This story is part of our playbook for VidSpark, a Poynter initiative to carry native information to youthful audiences. We labored with three native newsrooms over the course of 2020 to create social media video sequence aimed toward GenZ viewers. Discover our whole playbook here.
When crafting a video sequence for social media, the platform you select will tremendously affect which format and tone will really feel pure on your content material. Notably when attempting to draw younger viewers, you need to stability the authority of your information model with relatability to the viewers’s perspective. There’s a lot to contemplate when designing your content material technique, from how usually to submit, to the size of movies, to the diploma of viewers interactivity.
For the sake of this information, I’m assuming that your purpose is to take an audience-first approach with a give attention to gaining loyal viewers over time, fairly than solely specializing in views and virality. It may end up in slower progress over time, however viewers shall be extra engaged and invested in your content material.
This information will aid you to consider what elements to contemplate when crafting a content material technique, format variables to play with when planning content material, and what sort of content material is suited to numerous platforms.
Consistency is vital for creating and fulfilling expectations, each for the viewers and for the platforms’ algorithms. The worth proposition you provide is that if the viewer follows your web page, and often provides you their time and a focus, you’ll ship a sure sort of worth at a sure frequency.
Being constant together with your format, tone, expertise and add cadence will make it clear why viewers ought to observe and what content material to count on in the event that they subscribe. This makes it extra probably that they are going to take pleasure in each bit of future content material, and makes it extra probably that the algorithms will efficiently promote future movies to your current viewers.
That is one purpose it’s vital to develop a format that’s repeatable and sustainable. When creating a video sequence, preserve the workflow necessities in thoughts, together with platform-specific points like creating thumbnail photographs or enhancing video to be vertical. Utilizing your useful resource limitations as inventive constraints throughout concept improvement can prevent complications and delays down the highway.
In working with our three VidSpark newsrooms, and with PolitiFact at Poynter, we’ve discovered that the nearer the video content material is to day-to-day protection, the simpler it’s for the newsroom to keep up. With a view to be regularly current on your viewers, attempt to develop a sequence that you would be able to publish at the least each different week. Constructing a group on social is an extended recreation, significantly when ranging from scratch, so it’s preferrred to have a video sequence that you just’ll have the ability to maintain for at the least a yr.
Whereas total consistency in tone and cadence is vital, it’s additionally useful to have a stability of various kinds of subject material. Completely different video matters can obtain totally different strategic objectives. Right here are some things to contemplate as you handle your content material calendar:
Steadiness tales that concentrate on your current viewers with tales designed to succeed in a wider viewers. Create just a few movies that require extra intense manufacturing and characterize your finest work whilst you create lighter-lift movies that you would be able to churn out often. Steadiness tales that concentrate on native points with tales which have nationwide attraction and are extensively sharable. Discover the areas of overlap the place native tales converse to common themes.
Have some topical movies that may achieve traction from present occasions, and have evergreen movies that may proceed to amass views properly into the long run. You can even attempt just a few totally different codecs: possibly some movies are longer deep dives, some are shorts and a few are responses to different content material. You need to use a mini-series to attempt one thing new, or sprinkle in just a few episodes with out sequence branding to see the way it resonates earlier than you commit.
There are just a few widespread codecs for social video that would fit your newsroom’s functions. Explainers break down a subject and its context in an easy method. Explainers, a format that Vox has mastered, usually depend on graphics and footage to visualise data for the viewer. Video essays present evaluation, make an argument or illustrate a viewpoint.
Investigations pose a query on the outset, then carry the viewers alongside for the method of discovery, often guided by a bunch conducting analysis and consulting sources. This can be a nice format for creating a clear relationship with the viewers. In our work with 10 Tampa Bay’s investigative series “What’s Brewing?,” Gen Z viewers appreciated seeing the method, fairly than merely being advised the reply. Investigations will be as critical as discovering out whether Florida schools were ready for the pandemic or as gentle as determining why elevator buttons can be so frustrating.
Watch: Jenna Bourne investigates whether or not colleges had been adequately ready for the pandemic
Interviews, video portraits and mini-documentaries are methods to inform narrative tales and have group members, and highlight exceptional people. The Star Tribune discovered success with this format, largely on account of having an accessible video journalist who captured strong interviews and footage within the subject. Some movies are primarily eye sweet: captures of visually stunning phenomena or stunning occasions.
