In journalism, good storytelling is what differentiates successful publishers from the rest. And in the digital world, nothing tells a story better than video content.
Online video is one of the most powerful formats on the internet, and the preferred information medium of the majority of the digital world. By making it part of their content strategy, digital publishers can grow their audience. Also, it helps expand their presence on new platforms, and improve revenue from both ads and subscriptions.
The top advantage of the digital video news format is that it is so versatile. Practically any piece of information can be visualized and made more engaging by it. Video communicates messages way quicker than text and provides meaningful experiences. In addition, it builds empathy as well as an emotional connection with the viewers.
In the print-dominated era of news publishing, video used to be a no-access zone for newspapers and magazines. It was a strictly TV format and was constricted by the limitations of the outlet where it resided, such as program scheduling, production rules, equipment, and so on.
But with the transition to digital and the advancement of modern technology, the rules of the game are changing. Video has become accessible and affordable to produce. In the past, they had to rely on things like expensive hardware and a TV time-slot availability.
Now, let’s take a look at how the above-mentioned benefits work:
- SEO Boost. Search engines favor video formats before written text, images, and audio.
- Attracts Audience. People nowadays favor this format as well. They prefer watching content, rather than reading it.
- Convenient. Video can transmit the same amount of information an article can but in a shorter time.
- Easy to Digest. Visualizing information makes it easier to understand.
- Engaging. Video is entertaining and keeps people on your website longer.
- Generates Traffic. Video can help your articles get featured on Google Discover, and thus bring in traffic from other platforms like social media networks and YouTube.
- Brings in Revenue. If you regularly post exclusive well-made videos presenting interesting stories, people will feel more inclined to pay for subscriptions.
As you can see, leveraging some, or all, of the ideas from above can help you to harness the power of video content, and explore its true potential.
1. Repurposing Articles into Videos
The quickest and easiest way to begin using video content is to repurpose any older content you may have published already.
Of course, if you actively publish new stories every day, you could start with those. Choosing the articles that may be of particular interest to your readers will also allow you to balance quality and quantity.
Depending on the types of articles you generally publish and the resources at your disposal, there are many video-making tools. Some are free-license and offer basic features, while others are advanced and require paid registration. Choose the one/ that will fit your current needs and your creative vision, but keep in mind that you can always upgrade if your video endeavor takes off.
Here’s a basic plan you can follow when repurposing articles into digital videos:
- Choose a Video-Making Tool. There are dozens of video-making tools that you can use to repurpose news articles into videos. Many of them, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, require a certain level of technical proficiency. Others offer simple drag-and-drop solutions with thousands of assets and templates.
- Strip Down the Text. Start with shortening the content and extracting only the essence. Otherwise, you risk the video becoming too long and complex and losing the viewer’s attention.
- Choose the Visuals. Depending on the visuals and graphic resources at your disposal, your clips can feature powerful images, animation, even simple slides, or, well, video. If you are willing to go the extra mile, you can take a page out of the print newspaper book. Then, work with a cartoonist, whose works can come to life in short entertaining videos.
- Consider Doing Voice-Over. You shouldn’t necessarily do voice-over, written text will do just fine However, if you can record voice, it would be a nice touch and can provide additional value to the content. If you are already into podcasting, you can imagine videos as mini podcasts embellished with pictures.
- Add Subtitles. You should, by all means, add subtitles to every video you publish to make it more accessible and platform-friendly. We’ll talk more about captions and subtitles later in the article.
Some of this may sound complicated and intimidating at first. Fret not, the tools will do most of the work for you. All you have to think of is the text and the visuals.
All in all, repurposing news articles into simple videos is relatively easy and provides unique, highly shareable content. It will make your content easier to digest and bring in more traffic. Also, if done with some creativity, can even boost paid subscriptions.
2. The Benefits of User-Generated Videos
With important and exciting events happening every second, at every corner of the globe, journalists simply cannot cover it all, let alone have it on tape. Having a team in the right place at the right moment can be pure luck unless it’s a scheduled event. But even with those, you can’t see everything. Shooting on location is expensive, especially when you are a newspaper or magazine.
But in the digital era, you really can have it all.
User-generated content videos (UGV) are ones documented by the audience for the audience. They are authentic, raw, and provide a different angle to the story. They allow the publisher to be everywhere at once and have as many sets of eyes as the followers they have.
Partnering with your readers will empower you with authenticity and give you access to stories you might have never had the chance to cover otherwise.
It can also build more trust in your brand. This is true especially now when fake news make everyone wary of the information they read online. UGV, similarly to other types of user-generated content, resonates with people on a different level. This is because it feels more real and reliable than other news, marketing, and advertising.
What’s more, your readers can not only become your best reporters, but their input can increase your audience loyalty to your publication. Everyone loves to see their content shared by their favorite brand. It makes them feel important and valued, and demonstrates that their voices are heard and can make a change.
Remember that it’s also important to verify the source and authenticity of user-generated videos.
