‘Meet Them Where They Are’: Industry Dive Newsroom Leaders Share Their Guide to Audience Engagement

Editor’s note: This article was written by Signature Magazine managing editor Kathryn Deen.

The countdown races on excitedly to AMPLIFY 2023, AM&P Network’s Content & Marketing Summit, June 27-28 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. (Register here!) Attendees will experience an incredible agenda packed with valuable sessions, including the June 27 Main Stage presentation, The Fast-Evolving Guide to Audience Engagement.

Leading that presentation will be two leaders of Industry Dive, the B2B company with a humming newsroom of 140 journalists, many of them mid-career, putting out 30-plus business publications. (B2B giant Informa purchased Industry Dive last year for $530 million.)

Sondra Hadden, senior director of audience growth marketing and retention, and Davide Savenije, editor in chief, will deliver this takeaway-filled talk. Hadden has been with Industry Dive almost two years and primarily comes from associations, previously working at the American Chemical Society and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. She leads a team of five who manage paid media, organic growth campaigns, and retention efforts.

Savenije has been with Industry Dive for 11 years and worked his way up from an intern to helping develop the company’s editorial model and building its team. He’s been editor in chief for almost six years. The topic of audience engagement makes for the perfect intersection of content and marketing, working best together to strengthen organizations’ brands.

(Fun fact: Before working together, the duo first met on an AM&P Network webinar!)

Here are highlights from AM&P Network’s recent conversation with Hadden and Savenije about their AMPLIFY session.

AM&P: How did you come up with your session topic?

DS: Audience engagement is always incredibly important, so understanding your audience—having that strong relationship with them and the content you produce—is key. One of the reasons to do this session now is that there’s so much changing in the world and the business and media landscape at a rapid rate. So you really have to stay on top of change and how you evolve and meet people where they are in the communities you’re trying to reach.

SH: There was definitely a time where the idea that social platforms wouldn’t be around or become volatile was hard to imagine. But what Industry Dive has been good at is never putting all our eggs in one basket, especially for reaching people and growing our audience. But how you do that feels very different these days than it did 10 years ago.

AM&P: Can you speak more about the collaboration between content and marketing?

DS: The most effective way to reach your audience goals is to collaborate cross-functionally. One of the things I really like about Industry Dive is how we’ve set up the collaboration between audience and editorial to integrate the audience function into the newsroom workflow and vice versa, as opposed to being siloed, which is the case in a lot of B2B media companies. If you’re on your own, there’s a lot of missed opportunities in understanding your audience, where to meet them, and how to expose them to your brand and get them to convert, whatever your model may be.

SH: We work very closely with Davide, as well as design and product, so we’re a cross-departmental team. My team supports all the publications, so we have to drive growth and retention across the board. It’s perfect to have an asset like the newsroom that can tell you so much about each  audience they’re writing for. Then there’s the next step of how you get your readers to do something; that’s where the marketing expertise comes in. It’s the perfect relationship.

AM&P: What do you hope attendees will get out of your session?

DS: Whether you’re a two-person editorial department, small team, really big publisher or association—if you don’t have that incredibly close, trusting, loyal relationship with an audience, and you don’t understand who they are and what they value, you’re going to be less able to effectively accomplish your overall business goals. It is about how you position yourself, how you maintain that philosophy of understanding your audience, listening to your audience, meeting them where they are, bringing them into your ecosystem, and developing that relationship. We hope people can come out of this session with some helpful insights into defining your vision and strategy, and then fitting your tactics into that.

SH: It boils down to having the conversation between the teams: Who are you trying to reach? Has it changed? Why? How? It’s about getting all your stakeholders in the room and not thinking of these departments as separate. We’ll provide examples of what Industry Dive has done to accomplish this, but whether you’re a small association or a larger company, there will be pieces that you can pull into your own goals.

AMPLIFY 2023 takes place June 27-28 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. This is one event not to be missed! Register here to take it all in!

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