Big announcement time:
From next issue, this newsletter will be called Engaged Reading Time. And it will come in two editions.
- The normal, free, “interesting links” newsletter
- A new, paid newsletter for people interested in audience engagement.
Let me explain the rationale:
I met with a former student a couple of weeks ago, who works in a senior audience engagement role for a national newspaper in the UK. They mentioned, as part of the discussion, that plenty of other newspapers keep trying to hire for audience engagement roles, but they don’t really know what they are looking for. A week later, I was talking to a journalism academic, and I mentioned this. And they said: “Surely, that’s where you come in?”
The penny dropped.
I’ve been keen to do more consulting work, and to find a way of making more money from my enforced “at home” time. (I work four days a week, and two of them have to be near home, because of the school and nursery runs.) I’ve always avoided the social media consulting area, because there are so many good people in that space - like Matt
- preferring to lean into general digital journalism skills.
After the Facepocalypse of last year, the journalism industry is finally realising that just shoving links into Facebook is not the future it thought it ways. And to build sustainable audiences, you need an audience engagement strategy. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years.
Audience Engagement is a broad-brush, multi-disciplinary skill. It takes in social media, SEO, video, community building, podcasts, newsletters, content strategy and analytics. It’s the art of understanding your audience, reaching your audience - and building content offering around that audience.
As an industry, we’re still pretty lousy at it - as the weeks of layoffs show. And I want to help do something about that. In the coming days, I’ll be launching an explicit audience engagement consulting practice. I have a course running already (one place left
, as I type this.) And I’m introducing a paid newsletter.
At least once a week, I’ll compile the best links and learning I’ve found on the topic, add some analysis, and wing it out to my paying subscribers. At weekends, this “fun links” newsletter will still circulate.
If you just want the fun links - you need do nothing else. It will still just keep coming. If you’re interested in the other part of the newsletter - the practical guidance for engaged editors and journalists - I’ll details how to sign up later in the week. (But, as a clue, there’s a sign-up link at the bottom of this newsletter…)
I’ll be honest - I’m nervous. I’ve never, in my seven years in self-employment, offered a product like this before. It’s possible no-one will care - or so few people that it fails to be sustainable.
But I also know that I care deeply about it, that journalism needs to develop and share these skills if it is to survive. And I know that I can help.
Until next time,