The INMA World Congress in London last month was an outstanding forum for publishers to discuss the key challenges of properly scaling their video business. Even for major publishers such as The New York Times or The Washington Post, the challenge to create great videos on a large scale is daunting. 

The chairman of Tribune Publishing (now tronc, Inc.) was quoted last week saying he wants to produce 2,000 videos a day using artificial intelligence. It’s a compelling notion and may be one of the few ways to cost effectively scale video production.

Third-party vendors can help supply video content to meet audience needs.
Third-party vendors can help supply video content to meet audience needs.

But unless or until AI is smart enough to create relevant, compelling video content on an ongoing basis, what do we do?

One of the options for publishers is to recognise and leverage the significant depth of content available through third-party syndicators, as this content is immediately accessible, scalable, and cost-effective with little or no technology changes.

As a publisher, you need to know how deep your reporters and editors are digging into the video inventories in order to look beyond the initial story.

Unfortunate events, such as the Orlando shootings, likely initiated the availability of hundreds of video options for your publication with third-party syndicators.

Did your team utilise the one video that summarised each event? Or did your team dig deeper to publish ancillary video content as well, such as witness interviews, law enforcement press conferences, politicians’ comments, or relatives’ interviews?

Ensure you are maximising the potential of the video resources that are available, giving your audience members what they want, particularly if they want to go beyond “the story.”

At SendtoNews, we are currently focused on sports. This segment of the news allows for amazing opportunities to give fans a deeper story experience. For example, with baseball, most publishers will print a write-up about their local MLB team and include a token video to enrich the experience.

But why stop there? Why not also include a video post with a key interview with a manager or player? Why not create an additional post with the top-10 plays of the night around MLB? Give your audience more to chew on and it will reward you with engagement and loyalty.

When it comes to sports, viewers like a variety of content.
When it comes to sports, viewers like a variety of content.

It is important to note that you also don’t need to produce an article for every video you post. Video posts alone also work very well — just ask our friends at Bleacher Report or YouTube!

Finally, keep your content fresh. Publishers often try to tell me that nobody cares about minor professional sports on their site or that people dont engage with a sport like NASCAR.

More often than not, I can look at their site quickly understand why nobody engages with this content — the articles and videos are dated from a month ago! A real NASCAR or PGA Tour fan will look elsewhere when they see that your content is out-of-date, and you’ve potentially lost their viewership forever.

Again, using syndication, you could have fresh videos every day at no cost and without lifting a finger. Minor pro sports (MiLB, AHL, or NBA D League) will never match pro sports in terms of popularity and viewership potential, but the fans that seek out these sports are starving for content. And, they will be some of the most engaged, loyal, and committed fans you will have in your readership.

One last piece of advice: Dont expect your initial video posts to drive millions of views in the first week. Why? Because your audience members are not trained to expect it! Maybe they haven’t seen more than one MLB video clip on your Web site until today. Maybe they just saw the quality PGA Tour videos you posted for the first time yesterday.

Make it a part of your workflow to look for opportunities to post a wider breadth of videos every day. Do it diligently, and once your audience understands that this content will be available on a consistent basis, your viewership will grow. Remember Field of Dreams?” Build it and they will come ...

To summarise, here is a checklist of five questions you need to ask your publishing team to ensure you are making the most of the video content available to you:

  1. Are we giving our local sports fans enough of what they need on a daily basis to engage them and encourage loyalty?

  2. Are we diving deep enough into available video content libraries to publish game highlights and relevant pre- and post-game interviews, top plays, recaps, or viral clips to further engage our readership?

  3. Are we covering all relevant sports to our local market/DMA?

  4. Are we adding video clips to our daily publication workflow, even though they may not have a supporting article?

  5. Are we linking our video clips in an efficient and engaging way to encourage serial video viewing?

The second part of the SendtoNews publisher’s playbook focuses on content. By measuring publisher key performance indicators, such as audience and content indexes, we are able to show members of our publisher network where the gaps are and how to fully realise the potential of available video content to deliver audience engagement and revenues.