At The Newspaper Works, working closely with representatives across all major regional and community newspaper publishers, we have been conducting some significant research as to what readers appreciate most about their local paper and the motivations behind editorial consumption and response to advertising within those papers.
Working with marketing researchers Brand Navigator, we conducted a series of qualitative one-on-one interviews as a mind and mood check, before validating our theories with a robust quantitative survey.
We found that there is a clear understanding among readers as to the distinct roles of each tier of newspaper publishing. National and large metro newspapers offer a world view, stimulate thinking and ideas and are “the authority” on bigger picture issues. Regional newspapers are positioned as an advocate and trusted advisor for regionally based concerns and issues.
Community newspapers are where people turn to for information on how to get involved; their key role being to “connect and enable”.
As you might expect, readers have a strong attachment to their local newspaper.
They confer the content with a high degree of trust, find the content to be highly engaging and offering them practical information that is difficult to find via other channels.
They told us that they understand that to keep a local area vibrant, one has to support local business. Readers are highly motivated by locally advertised offers, and deeply appreciate businesses that support their local communities.
The charts I have included for this article are only a tiny sneak peek.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be working with the data to produce some handy charts and fact sheets that will help sales teams at both the regional and community level.
We will release some video content of respondents telling us in their own words why they are passionate about their local papers, and what motivates them to respond to content – including advertising.
The content will include the findings based on various life-stages including younger readers and families.
And we’ll compare how respondents feel about their regional and/or their community newspaper versus local television, local radio, letterboxed inserts as well as other key channels of influence including social media and word of mouth.
We always knew readers loved their local newspapers.
We are confident this research will provide publishers with the validation they need to position local newspapers as the strategic imperative for any advertiser wanting to reach these highly engaged and motivated readers.