Online newspapers have plenty of benefits. It brings down cost, is free and easily available. The biggest advantage though is that it is updated regularly, throughout the day, and hence always provides the latest news. Plus, it has an archive feature which ensures that articles we have missed or which are related to our area of interest can be viewed by us anytime and every time. But then that is an advantage that almost all newspaper websites have. So while readers may come back to your website, they are unlikely to be your loyal customers. In order to have dedicated customers, online newspapers need to deepen their relationship with their readers. We have listed below seven ways which can help in strengthening this relationship:
1. Understand the interest of your readers: Online readers are interested in reading articles of their choice unlike print readers who follow the cues of news editors. So don’t just supply news that you have gathered, understand what is it that your audience wants, and work towards delivering those kinds of stories.
2. Make readers partner in news collection: We have often witnessed how crowd-sourcing has contributed to gathering information during major natural disasters. Well, don’t wait for a disaster to occur. Instead, develop a culture wherein readers are involved in news gathering. So, open up your comments section and step up your social media efforts. This way, they will feel valued customers, and thus will stay with you.
3. Make your reporters more visible: This is important as this will build trust between the community members and your organization. Organise seminars, programmes wherein issues relevant to the community are raised, discussed, and thus build healthy relationship. The Guardian, one of the best newspapers in the world, sometime back launched its coffee shop in London where its journalists interact with readers regularly over a cup of coffee.
4. Become a local guide: A reader needs to feel connected. There’s no better way to do so than by becoming their local source of news. Raise local issues, provide information that is native and essential to a community, focus on stories and ads that affect community members. In short, become a local guide.
5. Reward loyal readers: We all love gifts. Isn’t it? Imagine, receiving a gift for reading an article or simply commenting on it? Sounds interesting? From time to time, come up with marketing schemes to reward your regular readers. Encourage them by way of bonus points, free goodies, organize games, quizzes etc and give away prizes, or do whatever you can think of. The idea is to make your audience realize that you value loyalty. This way you will be able to develop dedicated readers to your paper.
6. Go mobile: With the advent of smartphones, telecom industry has witnessed a major revolution. No other technology has changed as much in the past decade as this one. Smart phones are the future. Hence, it makes sense to reach out to your audience through mobile platform.
7. Keep an eye on new tech tools and platforms. Imagine how technology is going to change in the coming years and plan ahead, keeping in mind the future.