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Building local audiences in a global media market

Unrivalled engagement with local regions is our key differentiator in a global news market, according to David Higgerson, Trinity Mirror’s Regional Digital Publishing Director.

David was speaking at today’s Westminster Media Forum, where he outlined the role and growth of Trinity Mirror regional newsbrands in a global media market.

“Day in day out, the 100 or so news brands I work with break big and important stories, and within minutes the internet is flooded with replicas, often on sites whose scale means you’d assume they’d win the SEO arms race for that story,” he said.

The challenge for our newsbrands, David explained, is to make our natural advantage count online, by making readers choose us over anyone else.

“We have set about doing this by focusing on our strength – local knowledge – and setting about to build a connection with readers which makes them want to listen to us.

“Our approach can be broken down into three areas: listening to readers; responding to readers and aiming to delight readers.”

These are the three key pillars in Trinity Mirror’s local audience building strategy. And it’s working.

In 2011, the Manchester Evening News used to come 33rd in Hitwise’s list of sites receiving traffic for Manchester United-related searches. Today, it rarely drops below third.

Five years ago, our website in Newcastle, Chroniclelive, reached 0.25% of the local population on a daily basis. Today, it is nearer 9%. Across a typical week, it reaches nearer 35%.

And the Liverpool Echo now boasts a weekly reach across Merseyside it hasn’t enjoyed since the 1970s.

David summarised: “For local media, scale is only part of the story. It’s engagement with a geographic readership which maybe only Facebook can rival that’ll determine how successful we are in the future. For us, life has never been more local – it’s just that, like our readers, our world now spans much further than talking about news.”

David was speaking at the Westminster Media Forum, which aims to provide the premier environment for policymakers in Parliament, Whitehall and regulatory agencies to engage with key stakeholders.

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