TikTok journalism is not an oxymoron; it’s a growing trend that aims to position journalists and their respective publications in front of a younger generation. To gain or re-engage with a new cohort of readers, publishers must consider the channels they use to share content. With 1 billion active users across 154 countries, the social platform may be a prime channel to target new subscribers.
Why should publishers use TikTok?
What’s New in Publishing (WNIP) calls TikTok an “opportunity to engage with a new generation,” with 69% of TikTok’s user base in the 16-24 age group. The remaining audience comprises of those over the age of 24, highlighting a wealth of opportunity for publishers to reach and expand their readership. Many journalists and publishers are taking notice of this social media leader, and incorporating this channel into their readership engagement strategy. No matter how you use it, the growth of the app suggests it’s a rich medium to reach a wider audience.
Media publications with the most reach on TikTok
Which publications are gaining the most traction on TikTok right now? This summer, news sites seem to garner the lion’s share of followers. That may seem ironic, as much of the news can be considered the antithesis of the joyful vibe of a 12-second TikTok video. But Press Gazette says, “News providers are now flocking to the app, with many of those that arrived early now seeing follower counts upward of a million, and many seeing six-figure or seven-figure follower growth in 2022.” They list the top new publications on TikTok as:
- ABC News 4 million followers
- Daily Mail 8 million followers
- NBC News 2 million followers
- CBS News 7 million followers
- Sky News 6 million followers
- Vice World News 5 million followers
- Washington Post 4 million followers
Other notable magazine publications currently making waves on TikTok include:
- National Geographic: 2 million followers
- Sports Illustrated: 1.3 million followers
- People Magazine: 1 million followers
- Architectural Digest: 375,000 followers
- Forbes: 174,000 followers
Why is journalism taking off on a platform like TikTok? What have we learned since publishers began to use the platform to further their reach?
Best practices for using TikTok
TikTok allows users to create and publish short-form videos. For longer videos, users can string clips together to expand the total video length up to one minute. Even longer videos can be posted, but they must be recorded outside the app and then uploaded. Like other popular social media platforms, TikTok videos can be posted with special effects, filters, and hashtags. Users also can leverage in-app messaging to engage with the TikTok community, or in the case of publishers, the readership community.
TikTok is at the forefront of language and communication as an audio/visual platform. Traditional publishers of print or digital material should view TikTok as a complement to their existing written channels. The biggest trick, most publishers say, is to make content “feel native” and authentic. Look to Dave Jorgenson of The Washington Post for real-life examples of what that means for a “serious” publication.
Jorgenson is the perfect example of how to take the heavy format of a news outlet and garner followers on a platform that is considerably lighter in weight, content-wise. Dave’s blend of dad jokes and wacky stunts — like eating pumpkin spice Spam in The Post breakroom — certainly seem to resonate with the younger generation, which is exactly the kind of audience publishers covet.
While predicting the long-term future of this medium in the volatile digital social space is difficult, the success of some serious publications on this platform should be of note to any publisher interested in reaching a wider audience.
Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.