As shelter-in-place restrictions begin to loosen around the country, people are eager to get back outside. Community news publications have long been the place where people find out about the latest events in their towns. Now more than ever, digital publishers are looking to fill that important role. By adding local events calendars to their websites, digital publishers are providing readers with valuable information and also opening up the door to a new revenue stream.
Before we get too far in, though, let’s take a step back. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has caused advertising demand to drop, digital subscriptions for news sites have jumped. Readers are consuming more news now than ever before, and they are interested in both national and local coverage.
Part of the reason why readers are flocking to local news websites right now is to find out what’s going on in their communities. Which public pools are hosting swim lessons? Where are the community protests taking place? When is the next city council meeting happening? With community events calendars, publishers can provide their readers with all of this information in one, easy to find place. Publishers can also generate revenue through their events calendars, but we’ll get more into that later in this article.
High unemployment rates and a challenging economy mean people are looking for ways to cut costs. Events calendars increase the value that local news sites provide for their subscribers, which increases retention and solidifies existing subscription and membership programs.
Robust events calendars can also be used as a way to bring new readers into the fold. Not only do events calendars provide value from an SEO perspective, but the events listed on those calendars are frequently shared amongst friends on social media.
Are you curious about how to add an events calendar to your website, or are you wondering what you could do to make your existing calendar more useful to your readers?
The Basics: How Events Calendars Work
If you have never had an events calendar on your site, you might be wondering where to begin. A few key points to remember:
- Local events calendars should be comprehensive, with information about all kinds of events going on around the community or within the publisher’s niche.
- The best events calendar plugins include self-serve tools, so readers and advertisers can submit their own listings directly.
- Publishers can access additional distribution networks with events to include on their calendars.
- Events calendars provide digital publishers with an excellent opportunity for upselling advertising packages. Businesses will usually pay an additional fee to have their listings highlighted on the calendar or marked as “featured” events.
Types of Events to Add to a Community Calendar
You might be wondering what types of events to add to your community calendar. While many large events, such as concerts and performances, have been shut down because of coronavirus concerns, there are still plenty of community gatherings that can be added to your events calendar. A few examples:
- Summer camps
- Recreational activities
- Community sporting events
- Political debates
- City meetings
- Awards dinners
- Retail promotions
- Restaurant events
Your community events calendar will probably look different from another community’s calendar. Accepting submissions from readers and advertisers is a valuable way to expand the depth of your calendar and potentially generate additional revenue at the same time.
Best Strategies for Increasing Reader Retention Through Calendars
Although we often talk about revenue as the primary reason to integrate events calendars into websites, brand positioning and reader retention are important, as well. Local publishers can increase reader retention by adding events calendars to their websites and other digital channels.
When you add an events calendar to your website, you should see an immediate boost in search traffic, as well as an increase in subscriber retention rates. Like any other value-add, events calendars are considered a “bonus” offering that brings new readers into the fold.
If you want to take the next step towards using an events calendar to increase reader retention and subscription rates, reach out to Web Publisher PRO today.