Religion News Service

Washington, D.C.

Size of Facebook audience: 23,658 as of Nov. 13, 2016

Strategies tested (See all)

  1. Tell Your Story: Communicate your core value in stand-alone posts.
  2. Tell Your Story: Communicate your core value along with other content.
  3. Deploy Your Fans: Invite your users to help you inform the world.

Religion News Service (RNS), had a few immediate goals in mind when they started this project. First, they wanted to focus on how to present themselves online to their audience. Second, RNS wanted to work toward being more transparent about their process, reporters and newsroom. Third, they wanted to increase their appeal by offering a variety of posts on their Facebook page.

Project Lead: Aysha Khan, former Social Media Editor. Khan worked at RNS at the social media editor from January through September of 2016. During that time, she coordinated audience growth efforts on Facebook and Twitter, focusing on upping clickthrough rate and social engagement, and compiled monthly reports on social traffic and strategy.You can connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter.

Hear from Khan about her newsroom’s goals:

Religion News Service experienced success using the communicate your core value strategies. For the stand-alone posts, this graphic by Karen Armstrong had a reach that is 10 times the average reach. This photo about reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman’s retirement had a significantly higher engagement rate than the average. Both of these posts emphasized the expertise of the RNS staff, as well as their ability to cover a wide range of topics. For posts that included other content under this strategy, this video on a UFO festival had a larger reach than average, and a 29% completion rate for the 3-minute video.

Under the invite readers to help you inform the world strategy, this post about the likely forgery of “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” had a an engagement rate that was almost 3% higher than the average.

RNS struggled a bit with some of the posts under communicate your core values along with other content. One post linked to the column section of their website, instead of linking to a specific article or video. The overall engagement for this post was significantly lower than the average. Another post had an engagement rate that was above the average, but only because the reach was less than 10% of the average. This post promoted RNS’s newsletter. It seems that both of these posts didn’t offer readers any specific content that they could immediately interact with, and thus, the engagement for these two posts was lower.