Revitalising Weekly News
In today’s fast-changing media scenery, local media outlets face the daunting challenge of expanding their reach and building robust user engagement. Gazeta Radomszczanska, a Polish weekly founded in 1993, embarked on a transformative journey with the Thomson Foundation project and mentor Paweł Nowacki. Throughout the process, the team focused on improving their subscription-based model by developing a better strategy and offering high-value content to their readers. With these changes, the outlet was able to enhance its digital presence.
Gazeta Radomszczanska’s case is an example of the successful synergy between traditional journalistic values and the strategic development of a website that uses digital tactics to increase subscriptions and user engagement on the web.
From the content perspective, Gazeta Radomszczanska was a strong weekly magazine on the market. In the small region of Radomsko, the printed edition sold around 2,500 copies weekly, but their website traffic needed improvement. While the media’s content was good, their visibility online was low and lacked effective Google search engine optimisation. Before the mentoring intervention, the publication boasted around 200 subscribers in January 2023. In order to build a strong subscription model, the team and the mentor decided that the focus would be on creating a better offer for the paying readers, and strategically promoting the new offer via different channels. The collaboration with the mentor aimed to propel the newspaper into the digital age, exploring new subscription solutions, Google GDN campaigns, and increasing user engagement on websites.
Building the new subscription model
In the weekly meetings with the mentor, Gazeta Radomszczanska worked on upgrading the content, defining the subscription model and effectively promoting it, as well as budget allocation.
The team knew that due to various factors, including age demographics, their print edition readership would not transition to the online space. They decided to target their new content and promotion strategy towards new clients. At the beginning of the collaboration with their mentor, it was decided that the focus would be on the yearly subscribers, emphasising the need to create unique, high-level content both in the weekly edition and behind the paywall.
The offer for the paying readership was also enhanced with the creation of the newsletter, containing additional content available exclusively for subscribed readers.
By the end of October 2023, the number of subscribers surged by a remarkable 50%. Notably, the introduction of newsletters saw substantial growth from zero to 850 recipients between March and October.
Embracing the change
Optimising the subscription promotion campaign, budget emerged as a critical hurdle. Guided by the mentor-led meetings, the Radomszczanska team acquired a nuanced understanding of analytical tools, ensuring rational budget allocation and optimal outcomes.
In addition to the increase in technical expertise, the project triggered a mindset shift within the newsroom. The team dived into the complexity of Google GDN campaigns, mastering marketing campaign dynamics and analytical tools. A pivotal challenge was transforming the traditional outlook of journalists, urging them to embrace new skills and seamlessly integrate marketing tools into their daily workflow.
The case of Gazeta Radomszczanska illustrates the importance of business model knowledge for small media outlets. With guidance and proper information, this newsroom achieved its idea, improved its position in the market, and upgraded its audience.
“The most important thing for us were the recommendations on how to manage the increase in the number of subscriptions and the time spent by the user on the portal. The number of subscribers exceeded our expectations during the project.” – Andrzej Andrysiak, Editor in Chief, Gazeta Radomszczanska