5 Ways Newspapers Can Use Video to Improve Readership

Over the past year and a half news video has gone from being a somewhat novel feature to being a staple of many newspaper websites. However, the quality of these videos is all over the place, from cringe worthy efforts to works that set new standards of excellence. Most online news video occupies the middle ground: It’s serviceable, but usually not breathtaking.

Online news video is increasingly popular with online news consumers.
Online news video is increasingly popular with online news consumers.

Newspaper websites are still feeling their way toward an industry standard that’s not quite defined yet. Telling powerful news stories with video on the web is a challenge, and figuring out how to do so sustainably is a long and sometimes difficult process. But it’s not going away. In fact news videography is one job category that’s expanding, and many journalists and photographers are lining up to take multimedia workshops to learn how to create better videos.

If your website is starting to use video regularly, you’re in good company. Here are five ways you can make the most of your videos and improve readership at the same time.

1. Plan Ahead When Possible

News can happen in the blink of an eye, and in these cases, simply being there and covering it is the best you can do. However, for planned features, take the time to come up with a compelling narrative for your video. It may change during production, but if you start out with a plan, you’re less likely to end up with a disjointed, ineffective video. If it’s not a breaking situation, don’t rush to get your video posted. Take the time to craft it and website users will appreciate it more. They’ll also be more inclined to click future videos on your site if they’re pleased.

2. Remember: Search Engine Optimization Applies to Videos Too

When you upload video, fill in caption information and take advantage of other opportunities to add text, because this is how your video communicates with search engines. Your text should include keywords, including organization names, names of people in the video, and topic names. Your video’s title, tags, and descriptions should be clear and understandable. Consider whether your video can ride the coattails of trending topics. For example, if a video is shot during a popular community event, include that event as a tag, even if the content isn’t directly related to the event.


Mind your tags and metadata and your video can boost SEO efforts.
Mind your tags and metadata and your video can boost SEO efforts.

3. Shorter Is Usually Better

Audiences generally prefer shorter content – five minutes or less. However, since more people have high speed connections and since they consume more video online, that may be changing. Don’t rule out longer form video if the situation calls for it. Typically, however, it’s smart to start with short videos. Give your website audience a chance to get to know your site’s video style before presenting them with lengthier videos.

4. Know Your Equipment

You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a video camera or have a big crew for your website videos. A one- to two-person team can take care of much of your videography. In many cases, a decent $1,000 HD camera, and a Mac equipped with Final Cut can do the job well. In fact, an iPhone video processed with the iMovie app can be quite compelling in the hands of a reasonably skilled videographer. A tripod and a decent sound recorder can turn an amateurish video into something your site can be proud of.

5. Optimize Video for Your Specific Site

Make sure your video export settings, including data rate, frame size, and codec are tailored to the site where upload video. Often the default is H264 .MOV files in a 640 x 360 frame, but that’s not always the case. Find out your upload site’s file size limits and what settings are recommended. Do a few test loads and watch the videos to make sure they look the way you’d expect. When settings are mismatched with the upload site, they can look distorted or of lower quality, so check this out thoroughly before you start regularly adding video to your site.

Video can be a terrific addition to your newspaper website, assisting with audience development and making your advertising campaigns more successful. Another terrific way to boost audience development and revenue development at the same time is by adding a custom job board to your site. RealMatch offers recruitment advertising solutions that help you generate new sustainable revenue while reducing fixed costs associated with running a job site.

Photo Credits: anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net, Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

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