Humans are visual animals...visually spoiled animals.
When it comes to news consumption, audiences crave sensory experiences. And they crave it fast: with the average concentration span of a gold fish, you have 8 seconds to hook them. Impressing audiences with copy and pictures alone has become a no go. Whether you’re an independent journalist or you’re in news marketing: it is vital to embrace video as a powerful tool, either as the focus of a story or as supplemental content to provide authenticity and a deeper context.
The growing presence and influence of social platforms in the chain of news consumption has caused the media’s shift to these platforms. Traditional news broadcast viewing has declined by 3 to 4% per year on average in countries like the United Kingdom or the United States and these declines are directly comparable to the declines in print newspaper circulation in the 2000’s. If compounded over ten years, this will result in an overall decline of 25 to 50% (Nielsen & Sambrook, 2016). At the same time, a steady growth of online news video viewing is seen half of online users now consider social media a major source for news discovery (Reuters Institute, 2016).
The combination of the attention-grabbing power of social media platforms, their audience and the abundance of user-generated content at the journalist’s disposal, translate into an immense digital story-telling opportunity for news publishers. So how to go about?
What kind of topic is interesting?
Although it is easy to think that it takes a funny animal video to draw attention, research has shown that among the most popular categories of news topics on social media, politics is one. Not exactly a soft topic as might be expected. Other popular topics are ‘lifestyle’, ‘celebrities’, ‘health’ and ‘education’.
If we compare the different platforms, we find that although all score well on the most popular topics, there are strong differences in favoring of topics creating thematic territories for each social platform. To name a few: Facebook scores well on news videos about health & education; Twitter on politics; arts & culture do well on Instagram while YouTube embraces a mix of business, politics and health & education.
An interesting fact is that more than the choice of the topic, if one of the three emotions “inspiration’, ‘indignation’ or ‘humor’ is evoked in a news video, it tends to be more successful in terms of being watched and shared more often.
How does the timing matter?
Even on social media, audiences have consumption habits, translating in regular routines. Important to know and to consider. Here are some strategies to follow:
- When a big story breaks, publishing right away is the choice.
- Use the 3 moments of the day when people usually have more free time: early in the morning, lunchtime and after dinner.
- In addition to point two, make sure you stick to the right time zone of your audience.
- For publishing news videos on weekend days, use Facebook and YouTube
Especially younger audiences are consuming news in the form of videos on social media platforms rather than on more traditional channels. This generation, that is going to be the main group of future news consumers, can be trafficked to your news platform and converted into subscribers by gaining brand awareness on the various platforms. And that is after all the orientation for a sustainable business model.