3 ways to reach audiences in 2019

What are the content discovery challenges for media in 2019? What have we learned from last year, and how can we improve?

By Clare Cavanagh | Audience development | Jan 22, 2019

Entering a new year feels exciting. It’s a fresh start and an opportunity to focus on the positive aspects of the future, having learned lessons from the previous year. As we think about resolutions for this year, Reuters Institute’s Trends and Predictions report provides foresight that can help you plan and take action.

Here, we glance back at 2018 and look ahead to the opportunities for success in 2019.

In 2018, the average level of trust in the news remained relatively stable across all countries, but over half (54%) were concerned about what is fake and real on the internet.”

Digital News Report 2018, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. P.9

While the use of social media for news started to fall in a number of key markets in 2018, there was a large rise in the use of messaging apps (mainly WhatsApp) for news as consumers preferred the privacy of a different space in which to communicate. It has also been challenging to navigate unprecedented changes in newsfeed connections due to concerns around authenticity in content.

The average level of trust in the news remained relatively stable across all countries, but over half (54%) were concerned about what is fake and real on the internet. For this to improve, a renewed focus on trust indicators for news – designed to assist consumers in deciding what and who to trust – will be required.

Traditional news sources that have always proved reliable are facing a future into which they may no longer fit. In comparison, digitally native publishers have grown fast but have yet to establish deep roots of trust with their audiences.

Here are three challenges and solutions for you to consider in 2019:

1. What can be done for TV, a critical source of news which declined in annual audiences in 2018?

2018: Television remains a vital and trustworthy news source, but the decline of younger audiences ignited concern for the future role of public broadcasters.

2019: This year, leaders in broadcasting will focus on their ability to attract the next generation of viewers, considering other ways to do so digitally.

Last year, the BBC faced critical issues for their future, recognising that young consumers (aged 16-34 years old) had turned to their competition, such as Youtube and Netflix. Their aim now is to “reinvent the BBC for a new generation” by taking risks, stepping away from the conventional formats that they had always relied on, and investing in more modern approaches within their competitive market.

2. How can you reach audiences through audio and voice-activated devices?

78% of publishers agreed that voice will change how media is accessed over the next few years”

Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

2018: Podcasts have been proven to be extremely popular in 2018, especially with young listeners who are more likely to use podcasts to discover news rather than listen to the radio. Many psychologists assert that “the human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor” and podcasts offer opportunities for audiences to share in-depth discussions and incredible real-life stories.

2019: Now is the time to build on that popularity, focusing on podcasts as a source with fresh, interesting content and easier distribution.

There has been interest specifically among Android users and, as this continues to grow, organizations can look to build awareness and access to their mainstream content through podcasts.

The precedent has been set by The Daily podcast from the New York Times which has over 5m listeners per month. Podcasts from The Economist, The Guardian and The Washington Post are now following in those footsteps by heavily investing in audio.

3. How do you maintain attention without overwhelming audiences with messages?

2018:  News aggregator apps and mobile notifications for Android smartphones have significantly remodeled the way consumers are kept informed. Yet, there is a real danger of overwhelming people as we reach notification saturation.

Editorial newsletters gained attention in the media industry as a growing channel to reach audiences, drive registrations and eventually, subscribers. However, some email newsletters received negative responses regarding the lack of personal content and design.

2019: The focus is to progress by listening to the feedback from audiences on how and when they want to see newsletters and receive notifications.

This year, companies aim to revitalise their newsletters, including more captivating content that inspires and motivates. Media companies should ensure their online interactions are authentic in order to gain consumers’ trust.