With the recent release of our new comscore numbers, I’ve found myself reflecting upon the digital waters our company has sailed into since I was brought aboard two years ago. With 5.7 million unique visitors and 92 million page views, I’ve been particularly intrigued by our ongoing print story and how it’s morphed into our current and ongoing digital adventure. Often the conversation is split into a print product pitch, followed by a digital product introduction, with this unyielding line down the middle to ensure the two worlds don’t spill over into each other.

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But why? A glass of water and a bowl of water both house the same resource, yet the format is the focus of conversation. What is the unifying theme that breaks down these silos so it’s no longer about old way versus new way, just the one new awesome way? For the truth, I advanced my journey deep down into the molecular level of the newspaper world.
My investigation was launched into motion while researching an array of marketing companies, especially ones that share a product suite with parallels to our own. As I continued working the case, a pivotal clue begin to uncover itself and shine brighter and brighter until I could see not only the newspaper’s leap into the digital age, but also much, much further back into the days the nineteenth century where we first began.

Any excuse to break out my magnifying glass.

DNA. It all begins with the DNA.

Where we’ve been and our history is an important indicator of where our ship can sail in the future. Our DNA tells the story of what we were built to achieve.

I’ve plundered through an abundance of articles about Microsoft and their company’s DNA (this is how I first became cognizant of the term), mainly illustrating the reason for Steve Ballmer’s departure is that he tried (unsuccessfully) to rebuild or alter the DNA of the company and charted a course into dangerous markets (like hardware and mobile). In contrast, Apple has stayed true to it’s genesis, with a mix of hardware and software for a target market with slightly higher price points. The treasure for Apple isn’t market share, it’s profit margins.
Know who you are and where you came from, this information can tell the story of your company’s future. ‘Wait, so you don’t care about innovation? Trying new ventures and concepts?’
These are different conversations. Innovating inside your DNA is evolution. Cisco jumping into the fresh produce business would be outside of their genetic makeup. Not to say they couldn’t, it would just be a taxing process. And when we are talking about a $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, that’s a lot to splice into a legacy organization used to sailing the software seas.
(insert research montage here) So what did I find locked away in the newspaper industry’s DNA? Audience.

We just celebrated our 200th year anniversary as a news and information center. The Press-Register (then known as The Mobile Gazette) was founded in 1813, and continues serving the community valiantly into 2014. The Birmingham News boasts a launch date as early as March 14, 1888. These impressive stats ring bells of honor throughout the chambers of my heart while also bringing into scope how important our product is to the local communities. Through the Civil War all the way to WWI and the Great Depression, we have continued to provide our audience with information, knowledge, insight into their lives and the ever-changing world around them. Even the long town hall meetings no one wants to stay at for six hours. Especially those.


We are a staple of our community, and we’ve earned a treasured place in people’s everyday routines. With technology reshaping how these routines look, our company has also taken the opportunity to become evolved as well. We are providing our audience with the information they need to better navigate the open seas.

While it appears SEO and SEM may be outside the scope of the newspaper business, we have never just been about breaking news and community stories. We are offering a business the path to find an audience. With our ever-growing array of tools like our extended reach and first party data, everyone with a computer can be included and found in that audience. The process of people discovering the world through traditional print advertising has evolved into search, social, content, display, and so much more. The best part is we still offer one of the same products as we did in 1905. The ability to trace back our legacy is an encouraging thought for the newspaper business.
We were never just a newspaper; we connected an audience to the world.
By Published On: May 23, 2014Categories: Audience Targeting, InsightsComments Off on Audience (It’s Not About Sites, It’s About People)Tags: , ,

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