The path to loyalty: Refining the reader journey for long-term success

Previously, we addressed the importance of forming a Recirculation strategy and using experimentation to encourage deeper reading, while also outlining the internal barriers that can accompany the audience engagement hurdles facing your organization.

In this post, we shift our focus to how you can put those strategies in motion and capitalize on future opportunities for growth.More on those tactics below.

Editor’s note: This post is part 3 of a series on creating a defined path to reader loyalty. Want to skip ahead to see all of the tactics that improve the reader experience? Get the complete guide.

Get your Recirculation strategy rolling

As we noted last week, introducing a Recirculation strategy can help publishers decrease barriers to their content. However, those tactics cannot be limited to desktop experiences, especially as readers are increasingly discovering content on mobile devices.

path to loyalty gif

Here’s a few tactics to keep in mind as you consider that process:

1. Given your knowledge of your device referral patterns, it’s high time to consider investing resources in your mobile journey that reflects everything they love about your desktop experience.

2. Reader scroll patterns on mobile devices differ from their desktop counterparts — how you show the depth of your content is critical to keeping them engaged in these experiences.

scroll depth image

A strong Recirculation strategy doesn’t need to be complicated — it requires clarity about the place you’re taking readers, whether to related content or suggestions on content they’d prefer — there’s no need to be ambiguous, prematurely ending their journey.

What is a loyal visitor?

People who have visited your site at least eight of the last 16 days — about every other day or more. By paying attention to their habits you can understand what keeps them coming back time and time again. Learn more

For instance, we’ve seen publishers such as the South China Morning Post uses real-time data to elevate over-performing content while optimizing the most valuable real estate on those pages so that readers can read deeper into their best content.

Use your knowledge to capitalize on engagement opportunities

When you’ve achieved goals around engaged readership, it’s important to keep your focus on maintaining those best practices — give your new visitors a reader journey that built your loyal audiences.

Why? Loyal readers get you closer to your reader revenue goals, and their interactions with your content (as the chart below indicates) are key insights into the short-term tactics and long-term strategies that will engage new visitors to your site.

loyalty by distribution channel

That’s the quantitative target for your team, but just as important are the qualitative changes that can help keep your positive results trending in the right direction. This includes defining and iterating on your culture of experimentation and collaboration.

In this process, you should consider the following:

1. Data is more actionable when it is shared — make it accessible and digestible across your organization.

2. Review and reiterate the importance of using data to gut check human decision-making.

3. In absence of dedicated audience development professionals, ensure there are appointed leaders to review and disseminate data in a clear, transparent way.

Armed with this information, you’re now equipped with the tools to build a data-informed culture at scale for your organization.

On the path to loyalty: Our takeaways

A couple last takeaways:

1. There’s ways to help your content shine

You deserve a higher return on investment in your content — give readers the opportunity to seamlessly move from one topic to another with a dedicated Recirculation strategy. This helps you establish a reader journey that they’ll be excited to take again.

2. Keep the momentum moving forward

Your success will not only be defined by the engagement and loyalty that you build through your content, but also the longevity of your efforts. Champion your culture of experimentation through collaboration, analysis, and documentation, so that this culture can live long beyond one or two individuals.

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