It’s covered in depth below, but I’m going to shout our success every chance we get. Newspapers are the most trusted source of news in Indiana.
In an era that faces unprecedented skepticism towards news media outlets, that’s a good place to be. But it’s just a start. Because, while trust ensures a confidence in the news readers are consuming, it does not ensure that readers consume the amount of news needed to sustain our business.
So, we must consider ways to attract and maintain the loyalty of readers newspapers have seen in decades past. And that begins with the framing of our product. It’s easy to forget that newspapers are, at the most basic level, a product because local newspapers play such a vital role in our communities and our democracy. At the end of the day, though, they are and they are a prime product for a special kind of treatment that a lot of dormant industries have been receiving as of late like the revival of the “craft” commodity.
Newspapers are the original local, craft product. They’re specific and special to their localities — a product that can be had no place else in quite the same way.
A decade ago beer was dominated by national, mass produced cases of cans. There were two choices of bourbon on the shelf. Albums were collecting dust and no under the age of 70 touched an embroidery ring.
All of these things have seen a resurgence in popularity after local brewers, distillers, album shops, and artists embraced traditions bygone and breathed life into each industry.
All of those products, now local and craft, come at a premium too. Let me tell you — I’d gladly pay seven dollars for a freshly tapped local, hazy IPA over four dollars for a can of Coors. And I’m getting a record player for my new house so my daughter and I can enjoy the experience of playing music from a tangible item.
I think you can see where I’m going here. Newspapers are the original local, craft product. They’re specific and special to their localities — a product that can be had no place else in quite the same way.
Cracking open the paper over coffee and toast is an experience. Immersing yourself in a beautifully designed multi-media piece is a luxury.
Local news deserves to be had at a premium, but we have to show our readers that and provide them with the content that makes them feel that spark of significance that a craft brand can.
So I challenge you to think about what you can do to create the experience around your brand. I know I will be thinking about that for all of us.