Action research in audience analytics: our progress and resources for hyperlocal publishers
In September we announced the successful hyperlocal media services that are taking part in our Action Research in Audience Analytics project. Now that the project has reached a halfway point, it’s a good opportunity to share project progress and, more importantly, launch some of brilliant online resources that we’ve been developing.
As part of the action research, the 10 services are carrying out monthly self-assigned experiments, which so far have included a range of interesting activities, such as doing online surveys, setting up live chat, launching regular online newsletters or weekly roundups, implementing Facebook Adverts, and launching social media campaigns.
All of the activities are either free or cost-effective, with the aim for publishers to understand which activities have the most positive impact on their service. We anticipate other hyperlocal publishers (and of course many other community-based, small organisations) will be able to learn from and implement similar activities too. For reference, we’ll be sharing the learnings and outcomes of these experiments in March.
On 18 September we ran an initial training day, and enlisted the support of a handful of subject experts who have been contributing to the project, and will continue to do so until February, on a range of topics that project participants said they needed most support on. Watch the highlights video from the day on the right-hand column.
Support and resources that we’re providing include:
- We’ve set up a Discourse forum (Discourse is an open source discussion platform similar to Slack but with better functionality) for participants to have a safe and friendly place to ask questions, discuss challenges and bounce ideas off one another and the subject experts. Nesta is providing the forum for free to participants for 12 months, via a managed cloud-based hosting solution at www.discoursehosting.com, and so far we think it’s working pretty well. We’ll be using some of the key topics, questions and answers, and discussions to inform our wider research within this project.
- We’ll be running a number of Twitter Q&A sessions throughout December, January and February with our subject experts. Each Twitter hour will of course be open to anyone who wants to unravel some of the key issues re. understanding and engaging with local audiences . We’ll be using the #DestinationLocal hashtag for all of them and doing a Storify, which we’ll publish on the Nesta website.
- The first of these Twitter hours is on Thursday 17 December 11am GMT with Birmingham City University senior lecturer in future media Mark Brill @brillthings. Our topic will be omnichannel – covering the likes of video, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and how hyperlocal publishers can get the most out of them. *UPDATE - we made a Storify of the Twitter hour on Omnichannel, which you can view here.
Online video tutorials
Our first two online video tutorials have been presented by digital consultant and founder of One Further Chris Unitt.
This tutorial covers the fundamentals of on-site SEO (search engine optimisation), including effective techniques and some of the current tools/plugins available, and how hyperlocal publishers can make the most of these in order to be audience-friendly (having content on your website that people are looking for) and search engine-friendly (making sure search engines can make sense of that content). In effect, giving your content the best chance of reaching the biggest audience possible.
2. How to do a content audit of your hyperlocal website
This tutorial is, in effect, a how-to guide to enable hyperlocal publishers to get a better understanding of how the content on your website performs. It covers useful cost-effective and time-effective techniques and tools, in order to understand what content you should be publishing more of, what content you could be publishing less of, what content your audience engages most with, and the opportunities for improving audience engagement via the content on your website.
The third online video tutorial, on social media analytics for hyperlocal publishers, will be published soon, so watch this space.
- To complement the online video tutorials, our subject experts are producing blogs with additional useful information and ideas, and links to external resources and tools. Links to all of the blogs, as and when they’re published, can be found on the right-hand side of this page.
- Founder of the Digital Identity framework at Dhyaan Design Abhay Adhikari, is working with project participants via 1:1 Skype sessions to help them devise a social media campaign that focuses on one of the following - social sharing, social capital or community participation. Abhay will be capturing each participant’s experience and producing a report to share learnings and outcomes, and will also be sharing a ‘common campaigning template’ so to help other hyperlocal publishers implement similar campaigns.
We’ll be posting more updates about the project in the coming weeks, so visit the Destination Local page of the Nesta website again soon, and follow #DestinationLocal on Twitter for more resources, relevant news and to join the Twitter hour conversations.