A newsbrand for FlandersLet’s not beat around the bush. People do not tend to find government-communication very newsworthy or reliable. So when Flanders’ Department for Foreign Affairs challenged Belgium’s publishers to create a publication on the Flemish innovation, culture and politics that would actually be read and trusted, this was a challenge we couldn’t resist.
A newsbrand for Flanders
Flanders Today wasn’t a new product. As a newspaper, it was printed at well over 27.500 copies weekly and sent out to the far reaches of the world to spread the word on Flanders. An expensive approach, and thus the new project had to rely far less on print, yet reach an even more targeted audience. As largest Belgian publisher for newspapers, Mediahuis could leverage its experience with digital transformation to the fullest:
‘True’ editorial team: We made it very clear to our customer that Flanders Today would only work if we could run it as an independent publication. While the focus is on ‘everything Flanders’, our staff of experienced, international editors have editorial independence. Led by Editor-in-Chief Lisa Bradshaw, the team independently covers news complemented by interviews, features and columns. This approach has enabled Flanders Today as a trustworthy source for other media, with mentions on major global news brands as BBC, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Le Monde and many, many more.
Omnipresent: Perhaps one of Flanders Today’s most impressive achievements is how the team of classic print-editors shifted towards a multidisciplinary crew that effortlessly handles content for our responsive website, newsletters, mobile apps, social and a full weekly print edition. Clever use of technology and training enables our editors to be much more productive in a cross media environment.
Content Design: Although print is still an important part of the current content strategy, our customer wanted a vision that would support both the current and future content models. Content Connections created an infrastructure in which every piece of content is adapted and made available to all platforms – from print over web to twitter. Editors create their content around building blocks, tags and links so it can easily be adapted to any future plans of our customer, or connected to other channels such as new social platforms or partner sites..
Flanders Today switched to its new digital first model in fourth quarter of 2014. Print circulation was immediately reduced to 1/8th of the original volume. Nevertheless, through its new digital and mobile channels, total reach has now exceeded the reach of the print–only version, with a strong month-to-month growth pointing at doubling our reach by the end of the year. Furthermore, analytics reveals that over 75% of our readers and visitors are within the target group as defined by our customer. With these achievements reached within clearly defined budget goals, Flanders Today is being by the Department of Foreign Affairs as a poster child for digital communication.