Meet people where they’re at.
In order to get people into the habit of visiting any digital property on a regular basis — whether that’s a community calendar, an online magazine, or even a business directory — you need to meet them at a place where they already have an existing habit.
That concept, the idea that you should connect with people in a place where they already have a habit, is one of the reasons why digital publishers have flocked to popular mediums like Facebook and Twitter. It’s also the reason why here at Web Publisher PRO, we strongly recommend that publishers make their community calendars mobile-friendly, so readers can visit on their smartphones and tablets.
We’ve found that email is a highly effective channel when it comes to generating traffic for a community calendar, as well. Periodically reminding subscribers about the top local events will bring them back to the calendar, because you’re reaching them on a channel they’re already in the habit of using.
Beyond the strategy of connecting with visitors in a place where they already have a habit, there’s another important step in your mission to getting more visitors to your community calendar. You’ve got to prime visitors to associate certain topics — in this case, community events — with your publication.
When you think about sports, you probably think about ESPN, and when you think about the weather, you probably think about The Weather Channel or the weather app on your smartphone. When people think about the events going on in their local communities, you want them to be thinking about your community calendar.
How do you get people to think about your community calendar? The most obvious way is by being the best at what you do. Another strategy is to closely align that calendar with a previously existing resource, like a digital magazine or a local newspaper. If a news website is known for its local coverage, then people are going to visit that news website first when they have questions about local events. Associating your community calendar with an existing website in your sector or vertical, through links or advertising, will help get more visitors to your community calendar.
Aligning a community calendar with a newsroom goes both ways. News websites and digital magazines may also be interested in linking information about the events they are covering or hosting on your community calendar. This sort of relationship-building content can foster greater partnerships and lead to an increase in visitors for both online properties.
The best community calendar is one that’s easily accessible and always has relevant information. With so many events going on in most cities, publishers do have some leeway in determining which events get top billing on their community calendars. But for the most part, if someone wants to know about a local event, they should be able to get the pertinent information from your community calendar. If they can’t, or if they visit the calendar and don’t find the details they need, they’re unlikely to return in the future.
We’ll dig deeper into how to get content onto your community calendar in a later blog post. For now, what you should know is that it’s important to look at a wide variety of sources. Pull in event details from government websites, like the city library or the community recreation department, as well as small businesses and even local school districts. As a publisher, you want your community calendar to be the most comprehensive in the area. That way, people will check it regularly, regardless of the type of events they’re looking for.
Create spreadsheets with event data, making sure to include references and outbound links to the original sources of information. This makes your community calendar even more valuable, because it helps visitors find additional details about the events they’re interested in attending without having to go back to Google.
Getting more visitors to your community calendar requires making your calendar accessible, keeping it top of mind, and filling it with all the relevant event information readers are likely to want. A community calendar should offer a utility for readers, and as corny as this may sound, the calendar should ideally provide a meaningful experience, as well.
For more information on creating a digital community calendar, you can connect with our team here at Web Publisher PRO.