For the last couple of years, conversation about media and future strategies has focused on two buzzwords: “social” and “video”— even better if they’re combined. So, it’s not surprising when your boss comes to you with a challenge like this: Build a social video strategy across your network of local media publications and newsrooms.
You know you can’t count on video specialist teams, and that your resources are limited. You know that many of your editors (almost all of them) have to deal with many different tasks and platforms during the day: to publish newspapers, keep Web sites updated, engage your audience on social media, and keep up with breaking news, of course.
How could you ask them to get involved in video stuff?
What do they need to achieve the goal?
Is there something available to make them “self video producers” with a low impact over the daily workflow of a small newsroom?
Those were the questions I was asking myself exactly one year ago, as the executive editor of AGL, a central hub for the local newspaper division of Gruppo L’Espresso, one of Italy’s largest media groups and publisher of La Repubblica and Huffington Post Italia. The parent company, called Finegil, is the publisher of 18 different titles all over the country, with more than 20 million monthly unique visitors and more than 100 million monthly pageviews.
The central hub supports local newsrooms, giving them national and international news content, but also developing digital strategies and technologies.
At first, we tried to improve our video production using traditional software and tools, but we couldn’t work it out. We needed time and people dedicated to that, and we didn’t have either. The local brands depended on the group’s centralised visual desk team for social videos.
Then we found Wochit, an online platform that enables anyone to act as a video producer, with a short training, a nice user experience, and a rich database of images (photos and videos from the main international press agencies) available.
Wochit enables us to produce a high volume of social videos across our group without investing in new specialised video teams. The platform is both powerful and simple.
After a short training, every digital team in our 18 newsrooms across the country started creating videos for their Web and Facebook pages.
The central newsroom video team played an important role in introducing the system to the local digital teams, providing guidance and support for the new video creators.
In addition, by working with Wochit, Finegil improved video quality by focusing on new formats customised for a social audience (e.g. summarising “the news in 60 seconds” or “five things you need to know,” but also making a video from a photo gallery) with an average length of one minute and text overlays.
Results were very good. We improved our video production, and we had great performances in terms of visualisations, interactions, and shares.
As an example, let’s look at il Tirreno, one of our largest brands. Within four months of using Wochit, we had three times as many video creators, 2.5 times as many published videos, and 12 times as many Facebook interactions. According to NewsWhip, monthly video shares also increased by 2,331% and average shares per video increased by 844%.
Wochit has been a good tool for achieving our video strategy goals, but it’s not a “magic box.” What we also learned is that to have good results, you must still also rely on editorial skills, creativity, and the journalistic ability to select the right topics in the right format at the right time.