14 June 2018

Personalised news feeds: reaching your target audience

At work, it is important to stay abreast of the latest business trends, products and legislation covered by the press. Technology, including personalised news feeds and news aggregating apps, such as Feedly, are a huge time-saver for employees as they don’t waste time sifting through the reams of stories to reach the ones that really matter. However, there are concerns being raised about whether these technologies mean employees are no longer exposed to all types of news and the various angles that can be produced from one story, or worse – excluding important news altogether. In fact, Facebook has recently taken steps towards removing their ‘trending’ feature, originally designed to help individuals find interesting content and news curated for them due to accusations around fake news and bias (for example, suppressing conservative news leading up to elections).

False impressions

This theory isn’t farfetched. People choose the news apps most suited to role and employment status to save them time and to access the most relevant content to them. Furthermore, some news is even location-based, so businesses located in London may not be aware of a crucial news story in another UK city or country.

We know that Google draws upon search history to curate tailored content that they think is most relevant and that other news publications use algorithms to curate personalised content, but what does this mean in terms of content for businesses? And how can they ensure they are definitely reaching other organisations when the systems employed by news outlets and platforms are outside of their control?

Clever content creation

It has never been more important to keep your target audience front of mind. By thinking about the content that your audience would like to consume and in what format, you can keep ahead of the pack. In B2B, there tends to be a longer purchasing cycle, so by considering what stage of the cycle (awareness generating or purchasing) the customer will be at can also help determine the subject matter and format. Making sure that both are appropriate means your content will get in front of the right people.

The advent of personalised news has also put an emphasis on the quality of content being produced, rather than quantity – which can only be a positive outcome. In the early days, churning out reams of information in any old publication could have helped increase familiarity. But now the technology that controls our news feeds is far too sophisticated for this tactic to fly.

Of course, SEO cannot be ignored. By utilising a range of SEO tools, such as Moz and Google Analytics, businesses can be assured that they are using the most relevant language to reach their target audiences. This will help boost your content when news aggregating platforms come into play.

It is also important to make sure that a variety of news outlets are included in any communications campaign. Achieving content in a range of national, trade, and online publications will broaden the audience reach as much as possible and help guarantee that your company’s news or thought leadership is not excluded from a general news search.

Lastly, using different types of content and platforms – video, social, podcasts – should also help get your organisation in front of relevant stakeholders and influencers, bypassing the impact of algorithms used in generating personalised news feeds.

Times are changing

The good news is that employees are far more aware of the technologies behind the news that we consume and how it might be manipulated to suit personal needs and demographics. Also, in the B2B arena, coverage in broadcast and national press remains king which will always do well in news rankings, with trade press and online magazines following behind.

Creating creative, thought-provoking content in a range of formats, across a range of quality publications will help make sure that your business doesn’t get lost in the noisy media landscape.