How journalists can use TikTok
You’re sceptical about presenting your news content on TikTok? Here’s why you should take the plunge into a world of funny videos and young challenges.
When I first took a look at TikTok, I also asked myself: “What the f*k am I doing here? Am I already too old for this?” I looked at all those funny videos and couldn’t image how news content would work here.
Yeah, most of the videos on TikTok are trivial. But that shouldn’t prevent you as a journalist from sharing content on TikTok and get in touch with a younger audience. It gets harder and harder for media outlets to reach the so-called generation z. Many of the them never held a printed newspaper in their hands and TV news shows struggle to reach younger audiences. The struggle can have an end — if you use Tiktok. 69 percent of the users are between 16 and 24 years old.
So, what are you waiting for? Create an account for your news outlet! You don’t know which content to produce? There are other media companies, which are already on TikTok. Here are my personal top 4.
1. NBC News
TikTok users love mind-blowing pictures. If you have some of them in your news show, also share them with the TikTok community. NBC News offers some good examples for that. One of them: The American tv news outlet shared a video of a large barge that had been shipwrecked in the Niagara Falls for more than 100 years that came loose due to severe weather.
Music plays an important role on TikTok. You can develop your videos by selecting from a large range of sounds, popular song snippets, short moments from films/TV shows and even YouTube videos. The right sound also makes for news outlets the difference — like here:
The ARD “Tagesschau” was the first German media brand which created an account on TikTok. Even more notable under the circumstances that the average viewer of this news show on TV is 61 years old. However, the strategy makes sense. The “Tagesschau” wants to reach younger audiences on TikTok they would have never reached on TV — and it works. After just twelve videos and four weeks, its TikTok account has already reached almost 120,000 users. Meanwhile, the “Tagesschau” has more than 518,000 followers on TikTok.
The “Tagesschau” mainly posts explainer videos and behind the scenes material on TikTok. And the editors remain true to the specific conditions of TikTok: News content is created in a more entertaining and dynamic way. Young presenters are shown in the videos.
Also, the conversation on TikTok follows other rules: “Tagesschau” anchor Judith Rakers for example comments questions just with “Yup” or “Nope” — including a hip-hop song playing in the background of the video. The concept seems to be a successful one: One user writes: “Suddenly, I find the “Tagesschau” very smart and cool”.
3. The Washington Post
TikTok is not the platform for hardcore news. You don’t know how to deliver news in an entertaining way? No problem! Do it like The Washington Post and offer funny behind the scenes material. The newspaper has more than 498,000 followers on TikTok.
Don’t be afraid of making fun of yourself. TikTok users love humour and entertainment. The Washington Post clearly focuses on entertainment rather than hardcore news. And they get the attention of the young people with that strategy. Their content on TikTok creates kind of awareness in an age group that doesn’t consider print as cool anymore.
Tutorials also work as a successful format on TikTok — media outlets can make use of that, like Chip. The German tech site has developed a new format called “time for technology” for TikTok. The young host of the format conveys information in an understandable and entertaining way in a short amount of time. The young audience seems to enjoy it: Chip has over 230,000 followers on TikTok.