To bolster digital audience development and engagement for publishers participating in the Knight x LMA BloomLab, Local Media Association hired award-winning journalist and consultant Adriana Lacy, founder and CEO of Adrian Lacy Consulting. Based in Boston, Lacy’s firm specializes in helping publishers and businesses expand their digital audience.

Here are four tips for mastering audience engagement that Lacy shared with publishers participating in the BloomLab.

Evolve how we distribute and package news


Gone are the days of traditional newsgathering consisting of one-way communication — where audiences are merely consumers, products are created to broadcast information, or the printed newspaper is the single product focus.

Newsrooms must upend the model to involve audience in news gathering, create products informed by user research and feedback loops, and meet the audience where they are.

“In redefining news distribution, we must shift away from a one-way broadcast to a collaborative exchange” said Lacy. “It’s not merely about delivering content, but engaging the audience in a dialogue that enhances the relevance and richness of narratives we share.”

Utilize short-form video

It’s no secret that today’s audience is gravitating toward quick and powerful messaging. YouTube Shorts and TikTok are extremely popular platforms that allow users to create and share short videos, usually no longer than 60 seconds, that can easily be consumed on-the-go. Short-form videos can feature user-generated content, as well as content from brands, influencers, and celebrities.

“Short-term video platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among young audiences,” Lacy explained. “They are considered to be a new and innovative way for brands and individuals to engage with their audience and build a following on social media.”

Prioritize SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial component of digital marketing that helps make websites more visible, aids in increasing audience traffic, and assists in converting prospects into customers. SEO helps sites attain visibility for search queries organically rather than having to pay for them with pay-per-click ads.

“By perfecting SEO strategy, stories will appear at the top of Google searches and be the first thing people see,” said Lacy. “Google can show you what subjects are in a given category and help you decide which keywords to use when creating your story.”

Grow newsletter lists

Lacy said when it comes to growing a newsletter list, nothing beats telling great stories and producing extraordinary content. She implores publishers to be creative, and use a plethora of methods and ideas. Growing a newsletter subscriber list is not a one-size-fits-all process.

“You want to try a multitude of approaches,” Lacy said. “Creating visibly compelling signup forms, promoting your newsletter on social media, partnering with brands or outside organizations, and offering incentives for signups are all approaches that I’ve found to be successful with clients.”