The UK, particularly the Trinity Mirror, is showing no signs of slowing down its regional news coverage expansion, with their Devon Live county site achieving 10 million page views over a one year period.
On the Behind Local News publication editor Patrick Phelvin explains how the team built the company’s largest county site within a year, with little competition and having no presence prior.
How did Devon Live Reach the 10 million mark?
From the start, the Trinity Mirror Devon team realized that with the dispersed population of the Devon County, it was important to place breaking news as a central part of their news coverage, as it meant that they can bring the immediacy of local events taking place and do this on the scene.
March was when they reached their milestone, and as Patrick explains, they were able to cover two heavy snow events at that period, by having people working from kitchen tables, their cars and from roadside cafes whilst managing to maintain their output. With information from the NHS and police advice also, they were able to inform their audience on the major roads and school closures.
Patrick has stated that since then they have been able to maintain similar traffic levels, which suggests the ongoing social and organic search referral traffic that can be established by covering critical local events.
Facebook Groups based on geographic and subject areas and better internal linking to related articles have also resulted in improved engagement and return visitor rates.
Moving to a new platform for scale
The story format of their breaking news coverage had to change, so with this, the Devon Live team decided to move their website to the Escenic platform, known for their cross-publishing and live blogging capabilities.
On external profiles, Escenic describes themselves a tech platform with a high-performance content management/delivery system, with powerful toolsets and widget frameworks for building modular websites and a content engine for media organizations. In plain English, this means that they have a streamlined workflow and use of various feeds and API integrations that allows a media organization to distribute content across all platforms at once within their CMS platform.
What’s next for Devon Live?
At the heart, it’s a focus on evergreen content (searchable content) and long-form journalism that will help them drive more sustainable traffic and rely less on social media referrals. Features and podcasts have been noted as the main storytelling focus areas.
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