4 Things You Need to Know About Local Media Audience Development

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Local Media Association’s annual Innovation Mission might be an exclusive event, one that only a handful of media executives participate in. But what they learned in 2014’s multi-city pilgrimage shows the state of media, where it’s heading, and how to steer in the right direction.

LMA’s mission taps into the minds of leaders in the industry. It’s a unique opportunity to learn directly from executives at companies such as Bay, LinkedIn, Buzzfeed, GooglePlus, and The Wall Street Journal.

Here are some of the key takeaways that you can put to use, regardless of how big or small your business happens to be:

Don’t Let Big Data Intimidate You

Big data sounds intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. That’s where you find the authentic answers to so many questions you have about your audience. Who are they? How do they spend their time online? What piques interest, and what falls flat?

Big data has the information you need to evaluate past performance, and predict the best course for the future.

Nancy Cawley Lane, of LMA, quotes LinkedIn’s Lutz Finger on her Tumblr blog. “When it comes to big data, ask the right questions. Measure the right stuff and take actions; learn from them. Don’t start with the measure.”

Finger’s own blog explains that getting the data you need is as easy as “point and click” these days. The technology side of collecting data is losing its mystery.

Start Integrating Visuals

Audiences are engaged by visual stimulation. One peek at Buzzfeed is proof enough of that. Lane explains that according to LinkedIn / Slideshare execs, “visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.”

Sharable content needs a strong visual component. Adding a stock image doesn’t necessarily make content sharable. Make it interesting, and make it sharable — make it count.

You’ve only got a few seconds to grab a user’s attention. Use them wisely.

Get Everyone Involved in Social Media

Everyone says social is the way of the future, but media executives are slower to embrace it. LMA’s blog says, “Publishers/senior execs MUST participate in social media.”

It’s not just an extra anymore, especially with LinkedIn. You don’t just need a LinkedIn profile; you need to be an All Star.

Digital content media executive, Barry Moroney, explains at his LinkedIn profile how to achieve All Star status. You need a professional header with keywords, and a concise summary with links to learn more about you.

Be bold about sharing your experience, and get recommendations from other LinkedIn users. Finally stay busy. LinkedIn is a social network. Setting up a profile is only half the job.

Be Creative with Native

Native advertising has had its ups and downs in recent years, but it’s emerging through the fog as something that works. Engaging users through advertising is a constant struggle. Native makes it easier, because it’s created to engage.

Native works at every level, because every user is reachable at a level that touches them. It’s not just a strategy for national publications.

Local publishers have the job of sorting through what engages their audience, but that’s true at any level.

One of the biggest goals of all publishers, local or otherwise, is getting and keeping users engaged. The industry continues to evolve, as any living thing does. With it, evolves innovation to stay on top.

You don’t have to be a nationally known name to put good strategies to work. All you need is the dedication to shape it to fit your market, and then make it happen.

You can order LMA’s Key Takeaways report to find out more.

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