Competition in today's media requires publishers to establish meaningful connections with consumers. It's hoped that these relationships will boost revenue streams and customer growth. RebelMouse, a CMS agency, shares its experiences in a report that outlines how to build the organic loyalty that fosters these types of networks.

In its simplest form, organic loyalty bases content off the personalization of consumers' interests.

"Organic loyalty has been around for a while, and it's taken many shapes and forms like other digital trends of yesteryear. But there's one thing that hasn't changed: interest-based loyalty. Think back to the Yahoo! and AOL home pages that were the first screen many people saw when they turned on their computers during the early stages of the internet," said the RebelMouse report, found at "Both Yahoo! and AOL had two important features that made them stand out: personalization, and interest-based category searches in the form of a directory. This structure created a loop of organic loyalty by sparking users' attention via interest, allowing them to personalize their experience based on those interests, and enabling them to easily return to their now-personalized experience for new, updated content," the report said.

RebelMouse explains that before a publication can begin initiating tactics to practice organic loyalty, it must first identify the audience nucleus. This includes the most essential pieces of customer information that must be taken care of to ensure the preservation of organic loyalty.

"Your nucleus is likely to be made up of email subscribers, website visitors, and frequent social engagers — however large or small these groups may be. If you're just starting out, it'll be important to experiment with audience discovery strategies and live close to your social insights so you can begin to learn the characteristics of your followers," RebelMouse said.

Three tasks

RebelMouse outlines three important tasks to remember when attempting to grow the audience nucleus. It recommends publishers focus heavily on quality content, honest content and the channels used to get the content across.

Moving forward, publications will want to make sure they hone in on more than just their core audience if they're going to establish a reliable formula for organic loyalty. In fact, the report warns that putting too much focus on ads, even personalized ones, can kill organic loyalty. These days, sites with too many ads or popups will be passed up by both users and platforms such as Facebook.

"A more integrated ad approach, both onsite and online, is now what's fruitful for both publishers and users. Contextually relevant ads can increase performance by 50 percent and branded content on Facebook nets more earned impressions than standard ads. Twitter also adopted the mobile-friendly Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format, which some industry experts say has outperformed Facebook's rival format Instant Articles," the report said.

In 2018, publishers with most of their revenue coming from ads may want to rethink their advertising methods and diversify their revenue streams.

Whether it be determining the customer nucleus or finding an advertising niche, there are some publishers who have the organic loyalty game figured out. To determine what the industry's leaders are doing right, RebelMouse looked into NewsWhip's "Whippies," an award given to publishers who had success with social involvement in 2017.

"The New York Times does an excellent job at keeping their readers addicted to their content. While many publishers struggled with engagement and reach, The Times actually watched these metrics soar, scoring about 20 million interactions on new content almost every month. And it wasn't just because they're an established name with their organic loyalty down pat. The Times focused on extensive reporting of hot topics and current events that drove conversation like no other. This focus, combined with a healthy mix of native content distributed across various platforms, catapulted their social success," RebelMouse said.

The report evaluates the success of a multitude of different kind of publications such as BoredPanda, Axios, The Hill and more.

RebelMouse ties up its report by talking about organic reach, a concept it describes as content that moves across platforms easily. Before a publication can have organic loyalty, it must first have organic reach.

"You have to understand what kind of content and strategies create organic reach at a particular moment in time, and your focus shouldn't be on Facebook alone. Platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are making it easier for content to get recognized. As these other platforms continue to make distributed content more commonplace, it makes the case for organic reach to become more obtainable too — both on and off Facebook. As the audience widens, so does the content's path to viral success," said the report.

Once you understand organic reach, organic loyalty can follow.


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