Actionable user needs make for a more efficient newsroom

Content should always be connected to a brand and its audience. In an effort to help newsrooms step away from the generalised news updates and stand out in an increasingly saturated online publishing environment, smartocto embarked on their project to create a 'user needs' toolbox. Because, in a world where reader revenue models, subscriptions and loyalty are becoming increasingly important, publishers need to create content that attracts and retains their loyal readership.

We've just wrapped up our Triple N project: News, Needs, Notifications, and the whitepaper detailing our research and findings is now available for download!

News has traditionally fulfilled the function of ‘updating’ its readers, and that’s fine. After all, its the bread and butter of many news organisations, and what most users consider ‘news’ to be: headlines and breaking news alerts.

There is, however, more to news coverage than updates.

The importance of user needs

In 2016 the BBC World Service started to analyse the balance of its news coverage. Their findings caused a critical evaluation of the way they commissioned content. Why?

They found that their newsrooms were producing lots of content that readers did not find interesting, at least not in those volumes. At one of the stations, 70% of content was of the ‘Update me’ category, but generated only 7% of traffic.

Turns out that people expect and need more from news coverage than just facts and updates. What we now know as the ‘user needs’ approach was developed as a result. It offers six different perspectives, or approaches to writing a news story - all satisfying a different ‘user need’.

We created our own version of the ‘user need’ wheel, and used it to create our actionable user need algorithm.

The user needs approach for covering the news is functional, emotional or contextual

Triple N is groundbreaking for three reasons: 

  1. User needs are important for news publishers and if you don’t have them for your newsroom, you and the audience are missing out.
  2. We have confirmed that satisfying diverse user needs consistently impacts your performance positively.
  3. We are able to send you smart notifications for your journalists and editors to alert them about the user needs based opportunities for further commissioning.

Add actionable user needs to your workflow

Our News Needs Notifications are now available to help optimise your newsroom workflow. Contact us to find out more, we're happy to tell you all about it!