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Real Audience

Posted on 11 December 2014

As a follow-up to this post about Gawker’s attempt to focus on promoting their original journalistic voice rather than chasing Facebook likes, I wanted to share my own strategy here in my own little corner of the journalism world.

Daybreak North is a show about northern British Columbia, its people, politics, and culture. That, to me, is its identity and its key differentiator in an increasingly saturated media world. To that end, I like our focus to be on stories that you will only hear from northern B.C. We have regular columns on federal and provincial politics, the movies, food trends, and the like, and I think they serve a purpose, but I don’t think they are the key reason people tune in. If someone is really into movie reviews or food trends, there are plenty of other places they can turn for the same or better coverage. What doesn’t exist elsewhere, or at least not the same extent, are these hyper-local stories.

So I like to focus on those on the radio, and I especially like to focus on those on the web. From experience, you will generally get more comments, shares, or likes if you post something about a national or celebrity gossip story, but I question the value of those likes. If we aren’t leaders in celebrity gossip or national politics, why would we make that the focus of our web strategy?

The clearest example of this I’ve seen is from Bryce Lokken’s post “Pandering isn’t content“,  summed up in this all-caps missive:

“NO MATTER HOW MANY LIKES AND SHARES YOUR BULLSHIT PANDERING CONTENT GETS YOU STILL HAVEN’T CULTIVATED A REAL AUDIENCE”

In it he chronicles the adventures of Virgin Radio Lebanon who grew a large share of “likes” by posting memes and celebrity photos, but failed to generate any interest in their posts that were actually about trying to get their audience to act. People weren’t there because they were fans of what Virgin Radio Lebanon was about- they were only there for the memes, a niche with many, many, many others willing to step in.

So as easy as it is to jump on a trend or major story to get a bit of juice,  I really don’t feel it’s a viable long-term strategy. Instead, it’s about attracting the quality long-term audience – a real audience –  that is there for what only you can provide. One that will miss you if you’re gone.

Filed under: journalism

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