Writing for the mobile/social audience

Creating “social news” has become increasingly popular over the past several years. Many people and publications have positioned themselves to cover social news but few have taken the time to define it. So what is social news? It’s really just a sharpened focus on traditional journalism, tweaked for the mobile-social age, in which content is consumed on mobile and distributed through social. These are the four primary types:

  • Aggregation excerpts a small portion from another publisher or social platform to create an original piece of content. It is characteristically under 300 words, highly visual, and produced at high volume.
  • Short form can take a number of shapes – interviews, lists, statistical analyses and even podcasts. These are entirely original conceits and range between 300-1,000 words. Like aggregation, short form appears regularly in our content plans and is typically based on trending topics.
  • Takes are divisive, opinion-driven pieces on a trending topic. There is high degree of skill involved in composing effective takes. Clumsy attempts often result in remarkable backlash. However, a well-executed take can drive more traffic than any of the other content types, as well as driving the narrative around a story.
  • Features are the least frequent and costliest of the four content types. They are also one of the most important, as they often shape the audience’s perception of a publisher’s ability to deliver premium content.

These can take many forms (written, video, illustrated). Creating a newsroom capable of recognizing which form matches with each opportunity and capitalizing on them in the moment is essentially the secret sauce. Good luck!


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