After rebooting its audio division, the New York Times has played with podcasts as a way to engage an audience that’s increasingly falling away from traditional subscription news services. Continuing that trend, the Times is launching a new podcast called “The Daily.”

Hosted by popular reporter and podcaster Michael Barbaro, the episodes will run 15 to 20 minutes, though Times staffers aren’t chaining themselves to any format decisions yet. The goal of the podcast is to engage the audience early — each day’s audio will be available around 6 a.m. — and keep them interested throughout the day.

Podcasts: the new informational breakfast companion?

In past decades, print news organizations ensured readership by showing up on doorsteps before dawn. Readers commonly browsed newspapers while coffee brewed and breakfast was eaten; the Times is trying to emulate that early-morning engagement via technology that resonates with modern users. It also plans to use the podcasts as a springboard for advertising, lead generation, and organic community building.

The podcasts will include a roundup of news and entertainment options, many delivered via interviews with Times reporters. The Times hopes the audio vignettes create interest in more sweeping stories, driving traffic to its other media assets and building trust and relationship between the audience and the reporters. The news organization will also:

  • Prompt listeners to opt in for text updates from Barbaro about stories
  • Include advertisements in the podcasts and in emails for opted-in listeners
  • Leverage the podcasts to encourage people to subscribe to the digital version of the Times

Casting a wide and creative net as a digital publisher

At State of Digital Publishing, we love this creative approach to driving conversions. Organic and trustworthy content is a must in our book, but digital publishers also have to figure out ways to convert community growth into new revenue streams. Incorporating multiple media and new approaches into content strategies is a great way to boost conversions.

Using the Times example as a starting point, here are some questions you might ask about your brand’s digital publishing strategies.

  • Are you delivering content via the right media? Publishing hundreds of text-based blog posts to an audience that would rather watch videos is ineffective.
  • Is your publishing schedule in line with your audience? Time delivery of your most engaging assets when the bulk of your audience is likely to be online and receptive.
  • Can you integrate revenue-generation into your current approach? Look for opportunities to include ads or sponsored content in a way that doesn’t sacrifice quality or betray audience trust.
  • Are you taking things to the next level? It takes an average of 6 to 8 touch points for most conversions, which means you should always look for ways to turn a single engagement point into continued connections.

As a digital publisher or online content marketer, what creative approaches are you using to engage audiences and drive conversions? Do you agree with New York Times latest initiative? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at vahe@stateofdigitalpublishing.com.

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See how one digital publisher increased its organic traffic by 600% with Google News Top Stories Carousel + best practices and troubleshooting tips



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