How do top authors create content that encourages social sharing from web-to-platform? We take a look at top reporters across news, sports, lifestyle, business, and tech.
Last week, we took a look at the top engaging authors on Facebook. We found that hyper-partisan publishers have done quite a job at amassing hooked-in audiences.
As we saw, there’s quite a bit of struggling in the fight against filter bubbles. These publishers have already built up loyal and active communities.
We decided to dig a little further. We’ve seen certain publishers still doing well — niche publishers with unique offerings, and those reporting breaking news. So which of these reporters have managed to create content that resonates with social media audiences?
Using our social media database, NewsWhip Analytics, we took a look at:
- The top engaging authors on Facebook, for general news, sports, tech, business, and soft news content
- Which publications these reporters represented
- What content trends helped them drive engagements
Who are the top general news reporters on Facebook?
Last week, we saw that the top engaging reporters overall tended to be from hyper-partisan sources.
Despite this, we’ve seen that hard news publishers have weathered the Facebook algorithm changes notably well, so we decided to dive further into which reporters are keeping social users informed.
(Methodology: Before we dive into the trends, the analysis included English-language publications and their reporters in February 2018, based on how many Facebook likes, shares, comments, and reactions they drove to their articles. For the niches, we also counted reporters from broader publishers if the niche was their general beat.
We sourced who the authors were through metadata, so if publishers didn’t properly attribute their content, they may have been discounted.
Lastly, in the time that’s passed since last week’s analysis, engagement numbers may have changed as more engagements accrued on content. For a look into this data, check out NewsWhip Analytics.)
We removed hyper-partisan publishers from this view and took a look at general news publishers. We focused on publications that report on current events in the news cycle.
In the top 15, three of the authors came from NBC properties, which aligns with NBC being top in our rankings of publishers last month.
Huffington Post and Fox News were represented twice as well, with the rest primarily coming from smaller, niche news outlets like Slate, the Atlantic, and the New Yorker.
As we saw last week, politics continues to be a hot button on social, taking over the mainstream. Politics drove many of the top authors’ stories, including Ed Mazza and satirist Andy Borowitz.
The coverage and aftermath of the Parkland shooting was the subject of many of the authors’ top stories. Heather Sher’s top story, “What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns” drove nearly 1.3 million Facebook engagements.
On a softer news note, “thumb-stopping” stories such as Dennis Pillion’s about a rare yellow cardinal also have the potential to break through the digital noise, by showing social users something they wouldn’t see every day.
Who are the biggest sports reporters on Facebook?
When we looked at the top sports reporters, a few niche sites stood out, along with actual sportswriters, and those just with a sports beat.
Again, it’s worth noting we derived this analysis from metadata. Not all publishers had their content attributed (ESPN, WWE, etc).
Sports publishers are naturally suited to social media, delivering content to already impassioned fans and communities.
Manchester Evening News’ reporters made our top 15 list four times over. Covering soccer, and more specifically, Manchester United, the reporters are able to cover a very specific niche.
Victor Galvez of Cavs Nation and Paul Nichols of the Canadian Olympic Team site also saw that a tight focus proved successful on Facebook.
On that note, last month’s Olympics drove a good deal of the top stories from these reporters.
Some of the politically/sociologically-charged stories around the Olympic athletes created engaging stories for Breitbart’s two authors on our list. We also saw this for some stories around the Super Bowl.
Who are the top engaging tech & science reporters on Facebook?
Technology and science are broad categories, often blending into one another, and other topics. Even so, we wanted to get an idea of the authors in this space that do well.
In our analysis of science and tech reporters, we again saw one publisher dominate our rankings.
I f*cking love science has appeared on our blog before for its viral Facebook content. With seven reporters on this list, we can see that’s carried over to its web content.
Covering tech, health, and scientific discoveries, IFL has figured out what excites its audience.
Dan Charles’s top stories were about food accessibility, food safety, and GMOs. Though with only four stories, his top story, “Trump Administration Wants To Decide What Food SNAP Recipients Will Get”, drove more than 593,000 engagements on Facebook.
As we noted in 2017’s analyses, politics has permeated nearly every topic on social. This trend continues, leading to an enormously buzzing story for Dan Charles.
The “wow” factor does particularly well for science and tech content. Liszewski’s top content for Gizmodo came from particularly bizarre stories, like “Man Redefines Horror By Building a Singing Furby Organ”. Other top stories of his came from tying into nostalgia and nerd culture themes like LEGO and Harry Potter.
Actual tech innovations also drove engagements. Especially those around already buzzy topics — Jonathan O`Callaghan’s coverage of Elon Musk launching a Tesla into space was responsible for several of his top stories.
Who are the biggest business & finance reporters on Facebook?
When we looked at business and finance reporters, CNN Money had the most reporters in our rankings, followed by CNBC.
Most of these authors come from actual business-focused publishers or niches within publications. Ben Paynter featured in both our tech and our business rankings for his reporting to Fast Company.
Again, current events made it into the narrative of top stories here. Colin Dwyer only had one business-focused story, but it drove more than 771,000 Facebook engagements, “Walmart Joins Dick’s Sporting Goods In Tighter Limits On Gun Sales”. The NRA and its business ties featured in many of the top stories.
Politics continued to feature in stories around tax laws and other financial legislative, such as a proposed program to cut food stamps.
Other top stories were tied to pop culture, like “Black Panther” breaking box office records, SpaceX and Tesla initiatives, bitcoin, various business scandals, and other trendy topics like Tide Pods.
Who are the top soft news reporters on Facebook?
For this, we looked at culture, lifestyle, and viral publishers to determine which are creating the most engaging soft news stories at a high level.
As we saw last week, the LAD bible stands out here, with four of their authors at the top of our list.
Stories about bizarre brand offerings, nostalgia, and pop culture drove some of the top stories for the LAD bible, as did just weird news in general. And again, even for a viral publisher, some of its top content for the month came from coverage of the Parkland shooting.
Authors also had the chance to hit it big with just one article. More than 2 million of Terri Peters’ engagements came from the story, “Meet the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome”. Positive, emotionally-charged stories can cut through social media noise. We’ve looked a bit at how emotional storytelling drives social shares before.
Another one-hit wonder, Chelsea Jackson’s story, “Why It’s Okay To Cut Toxic Family Members Out of Your Life” drove more than 521,000 engagements alone.
Interesting, out of the niche rankings, the top authors didn’t have a ton of content attributed to them. The average for the four niches (tech, sports, soft news, and business) was 54 articles per reporter. General news publishers had a higher average due to syndication.
What to know
Despite algorithm changes, we’ve seen publishers and reporters learning to navigate the new normal.
Whether Facebook is a media company or not, people still come to Facebook to see what their friends and family are talking about. Reporters that know how to create shareable storytelling moments will continue to cut through the noise.