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Audience engagement is top priority

A community is nothing without engagement, but that engagement needs to be high quality and two-way.

By Charles Thiede

Audience engagement is top priority

As the publishing industry grapples with the modern marketplace, many publishers find themselves relying on outdated revenue streams that lack long-term potential. The key to driving revenue growth lies in engagement. BuzzFeed sends out a variety of emails to subscribers ranging far beyond their content alone. This cultivates a more human image that encourages greater loyalty, with visitors from emails spending three minutes longer on the site than those coming from elsewhere. Yet despite these figures, 59% of publishers spend more on acquisition than engagement – even though those who prioritise engagement over acquisition see greater success.

In order to modernise revenue streams and see greater success over the coming years, publishers will need to make engaging with their audience a top priority. At the same time, this engagement needs to be of a high quality in order to build trust and create longer-lasting relationships that boost CLV. We know that people want to spend their time online more productively, consuming high-quality content and building connections. Brands are responding to this by providing a pathway to peer-to-peer interaction, bringing their community of customers together in order to drive greater engagement and stickiness. By building a community around their content, publishers can attain a 360 degree view of the customer while delivering a stronger and more condensed online experience.

It is the job of publishers to make their audience better at what they do. A community where users can learn both synchronously and asynchronously is the best way to achieve this. Treat your community like a real-life members’ club; opening with major fanfare will draw attention to what you’re doing, but you need substance to back it up when the hype dies down. Identify your core members and focus on delivering value to them. Generating positive word of mouth from a few members is better than delivering a forgettable experience to thousands.

Moving to a community model also requires brands to be community-led. You now own a platform which gives you real-time access to the insights of your audience. Take this insight on board and let it drive your strategy. As time goes on, the positive reputation you earn will attract more members, opening up greater opportunities for ROI.

The modern-day customer expects more from brands, demanding a personal relationship that makes them feel involved in something bigger. Publishers have the advantage of an existing audience for their content. By engaging with this audience through a more two way community, they can extract insights and intelligence which will help them build trust and revenue. The customer relationship must become more than just a transaction. What better way to achieve this than with online expert communities?

The modern-day customer expects more from brands, demanding a personal relationship that makes them feel involved in something bigger.

About Zapnito

Zapnito is the SaaS community platform for intelligence-driven organisations. We power branded, expert communities that allow members to learn, share knowledge and collaborate. An all-in-one community and learning platform, Zapnito provides all the tools you need to engage, retain and grow your communities.



Twitter: @zapnito

This article is part of our ‘Building Successful Communities’ special feature, looking at how publishers go about creating engaged and vibrant communities. The feature includes the following articles by publishers and suppliers:

Build engagement on your platform, by Sally Arnold

The money is in the conversation, by Lucy Brazier

Create spaces online to share opinions, by Gary Clement

Community first, magazine second, by Sophie Cross

Publishers are taking community seriously, by Ashley Friedlein

Find the right voice, by Esther Newman

Audience engagement is top priority, by Charles Thiede

Build connections & be interested, by Ed Walker

This article was first published in InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list, please register here.