Newsrooms stop mocking the creator economy and start learning from it

“The days of poking fun at Instagram influencers are over — because they, at least, have a game plan.”

Many of us are relieved to say goodbye to the confusing year that was 2021. But with a return-to-normalcy date still TBD (thanks to the coronavirus variants), 2022 looks to be just as uncertain.

One thing audience editors know for sure, though, is that newsrooms can no longer afford to ignore or infantilize the creator economy. The days of poking fun at Instagram influencers are over — because they, at least, have a game plan. Legacy media has stood on the tall pillars that have informed its editorial strategy for so long — but in just a few short years, creators have been able to bulldoze outdated practices and find new ways to reach audiences. They’ve learned how to cut through the clutter of content and directly serve their audiences with information that simultaneously entertains and teaches.

For news organizations, the pandemic exposed a landscape that contributes to our dwindling reach to once-reliable readers. Why bother logging onto a website for breaking news when you can just turn on notifications for your favorite creator’s feed for a summary and a hot take on it? Do I like that? No. But unfortunately, it’s the inevitable path we’re on.

Social media companies have finally mastered the rollout of new app features (hello Reels, Spaces, and whatever awaits our attention spans in 2022), and they’ve prioritized investments to keep big creators on their platforms. TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are just a few that have introduced million-dollar creator funds.

On top of those threats, audiences have learned the art of the filter. They crave content that centers community and blocks out other noise. Without truly knowing the evolution of your audiences, you can quickly be subjected to the dreaded snooze, unfollow, and unsubscribe forever.

With more inbound traffic coming from social media platforms, it’s time to get serious about what’s stopping the scroll. If audience expansion and development tactics aren’t chief priorities in the new year — with detailed plans broken out for each platform — publications risk losing even more relevance.

Here are a few tips: Employ social listening to decipher what’s relevant to the audience you’ve built as interests shift over time. Teach team members in the newsroom diverse ways to communicate with their audiences and assist in bolstering their social presence. Design every touchpoint of your operation with social behaviors in mind, from communication methods down to the positioning of buttons on the site.

Creators and influencers have gotten this far for a reason. It’s time newsrooms played the game, too.

Candace Amos is director of audience and social media at The Daily Beast.

Many of us are relieved to say goodbye to the confusing year that was 2021. But with a return-to-normalcy date still TBD (thanks to the coronavirus variants), 2022 looks to be just as uncertain.

One thing audience editors know for sure, though, is that newsrooms can no longer afford to ignore or infantilize the creator economy. The days of poking fun at Instagram influencers are over — because they, at least, have a game plan. Legacy media has stood on the tall pillars that have informed its editorial strategy for so long — but in just a few short years, creators have been able to bulldoze outdated practices and find new ways to reach audiences. They’ve learned how to cut through the clutter of content and directly serve their audiences with information that simultaneously entertains and teaches.

For news organizations, the pandemic exposed a landscape that contributes to our dwindling reach to once-reliable readers. Why bother logging onto a website for breaking news when you can just turn on notifications for your favorite creator’s feed for a summary and a hot take on it? Do I like that? No. But unfortunately, it’s the inevitable path we’re on.

Social media companies have finally mastered the rollout of new app features (hello Reels, Spaces, and whatever awaits our attention spans in 2022), and they’ve prioritized investments to keep big creators on their platforms. TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are just a few that have introduced million-dollar creator funds.

On top of those threats, audiences have learned the art of the filter. They crave content that centers community and blocks out other noise. Without truly knowing the evolution of your audiences, you can quickly be subjected to the dreaded snooze, unfollow, and unsubscribe forever.

With more inbound traffic coming from social media platforms, it’s time to get serious about what’s stopping the scroll. If audience expansion and development tactics aren’t chief priorities in the new year — with detailed plans broken out for each platform — publications risk losing even more relevance.

Here are a few tips: Employ social listening to decipher what’s relevant to the audience you’ve built as interests shift over time. Teach team members in the newsroom diverse ways to communicate with their audiences and assist in bolstering their social presence. Design every touchpoint of your operation with social behaviors in mind, from communication methods down to the positioning of buttons on the site.

Creators and influencers have gotten this far for a reason. It’s time newsrooms played the game, too.

Candace Amos is director of audience and social media at The Daily Beast.

Juleyka Lantigua

Kristen Muller

Natalia Viana

Ariel Zirulnick

Stephen Fowler

James Green

Sarah Marshall

Kendra Pierre-Louis

Rachel Glickhouse

Richard Tofel

Chicas Poderosas

Candace Amos

Jonas Kaiser

Sam Guzik

Andrew Freedman

Cindy Royal

Gonzalo del Peon

Amy Schmitz Weiss

Tony Baranowski

Errin Haines

Parker Molloy

Paul Cheung

Joshua P. Darr

Chase Davis

Tamar Charney

AX Mina

Matt DeRienzo

Don Day

Anita Varma

Julia Angwin

Millie Tran

Kerri Hoffman

Jody Brannon

Joanne McNeil

Joni Deutsch

S. Mitra Kalita

Janelle Salanga

Alice Antheaume

Zizi Papacharissi

Joy Mayer

Wilson Liévano

Raney Aronson-Rath

Mandy Jenkins

Kristen Jeffers

Cristina Tardáguila

Joe Amditis

Matt Karolian

Eric Nuzum

David Cohn

Larry Ryckman

Amara Aguilar

Burt Herman

Mike Rispoli

Jim Friedlich

Anika Anand

Christina Shih

Jennifer Coogan

Michael W. Wagner

Julia Munslow

Meena Thiruvengadam

Jesse Holcomb

j. Siguru Wahutu

Jennifer Brandel

A.J. Bauer

Robert Hernandez

Catalina Albeanu

Sarah Stonbely

Tom Trewinnard

Moreno Cruz Osório

Mario García

Jessica Clark

Shalabh Upadhyay

Brian Moritz

Whitney Phillips

Simon Allison

Francesco Zaffarano

Anthony Nadler

Gabe Schneider

Nikki Usher

Stefanie Murray

Ståle Grut

Doris Truong

Jesenia De Moya Correa

Christoph Mergerson

Cherian George

Melody Kramer

Mary Walter-Brown

Izabella Kaminska

Kathleen Searles & Rebekah Trumble

Matthew Pressman

Daniel Eilemberg

Shannon McGregor & Carolyn Schmitt

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Victor Pickard

Gordon Crovitz

David Skok

Megan McCarthy

Simon Galperin

John Davidow

Laxmi Parthasarathy