MIAMI – With mobile consumption simultaneously skyrocketing and constantly changing, tailoring, and then possibly retooling, content for different distribution channels, particularly when it comes to social platforms, is critical to successfully reaching consumers, two experts on the subject said at PRovoke17 in Miami Wednesday.

“If you are creating content without thinking of the new means of distribution, you are not going to be successful,” said Steve Rubel, chief content strategist of Edelman, which sponsored the session.

Fellow panelist Brett Lofgren, president of NewsWhip (the company uses data to help publishers grow audiences), agreed, saying marketers have to be keenly aware of how to best leverage each individual distribution channel, as no two are the same.

“You need to have a holistic view of what’s happening,” Lofgren said. “Each platform (fosters) audience engagement differently. Looking at all these channels and building out a plan for each of them is super important.” 

Rubel and Lofgren’s remarks were rooted in data – specifically research tracking activity on social platforms and news sites on 600 million digital devices from June to September.

That research found, for instance, that web links are by far the most popular way publishers try to trigger user engagement. Links in 5,955 posts drove 22 million actions.  Photos and videos, however, outperformed links in driving engagement; 261 photos shared in the media drove 8 million actions.

Roughly half the most-engaged stories were political. Soft news – quizzes, human interest stories – outperformed hard news, however.

The most successful kind of content varied with topic, too. Recipes and videos, for instance, spark the most engagement for food publishers. Science and technology postings are more successful on Instagram than other platforms.

Health publishers experience the highest rate of engagement with content tied to current events. LinkedIn users are the most engaged consumers of finance-related content.

According to Lofgren, it also helps marketers to learn to speak consumers’ languages – including emojis. Research shows that 67% of the 105 most-shared headlines included emojis, up from just 17% the year before.

“Participating in digital culture is a big part of success these days,” he said.

What exactly that includes, however, will continue to morph and grow, he added. Even though Snapchat, for instance, is not of primary importance for media and brands at the moment, it will likely emerge and soon.

Yet monitoring, and then maximizing the breadth of distribution platforms is becoming increasingly critical for marketers and brands, particularly as they shift the focus of their efforts, so much so that big businesses are starting to create their own newsrooms.

“A big chunk of marketing spend has moved into the creative world, the storytelling world,” Lofgren said. “The shift from ad spending to content creation means we now are having to earn attention through compelling content. Emojis are part of that.”