It’s no surprise that two of the best performing newspapers in Scotland have locality at their heart.
People in our presentations are always surprised to learn how the Press and Journal and the Courier - so limited geographically - sell so well in comparison to national titles.
That’s because they understand better than anyone the importance of WHERE.
It’s another crucial part of the 5 Ws family.
They know their readers care first and foremost about the villages, towns and cities around them, and prioritise accordingly.
Then they complement that with some Scottish, UK and world news, ensuring that if you buy the P&J or Courier, you don’t need to supplement your news with another title at the same time.
The WHERE is critical in communication too.
The people you’re aiming at need to know immediately that what you are talking about is relevant to them.
If they can look out their window and see it, all the better.
With the rise of online news, I’ve noticed quite a few digital stories pitched to a Scottish audience, only to reveal in the last few paragraphs that the incident occurred in somewhere like Lincolnshire.
Maybe it’s worth it just to get the click, but it won’t be a triumph long-term.
In contrast, I analysed the first nine pages of a recent Courier, and every single news story makes the WHERE abundantly clear in the intro.
The breakdown, if you’re interested, is Dundee (4), UK (3), Fife (2), Perth (2), Glenrothes (2), as well as Montrose, St Andrews, the A9, the M90, Rattray, Kirkcaldy, Tayside, and one mention of “Scottish”.
Genuinely something for everyone in Courier country.
I was depressed to learn recently that the local paper I started my career at had plummeted from a circulation of 7500 a week to around 2000.
That demise has taken place during a period where the owners shut the office, moved it 20 miles away and centralised the whole operation.
They don’t seem to care about the importance of WHERE so much, and readers have responded accordingly.