Poynter has been speaking to US news organisations about how they turn traffic spikes as a result of major news stories into return visits.
Reporter Mallary Jean Tenore spoke to the Orlando Sentinel, msnbc.com and the Arizona Daily Star.
Page views and unique visitors are valuable metrics, but they don’t measure the likelihood that readers will be returning visitors. Here are a few indicators that readers have committed to your content:
1. An increase in Twitter followers and/or Facebook fans;
2. An increase in newsletter subscriptions;
3. If your site has a print publication, an increase in print subscribers;
4. An increase in mobile app downloads.
Tanore gives examples and stats on each based on her interviews with the news organisations and gives the following tips on cultivating new readers:
1. Make it easy for readers to follow your site on Twitter and Facebook;
2. Make it easy for people to subscribe to email newsletters and RSS feeds;
3. Showcase your mobile offerings;
4. Provide readers with unique content they can’t find elsewhere;
5. If readers come to your site through search, offer them a different sidebar.
The post gives examples how the three news organisations have done each of the above in order to turn first-time visitors into loyal readers.