The Daily Telegraph, the UK’s second largest weekday quality newspaper by circulation, has found that users of its WhatsApp audio service are 12 times more likely to become paying subscribers than the average reader on its homepage.
That is according to Danny Boyle, the commuter editions editor of Telegraph Audio Briefings on WhatsApp, who also told journalism.co.uk that users numbering in “the thousands” have signed up to the WhatsApp group.
The service, which launched earlier this year, involves Boyle (no relation of the film director) and his colleague Chris Page sending two short voice messages every weekday at 8am and 5.30pm respectively.
These two-minute “radio bulletin-style” updates are then followed by a text message with links to articles – and Boyle claimed that those who follow these links go on to read double the number of articles than an average reader.
“People will subscribe via the homepage or seeing something on Twitter, but this is another way of reaching people where they are and when they want it,” he said.
“We and everyone else are competing for attention which is in such short supply. Everyone has something to catch up on, so it’s an example of changing pressures on people’s time,” he added.
Boyle, who is responsible for the morning briefing, bases some of the content on the best news stories he has already written for the Telegraph’s early morning Front Page newsletter, although transport stories often feature because so many of the WhatsApp users are commuters.
He acknowledged that the Telegraph’s WhatsApp updates can be “rough and ready” but said it’s important to remain true to both your brand and your individual voice.
“We appreciate our readers are intelligent, informed and curious about the world around them. It’s a good example of short form leading into long form – but not everyone has those brand values, and if you think short form hits are the way to go, then stay true to that,” he said.
“While you don’t want too many ‘ums and ahs’, you do need to write it how you speak. Don’t modulate your accent or phrases because people know what automated sounds are like.”
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