How Reach’s social brand Curiously is targeting new audiences

by Jacob Solomon May 30, 2023 News
How Reach’s social brand Curiously is targeting new audiences

Publishers are in a tough spot. Younger audiences in particular have become more difficult to reach due to the fragmented media. Teens and 20somethings are more likely to spend time on social platforms such as TikTok andInstagram rather than reading newspapers or magazines.

Young audiences are worth much more than older audiences. The 18 to 35 year olds are key to developing trust and brand loyalty for advertisers and publishers.

Media investors want to create new, social-first news and content brands. The News Movement was launched in December of last year.

Ben Jeffries is the CEO and co- founder of Influencer. 18 years afterYouTube was first created, and with TikTok setting the cultural agenda and influencing the way a whole generation of people consume news and entertainment, it's no surprise that publishers are now looking to adopt a similar look and feel to creator content

Over the last year, Reach has made it a priority to increase its appeal with younger readers. Despite a decline in overall revenues this year, the publisher believes it can boost its business by reaching 18-35s where most of their digital time is spent.

Reach's new social content brand is strange. The slogan was launched in September of last year. Born social is part of a larger project by Reach to seek younger audiences and test and learn what content is best received on different social platforms.

‘Social’ is not all one thing

The brand has amassed 111,200 followers on TikTok, 13,300 followers on Twitter, 5,200 followers onSnapchat, and 1,244 followers onInstagram It has a presence on Facebook and is considering launching on a messaging service.

Anna Jeys is Reach's audience and content director.

She told The Media Leader that learning what the different audiences on different platforms want from us has been one of the challenges from the beginning. It is not until the content comes in that we realise that we don't have the right amount of context for that story.

Jeys says that "social" is not all it's cracked up to be. Everyone from Gen Z's to traditional Facebook andInstagram mainstays are included in the 18-35 age group. In a different format, what audiences are receptive to may be vastly different from what audiences are receptive to in a single format. TikTok is a platform for humor which makes news difficult to communicate in more traditional ways.

Strangely has followed audience demands to lean more heavily into entertainment and celebrity news and advice on dating and relationships. Jeys is concerned about maintaining consistency in content policies on social platforms such as Facebook and TikTok.

The young brand is considering developing a website in order to avoid the pitfalls of the likes of Vice Media, which relied on social media to drive traffic. Curiously has mostly been comprised of short and long-form video and images.

Jeys says there is a place for text. It's important to choose the right way to tell a story first; choose the right format for the story instead of doing everything one way or another.

How the medium is dictating the message on TikTok

Bootstrapping a ‘TV production’ team

There are unique challenges for hiring and training in the way in which social content brands work. A mix of people that have worked in newsrooms and with social brands make up Strangely's team.

Jeys commented that training is important to them and that many staffers with more traditional journalistic experience may be unused to creating and editing exclusively content made for social media. There is a general openness to working with existing independent content creators if their brands and audiences align.

She admitted, "We should be partnering to make sure we have the best authority to tell a story well."

Journalists need to research and script content, but content creators that are better at the theatre of presenting such content across different platforms then have a great deal of input.

Strangely, it is spread across the country. Jeys says that even though the nature of communication is more difficult than if everyone was all in one place, it can still be done.

Value in social content brands?

Jeys is focused on building up its audience and becoming a brand people want to turn to. Revenue tends to follow scale, that's what the team at Reach is betting on.

Jeys says that they are building a brand.

Routes to revenue might include affiliates and brand partnerships. The founder of The Barber Shop says that social content brands could be a boon to publishers by making things more digestible for consumers and creating safer spaces for brands to communicate.

Reach is the only way forward for advertisers if they want to connect with the new generation. Advertising opportunities around this type of content have been hard to fit in with traditional publisher business models.

Jeffries believes that getting content creators to present news and factual information in a more modern way is encouraging. He likes the look and feel of it.

Reach's social content project isn't just about Curiously itself. The Curiously team can help develop strategies at other Reach properties. The Manchester Evening News is one of the brands that seek to benefit from Curiously.

The advantage of Curiously is that we are part of a larger organization. While we are publishing and spreading that around the rest of the business, we can experiment and learn.