Success in publishing is largely due to reader engagement and their response to content. How are organisations influencing news consumption?

Reader engagement has sparked off NewsThings. A project started by the University of Central Lancashire in collaboration with Trinity Mirror and Thomas Buchanan Consultancy. The project focuses on how a web-connected physical device can have a positive impact on people reading and interacting with the news.

The project’s purpose is to;

“explore(s) how news and information can be combined with ambient design and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create prototypes that can convey editorial content to people, and how the data they provide could be of use to publishers to understand their readers better.”

Reader engagement and news consumption

John Mills, lecturer, and researcher at UCLan works on the project team and comments;

“We are all conscious of the advantages of analytics, but we want a broader story. We want to talk to them not just about their digital news consumption, but about what kind of news they are consuming, as well as how, where and when.”

Basically – getting to the crux of consumption and engagement. A high priority is to make the engagement natural for the user.

Tom Metcalfe, designer and founder of Thomas Buchanan Consultancy, says;

“Push notifications just don’t work, they arrive at the wrong time or are unactionable at the moment when they do.”

So then what does ‘natural’ look like?

Alison Gow, the digital innovation editor for Trinity Mirror, suggests that when a reader first enters a site they look for the familiar. One of the objectives for NewsThings is to assess how a connected device can reflect this familiarity. The same way that a newspaper used to reside on the kitchen table of a family home. If a connection can be established with communities, then engagement levels will increase.

Understanding your reader, what they prioritise, and how they prioritise it can help publishers in a massive way – both editorially and commercially.

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