Audience Engagement Digital Publishing Top Stories
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How to win the battle for scarce time and attention: WAN-IFRA report

WAN-IFRA, the World Association of News Publishers, has just released a report detailing how 15 European publishers used targeted content to eventually transform casual readers into loyal subscribers, including guidelines for any publisher thinking of embracing an audiences-first mindset.

Building and engaging specific audiences is based on case studies from the third year of Table Stakes Europe, a WAN-IFRA programme in partnership with the Google News Initiative Digital Growth Programme. 

This report is a collection of 15 case studies highlighting winning engagement strategies used when creating new editorial products for specific audience categories. 

It examines how 15 European newspapers adopted an audience-centric mindset, allowing them to serve specific audiences with targeted content and helping them to transform casual readers into loyal subscribers.

Providing general news to the general public is no longer enough. The good news is, there are tried-and-tested methods for engaging potential audiences around topics they would like to see better covered in their news platforms. 

The challenge lies in identifying those audiences – some of whom are defined by geography, others by interests, and some by current life situation – and knowing how to serve them.

Building and engaging specific audiences, WAN-IFRA

Most of this report is based on the 12-month coaching initiative, during which 23 teams from around Europe worked to implement a new, audience-first mindset in their companies.

Their stories include guidelines for any publisher thinking of embracing an audiences-first mindset: how to identify the most promising audience categories – some of whom are defined by geography, others by interests, and some by current life situation – and what products and methods work best to serve them.

Time and attention – as well as the need to find ways to actually connect with other people – have joined financial resources as today’s scarcest resources. And the most precious – and valuable – indicators of journalistic and economic sustainability for news providers are now about winning the battle for scarce time and attention and the need for connectedness.

The most important OKR, KPI, core metric – or, whatever else executives and management consultants and gurus wish to name it – is habit

Douglas K. Smith, Table Stakes architect, WAN-IFRA

The report is structured around five different target audiences:

  • Strategies and channels to reach young readers
  • Local sports teams and their committed fans
  • Readers passionate about law, order and criminal investigations
  • Families and parents-to-be interested in local services and activities
  • Niche audiences, such as cross-border commuters and a local Muslim community

Whether your newsroom has already adopted an audience-first approach, or you are just looking for ideas on how to engage your readers more deeply, this report will provide inspiration, advice, and practical takeaways.

The report is available in English, French, German and Spanish.
Click here to download WAN-IFRA’s Building and engaging specific audiences.