John Adams and Alia Beard Rau share their strategy for killing zombies.

Better News: Killing Zombies On Your Subscription List

The Arizona Republic had a zombie problem.

We’re not talking about the brain-eating variety of zombies. Instead, the Republic had too many digital subscribers that weren’t actively engaged with the newspaper’s content. These “zombies” were also most likely to cancel their subscriptions, creating a retention problem.

In 2019-20, the Republic launched a campaign to turn those zombies into loyalists by creating content with which they would be interested in engaging.

John Adams, the Arizona Republic‘s senior director of storytelling and innovation, and Alia Rau, the paper’s former local politics and issues reporter, tell Better News host Michael O’Connell about the Republic’s successful efforts in rooting out zombies. Adams and Rau also wrote a report about the effort for the Better News Initiative.

The Better News podcast is a partnership between It’s All Journalism and the American Press Institute to a) showcase innovative/experimental ideas that emerge from the  Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund and b) share replicable strategies and tactics that benefit the news industry as a whole. Sign up for the Better News newsletter to receive news about the latest resources, case studies, and insights. For more news about the It’s All Journalism podcast and future episodes of Better News, sign up for the weekly IAJ newsletter.

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