A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

We’ve all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. The proliferation of pictures and now video on social media means the pictures chosen are even more important. As research shows that attention spans are getting shorter, it becomes even more important for communicators to use videos that are visually stunning and quick to load. With the imminent broad introduction of Facebook’s Instant Articles, there are sure to be more opportunities to use and create quick, compelling videos.

Last May, nine publishers began participating in Facebook’s new program, Instant Articles by offering quick-to-load and stunning video content.

  • The New York Times

  • National Geographic

  • BuzzFeed

  • NBC News

  • the Atlantic

  • The Guardian

  • BBC News

  • Spiegel Online

  • Bild

After showing the world how these videos enhance news feeds with the nine publishers, Facebook is offering Instant Articles to more companies and organizations over the next few months. So how can communicators join the movement?

  • Like anything new, there will be lots of changes in options, opportunities and tools introduced over the next few months.

  • Named the #1 app in the App Store in 2014, the Steller app is poised for growth with the explosion of video on social networks.

  • WordPress has a new plugin for self-hosted sites. There will likely be more plugins to come.

  • Facebook developed Canvas as a way to create the articles – instant and otherwise – within its platform.

  • Instant Articles will still be fed through Facebook’s algorithm so it’s likely sponsored posts and ads will be required for extensive reach.

  • Obviously, the more compelling the video the more organic reach is possible.

  • According to an article in Marketing Land, Instant Articles can include calls to action although many of the products are still in development. Users note the New York Times’ extensive use of a “subscribe now” form.

Just Because it’s Instant Doesn’t Mean it’s Right for you

Don’t just jump on this band wagon without first making sure Instant Articles make sense within your overall communications plan. If your target audience isn’t into watching video, it really doesn’t matter what today’s favorite widget or gadget is. You’ll need a script, excellent photos and maybe even a video expert to help you make sure your video will really be watched. DIY here may not be the best option.

One thing for sure, we will definitely be hearing and learning more about Instant Articles over the next few weeks. Then there are the changes over at Instagram. That’s a topic for next week.

The Barber Group

Gig Harbor, Washington


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