By: Karina Fabian, Marketing Communications Specialist

2018 saw a lot of challenges for the media industry. We’re moving from print-and-digital to digital-first or digital-only with increasing urgency. President Trump’s cries of “Fake News!” as well as the violence caused by fake news spread via WhatsApp in India have raised reader credulity. Changes in social media algorithms have hindered that venue for publishers.

Yet, the reader desire for news continues strong. Digital provides many opportunities for revenue growth, and some publishers are finding that with the right approach, print is still viable. The “fake news” backlash has increased reader awareness and inspired journalists to rethink not only how to improve their appearance of integrity, but also the quality of their research and writing. And despite the fact that many people get their news on social media, the Facebook outage in September proved that people will turn to media sources instead.

Here are five focus areas we think are important for growing readership in 2019:

Integrity in appearance and fact: Readers are once again becoming more savvy – and more suspicious – of the news they consume. That means it’s more important than ever to self-police our industry for factuality, thoroughness of research and honesty of approach. While some readers are drawn to a social or political bias, honesty concerning intentional bias engenders trust and loyalty.

Ease-of-use: When it comes to digital, user experience (UX) rules. Whether it’s finding the results of last night’s big game or completing the digital crossword on the metro, readers want fast and easy access to their digital media. UX goes both ways. The easier it is for journalists to file a story and supporting materials like video or images, the more time they can spend on researching and crafting a compelling article.

Go local: With national news only a Google search away, readers are increasingly hungry for a strong source of local news. Many newspapers are finding that by changing their focus to local, they increase subscriptions. This not only includes coverage of hometown events that are off the national radar, but deep dives into events that happened in their local area that did gain national attention.

Choice: We’re a “have-it-your-way” society, and with all the available options, especially for anything online, it’s easy to walk away when something doesn’t immediately suit our desires. The same goes for media sites. People want a choice of what they read, how they subscribe, and what they get for their money. That means more sophisticated subscription options, such as metered paywalls, topic-specific newsletters or alert subscriptions.

Mobile friendliness: Mobile readership continues to rise, not only in news, but also magazines. If you’re not mobile-optimized, you are losing readership – and that means losing income.

Newscycle spent much of 2018 refocusing and expanding its capabilities to help news media meet the challenges ahead. With its new acquisitions – Acquire Media, Media Services Group, Infomaker and Marketing G2 – we are more ready than ever to help you build and refine your digital presence, offer your readers choices for subscriptions and content, provide easy-to-use, mobile-embracing experiences, and make things easier for your editors and journalists so they can concentrate on developing the best content. Contact us – let’s see how we can help you make 2019 your best year yet.

About the Author: Karina Fabian has been writing about business, leadership & management, and software applications for over a decade. Before joining Newscycle, she wrote reviews of business software and services for Top Ten Reviews and Tom’s Guide, and about business practices and leadership for Business News Daily and In addition to writing for Newscycle, she is a freelance writer and author of 16 books.