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So you know your audience, are you communicating that?

No one knows as much about their audience and their media consumption habits as publishers. But are publishers communicating that effectively to advertising clients? Regional and agricultural newspaper publisher Australian Community Media does. Here’s how.

Australian Community Media (ACM) Agricultural Research Manager Karen Rogers spoke recently at the Tractor and Machinery Association conference about how farmers consumer their information based on the results of an annual media engagement survey of 800 large, broadacre farmers. 

This is important for two main reasons: 

  1. ACM took the time to survey their readership about how they consume the news and information relevant to them. 
  2. ACM used a platform to communicate the survey’s findings that allowed them to position themselves as experts on agricultural media, and reach existing and potential advertising clients. 

ACM then published an article on Rogers’ presentation across its network of agricultural websites: a great example of repackaging content, and allowing the company to reach clients that didn’t attend the conference. 

According to the article, Rogers told the conference “Farmers have different lifestyles…They are up early, they work late and they aren’t doing a commute and they are working outdoors. Their lifestyle, age and connectivity are different to those in metropolitan areas and even those working in a regional town. 

“A farmers’ routine is governed by the weather, the season and what they need to do on the property on that particular day. This has a real influence on their media habits.”

The contextual information on routines that ACM is able to provide on its readership helps to build trust and confidence in the findings of the survey, as does ACM’s tactic of asking its readership how they consume ACM’s products and other sources of media across all platforms. It is not enough to ask readership about their engagement with direct competitors anymore as information consumption is fluid across multiple channels. 

Rogers was able to explain how ACM’s print titles fit into the overall mix of farmers’ media consumption: all farmers use the internet; nearly all watch television and listen to the radio, with the ABC as the dominant broadcasting source; and, 80 per cent of broadacre farmers read ACM’s print titles. 

“The information contained [within ACM’s newspapers] helps them to make business decisions, which means when they come into town they purchase the paper and spend the week reading it.”

Karen Rogers, Agricultural Research Manager, ACM

Rogers used the survey results to address head-on its decline in circulation. 

“Circulation decline is coming from peripheral readers, those people involved in agricultural industry who can jump on the internet easily, maybe working in town,” she said. 

Had ACM’s decline in circulation not been ‘peripheral’ to advertisers targeting broadacre farmers, the publisher would at least have had the information required to tackle declines in key readership and adapt its products accordingly. 

Readership surveys take time to craft, collate and analyse, but the insight they can provide into readership habits for publishers is invaluable for both product development and sales. It’s easy to jump straight into reader feedback to improve publications, and it’s a given that media kit statistics will be updated.

First, take time to think about the best ways to communicate survey results to build on advertiser trust and confidence. Plan and build a marketing campaign around the latest reader insights.

ACM’s article ‘Know your farmer’ first appeared on Farm Online.

Written by Lyndsie Clark

Niche Publishing Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark has over 10 years of niche publishing experience, working in a variety of roles spanning B2B editorial, sales, operations, events, BD, and management.

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