Developing Your Digital Publishing Audience

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Written by Matt Berringer

July 19, 2022

Audience development is your publication’s strategy for growing its readership and creating a loyal audience. However, audience development is only effective if you target those most likely interested in your content. Finding your audience takes time and retaining, engaging and leveraging that audience takes strategy.

How Do You Develop an Audience?

You need to know your audience before you create a growth plan. While it might be best to target everyone possible, it’s much easier — and a better use of resources — to learn who your core readership is and what niche you occupy.

Use data analytics and market research to note your current audience’s demographics, including age, gender, education level, hobbies, life stage, beliefs and values, income and geographical location. Once you start tracking trends and determine your average audience member, you’ll get a clearer picture of who your content appeals to and how to refine your growth strategies.

Some ideas for digital publishing audience acquisition include:

Tips for Audience Retention and Engagement

Developing and growing an audience isn’t enough — you also have to keep it. You can do this by promoting audience engagement and collecting feedback to help you improve the user experience and your content.

Gather information from various sources, including back-end data analytics and direct methods like conversations, polls and surveys. If your audience is large enough, you might consider an omnichannel approach to engagement that targets specific segments on different platforms. Prioritize direct channel communication like newsletter and email lists, and use data analytics to create a personalized reader experience with custom content suggestions.

Incorporate interactive elements into your content that promote engagement, such as shareable infographics, comment boxes with user prompts and calls to action. Use A/B testing to find out which methods work best for your audience, and then build out your strategy from there.

Leveraging Audience Excitement

An active, engaged audience is the best way to create word-of-mouth advertising for your publication. Keep that momentum going by staying consistent with your audience development and engagement efforts and creating a sense of urgency or emotional appeal when appropriate.

Consider tactics that push readers further into your publication with things like:

When developing an audience, one of the most rewarding aspects is user-generated content — content your readers create talking about your publication, like submitting photos for a contest or opinion pieces for an upcoming feature.

Engaging Your Digital Audience Starts With a Great Platform

Before you can develop an audience, you need to know you’re creating and presenting your publication with reliable, digital-first platforms. Request a demo today!

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