As more publishers expand to new audiences around the world, here’s how they can find and activate on trending stories to build regional newsrooms.
New York. Los Angeles. DC. London. Paris. Tokyo. The centers of the world? Maybe not, though that may be how the headlines often make it seem. It’s a big world out there, and it needs content that’s right to each region.
As we wrote about recently, local publishers can build a community and recognize their audience’s habits to foster better engagement and readership. Even if you’re not a local publisher, you’ll want to consider this before expanding to other regions.
Refinery29 has opened shop in the United Kingdom and Germany this year, and other publishers have been branching out over the past few years. In 2014, BuzzFeed raised 50 million dollars partially for their global expansion into Europe, India, Australia, and Latin America. Quartz has launched in India and Africa, and Business Insider now has over ten regional editions.
Even if this is easier to accomplish digitally, you still need to be attuned to what your target region wants. But how do you continue to find the stories that your audience cares about?
Find the Stories Your Target Audience Cares About
First, you want to narrow in on what your prospective audience is engaging with.
According to Kate Ward, vice president of international at Refinery29 in an interview with Digiday, they start by looking at what performs well internationally, and then layer that with region-specific news, and cultural and entertainment stories.
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This inspiring story about a 79-year-old actress becoming the face of Gucci drove 6,500 Facebook engagements for Refinery29’s foray into the German market.
How can you do this? Following publications in that region can help provide some insights, especially if you find the ones focused on your target audience. You can use Google Alerts or an RSS aggregator to keep these all in one place.
We use NewsWhip Spike to put together panels across regions and industries.
For publishers looking to explore the Middle East’s burgeoning beauty and fashion media, a look into the trends right now can help you focus your content.
Narrowing down a region or locational demographic becomes easy. We can select multiple countries, or cities, or a specific language to only see content from those sources. Compare top content from regional publishers and blogs from 30 minutes to months ago.
You can export these easily for further analysis for the individual metrics or keyword analysis.
Of course, certain global issues may be relevant across regions, but you can gauge whether your audience will care about those by getting a pulse on the issues engaging them. Are global stories showing up in the content you’re seeing?
Check the native channels
Going straight to your audience is another option. How are they engaging on social media? Look at the top native content getting the most reactions — whether it’s likes, comments, or shares.
This will help you determine what sort of content will do the best across social media for that region, and how to frame your content.
Humor can vary by region. So can emoji. Even the colors you use in your social media can change how well your content is perceived. For example, bright colors are popular for East Asian content, while muted colors fare better in Scandinavia.
The look and feel of the Instagram account of Naomi Watanabe, Japanese comedian, are quite different from that of Angelica Blick, a tastemaker and travel blogger from Sweden.
Of course, the substance of your content matters too. BuzzFeed zeroes in on England’s self-deprecating humor to entertain their U.K. readers.
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How can you get an idea of what’s popular in different regions, on different platforms? Again, you can follow sources yourself, using an aggregator or other method. We can look at Spike again to compare native content channels, such as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
A look at the top food & drink posts for Latin American countries over a three hour view, sorted by those with the most Wow reactions.
Spike panels can be curated to look at each of these platforms. For example, Instagram can provide inspiration for the more visual industries like fashion, beauty, travel, fitness, and food.
Create compelling content and a captivated community
You’ve done your research. You’re ready to start providing content to your new region or market.
Are you going to go for local production? For Refinery29, 50 to 60 percent of the content is created locally, while the rest is translated from English, according to Digiday.
BuzzFeed also uses local editors to regionalize their content, and Business Insider partners with local media companies.
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Business Insider brought awareness to their Nordic edition by hosting a Facebook Live video on their main Facebook page with the Nordic team. The video, prompting users to “ask a Swede anything”, drove over 40,000 views.
If you do go the local route, the fun doesn’t stop with the content! As Facebook and social channels favor algorithms more and more, organic sharing is imperative to master.
For some publishers, this has meant building up strong followings around their authors. These authors promote their content, foster audience trust and rapport, and direct their followers to further content.
For other publishers, this means embracing audience participation and user-generated content. As we saw from our recent notes at Innovation in Europe’s Newsrooms, reader feedback can flesh out stories and deliver unique insights.
Take Your Content Around the World
- Find the trending topics and issues your target audience cares about
- Tap into the native channels to see how social media users are engaging and what they find interesting or amusing
- Create content, decide whether that’s local production or remote, and start building a local community
There you have it. A starter guide to global domination — we mean, bringing your unique content vision to soon-to-be-enlightened masses. So get brainstorming and bring your audience the content that you’re sure they’ll love.