We know that online news content readership is up 3.7% YOY and for many news titles the lines of worthy news content are becoming blurred. When competing with the likes of Buzzfeed for views /shares/viral content, how can they ensure the quality of their site & stories are not sacrificed?
For the first time in 200 years, broadcasters are not in control of how news is created and distributed. Some publishers in the US are seeing 65% of their traffic coming from Facebook, indicating that social media strategies are becoming more and more important. We only have to look at how the biggest tech companies are investing in this area to see the potential it has, between Facebook Instant Articles and YouTube Newswire. Google have also launched a News Lab where they can collaborate with journalists & entrepreneurs to ensure they are involved in the whole news reporting process. The question traditional news sites need to ask themselves is: are they leveraging their social media presence in the right way?
There is a huge opportunity to reach new audiences daily through social and Newswhip have recently stated that newsrooms who track & have access to social data of their readers will make better decisions than newsrooms who don’t. For a news broadcaster, knowing your audience and their consumption habits has never been more important; content must be readable for an audience who want news quickly, who will be reading on a small screen and who are on the move.
Mashable has come a long way from a small blog in 2005 to a media site with more than 43 million monthly unique visits and a lot can be learned from its success. Mashable say their aim is to “redefine storytelling for the digital era” in 3 ways: Editorial Voice, Technology and Formats & Platforms. They understand that their audience seeks a credible, positive and engaging tone of voice that they can relate to. Mashable achieve this through their tech-led content strategy; they use an in-house listening tool, Velocity, which trawls the social web and determines which stories are produced by their editorial team. This allows them to find valuable content in the vast amount of stories published and shared every hour. Velocity also determines how this valuable content should be shared across the many platforms which attract different types of users; from Instagram to Snapchat, they are delivering content in a way that will be engaging to the user. It is clear that publishers have a lot to gain in adopting such a model, yet many news sites still copy & paste the same story across all platforms, when it might not suit the user or device.
Bloomberg are another publisher truly making waves in the social space, with their social traffic up 90% since last year. Their twitter handles @business and @technology speak volumes in terms of their significance across the social media channel. They use a product called Social Connect 2.0 which serves specific ads to those clicking through to the site from social. While they recognise that those who come through social may be less valuable to an advertiser as they spend less time on the site, they know that each platform has a different type of user which cannot be ignored.
As Mashable and Bloomberg have shown, publishers need to implement a robust social strategy in order to compete in the saturated, fast-paced news environment that social platforms offer. While some publishers have made attempts to adapt to social through mobile and video, this won’t be enough to ensure their longevity with such advanced players in the market. Social media has become a battleground where those who are prepared to invest the right technology will win out and those who don’t will be left behind. In order to succeed, publishers need to be proactive about social; they need to know their audience and how they engage with content better than anyone else.