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The Washington Post’s attention to detail: 12 things you can learn from their strategy

Nearly 150 years after it first launched as a news publication, The Washington Post is one of the top news brands in the world. And, since its sale to Jeff Bezos, the title has invested massively in digitization, reaching nearly 3 million digital subscribers today.

Of course, there's a lot that goes into this success – including consistently publishing quality content – but their attention to detail in their products also has a significant role to play.

Here are 12 features to copy from their model:

1. Top Stories vs Latest Headlines

The question of whether to sort news chronologically or by relevance has already divided Twitter. But leaves this choice to its readers, thus serving the needs of different user groups simultaneously and giving readers the chance to personalize their experience.
The Washington post top stories

2. Customizable News Alerts

The more you know about your users, the more you can adapt your website and content to suit their needs. Of course, this can be done by collecting and presenting personalized news feeds. But a far simpler strategy is to simply allow readers to personalize their news alerts themselves, supporting high rates and bringing the reader back to your and content that interests them.

The Washington Post personalized news alerts

3. Save Interests In A Reader's Account

In addition to news alerts, you can also store a reader's interests in their account space for more refined recommendations.

The Washington post personalized interests

4. Curated Podcast Playlists

Widgets are shown on the home page to recommend curated podcast playlists on various topics. Here, for example, podcasts providing advice for parents. This also gives evergreen content a place alongside new releases, underpining expertise in certain topics.

The Washington Post curated podcast playlists

5. Telling Stories Through Slideshows

Galleries, interactive stories, and slideshows are a popular format to break text down into more digestible, lighter pieces, taking a page out of social media's books to increase engagement & keep readers on-site. If you include them on the home page, they can be a powerful teaser for longer texts. 

6. Newsletter Widgets On The Home Page

We're immediately encouraged to share our email address and sign up to a to form a habit of consuming WP's content. A total of 5 newsletters are displayed on the home – some with a picture, others are more discreetly mixed in with stories.

The Washington post podcasts

7. Registration Banner

As you're likely well-aware by now, allows you to collect first-party data, personalize user journeys, increase ad revenue and propensity to subscribe. Which is why it's valuable to encourage registration even for free articles.

The best way to do this is with a registration wall, including a form field in the wall itself and a variety of login/registration options to reduce frustration. 

The Washington Post registration wall

8. Multiple Login Options

Make registration easy. If users can login via a sign-in link or through existing social accounts, you make it simple to create an account in minutes and reduce frustration.

The Washington Post registration form

9. Link Accounts

Users sometimes have multiple accounts, for instance as no email address was entered for the print or because subscription was purchased via the app store.

WP makes it easy for users to merge accounts and thus obtain a uniform data set.

The Washington Post single account creation

10. Reward Long High Retention Rates

If you commit for to a year of subscription, you get two months for free. This structure is now standard among software providers because it sets the right incentives, rewarding customers who commit for a longer offer.

The Washington Post subscriber retention

11. An Upgrade For Super Fans

Some readers can be considered as super fans and would be willing to pay more for a subscription (in exchange for more value, of course). They're also your brand ambassadors and are happy to recommend you to others.

Give them the chance to do this and reward them with additional content (e-books), sharing options (gift subscription), access to events or even the chance to speak with some of your team.

The Washington Post rewarding super fans

12. Entertain With Gamification

Those who have worked their way through the news deserve a bit of interactive entertainment, which also helps to build habits and increase recency, frequence and volume of visit. That's why the home page ends with various – just like the newspaper used to have cartoons and crossword puzzles. This is also valuable for engagement and habit forming.

The Washington Post gameification