Social Video for Print Journalists

Social Video for Print Journalists

It may seem like all social media-goers want to watch these days is puppies and babies, but news consumers on social media are still ravenous for premium, well-written content you print in the paper and host on your digital site. You’ve already done the great reporting, and your video audience still wants the same storytelling experience – just in a different, more digestible format.

What works for print doesn’t always work for video, but you should still keep in mind some core principles of print storytelling. They’ll drive reach and engagement on your social video content and bring your stories to a wider audience than ever before.

Don’t bury the lede

Viewers on social media are the least loyal of all news consumers. They won’t give your content the time and energy of a print reader. Getting to the core of the story fast is even more important than ever – not only with your text-on-screen, but your most important visual moments.

Check out this piece from CBS News, and notice how they show the most important few seconds of the story, and then follow up with contextual video and pictures.


Answer the 5 Ws

Your print story will likely go into detail that a social audience won’t stick around for. Give the core facts and don’t try to include every little thing. Keep your text boxes short and succinct, and don’t let your text take up more than a fifth of the screen. Now is the time to play around with catchy phrasing (or even humor!) that will delight a social audience.

Show, don’t tell

Descriptive, long-form storytelling is all about immersing the reader in a new environment – using just words. Social video opens up new sights and sounds for the viewer. When possible, use video clips and B-Roll instead of images to accompany your text or voiceover. Using video (or great photos) also frees up room in your text boxes or voiceover to focus on the main points of the story and less on pure description.


Research shows that the first 3 seconds of your social video is your make or break moment to grab the finicky viewer’s attention – so choose a great clip to kick off the video. Wochit’s MoJo app for field reporters can help!


Don’t forget the “nut graf”

Your print story’s nut graf answers why the reader should care about your story.  What value does this story bring? You can translate this value into an actionable command to your video audience on social media.

Evoking emotion and thought in your video audience translates into engagement on social media – the coveted likes, shares and comments. Include a call to action in your video to encourage viewer participation and ensure a lasting impact beyond the play button.



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