Brand Positioning — Reinventing Your Brand with Platform Specific Content: The Washington Post has repositioned their brand personality on TikTok as a light-hearted and humorous news outlet by creating TikTok specific content, which is in stark contrast to their serious, matter-of-fact persona on other social platforms. The Washington Post may be repositioning themselves on TikTok to appeal to the high number of 18-24 year old users on the platform (34% on web & app). This provides The Washington Post with the opportunity to develop brand awareness with this younger generation and possibly help drive website visits and newspaper subscriptions. Consider where there are opportunities to connect & build brand awareness with the next generation of your consumers. Don’t be afraid to showcase a more outgoing brand personality on platforms such as TikTok.
Organic Social Tactic — Drive Website Traffic Through Link In Bio: The Washington Post uses TikTok to help drive traffic to its website. This is accomplished through the use of short videos which describe the article topic and include a CTA in the caption to check the link in their bio for more information. The Washington Post regularly updates their bio link to maintain freshness and ensure that they are providing topical information. Look for ways that you can use your social channels to direct user attention to other areas of your digital ecosystem, such as product pages, blog articles, and so on.
Content & Messaging — Bite-Sized Content: On TikTok, The Washington Post transforms their news articles into bite-sized, humorous video clips, which make news articles more easily digestible for the Gen Z and Millennial audience. The videos act as a teaser to the full length news article to incentivize viewers to click through to the website.
Organic Social Tactic — Brand Personification: The Washington Post humanized their brand by building their TikTok personality around Dave, who is now infamously known as the “Washington Post TikTok Guy Comma Georgia”. Putting a face to the brand helps increase brand recognition and helps your audience establish a deeper connection with your brand. Consider personifying your brand on platforms such as TikTok, where the audience is significantly younger compared to other social platforms.
The Washington Post has built a consistent brand personality across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube as a serious, matter-of-fact publication that focuses on news and politics with the slogan “democracy dies in the darkness.”
Though, on Tik Tok, The Washington Post has taken a different route—reinventing their brand to be more lighthearted and funny while still educating people about top news stories (with the slogan “we are a newspaper” to educate those unfamiliar with their brand).
On both App* & Web, The Washington Post’s is largely concentrated in the 25-34 age range, with notable concentrations in both the 18-24 & 55+ age ranges as well (especially on the Web).
TikTok’s audience on App* & Web concentrates more heavily in the 18-24 age range than The Washington Post. Due to this demographic difference, The Washington Post may be reinventing their brand on TikTok, as it presents them with the opportunity to connect & build an early relationship with the high proportion of Gen Z users on the platform.
The Washington Post gained 51K followers on average per month on TikTok from July to October of 2020. This is comparable to the Washington Post’s growth on Instagram pre-COVID for the same period in 2019.
Washington Post’s TikTok is run by Dave Jorgenson who is known as “The Washington Post TikTok guy.”
Dave is a video producer, editor, and writer for The Washington Post. Similar to other media outlets such as Buzzfeed’s The Creators Program, The Washington Post is building their TikTok personality around Dave who has fully embraced his creator role as the “Washington Post TikTok Guy Comma Georgia” (the title is from this video). Dave uses the title for his personal accounts as well, such as on Twitter.
All of The Washington Post’s TikTok posts include Dave who creates skits about current events such as the election and COVID-19, in a format that is relatable to Gen Z and Millenials.
There are numerous strategies that Dave & The Washington Post are using to increase the virality of their posts:
The Washington Post takes trending articles and transforms them into bite-sized and humorous video clips for Gen Z & Millennials to consume and stay up-to-date with the news. The videos are easy to understand and makes “boring” news fun and entertaining.
The majority of The Washington Post’s videos fall into the following categories:
Videos that address current meme-able events that occurred recently.
Videos that educate viewers on a certain topic in an easy to follow format.
Videos that highlight an article with a CTA in the caption to go to their bio to read more.
Putting their own spin on a sound or type of content that is trending.
Providing updates on big/trending news topics in a fun and engaging manner.
The Washington Post also drives traffic to their website from TikTok through their captions, by directing viewers to check out the link in their bio to learn more about the topic being discussed in the video.