How to create a digital transformation strategy for Polityka.pl?
How often do you buy a paper edition of your favorite newspaper? That's right. Most of us are much more willing to check the latest articles on their smartphones or laptops. This digital change forces the press to look for new ways to reach out to current and new audiences. How do you do that? Polityka Cyfrowa has decided to face this challenge.
How to find a new model for digital content
Reconciling the expectations of customers and business – is it possible in this case? After all, it is not enough to simply transfer analogue content to the digital world. It's not enough. You need to find something that will make the new recipient want to go to the website and in addition, they will have enough motivation to pay for their subscription. The first step - let's see what the path of the current recipients of Polityka.pl looks like. This allows you to identify the areas that require the greatest changes. Okay, but now the hardest part. Hard business guidelines have emerged. The project is supposed to:
- triple the number of digital subscribers of Polityka.pl by the end of 2020,
- maintain or increase advertising revenue,
- strengthen the perception of Polityka by recipients, but also by business partners,
- change the company culture.
Who said it would be easy :)
We divided the project into three stages
Strategy and ideation
We started by a common drawing of ideas of ourselves to present ourselves in such a way against the group. It was fun and there were plenty of topics to talk about during the breaks :)
Our work consists mainly of conversations. What? How? Why? We need to answer these questions to understand the design challenge. There are many ways to get to these answers. This time, we've focused on making sure that we:
- analyze the current communication strategy of Polityka,
- do a UX audit of the newspaper's website,
- collect best practices from the market – benchmarks,
- create personas – i.e. models of recipients to whom we address the site. They were a compass for us in the following stages.
So, primo, let's get to know the user and the product. This is the beginning of all activities in the UX world. To understand who we are talking to, what are the strengths of the current product, but also the weaknesses. The audit process itself was very helpful in this respect, as it allowed us to adopt appropriate measures, categories of product evaluation and analysis (interestingly, we did everything in Miro).
Secundo, let's collide our thoughts together, that is, workshops, workshops and again workshops. That was the core of our operations. And it is the one that is most interesting and close to us, because most of us know and read a weekly or digital edition of Polityka.
Each project requires us to build trust and relationships between us and the client. But this project, in hindsight, turned out to be mainly about that. The winding paths we went through with Polityka's team were one of the most valuable experiences for us. Because, how to reconcile the suggestions of different departments of the company, which are not always consistent with the main objective of the whole project? There is no other option but to talk. The new communication system we developed assumed regular progress status updates. We all knew what was going on, we talked frankly and openly about the needs of all stakeholders – although it was not always easy. It's worth talking!
2. Strategy and ideation
We divided this stage into two streams.
We focused on developing two key artifacts:
- a new value proposition for Polityka,
- a new business model and the main purchase path.
How can a value be created for a recipient? There are two ways to do that. Either we alleviate his pain, or we enhance his benefit through the way he uses our product.
We have focused on the four components of the value proposition for Polityka:
- comfortable reading,
- a synthesis of what's important,
- the world of Polityka.
Frequently, it is the simple things that turn out to be the most difficult. And finding the right words can be a lesson in patience and attention. The ones that we managed to select together, specifically defined the quality Polityka is now supposed to bring.
The work on a new business model and new purchase paths followed - no surprise - the workshop model. Joint brainstorming over ideas for solutions, then synthesis and another iteration. And another one. Eventually, we developed a strategy for the main personas at every stage of contact with the product - from the homepage to the first contact and building loyalty. A complete view of the project.
How to start working on the new design of the Polityka website? It couldn't have been any different - from talking! Above all, we wanted to understand how Polityka sees itself. How it perceives itself now, and above all, what it would like to be. Such an open look allowed us to create three moodboards. And inside them: keywords, interface elements, paper cuttings of newspaper editions, typography etc. We selected the one that became a signpost for the visual part of the new website.
"Teamwork makes the dream work.”
There was no shortage of workshop work in this phase. It was at the workshops that we jointly developed the structure of information on the website and the backbone of the new online magazine. But we wanted to find a way to work together that would work. That is why Marek - our would-be chef - served a menu during the meeting, where you could choose different components of the website. Including an element of fun, we worked out preliminary sketches of the future model. It's good sometimes to feel like a child again to be open to more creativity. And I think it worked. The model itself was made over a few weeks. And in the course of the process, we established the details, wrote down the specifications and iterated subsequent versions.
We defined a new strategy for digital content and more...
First of all, we managed to respond to the project's objectives. Thanks to the solution, we assume that the purchase of subscriptions will increase, the interest of advertisers will increase and the audience will broaden. We have also passed on the unique value of the product and knowledge of trends in online press publishing – not so long ago available only on paper.
What did we deliver?
- A new business model
- Entry and use paths for subscriptions
- Redesign of the service
What we learned
The world of digital publishing has been little known to us so far. Thanks to the fact that we were able to carry out a project for Polityka, we gathered a huge pool of experience and knowledge about digital content. This gives us a boost for the next projects in this industry, which we are willing to undertake.
We have also observed that working together with people from different areas of the company changes the way they think about their organization. They are beginning to be more open to new opportunities. As a reminder – communication in a team is essential!