When we first rolled out Membership, we had no idea what to expect. But we put ourselves in your hands, dedicated more resources to our journalism, and the response was more than we ever could have hoped for.
The Local went from zero to almost 10,000 Members in just over a year. Together we have forged a deeper relationship with you, our readers, and we are thrilled to announce that your commitment – and our hard work to make sure we earn your trust – has now been recognized by one of the world's top media organizations.
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers on Monday nominated The Local, and the roll-out of our membership scheme on The Local France in particular, for a European Digital Media Award in the category Best Paid Content Strategy. We could not have done it without you, so this is your nomination, too.
AWARDS TIME! So chuffed to be nominated for Best Paid Content Strategy at the European Digital Media Awards for our launch of Membership on @TheLocalFrance. It’s between us, @joinsteady and @guardiannews. https://t.co/cwDhRZCU4L
— The Local Europe (@TheLocalEurope) March 19, 2019
We are up against an industry giant in the form of The Guardian News and Media's membership scheme and vibrant Germany-based startup Steady, so we're certainly not taking anything for granted. But I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on what brought us here.
The Local first launched Membership in Sweden in November 2017. Our Germany site then began welcoming Members in March 2018, The Local France followed in April, Spain and Italy in September, and Denmark and Switzerland this month. Members who have signed up get unlimited access to all our sites and they also see fewer adverts.
Thanks to Membership, we have been able to let our readers become more involved in what we do, we have increased our editorial resources, brought a number of excellent columnists on board, and we keep fighting your corner on the issues that matter to you. Some of the other things you have told us you appreciate is the work we put in to explain how the crucial news stories in each country impact internationals living there, as well as the advice we give you on how to navigate life in your adopted homes and the community we offer.
The feedback we receive is overwhelmingly positive. But we are also very grateful to those of you who have got in touch to let us know how you think we can serve your needs even better. It has been a learning curve and we are still working hard to continuously improve. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.
The new nomination for our Membership scheme follows another two awards for The Local last autumn. I mention this because it is no accident that all of this coincides with the roll-out of Membership. Getting to know you better has improved our sites by making us accountable to our Members rather than advertisers; it is not just about balancing the books – it's about building a better community together with readers.
The winners of the European Digital Media Awards will be announced on April 1st, the day before The Local celebrates its 15th anniversary. But we don't see it as coming full circle – it's only the beginning. Thank you for being an integral part of this journey so far. We hope you will stay with us for many years to come.
If you haven't yet joined us, you can become a Member of The Local here or sign up via our individual country sites by clicking the “Become a Member” icon in the top right hand corner of the screen.
Managing Editor, The Local Europe