If you choose journalism as a profession, no two days are the same. You will meet many different people in this dynamic work environment and learn fascinating stories about your community and the world in which you live.
You will be eager for this career to begin after you have qualified as a journalist. You will be well-prepared by your studies and experience. You will need to grow your audience at this stage. The people who read your stories are the foundation of journalism, and without them your story won’t be heard or seen.
Learn more about audience and how to build a loyal fan base. We will also discuss why journalism can be a rewarding career, and how to qualify as a reporter or consolidate your existing experience through a flexible online program.
What is audience?
The audience of a journalist is the group or people who listen to, read, or watch their stories. Over the years, the role of an audience has changed. The audience of a journalist was once passive and accepting. Today, the audience is more active and engaged with journalists. They are also more likely to challenge the stories and perspectives and to comment and share. The audience may only be interested in a few stories or channels, or they may be devoted to a journalist’s brand.
The relationship between journalists and their audience is more valuable than ever today.
The importance audience
Journalism cannot exist without an audience. This is due to the fact that journalism has moved away from traditional print media, and advertising demand is lower. It is therefore vital that loyal audiences, and their subscriptions, are crucial to ensuring a constant income stream for news establishments.
It’s important for journalists to have an audience in order to be credible. After all, it’s not worth getting the scoop of a lifetime if no one is going to listen, watch, or read it. Credibility is also a key part of building your brand and it goes hand in hand with being a professional. With so many media outlets, the audience votes with their feet. A loyal audience is a sign that you have earned your place in the industry.
A journalist’s employability will be enhanced by having an audience. You will be more valuable to a journalist if you can bring your audience along with you when you apply for a position with a news organization. Your career as a reporter may be limited if you don’t have a loyal following. Let’s see how new journalists can build an audience.
How do I build a following
It takes time to build a loyal audience. You can begin thinking about it while studying for a formal journalism qualification. Here are some tried and tested ways to build a loyal audience that will help you advance in your journalism career.
Create your Portfolio
Your portfolio is your opportunity to showcase your skills as a newly qualified journalist. If you’re building your own portfolio, make sure it is hosted online. Nowadays, it is very easy to build your own website. It’s also affordable.
Display your name, a photo and a short tagline that explains who you are and what it is you do on the homepage. Link to your most important articles on the homepage to make it easy for employers and potential followers to view your work. It’s better to choose quality over quantity when it comes to selecting your “best bits”. Choose six to eight pieces you think best represent your writing style.
You can build projects in many ways before landing your first journalistic job. Start your own blog, or write for charities that are close to your heart. You may want to include other samples in your portfolio such as broadcast journalism or photography.
Include other important information about yourself such as your qualifications (whether you have them or are studying to get them), your areas of expertise, and contact information including links to social media accounts.
Proofread your website before you publish it. After all, impeccable grammar and attention are key journalistic skills. Share the link to your website portfolio with as many people as possible to reach potential audiences.
Build Your Brand
Your audience will follow if you build your brand. You don’t have to stick to one employer in this digital age. Even those who are just starting out can make a name for them selves. This is because they have built their own brand, and an audience resonates with that.
You’ll need to ask yourself some fundamental questions in order to create your own brand. What kind of journalism would you like to specialize in first? Investigative reporting may be your passion, or sports reporting might excite you. If you plan to study to become qualified in a particular field of journalism or have already obtained a general journalism qualification, your first step is to decide which type you would like to pursue.
You might even want to find a specific niche within another niche. If you are interested in science journalism, then you might find that you have a niche reporting on space exploration. This would put you at the forefront of new developments. You can create your own niche in this very specialized subject, and become the “go to” person for information on this exciting field.
Your own website is also important. It’s where your audience can find out more information about your writing and your topics. You can learn all you need about your online presence in the section on creating your portfolio.
Keep an eye on these metrics. It’s important to know which platforms are used by your audience and how they fluctuate. Many websites and social media platforms have built-in tracking tools that allow you to track metrics like where your audience is in the world, and what keywords they use to find your articles. Google Analytics is a great tool to help you understand your audience better and develop it.
You can’t just have an audience anymore. You must also nurture your relationship to your followers. It’s important to engage on social media to find out what people want to hear about. Your role as a reporter is to not only feed the public stories, but to also give them a voice.
Speak to those who have been negatively or positively affected by the story you are researching. You should not only tell a story but also the whole story. Also, you must represent the audience you want to reach. You will also need to maintain relationships with people who can assist you in finding and researching your stories. Without them, you would have no audience.
Take care to establish relationships with other journalists, press officers, communications specialists, officials of agencies like the local government and emergency services, as well as with those who work for them. You will always have people and information to interview.
Master multiple platforms
Journalism is changing rapidly in this digital age. It’s important to engage on all platforms available so that you can reach as many people possible. You must maintain a consistent presence on all platforms that your audience uses. You should also engage your audience by responding to comments, posting images and updating them.
Remember that engaging doesn’t mean just telling your story or sharing what you think. You and your audience are having a conversation. As well as providing information, you’re also listening to their reactions and finding what they want to know.
To make the most of these digital platforms, you will need to have a good grasp on photography, video, audio, and design. It is therefore a good idea to take a Digital Journalism course, or to get additional training.