6. To boldly go

I’m a big fan of our new editorial vision. I can’t help wondering if we could be even bolder.

The challenge

A common comment about Metro is, “That’s not news!”. (Recently our leading story was about a dog taking a bath).

I take this to mean that users sometimes want something deeper in the mix. They want the Metro personality (entertaining, provocative, waffle-free) but they also want some depth.

Sometimes we do it, but it’s too rare. For example:

The science bit

Buzzfeed have recently taken their success to the next level by combining the “must click” factor with a bit of depth. This must-read article describes the clever psychology behind their strategy.

The not-so-science bit

Here are four “straw man” ideas… designed to be knocked-down but maybe they’ll generate some valuable conversation in the process.

Warning: the previous posts are based on solid business science. The next few paragraphs aren’t!

1. Making a difference

BuzzFeed claim that smart stories are more shareable than dumb ones (because people like to look smart). What is smarter than stories that can change peoples lives?

There is so much incredible stuff going on in the world. There are revolutions everywhere from cancer cures to bosses to dieting to brainpower. Unfortunately, much of this doesn’t fit the way we do news… is there a way to convey it?

26 things you’ve never heard of that might change your life

2. Bringing our beliefs to life

People buy want you believe, not what you do. If that’s true, how do we bring Metro’s beliefs to life?

These past few posts have talked about belief in conversation, learning and feeling. What if we found other organisations who share our beliefs? (Meetup.com?). What if we wrote about them, or gave them a blog, or partnered with them?

3. Bigger than the individual

In the past, it was a newspaper’s politics which people believed in and bought into. People have become disillusioned with politics and it has left a void. Upworthy re-imagined politics and have been massively successful.

Metro can re-imagine politics in a different way. Millenials value self-expression (research here). We can stand for giving people a voice. It’s inclusive. It can augment, not displace, our appeal to individualism.

Do you trust politicians? 7 reasons why we need more referendums

4. Making readers look good

Part of the our editorial vision is to be “in the know”. To make our users look smart, to give them status. It’s a widely known ingredient for social media success.

There are some stories that everyone talks about, but the truth is that news sites typically present a very shallow story. News sites are notorious for not providing any context. For example…

Recently there was a story about a double shark attack. All the main news sites covered it without any real context or perspective (shark attacks are incredibly rare as our Cows vs Sharks article illustrated a month later).

Everyone was talking about the shark attack. Our readers want something extra to add to the conversation… what if we give them context… more of a perspective? It fits with the “Badass” school of UX.

Also, there are plenty of dumb stories in the media. What if we made our readers appear smart by highlighting how dumb stories on other sites are? This one made me laugh. And this from Private Eye 🙂

Next we look at exactly WHAT Metro does. Next post.

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