Back to a few years ago, many of us did not even know what 'viral' content is. Nowadays, it is now the goal of every content creator: to create viral content. Digital journalism has changed the way we produce and consume media. No, journalism isn’t dead. It’s just going through a period of massive transformation.
What is Digital Journalism?
The last decade has seen a major transformation in how and where people consume news and information. Creators and journalists must learn to adapt. This digital age is exciting as it opens up more possibilities to potentially reach your audience or tap into a new audience.
Digital journalism is essentially news or any information produced using digital media. It provides an alternative to traditional journalism such as print or TV broadcasts by leveraging the Internet. For this reason, traditional media platforms have extended their operations to incorporate elements of digital journalism. This approach enables them to tap into an audience that prefers consuming information and news using new media. For example, media outlets publish an Internet equivalent of their daily newspaper and set up interactive sites with headlines and full stories, and podcasts.
Perhaps the biggest distinction for digital journalism is that the media companies are not the only source of news. Individuals or small groups may not be able to produce news and information from their respective channels. Moreover, digital journalism is no longer just about printed news – it can also be presented in various forms of media, such as video, blog format, and social media feeds. According to Pew Research Group, about 42% of Americans between the ages of 18-29 turn to social media as their primary source of news.
But why are more people turning to social media for news and information rather than traditional platforms? Experts agree that the ability to interact in real-time is part of that reason. For this reason, reporters can find stories and ideas for future content directly from the community that they serve. Therefore, the news and exchange of information are not done in a one-way format. It becomes an interactive and developing thread of information from various sources, not just one.
Who Needs to Have the Skillset?
Now that we understand what digital journalism is and how it’s changed the face of journalism, it’s important to understand why it is relevant to know the difference. Content creators, digital reporters, and digital marketers are the ones impacted most by the growth of digital journalism. These professionals must possess the essential skills that are required to thrive in the age of digital journalism.
Engagement is a key performance indicator (KPI) for developing content and stories in the digital age. Therefore, content creators must determine what constitutes viral content so that they can develop and plan a content strategy accordingly.
Higher engagement is not the end goal of content production in the digital age. You can utilise it as a medium to achieve your other goals such as increasing subscriptions to your blog or news site, or increase conversions.
4 Essential Skills Help Create Viral Content
1. SEO and Google Analytics
The first step to producing viral content is to know what your target audience wants to consume. You need to do market research to analyse the type of content they want so you can deliver it to them.
Look at the analytics data from your previous content. What do the analytics say? What types of content have had success in the past? And how can you replicate that success?
Another strategy is to look at trending topics on Google and social media. You can produce content based on trending topics, such as you can react to that topic, offer your insight to that topic, or create a new perspective about the said topic. Try to approach that topic from a unique angle so that you can create viral content without producing the same type of content as everyone else.
Another approach to creating viral content with SEO is to deliver practical value. Build quality content and incorporate basic SEO strategies like optimizing popular keywords. You must also break up long-form content using images or adding infographics. The latter approach not only makes your content easy to digest but also boosts its shareability potential.
Make sure to optimise your content structure so you can visually guide your readers throughout the content, as well as encourage them to explore other pages within your site.
2. Video/Photo Editing Skills
In the age of TikTok and Instagram, video and photo editing skills are important skillset to create viral content. It’s easier to edit photos and videos these days as there are several apps to use. Even Instagram and TikTok have built-in filters and tools that you can use to create your desired content within minutes.
But if you are serious about developing high-quality content with the potential to go viral, you can always turn to professional video and photo editing skills. You want your photo and video content to evoke emotions, grab attention, and be highly targeted. Make sure to optimize your videos and photos, too, so the right audience can easily find them online via search engines (within the social media site or on Google).
3. Basic Coding
Knowledge of basic coding techniques will help you in developing visually rich content that people want to consume. For example, content management systems like WordPress offer a suite of tools that enable you to add coding to texts to make them more engaging to your readers. Make sure to take advantage of them!
The same is also true of social media. Sites like Twitter and Facebook allow you to format the captions to your images or posts to make them visually stand out and increase engagement. Adding coding techniques to your digital posts will have better engagement and performs better than those without.
4. Fundamental Journalism Skills
Storytelling will continue to play an integral role in developing content for the digital age. Digital journalism is the ideal platform for storytelling because of the nature of how information is delivered.
As mentioned above, digital journalism is distinct from the one-way method of reporting from traditional journalism. Digital storytelling enables content creators, digital reports, and digital marketers to weave stories from everyday people and offer a new perspective on how news should be told.
Content creators and digital reporters must also possess good interviewing skills. This skillset could serve you well in gathering data and taking a deep dive into the story beyond the surface. This will help you in the quest to accommodate multiple story angles, rather than a defined slant that serves the purpose of one particular group or individual. By offering a different insight into a story, you build interest in that content as you provide your audience with a new way of seeing things.
Finally, the most important journalism skillset that you must possess to succeed in the digital age is to become a digital person to some extent. Possessing strong communication skills and reporting with empathy is a given. However, you must be digitally savvy and proficient in multimedia so that you can shape and present the story in a way that appeals to your target audience.
As we previously talked about, the creator economy is on the rise. Content creators make up a significant portion of this economy and this is empowered by the rise of digital media and journalism. The Internet has provided a platform for this kind of journalism to thrive.
Use the viral content strategy to boost your profit or achieve your marketing goals. If you are a content creator or influencer, it’s important to invest in a workspace that allows your creativity to develop. This is where a flexible workspace can help.
If you are working as an influencer or content creator, you might not have access to a staff that will help you work behind the scenes to produce quality content with the potential to become viral, unlike media giants do. Therefore, you need a flexible workspace that will enable you to brainstorm and access the IT infrastructure you need to produce quality content. If you were to create content at home, you may have issues with privacy (such as a lack of a dedicated workspace) and an unreliable internet speed. Moreover, it can also boost your productivity when you have a dedicated workspace since you can create a separation between work and family life.
Also, content creators working with a team can benefit from the use of a flexible workspace. This type of workspace is suited for startups since you can reduce your overhead expenses and only cover the cost of usage based on a need basis. It allows you to scale your content creation business over time.