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Reclaim Your Audience: SABEW 2017

WE Communications Blog: Technology

— Charlie Stager, Sr Account Executive 

Engagement, content, platforms: we’ve all heard these buzz words ad nauseam as brands seek to maintain their grip on the most valuable commodity of their business – the audience. With the growth of mobile web and search shaping a new world of branded news and information, brands must stay in constant motion to reach consumers where they are— and on their terms.

The increasing emphasis on diversifying content has made it essential for publications to conjure new ways of garnering the first party data that distinguishes the key characteristics of their most important asset, the reader.

At last week’s SABEW 2017 conference, media influencers from across the country gathered in Seattle to speak on the hottest trends and issues facing business journalism today: from how publications are experimenting to find new audiences, to how journalists are balancing the demand for brevity and the need for detail. Consistent across conversations was the centrality of knowing your audience. The reader has become the decision maker, and it’s the role of brands to optimize content that revolves around them.

  • Differentiate your assets. Whether it’s creating your own platform or utilizing others’, creating unique defensible assets is essential for establishing and maintaining your audience. Michael Shane, Global Head of Digital Innovation at Bloomberg Media commented, “First party data is the holy of holies;” the more you can learn about your audience and customize to their experiences and needs, the more likely you are to retain their services. Bloomberg Media has put together a user research group to mine data and build content around its readers, and you’ll continue to see more brands invest in data-first strategies as they vie for their stake of the audience.
  • Commit to your brand. While it’s important to meet the demand of your audience, there’s a balance in not losing yourself along the way. Jon Steinberg, CEO of Cheddar TV commented that the biggest mistake he sees brands make is sacrificing too much of themselves to adapt: “Don’t let the platform dictate your content.Commit to your brand; only adapt 10%.” If you’re targeting the right platform for your audience, your brand shouldn’t have to shift meteorically to fit it. 
  • There’s no “I” in Team. Collaboration is integral as brands transition in the digital era. In order to foster a seamless experience for the consumer, you must be aligned across all your offerings, balancing analytics and insights with creative and editorial. From the storytellers, to the data geeks, artists and designers, it takes an ultimate team effort to deliver the best experience for your audience.

Reclaiming your audience means introducing unique value for the consumer by fostering an intimate understanding of their needs and executing on them. As the pace of innovation quickens, the only way to keep up is to never stop moving. 


Connect with the author, Charlie Stager, on LinkedIn and Twitter.