In my previous two blog posts, I covered in detail the data that supports why focusing on video should be a top priority for any publisher and why maximising video usage is key to driving better audience engagement and resulting revenues.
The issue now for many legacy publishers is how to ensure buy-in within the newsroom for this new philosophy and opportunity. How is it possible to extract more from a team already overworked and that has likely already been impacted by resource reductions over the past 10 years?
According to The American Society of News Editors Annual Census, the total newsroom workforce shrunk from 55,000 in 2006 (pre-recession) to less than 35,000 in 2015. That’s a one-third reduction in newsroom staff while the digital workload increased over the same period.
Is there hope to cope with all the new requirements that video brings while operating with a reduced workforce?
We’ve learned that the answer is “yes.” There are many new tools and industry partners that can enable a newsroom to automate the integration of video into its online content.
Many solutions and best practices are out there to help reduce as much of the human element as possible, while enabling the newsroom to capitalise on new readership engagement and revenue streams.
Here are a few examples of what can be done:
1. Capitalise on automation. Partner with content syndicators that enable your newsroom to embed video in every single article automatically. For example, at SendtoNews we offer the ability to drop in a code that will instantly recognise your article content and populate one or more video clips from our inventory to match the article.
For example, instead of having to locate, secure, and embed video content to support an article for the latest Dodgers game on the Los Angeles Times Web site, it is possible to have an embed code automatically generated when the article is published.
After implementing automation, we experienced a 300% jump in monthly video views on the Los Angeles Times and corresponding uptick in revenue, and we believe this is just the beginning of what is possible.
More views equate to more revenue. With automation, resource limitations are eliminated, and there is no reason every publisher should not capitalise on this technology.
2. Timely publishing of videos. Automation is also a key enabler for timely publishing of any breaking news (political, gossip, sports highlights, etc.). People want to see that amazing buzzer beater as soon as the clip is available. Displaying it on your appropriate page, even initially only with a heading, will attract and retain your readers/viewers.
3. Mobile first. Let’s be candid, if your CMS does not allow you to publish an article with video (or a video-only post) simultaneously on both desktop and mobile, it’s time to find another CMS.
For example, The Washington Post’s new platform is 100% mobile first and is attracting big potential partners like Tronc in the United States and The Globe & Mail in Canada. Mobile should not be an afterthought.
4. Maximise video on each section’s home page or vertical pages. This is another great way to remove labour and generate good views with resulting revenue.
For example, add a video player on your entertainment home page that automatically feeds the latest entertainment news. Add a player on your NHL page that automatically feeds the latest NHL news (or better yet, customise it to your local team).
While section home pages and vertical pages no longer drive the lion’s share of the traffic (usually less than 15%), they are still important for creating viewership at little to no cost from an editorial standpoint.
5. Leverage viral content. Are you tracking trending stories? Are you ensuring they are supported by the most engaging video clips? While this function may still require human intervention, the potential return makes it worth the effort.
On any given day, five or six stories are driving the majority of the news. Who’s ensuring that these stories have at least one relevant video clip attached?
Notice here that many stories have multiple videos, and viewers appreciate the ability to look at the story from various points of view. Nothing beats watching a walk-off home run from the perspective of the player — but then having the ability to review it from the perspective of the player’s teammates, the manager, or even the fans!
6. Focus on SEO and social media. Do you have SEO and social media expertise? If you are able to implement automated video content, then these are two additional activities where investing time and resources will pay big dividends in terms of SEO.
Entities like BuzzFeed and Mashable are likely beating you at this game. They have put the processes in place to leverage SEO/social media like no other, and tend to win big when hot stories break. What are you doing to compete online in your market? What’s your social media strategy to ensure you are the relevant source of news for your audience?
In summary, removing the “daily grind” from your editors’ workflow with video content automation allows your publication to:
- Be more comprehensive and engaging with video enhanced articles.
- Be more timely and responsive when clips come available.
- Post more video content without taxing your limited resources.
Properly implemented, video content automation will grow your video viewership exponentially and also allow your editors to focus on where their efforts can be more effective, such as supporting viral/trending content, maximising SEO, and engaging social media.