By Adam Vincenzini
In the world of user-led media, one form of content is always coveted by the recipient more than most.
Surprisingly, it's not something which always stirs debate.
And, it's not necessarily 'breaking' news.
The holy grail when it comes to social media is news that is useful. Or useful information that is 'new'.
Or as I've coined it for the purposes of today's post, 'newsful' content...let me explain why...
The increasing redundancy of 'news-only' content
'News', by its very definition and nature, has a finite lifespan.
In today's media landscape, where 'sharing' is so popular, this is even more true.
A classic 'news-only' story might pop up on your radar, possibly even trend for a few minutes and then will disappear just as quickly.
Put simply, being memorable in the current 'news' environment is incredibly challenging due to the user being totally OVER-EXPOSED to 'news' (note: even 'news' isn't necessarily 'news' anymore, view article here).
This is why content creators who approach social media in the same way they approach traditional media often fall short of their goals.
However, blending the two, can have the opposite effect and amplify the message...significantly.
This can be achieved through 'newsful' content.
The anatomy of 'newsful' content
Creating content that is NEW(S) and USEFUL can, and should be, quite basic.
- 'Newsful' content is often characterised by a headline (or element) that includes something along the lines of '10 ways to do X' or '3 steps to achieve Y'.
- It arms the recipient with news tools or new methods of doing something.
- Examples of success / bringing the subject to life is usually a key feature.
- It should be presented in a fairly timeless manner i.e. if referred to again in 12 months time it'd still be relevant (or 'updatable' by the creator so it remains relevant).
- Video and audio elements generally make the content more useful to the recipient.
- Additional resources and links should be easily accessible.
- The format should be digestible / easy-to-scan.
- Presentation / infographics add a significant degree of 'usefulness'
- Ideally, it should also solve a problem.
The best way to do this is to blend something newsy / topical into the opening parts of your content, making it your 'hook' but not the 'crux' - both elements need equal weighting - this is a very different approach to the traditional 'inverted pyramid methodology' associated with media releases and PR.
This may not seem like rocket science, because it isn't, but just creating 'straight news angles' will not achieve optimum traction via social platforms.
Your content must not only be interesting but (ideally) it must be USEFUL, HELPFUL and ADD VALUE to the recipient...and be TIMELESS.
If you can do that, you've also made your content REUSABLE and RECYCLABLE - in other words, you've made sharing it a much more attractive proposition.
So, the next time you create something, ask yourself whether you've ticked both the 'new(s)' and 'useful' boxes - if you have, you stand a better chance of seeing your message(s) appear in more than one place...which is usually pretty nice.
Apart from the questionable term ('newsful'), do you think this approach has merit / do you adopt it regularly?
Can 'news-only' content achieve multi-channel cut through?
What else makes content useful to a user / recipient?
Does a 'social media release' cover all this off?
I'd love to know what you think.