How the NYC Innovation Mission helped a digital leader take action on his newspaper’s consumer revenue strategies


What do those who attend a Local Media Association Innovation Mission get out of the experience?

A ton.

Yes, there is the networking and sharing of best practices with colleagues. But the actionable ideas participants head back with can fill pages and pages of notebooks.

LMA just wrapped up an Innovation in New York City in November that focused on digital subscriptions and consumer revenue strategies. And we are currently ramping up efforts for our next Innovation Mission in Washington, D.C. that will focus on companies developing highly-engaged audiences and diverse revenue models.

We caught up with Ronald Rainey, Lead Web Developer for The Record Journal, a community newspaper in Connecticut, who attended the NYC Innovation Mission.

We asked Ronald to share his experience in New York City and how he and his company were putting the takeaways he got into practice. Here’s what we had to say:

I would say the visit to Chartbeat and their state of the web address, as it applies to news, was very helpful in understanding the ecosystem we’re working in. 

It helped determine the overall form, some of our consumer revenue solutions are going to come in. For example the decline of Facebook and the rise of Google solidified our plans to put out Google Amp pages. We’re also looking to purchase Chartbeat as a tool for our newsroom and begin leveraging its audience segmentation and API to find our mid-level engaged readers and target them with subscription offers.

Hearst and Piano were also very helpful in the data they shared with us. All of the companies, really, had their own take on the consumer conversion funnel, and I was able to amalgamate many of those ideas into our own consumer funnel here at the RJ. The biggest overall takeaways I had from the mission were:

  • Those publishers that have good audience data, segment it and are able to act on it are the ones finding success with digital consumer revenue.
  • We need that data here at the RJ it’s our missing piece of the puzzle.
  • We need to give the right offer to the right person at the right time.

In a more general sense, one of the things that was very helpful is that the mission served as a catalyst for us to begin taking action. 

We’ve had consumer revenue on our radar as an area we need to improve and innovate for a long while now. It sat like a rock no one wanted to push. But the Innovation Mission gave us the knowledge and impetus to begin pushing that rock. The Innovation Missions are really great for elevating if you will, someone in an organization to take the lead on pushing that rock, whatever it may be.

Sign up for LMA’s next Innovation Mission in Washington, D.C.