For some time now, I have had the opportunity to speak at multiple podiums to young professionals that include journalists and other media practitioners because I am in the media myself.
I have been a radio presenter, TV presenter, producer of content and currently, I am the head of Digital Marketing at Next Media. Because my day job is Digital Marketing, I have come to understand and appreciate some hacks that young people in the media and journalism space can exploit to push their content to the right audiences.
In this article, I breakdown some few hacks that will see you as a journalist break boundaries and take on more territory with your content.
As a journalist, you need to stay abreast with the changes and developments that keep happening in the online space. One of the key insights that you should know is; Search engines are the number one place where people find brands and are probably going to find your stories first.
When you understand this, you are going to tailor your content to be unique and well optimized so it can appear first page on Google, Bing or any other search engine. Use of better meta tags and keywords when publishing would be an added advantage to realize this.
Trends are important because for example, every time I am speaking, I talk about the growth of internet use, percentages of how internet use has grown in Uganda particularly all the way from 2012 about 4.3million people to the current about 13.9million in 2022.
Social Media has also grown over time.
What’s unique to know is between 2014 to 2018, the growth was about 1.8million social media users but the number has grown to about 3.4million users between 2020 and 2022 because of lock-down. The Covid19 lock-down increased social media usage because people were at home with not a lot to do.
Understanding simple basics like these will help you plan better and distribute your content appropriately.
Word of mouth.
This is another trend that is extremely important. You need to always consider that peer to peer conversations still add a lot of value to discovery of a brand, message or story in this case.
Whenever you have an opportunity to, please do tell your colleagues or any people around you about your product/publication. This will build top of mind awareness and it will make it easier for them to search about you when they are online because they already have an idea about it.
Understand Social Media
If you are going to be online as a journalist, you need to understand the different Social Media platforms.
Understand how many people exist on these platforms globally (Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram et cetera). You need to know how much of an audience exists on these platforms for you to decide which platforms to concentrate on to push your content.
Whether you are a journalist from Uganda, Kenya or Africa in general, understand the potential or sample space you have from your region. It will help you understand where to place your story.
If your story is niche specific, say targeting doctors, you will need to understand where Doctors are, which platform they use and which topics they discuss most.
If you are targeting CEOs as your niche, you will need to ask yourself, where are CEOs? They could be on LinkedIn, Twitter or any other platform. Understanding your niche and the social media they consume most will help you target them better.
Understand Psychology of your audience.
We have people that are Generation Z (16 to 23 years), we have people that are millennials (24 to 37 years and we have people that are Generation X (above 37years).
You need to understand what kind of things these people are into for example; the Generation Z people are mostly interested in online video and online streaming. Millennials are interested in video games, they consume online video, broadcast TV, online streaming et cetera.
Generation X like broadcast TV, online video, online radio and online streaming.
The underlying insight is; everyone is consuming video online.
That means they can afford data, they can stream your content so, maybe the format of your story should have video elements instead of just text.
Strike a balance in the media mix for your content to make sure it’s relevant to the audience that you are trying to focus on.
Understand as a journalist or as a media practitioner which audiences are more engaged and which ones are not. Your message could reach a particular audience for example 24-35 years old but the people that are going to engage more on this content could be 18-24 years.
This could be because, they have the majority of smartphones on them. Your content could be tailored to the younger audiences even if it’s reaching older audiences and it’s going to be shared on a WhatsApp group. Most people in WhatsApp groups are usually older people but the people consuming this content are usually younger.
- Also ask yourself, you as a journalist, which Social Media Platform is more relevant to you in your field?
- Are you doing local language news?
- Are you doing English news or a mixture of both?
- Which platform is going to have more impact?
Your story could be trending on Facebook but you have more clout on Twitter. Find a balance of transferring it from where it’s going viral and talk about it on another platform where you have a bigger following because that’s where your biggest audience is.
Don’t restrict where your story creates impact because that takes away from the audience since they always want to consume your content at their most convenient locations.
The other key thing that you need to understand, is that you don’t have to be relevant on all social media platforms. Make sure your content is available on all platforms but concentrate on two to three platforms that you are going to invest your time in.