It’s time to get personal with consumers, or get lost


Jim Brady, CEO of Spirited Media, says there is a limit to how many publications a consumer will be willing to pay for, and if you want to be one of them, you'll need to:

  • Give people content so indispensable that they cannot live without it, or
  • Make them feel connected to something so deeply that they want to help keep it alive.

He says, "Most news organizations can’t pass the first test. Yes, local news sites often cover stories no one else does, but they are usually not indispensable. Local television, for example, tends to focus on extraordinary events (murders, shootings, fires, etc.). That worked when the web was driven by page views and advertising. But as we move toward a loyalty model where consumers foot the bill, local TV sites will need to shift from the extraordinary to the ordinary.

"The modern consumer demands utility over ubiquity. They don’t care about the car crash du jour; they want to know where to point their cars to find a good burger. They care about the radar maps of an approaching hurricane, but they also want to know where they can buy sandbags. They are concerned about the lead problem in their schools, but they really want to know whether there’s lead at their kid’s school."

To take full advantage of what consumers can bring to the table, Brady says newspapers need to do five things:

  • Talk to them
  • Listen to them
  • Meet with them
  • Delight them
  • Partner with them

Read more from Jim Brady and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute