3 award-winning strategies for growing digital audience at the local level

By Joe Lanane, Local Media Association Contributor

Trying to get more “eyeballs” on your news coverage? Consider innovative approaches to audience development taken by these three award-winning local publishers.

Green Valley News, a Wick Communications product in Arizona, decided to start its own social network. That idea earned the newspaper first-place recognition for Best Digital Audience Growth Strategy as part of the 2020 Local Media Association Digital Innovation Awards. The Sheboygan Sun was runner-up, and startup newsletter Raleigh Convergence received third-place honors.

Here is a rundown of best practices and lessons learned from each operation:

1. Connect neighbors and join the conversation

Wick Communications launched its own social media project through third-party tools and platforms over the past year, led and moderated by dedicated journalist product managers. Wick received strong financial support through the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge.

The result is NABUR, short for “Neighborhood Alliance for Better Understanding and Respect,” a platform now hosted by four Wick Communications newspapers — with two more launching in July. The forum helps create a dialogue between readers and reporters, who answer questions to keep the community informed.

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