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Publishers turn to TikTok to grow their audience

By Ashleigh Respicio

Publishers turn to TikTok to grow their audience

TikTok, the social media app from China with over 500 million users, has fast become one of the most downloaded apps in the world, and publishers are taking notice. It isn’t simply the half a billion users that sparks publisher’s interest, though. It’s the additional statistics that make this app so appealing. 

According to MediaKix:

  • TikTok was downloaded more than 660 million times in 2018
  • 26.5 million of the 500 million monthly active users are from the U.S.
  • 66% of users are younger than 30
  • 60% of the app’s monthly active users are 16-24 years old

Why are these statistics so appealing to publishers?

As the readership for traditional publications age, publishers are eager to find ways to appeal to younger demographics. Consider this: in a 2018 survey, only 9% of respondents aged 18 to 29 years were readers of the Washington Post. 

With bleak demographic statistics and the rising popularity of video-based apps such as TikTok, the Washington Post’s Video Editor Dave Jorgenson turned to the app as a way to reach a younger audience. 

Jorgenson began posting behind the scenes videos of work life at the Post, and his approach has appealed to TikTok users — and has generated a fan base of upwards of 177k. This video alone has amassed 354.9k likes!

The Washington Post isn’t the only publisher to taking notice of TikTok’s potential to reach a largely unengaged audience. Other outlets such as NBC News and Dallas Morning News have built a following on the platform using slightly different approaches to their content. 

NBC News repurposed its already-established “Stay Tuned’ programming on SnapChat to use on TikTok by producing small segments of content addressing current events, such as the Amazon rainforest fires and a recent court case, and creating small entertaining snippets of information to stay relevant with the platform’s demographic.

Dallas Morning News has used the platform to focus on casting public figures of authority in a more relatable light through personable content and memes that encourage audience interaction.

While each of the publishers above have joined TikTok and successfully built a following using different strategies, they have made a conscious effort to match the tone of the platform. The platform has a style of its own and when a content creator does not follow the style it can go wrong. 

Here is an excellent guide by The Verge on how to create videos to match TikTok’s style.

TikTok is taking notice

Not only are publishers beginning to take the platform more seriously, but TikTok is recognizing the importance of these content creators as well. From sending weekly newsletters full of tips and recommendations to granting early access to new features, such efforts assist the creators in growing their following and reach.

As the platform continues to support its content creators, new adopters, including more publishers, will continue to join the platform and enjoy the surge of popularity of the app and its organic reach. 


Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Social Media Marketing
Sales & Marketing Technology
Published on October 16, 2019

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