Best Practices for Audience Engagement for Digital Publications

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Written by Matt Berringer

July 19, 2022

Wide distribution is essential, but it’s only half the challenge — engagement turns casual visitors and occasional readers into paid subscribers and a loyal audience. Engagement can range from new followers or subscribers to individual page views, post clicks or reader comments. The more engaged you are with your audience, the more opportunities there are to grow your readership, build credibility and give your audience what they want.

Follow some top tips to improve your audience engagement online from Nxtbook Media.

1. Listen to Your Readers

Listen to and create content for your readers. Consider who they are, where they spend their time online and when, how they found your publication and what types of content they want to see more.

One essential digital media best practice is using the feedback you get directly from your audience. Note any recurring concerns or comments, like lack of specific accessibility features or errors in the user experience.

Ways to solicit audience feedback include:

Email is an ideal communication method since it gives you a direct channel to those most interested in your content — if a reader is on your email list, they’ve already engaged with and actively signed up to get more of your content.

2. Know Design Principles

Design principles include everything from graphic design and branding to technical web design and user experience. You want your publication and hosting site to be as user-friendly as possible, with intuitive navigation panels, up-to-date hyperlinks, scannable text and fast load times. Mark all advertising and keep elements consistent across every page.

With the right eye and training, you can inspire emotional responses from your audience and encourage them to engage more with the content. A few best practices for digital content design are:

You should also focus on responsiveness and mobile optimization. Some design elements will be specific to your platform, especially if you host your publication on an app or software.

3. Collect Relevant Data and Analytics

Data is a powerful tool for making better, profitable decisions that actively engage and grow your audience. Establish a clear set of engagement goals before collecting data to narrow your focus to relevant platforms or metrics.

One great quality of a digital publication is using data to create a more personalized reader experience through customizing content and segmentation. Some publishers seek more engagement to convert leads into higher-paying subscribers. Others seek improved engagement to grow an audience by encouraging more public conversations surrounding your content.

Once you know your goals, gather relevant data from your social media, Google SEO and website analytics, and identify trends and patterns to create a plan of action. You can also use data to inform spending and budgeting and to get more specific insights into which content your audience clicks on and spends the most time reading or sharing.

4. Invite Readers Into the Conversation

Your publication should have goals beyond delivering content to your audience — it should actively seek a connection with them. The better you know your audience — and the better they know your publication — the more likely you will find opportunities to move them further down the sales funnel and understand their evolving interests, values and concerns.

Sometimes getting more digital publication audience engagement is as simple as extending the invitation to your readers directly. When people consume content, they don’t inherently consider what next steps they should take — commenting, sharing or subscribing might not even cross their mind if you don’t explicitly ask for it.

Use calls to action in your copy and make it easy to get involved in the conversation with things like:

Your strategy should also include enticing headlines and carefully placed excerpts to encourage more clicks.

Improve Audience Engagement Online With a Platform That Supports You

You can build a strong, engaged readership with a platform that supports your growing needs. PageRaft and nxtbook have the necessary features to launch and grow your digital publication — they can even help you collect and understand specific analytics to support better engagement strategies.

Learn more today about how our products can support your publication!

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