Le Monde newspaper has turned to TikTok: and it works!

interviews

Le Monde newspaper has turned to TikTok: and it works!

Le Monde newspaper has turned to TikTok: and it works!

Interview by Alexandra Klinnik – Published on 18 July 2020
0

"The news in a basic, simple form, and with music". Since 15 June 2020, Le Monde newspaper has been active on TikTok, the most downloaded application of 2019, with informative and fun videos. It's a channel that is being used to reach a new audience, Generation Z, who often don't know this venerable daily newspaper.

In just one month its account has received almost 30,000 subscribers. The team leading it consists of three journalists who also create content for the newspaper on Snapchat: Olivier Laffargue, head of the Snapchat & TikTok department at Le Monde, and Laetitia Béraud and Pierre Lecornu, video journalists for Le Monde on Discover. We caught up with Laetitia Béraud to take stock of things after the initial test month, when followers to the account have been able to watch short videos about Vladimir Putin, pollution in Paris, temperature rises, the municipal elections and even the plight of brown bears in France. A caveat, however: you won't find any journalists dancing in synchronised choreographies, nor any beauty tutorials or any zany, off-the-wall pranks: Le Monde remains Le Monde.

Why did Le Monde decide to launch this initiative on such a youth-focused new social media channel? After all, three-quarters of all TikTok users are aged 24 or under.

Laetitia Béraud: We had been thinking about it for a while now. At Le Monde, the strategy is to have a presence on all of the main social media platforms, to promote articles produced by our editorial team and to deliver verified news across all platforms: WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat etc. (Le Monde is one of Snapchat's historic partners). The ultimate trigger was the lockdown, as we saw TikTok become a roaring success beyond a young audience. Although the social media app is essentially aimed at young people, many other users have taken ownership of the platform too, publishing creative, original and light-hearted content.

At the same time, fake news has taken on new dimensions on social media during the lockdown. Our aim is to debunk this false information that is spreading so quickly, and to speak about it on social media, where the audience exposed to it can be found. We realised that TikTok was becoming extremely politicised regarding issues like the Black Lives Matter movement which, in just a few days, became a huge trend on the net, with 10.8 billion mentions. We said to ourselves: "Something major is happening here." The platform had gone beyond its original intentions: much like Snapchat previously, it was meant to be a fun network for young people to send funny material to each other. A huge community of people were now showing their hunger for news and educated debate. It's not because someone is young that they aren't interested in politics or the economy: the video featuring Jean Castex, the 24th prime minister of the Fifth French Republic, garnered a lot of interest (17,000 views). Le Monde can add its voice and offer reliable and verified news to a large audience.
«The goal is to present all of the main points in one minute»

Le Monde has been present on Snapchat since 2016, with a team of six journalists seeking to attract a younger audience. What is the difference between the content strategies that you employ on Snapchat and TikTok respectively?  

L.B.: First of all, we have the same goal with our activities on both platforms: to speak to a fairly young audience, with informative and easily accessible content. There is no need to speak about a topic exhaustively over ten minutes in order to understand it. The goal is to present all of the main points in one minute – on TikTok the time available is even shorter. At the end of viewing the content, the viewer needs to have understood the main ideas linked to the issue.

With regards to the differences, on Snapchat we stick more closely to the platform's "rules of engagement" so to speak, using motion design, special effects and editing. On TikTok, we favour more of a "do it yourself" approach: users often opt for practical content in the form of magic tricks and tutorials. We therefore distort the rules in the name of news, which we can do with pretty much any topic.

We also do a lot of data visualisation, with everyday objects. This is our editorial line, which was naturally adopted during the lockdown since everyone was stuck at home: and it was popular. More than the "challenges" content, we saw ourselves more in the tutorials and everyday tips content.      

And what are your sources of inspiration?

L.B.: Of course, we remain very aware of the content produced by our competitors. The best-known remains The Washington Post, which has succeeded in amassing 560,000 subscribers with a fun approach. Its goal is to manage a community and bring it to life, with lots of jokes and fun stuff and less news: it is very difficult to deliver the news via a social media platform which wasn't originally designed for that. We draw our inspiration more from user content than from institutional sources. Le Monde already has a lot of experience in the video content domain. This is useful when it comes to getting users "hooked" on subjects like deforestation or the nomination of a prime minister in under three seconds, within the context of people facing a constant stream of content.
From a personal point of view, I'm a big fan of the TikToker @detective_avec_larme: she tells very funny historical anecdotes by mixing them with lyrics from songs by modern-day music artists such as French rappers PNL and Booba. And she always seems to hit the nail on the head! She shows that it is possible to talk about a geopolitical conflict in a TikTok conversation. This type of informative approach is very effective in my opinion, but due to copyright issues it is still a bit complicated for Le Monde to adopt. This type of conversational approach has already been used in written form via Le Monde's Les Decodeurs ("The Codebreakers") section: they sum up debates in SMS conversations.

