We at The Columbus Dispatch are shaking things up. In the last few years, our 142-year-old media company has revamped our product, our brand, and our relationship to both consumers and advertisers. While some changes are obvious, others are more subtle. Regardless, the transition has resulted in tangible gains for The Dispatch. The best part is that any news company willing to make important changes can benefit from the transition.
So – what does it take to turn a newspaper into a news media company? One step is to critically assess your product with fresh eyes, and to ask tough questions (what are we good at, is that conveyed to the consumer, where are we failing, etc).
Significantly altering your base product may seem counter-intuitive, if not downright intimidating, but in some cases it can be the difference between declining sales numbers and generating new business. The most observable product change at The Columbus Dispatch has been the transition from broadsheets to a compact (3V) format. We looked at what was a traditional (if not user-friendly) format, and decided to radically alter the way in which our product was presented. This has resulted in measurable benefits, such as a 46% increase in younger (younger than 50) subscribers.
A more subtle approach to transition from newspaper into a news media company is to evaluate and update your company’s branding. The Columbus Dispatch began working with Phinney & Bischoff to increase “the value of the brand with consumers, appealing to a younger audience, and re-introducing the brand as up-to-date and relevant.”
It’s important for consumers to know that an old dog can learn new tricks, while still providing a quality product. Updating the Dispatch’s image resulted in 16% fewer stops and a 7% increase in total starts.
A final technique is implementing a feedback loop so you know that your company is getting returns on investment. Specific to the news industry, it was helpful for us to identify distinct audience segments. This information enables a company to see which segments are decreasing in number and which segments have greater potential for growth. From there, a company can better tailor its product to consumers and target its advertising.The transition from newspaper to news media company is rapidly becoming a requirement for anyone that wants to remain relevant. In an age of 24/7 news, easy access to headlines, and changing demographic bases, it’s important to make your product and your company brand stand out from the rest. To read the full article please click here