You can even combine codecs or do one thing else fully. In our work with GBH News, we wished to elucidate civics ideas whereas breaking out of the standard explainer format. GBH Information wound up making “Internet Expert,” a democracy recreation present that challenged contestants to kind reality from fiction on matters associated to the 2020 election.
Listed here are just a few format variables you may play with:
Size: I’m usually requested what an excellent size for a video is, however there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. I can completely take pleasure in a 15-second video on TikTok and an hourlong video on YouTube. Make the video so long as it’s good to inform the story and now not. On YouTube, possibly that’s two minutes, possibly that’s quarter-hour, however it is going to probably fall someplace inside that vary. Choose a goal size, see if the content material feels too quick or gradual, and regulate from there. Individuals will watch longer movies on-line in the event that they’re related and compelling.
Presenter: The individual conveying the knowledge brings their very own character to the video. Take into consideration whether or not your sequence may have a single host, a number of hosts, a voiceover host, or no host in any respect. Maybe movies shall be interview-driven or depend on text-on-screen to convey the message. There may be methods to contain the voices of viewers within the content material. See our video on hosting for extra suggestions.
Location: Think about whether or not you’ll movie in a studio or from a customized area. Will you create a set, use a inexperienced display screen or sit in entrance of a backdrop? Will you shoot within the subject?
Visuals: The video may primarily function a bunch speaking on to the digicam, or it may primarily function b-roll. You may make use of gentle graphics or use extra strong animation. Video illustrations could possibly be literal or summary. On-screen captions could possibly be one other visible component, particularly if the platform lacks closed captioning.
Tone: A information sequence for social doesn’t necessarily need to be serious with the intention to be informative. Take into consideration crafting a selected tone to match the viewers, platform, your model and the subject material. Movies could possibly be witty, quirky, educational, private or intimate. Video enhancing can set a tone as properly. Your pacing may use fast kinetic cuts or pauses for dramatic impact.
Viewers interactivity: Take into consideration how the sequence may use interactive platform options. You may have viewers reply to platform-specific codecs (like Instagram Tales, for instance), reference viewer feedback in episodes, ask a query on the finish of a video or conduct a fast ballot.
All of those variables are issues you may regulate because the sequence continues.
The texture of social media video differs from that of conventional information, and the character of the platforms are always altering. Make certain that you’re watching content material on the platform you’re producing for. By watching, you may choose up present conventions and cues in order that your content material can really feel in contact with the present environment. You can even resolve easy methods to make your content material distinct sufficient to face out from what already exists.
Whereas particular graphics decisions will differ, needless to say easy graphics are sometimes simpler and might really feel extra genuine to the platform. On TikTok, for instance, viewers are used to seeing easy textual content graphics made inside TikTok’s editor, and fancy animation can really feel misplaced. Graphics that illustrate the knowledge are useful, however be cautious of making content material that feels overproduced for the platform.
Benefit from the options inside every platform to inform interactive, layered tales. The extra surfaces that you just use inside a platform, the extra of an opportunity your viewer has to interact together with your content material and construct a connection together with your model. Platform options and algorithms are always evolving — another excuse to watch exercise by being an lively person of the platform your self.
Let’s have a look at methods you may program content material that caters to 3 of the first social video platforms for youthful viewers: YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine, subsequent to Google, and is nice for extremely searchable content material. For YouTube, take into consideration producing movies that relate to tentpole matters, notable public figures, components of popular culture and generally requested questions.
The variety of minutes a viewer spends watching your content material, referred to as watch time, is an important algorithmic issue on YouTube for guaranteeing a video is recommended to customers inside the platform. For that reason, YouTube movies are usually longer, and lengthy movies (10+ minutes) can carry out fairly properly.
As a result of YouTube viewers select and opt-in to viewing a video, fairly than being served in an auto-playing feed, there may be extra alternative for binge-watching conduct. Take into consideration programming your movies in such a method that when a person finds one video, they’re simply directed to different movies inside your library which are simply as related and gratifying. Utilizing playlists, hyperlinks inside video playing cards and endscreens, hyperlinks inside the description, and utilizing widespread key phrases and branding throughout your content material can all facilitate a viewer’s journey by way of your channel.
