Does Listening to your audience work?

Good question. The short answer: yes.

Hearken means “listen.” 100+ organizations around the world rely on Hearken to better listen to and engage the communities they serve.

Not only does listening to your audience lead to content that outperforms typical publisher content, your organization collects email addresses for newsletter and paid subscriptions. Below are just a few of the exciting results our partners have achieved through listening: through Hearken.

Hearken Venn Diagram

Membership and Subscriptions

Hearken helps publishers collect more email addresses through our Engagement Management System. Our partners have the opportunity to let the public opt-into deeper relationships, such as subscribing to newsletters and becoming paid subscribers.

While we've found that many newsrooms still lack the workflows and internal culture to connect editorial, engagement and revenue, for those who have that capacity, we're seeing terrific results. 

Digital Subscriber Hearken Funnel

Hearken helps convert paying subscribers

One Hearken partner, a daily newspaper in a large metropolitan market, saw Hearken-powered stories in its first four months outperform other stories in pageviews, time per page, conversions and path to conversions.

The path to conversion on Hearken-powered story pages had an average that was almost double the average recorded for all stories. Average conversions for Hearken-powered stories were more than twice as many as all stories combined.


10,000+ new email subscribers

WBEZ's Curious City series has generated more 10,000 new audience email addresses, 56% of which were not previously in their CRM. 

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5x more likely to convert to pay  

This Bitch Media study found that those engaged with Hearken were up to 5x more likely to convert to paying subscribers.

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Of the hundreds of email addresses generated via Hearken so far, ~50% of them have opted into receiving our newsletter.
— Katie Blackley, Digital Producer, WESA


Hearken-powered stories are often top-performers on publisher websites and social media. Because these stories come from the perspective of the audience they're often more relatable, and since they answer questions, they satisfy the human need to find answers and solve mysteries.  




11-15X more page views

A third-party study of KQED's Hearken-powered stories show they recieve 11-15 times the traffic of non-Hearken stories. 

Top-performing story of all time

WBEZ's Baring It All is the top performing web story of all time on 

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We published more than 800 original stories in 2017, and five of the 15 Hearken-generated stories ranked among the top 100 of those. When calculating by the median, a Hearken story garnered three times as many pageviews and visitors and more than double the number of social referrals as a reporter-generated story.
— Ethan Magoc, Breaking News Editor, WUFT


Hearken-powered stories also often outperform publisher's other content on social media. 

This NPR One case study details what kind of stories perform best. The study's author, Tamar Charney, says her data shows the stories that rose to the top are "Stories that follow the Hearken/Curious Cities approach of answering interesting local questions (e.g. “Why Is There Such A Large Ethiopian Population In The Washington Region?”)."

Lancaster Online's We The People Hearken-powered stories rank in the top 10 for average engaged minutes and performs well-above average on social media channels. On average, they’re in the top 15% of FB posts for the week.

PAID Sponsorships

Many of our partners have found that businesses, brands, foundations and philanthropists are attracted to sponsoring their Hearken-powered content -- not only because their Hearken-powered stories tend to outperform other stories, but because of the focus on giving the public newfound power and meaningful participation in the journalism process. 


Kenosha News

Sponsored by a nearby college

The Kenosha News' Hearken series, Curious Kenosha, is sponsored by the local technical college.

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Attracted sponsorship from multiple local businesses 

WUWM uses their Hearken stories to attract sponsorship from various local businesses. 

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Our Hearken use is funded by a single donor & our relationship with that donor has deepened as well. She threw us a party for our one year anniversary with the project and she loves to hear about what we do!
— Laura Ellis, Producer, Louisville Public Media


Hearken stories continue to be an unexpected additional revenue stream for many of our partners. 

We offered a Brave Little State T-shirt during our spring membership drive this year, and the shirt brought in more than $40,000 in revenue for VPR, far surpassing expectations.
— Angela Evancie, Managing Editor of Podcasts, Vermont Public Radio
In terms of revenue, Civics 101 has won the station a six-figure grant, as well as creating an advertising revenue stream
— Rebecca Lavoie, Digital Director, NHPR
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Our partners have dozens of local and national prestigious awards for their Hearken-powered content, including national and regional Edward R. Murrow awards, National Headliner awards, and local press association awards. 


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Hearken Works for all different types of newsrooms



Large east coast newsroom:

Hearken stories consistently rank in the top 50 for average engaged minutes


Mid-size New England newsroom:

Hearken stories averaged a full minute longer time on page than other stories.


Tiny Midwest newsroom:

Top story of 2017 came from a Hearken question. It performed 10x better than the average post, and 2x better than the next highest performing story.

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