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October 18, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:40am

‘Customer editors’ and nostalgia journalists among 40 new Reach editorial roles

By Charlotte Tobitt

Reach has appointed 14 customer editors to help its newsrooms around the UK “live and breathe” its registrations strategy as part of an investment in nearly 40 new editorial roles.

Reach, which is by far the UK’s largest local newspaper publisher, said in July that it will employ more journalists by the end of this year than it has done in a decade.

Among the customer editors’ tasks will be continuing to optimise Reach’s newsletters, which it said now generate 50m page views per month across its national and regional news network and have acted as an “early and strong driver” in getting users signed up with their email addresses.

The customer editors will act as a bridge between the editorial and customer teams to oversee the introduction of new data, technology and expertise.

They will focus on developing editorial products that help to drive registrations by building reader loyalty and engagement, as well as other newsroom initiatives with the same purpose.

[Read more: Reach targets registered readers with email newsletters and print specials]

These will include hiring a new team of nostalgia journalists, and other teams focused on digital optimisation and content A/B testing.

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The nostalgia team of 12 journalists and one editor will be based around the country, enabling it to embrace local nostalgia, but run centrally.

The digital optimisation team will be 12 strong and have a brief including building acquisition tools, driving recirculation of audience and resourcing more A/B testing of headlines and images.

Martin Little, who joined Reach in the new role of audience transformation director in March from JPI Media where he was digital content director, will oversee the new customer editor structure.

He said: “Over the past two years we’ve built many of the foundations we need for our customer value strategy to succeed. Now we’re using every tool at our disposal, including the increasingly rich data coming from the customer team, to help our editors create products and content that turn our readers into truly loyal customers and registered users.”

Little added that the customer editors will help newsrooms “live and breathe” the registrations strategy “and ultimately unlock the potential that a massive, loyal audience can deliver”.

The 14 senior customer editors will, respectively, cover the South West, South East, West Midlands, East Midlands, Ireland, Scotland, Wales with two on sport, one leading on the nationals, one head of newsletters and one head of optimisation.

Reach chief audience officer David Higgerson told Press Gazette in August the publisher’s brands had around 4m people signed up to 250 different weekly emails. He said newsletters had become the fifth-biggest referral of traffic to Reach’s regional network of Live websites.

They have therefore become crucial to the customer value strategy which is targeting 10m registered users by the end of 2022. Reach said in July it had 6.7m people’s details.

The planned new teams will join more than 170 journalist job vacancies currently live on the Reach website adding to other recent recruitment drives in areas such as sport.

The current roles include a regional head of SEO for the live brands, editors, reporters, newsletter editors, audience editors, and engagement producers.

One particular area of focus at the moment is social video, with about 40 roles open across the Reach network to create and share content across various platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok.

It marks a shift back towards jobs for video on social media following the short-lived “pivot to video” trend across the industry that began around 2015 when Facebook prioritised visual content and ended after it began demoting publishers’ content in 2018.

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