8 steps for growing your online audience – Formative Content

8 steps for growing your online audience

We all want to be noticed. What’s the point in making all that shiny content if no one is looking at it?

And for most of us we want that content to be noticed – and enjoyed – by an ever-increasing number of people.

The internet is a crowded space though, with lots of brands shouting, stomping their feet and jumping up and down for attention.

What can your business do to rise above this noise?

At the newsrewired event at Reuters in London earlier this month, Vogue International head of audience growth Sarah Marshall shared her top tips.


1) Set KPIs

Marshall suggests you have three to four KPIs, specific to what you want from your audience. This could be the classic metric of unique users, or it might be looking for a little more loyalty through the tracking of repeat visitors. Others you might want to consider include Facebook shares or Instagram likes.


2) Get the business onside

You could have some pushback internally on why you need to grow your audience. If you’re focussed on luxury, or a specific target audience, you might need to explain to senior leadership (or even members of your own team) why growing your audience matters.

Marshall created a two-page document for each head of department at Vogue so that everyone received the same message and could share it with their teams.


3) Agree targets – and remind people what they are

Marshall worked to create a simple email update at Vogue. It tells key people how far they are from monthly audience targets relative to how many days are left.

The simple visual format doesn’t rely on opening a spreadsheet and can be viewed on desktop and mobile, with it landing in each editor’s inbox every Monday.   


4) Get the key people in the same room

No matter how big you are, it’s vital to get the important people in the same room. Whether you’re agreeing targets, sharing best practice or planning campaigns, workshops and growth days can save weeks of back-and-forth via email.

This is especially vital if you have key staff based across the globe, distributing content across multiple platforms in multiple languages.


5) Compile a growth book

Your staff are the best source of knowledge you have – what works, what doesn’t and simply what has been tried – so share it.

Marshall, for example, asks editors to share three growth initiatives from their newsroom.

A growth book can be a great help in getting the best ideas on paper, literally.


6) Growth plan

It might sound obvious, but have a plan.

You need to make sure you have a regular flow of content, distribute it on the appropriate channels, and engage with your community regularly.

Marshall sends her team a form to complete that asks key questions about what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it.


7) Have monthly check-ins

You’ve got a plan, you’ve got KPIs, you’ve got best practice, so what’s next?


Again, it sounds pretty obvious, but if you want growth, you need to monitor it, discuss it and adapt as necessary.


8) Respond to changing algorithms

Just because something has worked in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll work indefinitely – particularly when you’re at the mercy of social media algorithms.

Stay agile, diversify and ultimately respond to changes. Otherwise, you’ll be left behind.


If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your social media strategy, get in touch.

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

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Joe Myers is Managing Editor at Formative Content and leads our Social and Web team.

Joe Myers - Head of Operations, Formative Content
Author:Joe Myers - Head of Operations, Formative Content