In the digital world, producing publications is easier and more effective because when you publish digitally, you publish globally. Nowadays, with just one click of a button, your publication can be seen by readers across the world, but besides that, there are also challenges when it comes to digital publishing. When I attended the “Content Creation: Pushing Boundaries in the Contemporary Time” Webinar, I learned from one of the speakers, Gustavo Uy, that one of the biggest challenges is encapsulating the readers’ interest. He said when we write articles or produce branded content, we should make contents interesting for the audience. That is why it’s important to know some best practices digital publications can adopt to keep their editorial content and branded content relevant to their audience.
For editorial content, the first best practice is to stand out on informative and educational content (Heng, 2020). This is a practice of creating content that is both educational and informative which can show relevance on the content in order to easily catch the attention of the audience. One digital publication that followed this best practice is “Klook”, a travel blog. Instead of just describing the destinations – which many travel blogs do– Klook does the legwork for travellers and dig into what they need to know to make the most of their trip there. For instance, most articles about Cebu that you’ll find when you search in Google tend to be describing the sights and sounds there but according to the CEO of Klook, Beatrice, says that the Klook blog post would instead focus on informing readers how to get there, what the price points are, and any other important information they need to visit and enjoy the place.
Klook showing information on different transportation on how to get to Cebu
One article showing brief information on what to expect on the destination
Another best practice for editorial content would be to find and publish what matters the most to your audience at the moment (Battons, 2018). This practice is creating relevant information for their audience especially trying to spot the ones that would be the most important to them not in general, but now – and make the most out of it. One digital publication that followed this best practice is “Reader’s Digest”. Back in late August, a famous celebrity, Chadwick Boseman, also known as his role for Black Panther died of Colon Cancer in an instant. Everyone was in shock about the news and were terrified of his cause of death. When his death was trending, Reader’s Digest published contents about Colon Cancer in order for their audience to be aware and educated about the sickness and how they can prevent it since that issue meant the most to them during that time.
One article about Colon Cancer
The article was published early September when the death of Chadwick Boseman was still relevant and trending
Other than editorial content, there are also best practices for branded content. The first best practice would be to create a strong brand voice (Influencer MarketingHub, 2019). A brand voice is based on the core values of what a certain brand possesses, and shapes business decisions. This practice is important because a strong and consistent brand voice will build continuing relationships with existing followers, along with attracting a new audience. One digital publication that followed this best practice is “Dove”, it has maintained a very strong and clear brand voice over the years, which revolves around breaking beauty stereotypes. All of their branded content maintains that brand voice consistently and their recent #showus campaign also carried the same brand voice. In this campaign, the company called out to women who feel different about themselves but proud of it and asked them to share their stories. Later on, the company made YouTube videos that compiled several such stories, pictures, and videos of women from different walks of life which makes it unique.
Dove’s #ShowUs Campaign Video
Another best practice for branded content is addressing topical issues (BlogPlaceit, 2020). It is very important to address topical issues especially in making a branded content so that people around the world would be aware about them. This practice creates contents that are timely and should relate to current events so that people would know that the brand is also up to date with these topical issues. One digital publication that followed this best practice is “Volvo Auto-India”, and their concern is about women not feeling safe on the streets of India. According to research, a lot of women in India do not feel safe in their own cities, and then The Volvo company decided to organize a Mumbai night walk “Make Your City Safe” to bring back the night for a safe space for women. It created a branded video to catch people’s attention to the event as well as to the safety problem in general.
Volvo Auto India’s #MakeYourCitySafe video
To conclude, digital publications should adopt best practices in order for businesses and media companies to be more strategic about their content so that they can constantly improve and deliver to their audience.
Yalena Ysabel Achacoso
Communications Major at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.