News & Social Media. Relevancy & Content Localization

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This blog post is intended to be about relevancy. I got thinking about this subject when I noticed how Latvian web news outlets are limiting themselves in social media, but that doesn’t mean that these same ideas can’t be used when thinking about how to deliver brand’s content in a way that’s relevant for the consumers. 

The two topics I want to write about are location and subject.

Topics

This is simple. Different subjects are the reason why brands need long term content strategy. Strategy defines subjects which are relevant to consumers brand wants to communicate to and helps to stick to these subjects, so the message is consistent throughout long terms.

Right now the big news outlets have some kind of presence in social media. They have their pages on Facebook and Draugiem, twitter accounts and other kinds of social media real estate. Frequancy of posting links to articles differ from one media to another- from posting every article (automatically) to being silent and not using these channels on a daily basis.

Just like news sites have their sites divided in sections by subjects, their social media presence should be built the same way. No one is interested in all of the news of the world. Some are into cars, some are into fashion and beauty, others follow politics, some more others are interested in economics. It’s a pretty bad idea to try to “sell” politics to people who rather read about cars. Why is it important to split different subjects? Think relevancy, engagement, CTR (click through rate).

Of course, it takes time, work & money to maintain separate accounts on every social network for every subject, but it will pay back eventually. In traffic, engagement and CTR- because each of these separate accounts will lure in highly more intererested audience. Each posted message will reach engagement levels which will never be reached by operating all the kinds of content from just one account.

My example: a little bit more than a year ago I created twitter account @rdinamo. You see, sportacentrs.com have a separate RSS feed for news regarding Rīgas Dinamo. What I did- I just connected the RSS feed to twitter account via twitterfeed service. That’s it. Account bio contains information that these are news from sportacentrs.com. In 1 year and three months this account has gained 700 followers. It’s no record or anything, but just an example how sportacentrs.com have missed out on a way how to drive traffic by themselves. And they have already invested in maintaining the separate RSS feed- they just have failed to feed this feed to social networks.

From their perspective- they should make such accounts for every kind of sports & some for specially popular sportsmen & teams. It’s a free traffic, you just have to know how to pick it up from the ground. There has to be a reason why global news services and blogs do this (think TIMES, Mashable, etc.).

Populate people around specific topics!

Location

Latvia is a small country. Nevertheless, people in Daugavpils are intereseted in completely different news than people in Ventspils. Just like previous paragraphs are about dividing content into topics, this one is about dividing content into locations. Leave general, most important news for your main social media channels, but all the other, regional news, deliver to those who are most interested in it- locals! Such approach will earn you the same fruits that specialising in subjects. Location is much harder dimension for content, but it can be pulled off. (Content is published in different sections already- there is no need for additional journalist’s input, location would need a little extra effort- as in tagging the posts/articles with location names)

Localised content will bring much more attention to your news from different places. It actually didn’t hit me how important this is (and what results it can deliver) until I heard about company in USA, which was trying to fight the low engagement in their brand messages. What did they do? They created a couple hundred twitter accounts for each of their locations and from that point they delivered the same content, only this time from 200 “local” accounts insted of one and what they saw was tremendous engagement growth. The same tweets from accounts which were branded as local (they actually weren’t- they all came from the same place) were looked upon as much more relevant.

My example: approximately 2 years ago I created a twitter account for the place where my father lives- Vecpiebalga (approximate population- 2000 people). At first I was going to tweet news which were published on local municipality’s homepage, but I soon found out that I’m too lazy to check this site on a daily basis. What I did after some while- I used twitter search rss for word “Vecpiebalga” (in different variations), yahoo pipes and twitterfeed to create account which retweets all the tweets containing word “Vecpiebalga”. The account now has almost 300 followers (for place that has 2000 people living there!!!)

Of course, this isn’t an exact example how a news outlet or brand should operate, but it gives an insight in that there is room for local content.

I’m also not saying that there should be a twitter account for each place that has a name, but Latvia can be split up different ways– in 26 historical districts or 5 main regions- Riga, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale and Kurzeme. Deliver the local content!

Where to start?

Build internal systems for maintaining unmanned information output channels, which can be used to deliver titles, thumbnails, excerpts, pictures, videos and other formats of information to various social networks using API’s and/or already built delivery services.

After you have that internal system in place, it will take just a little time to set up those various accounts and profiles. You will have just to adjust delivery mechanics for individual social networks, everything else will already be in place, when a new trend hits. Possibilities?

  • Local & topical twitter accounts
  • Local & topical Facebook pages
  • Local & topical Draugiem.lv pages
  • Local & topical YouTube Channels
  • Or even local & topical Pinterest boards – who wouldn’t like to jump on the new&cool&hip bandwagon?
    (as soon as they open up their API) ;)

Of course, it’s not enough to just set up these channels. They have to be marketed- most effective way would be to optimize the news site itself for social media:

  • next to each article there should be the corresponding social media channels (example: article about transit business in Ventspils would be relevant for for people living in Ventspils and for those who are interested in business&economics)
  • when articles are shared (using those icons under&above the article- like the ones that most of news sites already have) by readers, they should contain the links to relevant social media channels (example: Tweet about transit business in Ventpils should look like this: “News in transit business in Ventspils: January bit.ly/thisisthelink by @newsVentspils & @newsBusiness” – I hope you get the idea). Twitter, for example, lets to suggest (in the same sharing window) to user, which accounts he would like to follow after the link is shared.
  • the social media channels for specific topics should be promoted in corresponding parts of the site, for example, all channels who are updated with news about culture, should have easily noticeable icons in sections, which contain culture news

This last thing would appear automatically, journalists just will have to add the location & topic tags. And the strawberry on top would be the community manager, who should manage the delivery of breaking news and sheduling & choosing when and which posts to post, depending on situation and each channel’s specifics.

To sum it up

Go local, be relevant!

Any thoughts on this? Leave them in comments section!

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Māris Antons

Digitālā mārketinga menedžments at ground floor digital
Digitālās komunikācijas speciālists, ikdienā konsultē uzņēmumus. Pārzina mājaslapu, aplikāciju un programmatūras izstrādi, digitālo reklāmas kampaņu stratēģijas, veidošanu un vadību. Pateicoties plašajai pieredzei palīdz kā ārējais digitālais konsultants vispusīgā uzņēmumu digitālajā attīstībā, kas orientēta uz racionālu un efektīvu izaugsmi.

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