3. Online Video Interviews
People love watching interviews. And capturing conversations with people, who are interesting, popular, and/or engaging, creates a very personal, and often, intimate experience. The viewer feels like they are in the same room as the guest. This helps the audience connect on an emotional level with the interviewee.
In the digital world, shooting interviews is easier than ever before. You can talk to practically anyone, without even leaving the editorial room. All you have to do is call them on Zoom, Slack, or Skype and there you go!
Another advantage is that it’s tremendously cost-effective. You don’t have to pay for the guest’s travelling expenses, arrange a studio, bother with lightning, or anything. All you need is two people in the comfort of their home or office. This makes the interview even more personal and special for the viewer because it allows them to have a glimpse of the interviewee’s real life. People also love to inspect the backgrounds of celebrities’ homes with a spyglass.
Online video interviews are highly shareable content as well, and can be a meaningful addition to your editorial calendar. They bring in more traffic, boost authority and create engagement Also, video interviews can be a great conversation starter for your community.
They can entice a new audience, by introducing your publication to the interviewee’s followers and fans.
4. Live Streaming
Live streaming is another versatile online video format that deserves your attention and can benefit your news publication immensely.
As Helje Solberg, CEO and editor of VGTV, a tremendously successful digital video news platform in Norway, says:
All we need to go live is a journalist and an iPhone. The technology works with us. It’s easier and easier to go live.
Aside from broadcasting real-time from events, live streaming can also be implemented in many activities that may engage your reader’s attention – interviews, discussions, live panels on important topics, announcements, and so on.
Going live can be exciting for both you and your readers. It gives you an opportunity to connect with the audience in real-time via the comment section where you can answer viewer questions and interact with them directly. This allows you to understand what your audience wants and what truly interests them.
Live streaming can be done through third-party platforms like Facebook and YouTube, via broadcasting software, or directly in your browser by using a plugin for your WordPress website.
Amongst other things, going live increases traffic, builds loyalty, boosts engagement, and can create a sense of community. Also, exclusive live programs and broadcasting from interesting events can be a lucrative opportunity for monetization of both ads and subscriptions.
5. Adapt the Column Format to Online Video
In print newspapers and magazines, many journalists have their own columns dedicated to topics they are competent on, and people eagerly wait to read them in every new edition. Well, the same can be done with digital video content too.
When someone is an authority on a topic or simply has an interesting perspective on things, people often want to hear their opinions on things, especially when it is something they care about.
The power of this type of video content is that it can easily be made popular on social media and bring in traffic and new viewers. Both the journalist and the digital publisher can promote the column, boosting each other’s reputation in the process and ultimately,reaching more people. Hype can also be created around the topic, by sharing sneak-peeks of the content, hints of what the next topic will be, etc.
A pro tip here to make the content more personal and more watchable, is to film the episodes in portrait view. This will make them more natural and realistic to people who watch videos on mobile devices.
6. Videos Without Sound
Video content should be watchable and easy to understand even without sound. Sometimes people need to mute the videos they are watching or watch them in quiet mode.
Recent studies have shown that up to 85% of people watch videos online with the sound off. The main reason for this is that today’s viewer lives in an on-the-go world and would rather read subtitles than take the time to listen to a full-length audio track. Furthermore, 80% of people are more likely to watch a video until the end if it has captions versus videos without captions.
Adding transcriptions to your videos makes them more accessible and user-friendly. Closed captions and subtitles are much alike, the difference being that while subtitles only transcribe text, captions include information about emotions, moods, tone of voice, etc.
All in all, by making your videos more convenient to watch under different circumstances, you are making sure that you will reach a broader audience.
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Long Content
One of the powers of video content is that there are almost no limitations. Although you should try to stick to shorter films that capture the attention span of online audiences, you can explore long content when the occasion calls for it.
There are times when people want to hear the whole story, even if it’s long. And thus, you can go into greater detail and explore topics that you couldn’t before because of time constraints.
For instance, you could publish an article analyzing an event, with a video commenting on the highlights, and where a recording of the whole thing is attached. This also allows you to meet the expectations of different types of audiences, make your content richer, and provide your readers with access to a better experience.
Also, different types of video content can be incorporated into a tiered pricing model that supports your subscription paywall.
Most importantly, showing full recordings of events also minimizes the bias for those of your readers who prefer to form their own opinion, rather than be influenced by the media’s POV and interpretation of facts. And this can win you the loyalty of a growing audience who prefers to make up their minds on their own instead of having somebody tell them what they should think.
8. Shoot Behind-the-Scenes Videos
Behind-the-scenes videos are a fun way to share with your audience some of the content that didn’t make the final cut. It can be bloopers, short documentaries showing how your editorial team works, video diaries, and so on.
People enjoy behind-the-scenes content, because it’s often personal and sincere, even when it has been edited.You are essentially sharing a piece of your world with your spectators, and by inviting them in, you are showing them you trust them. What’s more, you are building more than just an audience, you are creating a community that is loyal to you. And people who see you as special are always the best kind of audience.
Video content is the most popular format online and has great potential for digital publishers. It can be a way to revive your connection with your audience, increase website visits, and give readers a reason to join you behind the news paywall.