3 Audience Engagement Lessons from the New York Times

Do you know the difference between audience engagement and clicks? Or, for that matter, audience engagement and likes on social media? Sadly, too few publishers or business owners do, but don’t feel bad … even the New York Times has been struggling with this issue as of late.

The fact is, having a strong brand is bound to garner attention on social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The reality, however, is that this attention means nothing if you aren’t engaging your followers and subscribers. You could have millions of people who have liked or subscribed to your publication on social media, but if you aren’t putting out engaging content, it’s likely that these people will simply forget about, ignore, or worse, unfollow or unlike your publication’s page.

SEE ALSO: Audience Engagement: Social Media and the Power of Visuals

1. Lessons from the New York Times

As a giant among the American media landscape, and admittedly, around the world, the New York Times has focused its online efforts over the past decade on getting clicks instead of audience engagement. While the publication still enjoys a healthy audience for its print edition, it wasn’t seeing the audience engagement that it wanted to online, and as a younger generation comes around that is accustomed to being marketed to through the web, this could eventually spell disaster for the paper.

The problem has been that the Times was segmenting its social media efforts through different departments, and this led to a disjointed effort. The major issue was that content was not being considered from start to finish, or from creation through to distribution. Today, the Times is taking a different approach, outlining how content will be created, who it will be marketed to, where it will be marketed, and how both clicks and audience engagement will be measured.

2. What This Means for Your Publication

In keeping with the example set by the Times, your publication may need to think about how content is being delivered through social media. Everything from time of day to which service you publish on and how can affect engagement. For example, Instagram is a visual-branding site for advertisers, so you’d want to post expressive photos on there to link to content instead of a ton of text. Likewise, Twitter users expect minimal text that gets across the important facts of your content in order to get clicks, and therefore, engagement. If you’re trying to tell the whole story in a world of 140-character tweets, you’ll likely fail and users won’t engage…they’ll ignore.

3. Give Your Employees Freedom

Another tip is to allow publication employees to be more personable on social media. Instead of requiring them to only post about work-related content, encourage them to post about other things as well, such as what is going on in their lives. This helps to attract followers because it makes your employees an engaging part of your customers’ or potential customers’ lives. By making just a few tweaks, such as those listed above, you’re more likely to not only engage social media users, but also to attract new customers and increase revenues.

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