I recently came across a radio programme that really inspired and fascinated me. The programme in question was appropriately called ’23 Amazing Reasons This Radio Programme Will Change Your Life’, presented by Mukul Devichand and was broadcast on BBC Trending on BBC Radio 4. The amazing thing for me about this radio show was that it highlights so many of the things that I am interested in and find so important when creating content for the internet. The importance of listicles, using a catchy headline, finding the right thumbnail for your article – many of the tips and tricks that I try to implement on a daily basis. However, the programme also provided me with some food for thought with regards to how to engage with users by providing them with content they didn’t know they wanted, until they were provided with it!
I wanted to create a blog that encapsulated all of the main points covered in the show, I may not be able to cover all 23, in fact I’m not sure if even Mukul was able to squeeze them all into his programme, but I am going to provide you with an overview of what I think were the key points. It also seems that I am not the only one who appreciated the programme, it has already been shown to journalism students in order to help them prepare for work in the digital world. But no matter what your understanding, or position, within the digital world that we are increasingly becoming emerged in, I promise this blog will provide you with some extremely interesting information!
The Importance Of A Good Headline
7 seconds. That is apparently all a headline has to draw you in and prevent you from clicking elsewhere. Now, this doesn’t seem like much time at all. But imagine if you were scrolling through a news website, how long do you give a headline to entice you to click through? If you’re anything like me I bet the answer is not very long! But would you be surprised to find out that 55% of adults receive their daily news online? Would you class yourself as someone who reads the news online? Or do you still prefer to buy a newspaper or watch the news bulletins on the television? Whatever your preference, these statistics highlight the drastic change that is taking place online and in digital media.
Listicles Are The Latest Trend
Nick Denton at Gawker, stated that fashions change and that just like fashion, digital trends change too. Currently the listicle is a very prominent trend, as I’m sure you have probably noticed, and is regularly used for blogs and articles. A listicle is simply a list article. It creates a catchy headline, for example ‘7 ways to ensure you become successful’, and often ensures audiences engage with the article. I find that listicles are an extremely effective way of creating engagement with audiences and frequently use them for blog headlines. They also work great when sharing your article on social media platforms. However, as Ben Smith from Buzzfeed states, people can feel cheated if they don’t get the content they were expecting, so do not use listicles as a headline if your article doesn’t deliver! Jim Roberts from Mashable also offered a great tip, stating that when writing or creating content, engaging with the reader on a personal level can really increase your articles shareability. Using the word ‘you’ really ensures that the audience has connected with you and your article.
Death Of The Editor?
Mukul also raised another extremely interesting question on the programme, whether the development of digital media has changed the way stories have been reported? This was something that I had never really previously considered, we have become accustomed to a culture where we simply adapt to the different ways in which we can consume content. However, upon thinking about this, I have to agree with Mukul when he states that the internet has allowed for two types of content to co-exist, the long form news articles and the fun filled stories of cats wearing hats that we love to share on social media!
This leads onto the next key point raised – personalised news feeds. Kevin Sutcliffe from Vice highlighted the key issue that young audiences want to access the news, but in a way that is personable to them. This need for websites to connect with audiences on their own level is crucial in enabling the website to become a ‘go-to’ for the latest news articles. Website tools such as Taboola, help create these personalised article lists that we so regularly see on websites. Adam Singolda, CEO of Taboola, describes the site perfectly, as a reverse search engine. Providing the audience with articles before they were even aware that was what they were searching for.
Personalised News Feed And Content
A personalised news feed is the latest trend that media content providers are using to provide us, the audience, with tailor made news articles. Mukul uses Facebook as an example of a website that uses algorithms to provide audiences with a personalised news feed. Algorithms have, in the past few months, become a major talking point in the digital world. An algorithm is the thing that tells Facebook about the posts that you have liked in the past, it also looks at posts which your friends have liked and uses these two components to predict the information that you might find most interesting. However, in the last 12 months Facebook has changed its algorithm. They have favoured advertisers which means that when you update your Facebook page, only 5-7% of your audience will see that you have updated your content. Twitter has also announced that it will also be reviewing its algorithm in order to match that of Facebook. This means that we are more likely to see advertised or paid for content than organic content provided by our friends or followers.
This also, just as Mukul observes, raises questions about the role of the editor. If we are receiving more personalised content, where does the role of the editor come into all of this? Jeff Jarvis, City University of New York raised the interesting point that we cannot provide the whole world with every single piece of news and we never have, so a personalised news feed edits the news in a similar way to how an editor would edit a newspaper. I completely agree with this. The digital world has simply changed the way that we received the news and if anything the internet has allowed us, as audiences, to find more articles that we may be interested in. This same notion can be applied to advertised content, we have always been exposed to advertising and content that has been created solely for advertising purposes is just another thing companies have devised in order to get our attention.
So all in all, as Mukul suggests throughout the programme, nothing has really changed. I like to think that many years ago people would save newspaper clippings of specific articles, however, nowadays they simply share their article on Facebook or Twitter. The ever changing digital world brings with it lots of different ways to produce different forms of content for different audiences. Once upon a time, very few people were able to edit the media, however, due to development in technology and the digital world, we are now all producers and consumers of our own media. Something that I find very exciting and fascinating! But what do you think? Do you agree with the points raised in this article? Or do you feel that the digital world has drastically changed the way we consume the media? Get in touch and leave your comment below.
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