It is important for newsrooms and online publications to understand their product to grow their audiences.

Judy Nguta, audience development manager of The Conversation Africa shared tips during a Jamfest Africa 2021 session on audience development and using newsroom analytics to grow your audience. Audience development is defined as bringing people on board to interact with your product, the goal is to maximise the content produced. Nguta said that “you don’t want to produce content, publish it and it just sits on your website without having people read it.”

Audience development entails the use of metrics and insights to help editorial teams know the audience they are serving, for example:

  • Where the audience is located
  • What the audience responds to and engages with
  • When and what it wants to consume

Nguta said that “by looking at data keenly, it would be so much easier to decide on what to publish, how (format) to publish, when to publish, length of content”.

The elements of audience development:

  • Understanding your product – before starting to build your audience, it is important to understand your product really well
  • Who is the right audience for my product?
    • Who is the intended consumer of the content that you produce?
    • Whom do you want to serve the product that you are offering?
    • What is their level of understanding – how much should you simplify your content?
    • What’s their age? What devices do they use? What are their interests?

“It is important to understand the people you are trying to target,” said Nguta, adding that it is crucial for newsrooms and publishers to ask themselves the above questions before using analytics to grow an audience.

Nguta said that newsrooms and publishers can understand their audience by conducting audience research which involves collecting information on what your existing, perceived, and potential audiences would like to see more or less of.

Watch the full session here.

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