HOLIDAY SHOPPING HAIKU CONTEST / DETROIT FREE PRESS
The Project In December 2015, the features staff at the Detroit Free Press ran the annual holiday shopping haiku contest. Unexpectedly, they received more than 800 submissions, and decided to turn the content into a week-long feature. I joined the team to create illustration of 15 of the haiku and strategize the social media campaign.
Challenges Despite the positive reader response to the call for submissions, users did not respond as well to the daily link posts on the website or on Facebook and Twitter. A different kind of content and other delivery modes were needed to maximize the effectiveness of this content.
Readers were not clicking on or sharing the link posts
Without interactions, audiences on Facebook and Twitter are less likely to encounter the content
Encourage readers to click through to the daily haiku feature
Encourage social media users to share the content
Assessed the readers that would be most interested in the content and the format they respond to best based on website and social media analytics
Assessed the current delivery modes and applied knowledge of social media to craft a more targeted strategy
Created a different type of content (images) that social media users shared and interacted with more
Increased the social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter and expanded to Pinterest, where users were more likely to share this type of content.
Collaborated with the print designer to create a full-section spread for the Sunday print product using the haiku images.
Result The project netted more than 32,000 pageviews on freep.com, much of which was driven by Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The project also won first place for the quarterly Best of Gannett awards for Community Engagement and Experiences. Judges said: "Holiday Haiku Week" tapped into the lighter side of a big – and passionate – news event that is the holiday shopping season. Georgea Kovanis, Alicia Secord and Tanya Wildt's effective use of social media in promoting the contest resulted in a more diverse group of participants of the contest, especially millennials – a target audience. Kovanis, Secord and Wildt's work garnered 32,000 digital views, a newfound haven for a traditionally print-centric Free Press mainstay.
CONTENT ANALYSIS The first step was to look at what had already been done and what wasn’t working. The first day, the link the the first set of haikus was shared twice. The first post performed well, but the second saw fewer than 2,000 impressions. (A good post for the Detroit Free Press achieves at least 10,000 impressions. And everyday they have at least one post that soars past We know from our analytics that shared links on Facebook perform badly when shared more than once. Meanwhile, images with a link to the content do far better on both Facebook and Twitter, and are the definition of the Pinterest platform. Supplementing the link posts with photo posts on all platforms should significantly improve our engagement with this project.
USER ANALYSIS The project was run by Georgea Kovanis, a fashion columnist whose work appears in the Sunday Select product (a free broadsheet wrap-around for ads delivered to non-subscribers). Readers of her column tend to be older and female. Likewise, many of the haiku were submitted by those older than 40 years old. These readers tend to follow us more readily in print, but they are also on social media. On the other hand, Gannett’s target audience for growth is Millenials (readers aged 24-40), who come to our digital products primarily through social media and search engines. To appeal to this subset, we decided to make “memes” (images with the text of the haiku on it) to share on social media. For this content, in particular, Pinterest is an appealing option. Pinterest users tend to skew female and illustrated poetry is a popular topic on the platform.
CONTENT DEVELOPMENT Photos: Selected from the Detroit Free Press archives and a stock photo service, with an eye to diversity Fonts: Rockwell (Haiku) and Pristina (Credit Line)
DELIVERABLES 15 haiku illustrations to be shared over the week (More below)
SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN
Link to the new content to be posted in the morning on all platforms and posted a second time in the afternoon on Twitter
Image with link to the day’s content shared on all platforms in early afternoon and a second time in the evening on Twitter
Second image with link to the day’s content shared on all platforms in evening and a second time later on Twitter