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The Elements of Driving Online Engagement: Link, Search, Play
It's a fact that everyone loves a good contest, and newspapers are getting into the game by sponsoring contests targeting everyone from doting parents to proud pet owners.
At the NAA session, "Link, Search, Play," July Foley of the Statesboro (Ga.) Herald said contests are increasingly driving online engagement at her smaller-market paper and, depending on the subject, are helping the Herald attract new advertisers seeking to reach a target audience. One contest for the "cutest kid" brought in $10,000 revenue from advertisers targeting parents in just under four weeks, according to Foley. Dogs also are a draw for online engagement. Robin Gray of the Orange County Register described a "cutest dog" competition at her paper that brought in seven million page views to the paper's site and thousands in ad revenue.
Another method to drive online engagement is to follow what Boston.com's Bob Kempf calls his paper's "Holy Grail," or "grow local reach." The challenge, says Kempf, is to "create a sustainable local product that complements the core site." Boston.com has created a network of hyperlocal sites that are increasing community reach and engagement. Their geographic reach offers targeted ad opportunities as well, and features elements that include original reporting, news about local events, features for user generated content, personalization and a Wiki. The sites are integrated into Boston.com.
And speaking of aggregation, Jay Small of Scripps said that "link journalism" is a must for increasing online engagement. Small described link journalism as a way to embark on new forms of story telling by "curating content" on the Web. Journalists will spend time gathering the best links on the Web that relate to a particular story and post those links on their page to provide context to the story. That page will then serve as "the destination page" for users. "Is it journalism? Heck yeah!" Small said. "Journalists play the role of filtering information and link journalism is about giving readers the opportunity to engage with the most useful information out there."
- Sheila Owens
Mar 10 2009, 07:59 PM
About Jeff Sigmund
Before joining the Newspaper Association of America in November 2006, I worked as a communications specialist for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). There, I concentrated on internal communications to members (through online newsletters, web content and print publications) and participated in media outreach efforts.
In my role at NAA, I work on media inquiries, press releases and communications planning, as well as helping to manage the press room at NAA's industry conferences.