How to build audience engagement to support subscriber retention

Contribly Audience retention

Audience engagement is great – but how do I use it to support subscriber retention?

Something we’ve been asked about a lot recently is how to use audience engagement for subscriber retention. At Contribly, we’re all about engagement – giving people a voice and putting the audience right at the heart of things. But not at the expense of your bottom line. We believe that engagement is absolutely the key to not only growing your subscriber base, but also to retaining them as loyal customers who trust you and will keep on loving you. 

Here’s how our clients are using Contribly to help them reach their sustainability goals through authentic audience engagement, away from social media, on their terms.

The Strategy

51% of people say they’d be more likely to continue engaging with a brand if it shared their photo, video or post ( When audiences feel they are part of something, and that their contribution is appreciated, their level of engagement increases substantially. Therefore, using this audience engagement for subscriber retention just makes sense. 

So, the first step is to give your community the opportunity to share their stories, photos and videos directly with you and start to build that connection. This is what Contribly does for you. Secondly, build your engagement strategy around audience retention. This is easier than it sounds – you just need a plan, and a genuine commitment to listening and learning.  

Here’s our six-step guide to building your engagement strategy around growing subscription rates.

Here’s our 6-step guide to growing subscription rates with an engaged community.

1. Build anticipation:

Contribly engaged audience member

We’ve all been gripped by a box-set where an episode ends on cliff-hanger. Build that into your strategy –  make sure your audience knows an exciting issue or article is coming up next week that they can get involved with now. They’ll definitely want to come back and check to see their name in lights. If your community is engaged and involved, they will more likely continue their subscriptions to continue being part of the community. 

2. Don’t waste great content

Engagement shouldn’t be wasted. Using Contribly you can easily moderate and show all your readers’ photos in an online gallery whilst also highlighting the most compelling ones online and/ or in print. Excite your readers by publishing their fantastic stories. It’s always a good idea to publish as many of those contributions as possible to keep your community motivated. Audiences that take the time to contribute want to know that their involvement has been noticed. When they do see that their contributions have been used they will definitely continue to put in the effort in the future!

3. Make it a habit

Create regular recurring call-outs that target your community’s interests and develop engagement habits that your audience love. One of the wonderful things about audience engagement is that you get to know them.

At The Guardian, their weekly photo challenge around a theme received growing numbers of submissions week on week, building loyalty as more people got involved over time. Make your regular challenge topical, or based on proven successful themes. You’ll soon find out what works best with your community.

Contribly building audience involvement habits

4. Peer-boost your game!

Another great way to grow audience engagement for subscriber retention is gamification. Gamification and audience voting give a peer-boost to your page views and interaction. People love to know that their photo or video has been seen and shared by others. Your online galleries can offer weekly opportunities for ‘winners’ to be chosen by your audience – and each week is a new chance. 

5. Put their name in lights

Our clients use audience photos for front pages or covers – with fantastic results.  And the photos they receive directly from their audience give impact and authenticity to their social media strategy and highlight the talents of their readers. They get new customers too as posts are shared.  

Industry research shows that real-life UGC content re-shared on social media as well receives 3x more likes and comments compared to editorial content. Embed the Contribly link and your call-out in your social media feeds to re-direct people back to your websites and apps. Doing this is really easy with Contribly and provides the opportunity to gather actionable audience lifestyle and contact data – great for new subscribers. 

6. Finally – are you brave enough to be truly audience-led?

Contribly brave audience engagement strategies for passionate communities

Do you want to show you really listen to your audience, value their opinions and use them to shape your editorial? Contribly powered journalism is a proven strategy to build greater trust in your publication.

Here’s a Covid-19 example. One Paris-based client asked their audience ‘Do you feel relieved your children are going back to school?’. The responses they received were so different to what they were anticipating. People got in touch to say they were worried, scared, and angry. The planned editorial tone was changed to one that more honestly reflected what parents were feeling.  

A brave shift,  but one that enabled them to set the tone to be more relevant and trustworthy, one that truly tapped into their readers’ mood. is deeply committed to engaged and contributive journalism through Contribly’s tools. We really want to strengthen the trust in media. We want to take the voices of our audience really in account. 

Audience participation is a very good way to understand them better, their concerns, interests, feelings… In a nutshell, this audience engagement experience is more than a success.
We will pursue and amplify this work and the connection with our audience.We’re proud to promote this humble way of listening and answering!

Anne Kerloc’h

Editor-in-chief –

Check out > Covid19: How readers shaped the news »

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Contribly example Irish Times abroad

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