Ahead of our Digital Publishing Innovation summit, June 26 & 27, we spoke with Mike Wright. Mike is currently the Head of Trending Content for the Daily Telegraph. The role involves spotting and covering stories that will engage well on and drive traffic from social platforms. It also entails creating original content tailored to different social audiences. Alongside these responsibilities the role involves feeding into the Telegraph's overall social and online strategy.
In the era of social media and algorithms, how do you ensure your digital distribution strategy is robust and not solely reliant on social traffic?
You have to be aware of your audiences’ content habits. In news, the article is still the the most effective and efficacious way to deliver a lot of what we do, such as breaking news. However audiences now, especially younger ones, are used to consuming content natively on social media platforms. So you have to also think about what is the best methods and best platform for content you want to deliver. Is it in a crisp narrative in a Facebook video? Is it over a number of panels on a Snapchat or Instagram story? It’s about tailoring your content to the audience and their habits.
How are you maintaining content integrity in an environment filled with fake news and click-bait?
At the Telegraph we are simply adhering to the standards of quality journalism that have defined the organisation for 160 years.
Have you discovered any surprisingly successful platforms for reader engagement, how do you strategise for continued platform growth?
Snapchat has been a real success story for the Telegraph. We have a dedicated team editing the paper’s content for the platform, on which we enjoy high engagement with an audience younger than Telegraph’s average.
Growing this platform, as with growing any platform, involves studying the analytics and then using those insights to inform the content and editorial strategy. The more attuned you become to what you audience like and doesn’t like the more compelling and engaging you can make your output.
Do you handle content strategy in isolation or as part of the wider customer experience?
The two are well integrated. A strong editorial concept or idea will often be turned into an article, a video for the site and social and then also be published natively, say on Instagram stories. No matter the platform, the objective is the same: to create compelling storytelling.
What tools/software do you find most useful to measure audience engagement?
The main metric is Chartbeat to assess the number of people on the website, alongside bespoke analytics to measure how many people are registering and subscribing online, which is at the heart of the Telegraph’s strategy.
As well as this we use the native analytic suites on platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook to measure social engagement.
What success have you seen from branching out into multimedia content production?
Over the years we have developed a social audience of millions to which we can promote our journalism and engage with readers. For instance the main Telegraph has 4.4million likes.
How has your consumer changed in the last 5 years and what effect is this having on your business strategy?
The main change has been the pivot to registrations and creating a more in depth relationship with readers online. This means not just chasing scale for scale’s sake and attracting millions of fleeting, one-time visitors. Instead a lot of energy is being devoted to upgrading the online and app UX so that, combined with our trademark quality journalism, it provides a compelling incentive for people to register and subscribe online.
What can the audience expect to take away from your session at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit?
Strategies to navigate and help curate the overwhelming ocean of content on social, especially in the era of fake news. Also some insights into how to identify and cater for segmented audiences.