By Bryan Cody, Ramsey Purvis, Brooke Bonura and Tomas Vivero
Throughout this semester our integrated marketing communications campaigns class has focused on identifying objectives and opportunities for The Meridian Star. When our class met with publisher Alexander Gould early in the semester, we were able to ask him questions about day-to-day operations. This allowed us to understand what objectives needed to be met, and the opportunities for us to reach those objectives.
One of the first objectives we realized was that The Meridian Star needed to be more involved in the community in order to grow its support base to generate more revenue. Through community engagement, staff can boost awareness of the paper, other publications and added business-to-business services such as printing. Ways to meet this objective we are recommending include hosting community events such as a holiday lights contest, with competitors and winners featured on The Meridian Star’s front page/home page and also publishing more community-focused articles about local people, businesses and events.
These actions can also work to benefit The Meridian Star’s social media image. Social media is vital to companies, and an objective for The Meridian Star is to boost and maintain high online ratings. People are constantly on their phones for news, so accelerating its social media presence is a major opportunity for The Meridian Star.
We noticed that The Meridian Star’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts do not reflect a consistent brand image. But using a consistent brand on social media is a step toward more engagement as followers more easily recognize an accessible resource for news they find important.
Another idea we are recommending to The Meridian Star as an opportunity to meet the objective of better engagement on social media is for staff writers to share their own work, and even other staff writers’ work, through their personal social media accounts. When the writers share content through their personal accounts, it allows the content to reach a wider audience. It also helps engage readers by helping them get to know staff on a more personal level through social media.
These are some simple first steps toward meeting the objectives of raising awareness and visibility of The Meridian Star’s important role in the community and boosting social media ratings and engagement.
Bryan Cody, Ramsey Purvis, Brooke Bonura and Tomas Vivero are students in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. For more information on this project, contact Alexander Gould, publisher of The Meridian Star.