Engaging Audiences: Importance of Engagement Opportunities
When asked to rank the degree of importance of different engagement opportunities, the responses affi rmed that the participating news sites aspired to be highly involved in many strata of engagement.
Respondents were asked to rate fi ve kinds of engagement, scoring them as “very important,” “important,” “somewhat important” or “not important.” Digital avenues of engagement through their websites and social media were paramount for 100% of those responding, with 85% declaring it “very important.”
However, it was also clear that four other engagement goals were competitively important with one another:
- Participative engagement – as a contributor, buzz builder or tipster – was key for 94%, with 71% saying it was “very important” or “important.”
- Civic engagement – prompting involvement in public issues – was key for 85%, with 63% saying it was “very important” or “important.”
- Supportive engagement – as a donor, subscriber or volunteer – was key for 83%, also with 63% saying it was “very important” or “important.”
- In-person engagement – via events or town halls – ranked highly for 81%, with 56% saying it was “very important” or “important.”
The sites had few effi cient ways to measure engagement in three of the strata. For tracking different kinds of support, they need to manually count donors or volunteers. For in-person events they might use an online registration tool but need to independently count actual attendees or revenue raised. Digital analytics tools can measure comments or social media activity, but more substantial contributions, such as stories or columns, require independent tracking. Meanwhile, the sites generally resort to anecdotes to track civic engagement.
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