International Star Wars Day is upon us, and we looked at the data to see which content jumped to light-speed on the day.

Did you know it’s International Star Wars Day? If not, you should probably be aware that it’s extremely likely someone you know will approach you with a cheerful ‘May the Fourth be with you’ at some point today.

Beyond an excuse to dig out the lightsabers and play Jedi (or Sith…), it’s a great opportunity for publishers to draw attention to themselves, especially as the unofficial celebration becomes more and more acknowledged around the world. 

What worked last year 

Content on International Star Wars Day is becoming ever more prevalent. Indeed, over 10,000 articles were published in some way related to Star Wars in the week around May 4th, 2017.

There was an increase in engagement for those articles compared to the previous year too. In 2016, content around Star Wars garnered 1.9 million engagements. By 2017, for the same time period, this had increased some 17 percent to more than 2.3 million engagements.

In terms of the top publishers of Star Wars content last year, Nerdist came out on top, perhaps unsurprisingly. Star Wars’ own website came in at number ten in our rankings, with 40,000 engagements.

There were some publishers that might not be so familiar in the ranking too, with Epicstream and Laughing Squid both ranking in our top ten. This shows that niches can work extremely well for smaller publishers and that anyone can compete if they pick and choose their moments and their content carefully.

The top content, as we have seen so many times in the last year or so, was a mixture of the event and the political.

For once though, American politics stayed out of the limelight, as Canada’s Justin Trudeau took center stage for his decision to wear quirky Star Wars socks to work in celebration of the day.

Beyond the Canadian PM’s sartorial choices, there was a variety of content that did well on social, from TBS’s decision to run a Star Wars marathon, to news about Star Wars actors, to fun arts and crafts projects such as cardboard Star Wars houses for cats and origami X-Wings.

It’s not all about last year, though. Although it’s a little early to do a full analysis, here’s what we’ve seen being successful so far.  

What’s working this year so far

There are a couple of ways we can measure what’s doing well so far. The first is simply to continue what we did previously and look at the most engaged story so far for today. Out in front at the moment is a story from The Poke, about a fictionalized departure board at Heathrow showing flights to Hoth, Kashyyk, and various other galaxies far, far away.

It’s still a bit early to call but we think we’ve found who’s won Star Wars Day

Posted by The Poke on Friday, May 4, 2018

The other way we can look at this, as this phenomenon is something that really exploded into life on Twitter, is to look at the top tweets of the day, and so far that honor belongs to Neil deGrasse Tyson. His simple “May the fourth be with you all” message garnered more interactions than tweets from official Star Wars branded accounts, other celebrities, and even FC Barcelona.

As you can see, you don’t have to play Jedi Mind Tricks to get people to engage with your content on Star Wars Day. It can be as simple as a celebratory message, or a complex as an origami X-wing, as long as Star Wars is in there somewhere. Happy Star Wars Day, and May the fourth be with you all.

For a look at the content that audiences are engaging with across any niche right now, check out NewsWhip Spike.

Benedict Nicholson

Benedict Nicholson is the Managing Editor at NewsWhip. An Englishman in New York, he is interested in the intersection of PR, brands, and journalism, and the trends and innovation around that.

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