How two small news outlets used grassroots methods to grow their texting audience

There isn't a one size fits all when it comes to growing your texting audience. It is important to cater your campaign growth strategy to you and your organization. The Oaklandside and Rapp News are small local news outlets that took creative approaches to growing their texting subscriber base.

The Oaklandside

An Oakland, California based non-profit publisher, The Oaklandside, started a texting campaign earlier this year that would act as a guide to the COVID-19 vaccine. They turned to a more traditional advertising method to get the word out about this new service.

The Oaklandside distributed postcards and flyers in Oakland neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus. They say their signs “point people to a free text number where anyone can reach out to our reporters and editors with questions about vaccination sites, eligibility, and anything else they’re confused about related to the shot.”

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This creative method helped The Oaklandside grow their subscribers over 50% in a couple of months.

Oaklandside Broadcast

Rapp News

The Rappahannock News covers a small-rural county of about 7,000 people in Virginia. In 2020, they started texting their readers daily news updates as well as asking them how they feel about certain issues.

Rapp News Broadcast

In addition to running an ad in their print newspaper and daily email newsletter the editor used referrals among existing texting subscribers to grow their audience.

The former reporter who started the service says because they are in a small county, word of mouth helped them grow their campaign too. “I’ve had several subscribers say a friend pointed them to the service, and I’ve gotten feedback that they’re enjoying getting daily updates this way.”

These strategies, plus consistency despite staffing changes, mean Rapp News has seen a trend of upward growth and engagement since its launch.

Want to start texting with your community? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to

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