“Many news organizations still appear to treat social packaging and distribution as an afterthought”

This is an old post but I’m leaving it here for the hell of it. Failed links have been updated or removed.

A couple of takeaways from Adrienne LaFrance’s piece on Nieman Lab about Upworthy.

The first is that “online packaging and distribution are as important as having quality content in the first place”.

But many news organizations still appear to treat social packaging and distribution as an afterthought. You spend days reporting and writing a story, minutes coming up with the headline, and seconds tweeting it.

At Upworthy, there are three equally-important priorities for each “nugget” of content — many nuggets are video clips — to use the in-house terminology:

  • Publish something that matters. (Upworthy is an aggregator, and so far isn’t producing any original content.)
  • Package the nugget in a way that makes it crazy compelling. That is, create a “curiosity gap” so that someone feels like they have to click on a link — but make the content good enough so that what they see exceeds their expectations.
  • Tailor distribution to every social platform imaginable, and push the nugget aggressively. Write different headlines for audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

The second is a quote from co-founder Eli Pariser:

“To put it in sort of hopelessly, naively idealistic newsroom terms, we do believe you need an informed citizenry to make decisions in a democracy,” Pariser said. “And if you do that well, then good things will come. That’s sort of the article of faith for us.

“If you can actually bring something like childhood poverty in America to people’s attention, people want to do something about it. The reasons those problems don’t get fixed is mostly that they don’t get noticed, because Kim Kardashian is getting noticed instead.”

Rest of the post is here.

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