providing WordPress website design for digital publishers in the local news, magazine, niche media and business publication space, Web Publisher PRO offers premium education and personalized services to publishers that want to grow their businesses.
5. Don’t be afraid to change things up.
We know that the publishing industry is always changing. The audience engagement tactics that worked last year might not work next year. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to run A/B tests and experiment with new audience engagement strategies to see what works best. Larger publications are beginning to hire audience engagement editors to test subject lines and the best times of day to publish certain types of content.
Big risks can pay off when it comes to audience engagement. Readers these days like to see creativity. With so much competition in the market, risks and experimentation are what helps publishers stand apart.
For more personalized support in developing an audience engagement strategy, contact Web Publisher PRO.