Online consumption. I assume that if you are reading this post, you are well aware that online consumption is becoming greater and greater, and it is not necessarily always about quality, but also about quantity. I know for myself, I currently have eight tabs open of news websites, blogs and social media. In an Advanced Broadcast Journalism 2 workshop this semester, lecturer, Scott Bridges (2012) said you only have seconds to work with an online audience. He said that in this time we need to attract them as they are busy, and they are most certainly distracted with multiple windows and tabs open.
This notion got me thinking about my own online media consumption and journalism output. What makes my site or post or tweet unique? What is it solely about what I say and do that will grab attention? In that workshop, I realized that my media audience is the world, and thus, my competitors are the world. As a journalist, your audience needs to be drawn to your specific content and site. As Barr (2012) says, “when someone comes to your site, you have to answer the question they’ll be asking themselves: “why should I spend any time on this site instead of one of the dozens of other sites I already know and love?” You have to answer this question quickly, clearly and compellingly”.
Young (2011) recommends to create a niche audience. Producing original and innovative broadcast material to your audience can attract a specific type of demographic in audience. Young (2011) states that these people are more likely to be loyal. However; he claims, the downside to this, is that your traffic size is more likely to be smaller. “Newspapers also face competition from niche providers and new players.” (Young, 2011). The decision on the journalist is pending on what thye deem as more important – audience size, or loyalty?
In order to build a large audience base it is necessary to appeal to many different types of people from different demographics. The content produced must not interest them, but also apply to their everyday lives, whilst still maintaining a high level of quality. “truly incredible content, products or services can be your best marketing tool. Everything you do online has to start with creating something incredible” (Barr, 2012).
The key is producing something illustrative that will grab your audience’s attention and sustaining it. You also need to provide them with information they feel may benefit them, or information they can relate to. This is the tactic my journalism partner, Russell Ayres, and I took when pitching a broadcast news package to an online audience this semester for one of our assessments. Our audience was Crikey news subscribers. Crikey is an online news source with most of its readers and subscribers based on the East Coast of Australia between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. As Russell and I were reporting a story from Canberra on the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) election, we needed to devise a plan to attract more Crikey consumers. The challenge of pitching our broadcast story to an audience who may of had no interest or relation to ACT politics, or the community of Canberra, needed to be counteracted. We did so by writing our script and package based around the issue of stamp duty. Rather than simply focusing on the ACT, we created a national issue of stamp duty by comparing the ACT to all other states and territories. We also kept the issue and explanation of stamp duty generic to ensure consumers would feel as though this issue also affected them. Once grabbing the audiences attention we then showed our audience how the issue also affected the ACT election. We specifically spoke to industry experts on the issue, as opposed to politicians, to give our audience a more informative, not spin, look at the key issue that had the potential to also affect them. By doing this, we hoped to not only inform our viewers, but also gain loyalty and captivate them. In summary, Barr states, “the best audience is a captive one”.
Barr, C. (2012). 42 Timeless Ideas for Attracting More Visitors to Your Website [Online]. Think Traffic. Available:http://thinktraffic.net/timeless-ideas-for-more-visitors [Accessed: 17.11.12]
Bridges, S 2012, Unit 8464 Advanced Broadcast Journalism 2, Workshop: Political reporting.
Young, S 2011, How Australia Decides: Election Reporting and the Media, Cambridge Univeristy Press.