Titles and thumbnails are vital on YouTube due to the opt-in viewing, and needs to be an early a part of the thought improvement course of as you consider whether or not to pursue a video matter. Ideally, you may create a curiosity hole, the place the title and thumbnail pose an fascinating query, assertion or graphic that may solely be defined by clicking and watching. Titles and thumbnails are solely clickbait in the event that they’re misleading. In the event you ship on the promise of the title and thumbnail inside the video, and get to the central level rapidly, the viewer will respect the story it’s important to inform.
YouTube can be distinctive in that a lot video visitors is pushed by advised movies, which seem whereas a viewer is watching different content material. This makes for an surroundings of cross-pollination. Take into consideration methods to reply, instantly or not directly, to content material produced by different in style YouTube channels. You may take a distinct angle on a narrative utilizing related key phrases, function the identical idea in a novel method, or collaborate instantly with different YouTube producers.
Lastly, ensure you’re utilizing YouTube’s accessible options to your benefit. Begin with having a keyword-rich description that provides at the least two strains concerning the video’s contents. You can even use the outline to hyperlink to the sources you used, objects you talked about, any visitors or consultants you featured, different associated movies in your library, your personal web site, social media, e mail e-newsletter, and methods for viewers to assist you instantly.
After you have common movies up and working and have begun to develop an viewers, think about planning content material for YouTube’s group tab as a technique to have interaction your viewers between movies. YouTube Tales and Shorts are options to look into as properly.
Instagram supplies a chance to interact with numerous codecs: in-feed posts, reside broadcasts by way of Instagram Stay, pre-recorded video by way of IGTV, Instagram Tales, and Highlights. This warrants a extra layered content material technique. The extra contact factors you utilize, the extra alternatives it’s important to have interaction your viewers.
The character of Instagram has a heavy emphasis on visuals which are both charming, present character, or do a little bit of each. For in-feed posts, take into consideration what nonetheless photographs might help promote movies whereas standing on their very own as stunning visuals.
Vertical video is right for Instagram since vertical movies absolutely use the area accessible inside the feed and when shared in Instagram Tales. If capturing movies for Instagram, have a vertical structure in thoughts from the beginning.
IG Stay and Tales enable methods so that you can create a dialogue with viewers. As a result of these components disappear after a short while, and since younger viewers are used to seeing their friends and the personalities they observe sharing candid moments of their lives, there’s a way of intimacy and familiarity. Take into consideration methods you would present the behind the scenes of your reporting, create polls and questions in Tales, and have user-generated content material.
Tales specifically are an efficient technique to share content material from others, and facilitate the promotion of your personal content material. Our VidSpark newsroom GBH took benefit of this with its sequence “Internet Expert,” which featured a bunch and a number of other visitors with robust Instagram followings. These featured had been capable of simply share and tag the present by way of Tales to drive extra viewership.
Discovery on Instagram’s discover web page depends upon having posts with excessive engagement and surfacing to viewers who’ve favored and interacted with related content material. That is one purpose it’s vital to know your audience and analysis related content material in your space. Do some looking to search out in style hashtags inside your content material class and incorporate each area of interest and broad hashtags into your posts.
Whereas TikTok began as an surroundings centered on dancing and comedy, there are more and more very informative, intelligent, socially conscious pockets on the platform. Humor continues to be the first tone, however for those who’re capable of mix a enjoyable presentation fashion with substantive data, there’s a excessive potential for discoverability no matter your content material space.
Discovery on TikTok largely stems from using trending sounds, hashtags and memes. For that reason, it’s important for producers to be often watching the platform and monitoring tendencies which are applicable to hop in on. Not solely do it’s good to know of tendencies, it’s good to carry out them in a method that matches the conference and provides your personal twist. Remixing and iteration is an enormous a part of the tradition on the platform, so search for movies to answer in a duet or sew.
Utilizing current sounds is a very robust driver of viewership, so discovering applicable sounds for instance ideas needs to be an early a part of your concept era course of. With a view to really feel in contact with the platform, I like to recommend having hosted movies, capturing vertically and enhancing primarily inside the TikTok app.
These per-platform tips are locations to begin, however your content material technique can and will evolve over time simply as platforms and audiences evolve over time. Be sure that to construct flexibility and time to pivot into your workflow. By taking the platform’s options into consideration, testing totally different codecs, and utilizing viewers suggestions to regulate your content material over time, you’ll have the ability to discover what works finest on your newsroom and the viewers you’re attempting to succeed in.