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common challenges

that newspapers encounter when they join TikTok

language suitability

December 4th


Different social networks require different languages. Keeping this in mind is the first step in producing content that makes sense to each audience.

With TikTok, it is no different. After a few minutes on the platform, you can already see the difference in the format of the videos and the language used in relation to other social networks.

The network feed has full-screen videos, which creates an immersive user experience. With a limited time of 1 minute and an almost infinite menu of videos, each of the contents tries to grab the user's attention and make them watch until the end.

The start of each video (around the first 3 seconds) is essential to retain the viewer. Then, dynamic editing cuts, engaging storytelling and light vocabulary help the content to be seen until the end - or even to be seen more than once, in a loop.

Thus, there is no time for vignettes or longer presentations, which is common on YouTube. And even the videos with signs on top, most seen on Instagram, can be monotonous to the rhythm of TikTok.

Other baseline points are the age group of users, who tend to be younger (see section on this); and the importance of human exchange, whether by video or at least by voice.

With all this, a challenge is designed: adapting to a lighter, more dynamic and youthful language; and, at the same time, maintaining the newspaper's information function. How to inform along the lines of TikTok?

some guidelines

Of course, there is no simple answer to this. But journalists who have been working with the platform for some time have some recommendations:

  • Consume content on TikTok. Being a heavy user of the application is what will provide the creation of a grammar of personal reference that is almost organic and unconscious;

  • Do not simply carry the contents of other networks. Videos from YouTube, Stories or Instagram's IGTV, in general, do not conform to the TikTok standard;

  • Don't look like an uncle. The idea that you are talking to an audience that is too young may unintentionally result in the adoption of a patronizing tone of voice, which sounds like an assumption that the interlocutor is an idiot. Similarly, trying to imitate the language of younger people can be a shot in the foot if the journalist is not comfortable. TikTok users search for authenticity, and will easily detect when content is forced;

  • Trying to reach a single tone of voice common to videos is important for the crystallization of the account's identity. But, until you find something that works, the tip is to experiment. Gradually perceive which tone makes sense for the newspaper and, at the same time, manages to engage the audience of TikTok.

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