The Arizona Republic considers killing “zombies” a staple of its digital subscription strategy
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: If you want to maximize your digital subscription growth, you must have a focused plan on not only how to grow your subscriber base, but also how to retain and improve the engagement and loyalty of your current subscribers.
This is a series on Better News to a) showcase innovative/experimental ideas that emerge from the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative and b) share replicable tactics that benefit the news industry as a whole. This “win” comes from John Adams, senior director of digital storytelling and strategy at The Arizona Republic, and Alia Beard Rau, formerly of the Republic and now senior news editor at the Salem Statesman Journal. The team participated in the Gannett-McClatchy Table Stakes program in 2019-20.
Question: What problem were you trying to solve, and why was solving the problem strategically important for your organization?
Answer: The Arizona Republic, which is owned by Gannett, is the state’s largest daily newspaper and has been around for more than 130 years. Our website is azcentral.com.
We all know we need more digital subscriptions because the business plan of yesteryear — selling and packing more ads on our pages no matter how annoying they are to our audience — just won’t get us where we need to be as news organizations. Print/digital newsrooms nationwide have pivoted to focus on this effort, but the shouts of, “WE NEED MORE SUBSCRIBERS!!” can only take us so far.
A successful subscription plan must include a targeted strategy for how we keep those subscribers and turn them into loyal consumers who can’t live without our content.