'It Just Kind of Built on Itself'; 8 Ideas for Varying Your Content

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“We wrote a story about a company that was making its employees come in when they were sick until they were proven to have COVID-19. It’s a $1 billion company and we were telling the story about it. We wrote about another company that went into bankruptcy and their truckers were calling into our XM radio show talking about how their cards were being cut off. Those are the things people care about.”
That’s from Craig Fuller, founder and CEO of FreightWaves, a member of our Connectiv division, in an interview with my colleague Matt Kinsman. The bankruptcy story, about the collapse of Celadon, earned FreightWaves a 2020 Jesse H. Neal Award for Best News Coverage. FreightWaves.com also won best website for its revenue category. 
It’s great to see that a company like FreightWaves, which had no origins in media, now puts such importance on content. “As we started to go to market, we realized that every successful futures market has an ecosystem of news and data and that didn’t exist with freight logistics,” said Fuller. “FreightWaves was started to evangelize and inform how futures work but we also knew that if it was just about trucking futures, no one would read it. We started writing about things like Tesla, Amazon, hurricanes... and it just kind of built on itself.”
Here are 8 more ways to put good content out there:
1. Increase your emails.
The new Reuters Digital News Report said that the email daily update now accounts for 60% of all news emails and it is generally well-received by both news lovers as well as daily briefers. The reasons that this is such a popular product are: simplicity, finish-ability, curation and serendipity. Globally, close to half (44%) of all respondents say they do read most of their news emails.
2. Video is still killing it, especially if you have international aspirations.
While 67% of those polled by Reuters say they access online news video on a weekly basis, in some countries that number goes as high as 95%. So it's a good idea to increase your video output. "Across countries, over half (52%) access video news via a third-party platform each week, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, with a third (33%) accessing via news websites and apps."
3. Podcasts rising.
From the report: "The underlying [podcast] picture remains one of growth. Our data show an overall rise in podcast listening to 31% (+3) across a basket of 20 countries [including] the U.S. (36%). Podcasts can be five minutes or 50 minutes and in a variety of formats, so they're relatively easy to start—even now—and people are listening more.
4. Use emotion in your copy.
"Emotional connections happen because we're human, and we're built for these connections, wired for them, and rely on them to live a rich, meaningful life,” said the famous "Marketoonist" Tom Fishburne. “Despite our significant advances in science and technology, human emotion (mainly our subconscious) will always be core to our DNA.”
5. Start a weekly content feature that brings people back.
Inc. launched a weekly webinar called "Real Talk." "It's people who have had success and are willing to give back to entrepreneurs and the small business community and answer questions for an hour," said Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief. Haymarket's PRWeek has two that they've started during the pandemic: Lockdown Life and Coffee Break.
6. Get your community "together" to talk content.
One of our other divisions, AM&P, is hosting virtual get-togethers on Fridays at lunchtime to either talk about a topic—diversity, alternative revenue, accessibility—or just offer each other support. Joanne Persico, president of SIPA member ONEcount, has been holding "Bold Minds Virtual Mixers" every Wednesday at 5:30 pm.
7. Experiment now.
By seeing what sticks now, you're adding to your future. "When we come back [to live events], virtual elements will still be a big part going forward," said Steve Barrett, VP and editorial director for Haymarket Media’s PRWeek. "We'll still do virtual stuff because we've seen the potential of it. In terms of the bigger events, you have to add value in different ways than you would for a physical event... We're all learning, there's no playbook."
8. Mix live and recorded content.
Barrett acknowledges that "pre-shot" content is often a safer way to go for awards and webinars. But he prefers a mix. "I think [people] do like seeing more personality" that comes from live content, he said. "All pre-recrorded can come off as a bit dry. And we're all learning. I do think virtual events will progress massively over the next 12 months." Jared Waters of BVR also recommends a mix of live and pre-recorded content, emphasizing that speakers often have a preference that should be respected.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…