I also like the content created by @astroathens, who explains the principles of quantum physics using everyday objects.

After a month of testing what has the feedback been like?

L.B.: On Twitter, several journalists touched upon the fact that the majority of young people don't know who we are. As for young users themselves, a lot of them we asking via their comments who we were and why we had a certification. That made us smile! This spontaneous reaction reinforces our idea that we are not at all out of place. We want to be identified by our readers as a reliable news source. Our long-term strategy is to reach a young audience so they find out who we are and have an image of the Le Monde brand in their minds, so that later, when they have greater purchasing power, they will subscribe to us.

Overall, the feedback has been positive and we have received praise for our quick, concise, informative content. And our subscriber base continues to grow! All of our videos have received thousands of views and not one of them has been a flop. By way of comparison, for every seven or eight videos produced by our competitors (without naming names), six or seven are a failure, meaning they only get a few hundred or a few thousand views. Our videos generally receive in excess of 30,000 views, which shows that there is a general interest in them from users.   

It has to be noted that the overwhelming majority of our viewers watch our videos due to proposals made by the algorithm used on the "For me" page. They come across our videos by accident and have not initially gone out looking for them. This is the mystery of the algorithm which pushes the best performing videos.

With all of that said, it's no secret that the most successful videos are linked to pop culture and infotainment, like those produced by Konbini or Brut.

Over the past month, what have been your main constraints?

L.B.: Time: the enemy of the journalist. TikTok is all about videos that last a few seconds, one minute max. It's a major challenge to explain a concept in one minute. Otherwise, the application in itself is very funny and very easy to use. That's part of the fun of tests, getting to try out new things and adapting little by little to the platform.

#TikTok

   
On the same subjects

“Print is a niche medium for older people. Like Twitch or TikTok, but for retirees”

“Print is a niche medium for older people. Like Twitch or TikTok, but for retirees”

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its annual Digital News Report and the good news is that 44% of respondents believe they trust the media,...

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has published its annual Digital News Report and the good news is that 44% of respondents believe they trust the media, six points more than last year. Based on a panel of 46 countries, the 164-page study examines the relationship between the media and consumers. We discussed the main points of the Digital News Report with two of the study's authors: Rasmus Nielsen, Director of the Reuters Institute and Nic Newman, Senior Research Associate at the Reuters Institute.

“People are just really exhausted by Twitter and so Discord offers a slightly more intimate way to socialize online”

“People are just really exhausted by Twitter and so Discord offers a slightly more intimate way to socialize online”

According to Forbes, it's "the most original media experience of the year." Led by Casey Newton, eight freelance tech journalists have launched their own virtual newsroom on Discord...

According to Forbes, it's "the most original media experience of the year." Led by Casey Newton, eight freelance tech journalists have launched their own virtual newsroom on Discord, an audio-based platform popular with gamers, whose use has diversified with the pandemic. Entitled Sidechannel, the Discord server is an embryonic newsroom. On the app, subscribers can chat with each other, attend live exclusive interviews. This improved Slack was launched in parallel with the paid newsletters of each of the creators. Ryan Broderick, a journalist specializing in web culture and the head of Sidechannel, talks to us about the origin of the project.

Where has all the creativity in B2B gone?

Where has all the creativity in B2B gone?

Why is B2B marketing so flat and lacking in creativity? That was the question we asked Jon Lombardo, Global Lead at the LinkedIn B2B Institute. We chatted about how to resuscitate...

Why is B2B marketing so flat and lacking in creativity? That was the question we asked Jon Lombardo, Global Lead at the LinkedIn B2B Institute. We chatted about how to resuscitate B2B marketing, how to put creativity back into the heart of content, which brands are succeeding and why it's so important not to fear failure.

“Amid the current situation, it’s about adopting a humble communication style”

“Amid the current situation, it’s about adopting a humble communication style”

How do you communicate amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic when you're a large multinational such as Renault? What impact has the crisis had on the communications approach?...

