Outreach, Marketing and Engagement

Attention from — and engagement with — news audiences are holy grails of online journalism. Yet given today’s resource-limited environment, many news nonprofits lack the means to develop their audiences and connect with the individuals and communities that would otherwise value their coverage.

The search-driven information economy finds news seekers following their interests, casually browsing headlines or going deep on a subject of interest. News organizations can also connect proactively with audiences, by pushing their content out virally through social media, ads, and promotional partnerships.

No matter how that initial connection is made, a news outlet that captures the attention of a news seeker must be able to immediately satisfy that person’s information needs, and provide a variety of ever-deepening engagement opportunities. These can include:

  • Sharing an article through email or social media
  • Bookmarking, clipping or liking an article
  • Making a comment
  • Clicking on an ad
  • Reading other articles
  • Subscribing to a newsletter or RSS feed
  • Following the site’s social media
  • Making a donation
  • Becoming a member

In the following pages INN’s Outreach and Marketing Guide explores the tools and techniques for connecting with interested, news-seeking communities, and provides links to outside resources as well.

Topics include promotional tools such as social media and Google News indexing, metrics and analysis of your visitors and their activities, and strategies for audience and community development.


The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) is a growing national network of 120 nonprofit news organizations dedicated to providing investigative and public service reporting. INN’s work helps newsrooms bring investigative and civic news to more people, hold the powerful accountable and strengthen democracy. More information can be found at https://inn.org.