How do you communicate amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic when you're a large multinational such as Renault? What impact has the crisis had on the communications approach? What channels do you favour to connect with a young audience that wants "snackable content"? These are the questions we asked Emmanuel Guinot, Head of Campaigns, Content

“The challenge now is not just to anticipate the future but to adapt to it”

“The challenge now is not just to anticipate the future but to adapt to it”

Since the year 2000, Thomas Karolak has devoted his career to bringing media publications into the digital age. Today, he is Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Les Echos,...

Since the year 2000, Thomas Karolak has devoted his career to bringing media publications into the digital age. Today, he is Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Les Echos, France's biggest financial media group. For 18 months, he poured heart and soul into overhauling the group's website, an intense digital experience he shares with Story Jungle in this interview.

In the world of journalism newsletters are a precious distribution channel

In the world of journalism newsletters are a precious distribution channel

Jessica Anderson is senior staff editor at The New York Times. Alongside Elisabeth Goodridge, editorial director for newsletters, she works on the creation of these rather unique...

Jessica Anderson is senior staff editor at The New York Times. Alongside Elisabeth Goodridge, editorial director for newsletters, she works on the creation of these rather unique columns for the renowned daily newspaper. How does the editing team succeed in continually innovating? We interviewed her to find out.

Women who are defying time, on LeMonde.fr

In 2012, for the release of the "Forever Youth Liberator" anti-aging skin care line, the Saint Laurent Paris brand wanted to develop an original media platform around the fight...

In 2012, for the release of the "Forever Youth Liberator" anti-aging skin care line, the Saint Laurent Paris brand wanted to develop an original media platform around the fight against time.

“My remit, as a journalist for the BBC, is to reach new and underserved audiences”

“My remit, as a journalist for the BBC, is to reach new and underserved audiences”

The BBC World Service is innovating. The English-language channel released its first Instagram documentary, part of a new push to attract and engage younger audiences...

The BBC World Service is innovating. The English-language channel released its first Instagram documentary, part of a new push to attract and engage younger audiences. The 10-minute vertical video, titled The Instagram witches of Brooklyn, takes us on a journey through the spiritual movement of "brujeria" (an Afro-Latina term meaning witchcraft) that has gained additional visibility thanks to Instagram. BBC director and journalist Sophia Smith Galer discusses the appeal of the platform. With a big following on TikTok (78,000 subscribers), she also tells us about the growing importance of the Chinese app in disseminating information.

An elegant touch, with Cartier

Two platforms dedicated to elegance for the release of the "Clé de Cartier" watch, illustrated by Florence Brossard.

Two platforms dedicated to elegance for the release of the "Clé de Cartier" watch, illustrated by Florence Brossard.

The Keys to Tomorrow, with IBM and LeMonde.fr

In 2010, IBM wanted to develop a media platform to give a voice to professionals, academics, experts and, more broadly, all who wished to contribute to discussions about technology's...

In 2010, IBM wanted to develop a media platform to give a voice to professionals, academics, experts and, more broadly, all who wished to contribute to discussions about technology's impact on our society, innovation, the future of water, health, news organisations, future cities, etc.

“The audience is seeing the evidence for themselves”

“The audience is seeing the evidence for themselves”

Every single one of their investigations is a sensation. The New York Times' Visual Investigations team specializes in fact-checking using open source data available on the Web...

Every single one of their investigations is a sensation. The New York Times' Visual Investigations team specializes in fact-checking using open source data available on the Web. Created in 2017, the team has already won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020. Malachy Brown, Senior Producer of Visual Investigations at the NYT, gave Story Jungle a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how their investigations are put together and some good advice for anyone keen to get into visual investigations themselves.

“Newsletters bring a large audience to our content.”

“Newsletters bring a large audience to our content.”

Winner of the Albert Londres Prize in 2001 for his work in Iran, former Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Le Temps, former Deputy Director of Le Monde, and founder of Bondy Blog,...

Winner of the Albert Londres Prize in 2001 for his work in Iran, former Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Le Temps, former Deputy Director of Le Monde, and founder of Bondy Blog, journalist Serge Michel recently co-founded Heidi.news, a new Swiss media outlet. The online publication is structured around topics (or "flux"), containing easily digestible mini articles; investigations (or "explorations"), spread out over several episodes; and a daily newsletter, the cornerstone of the media platform. Serge Michel talks to Story Jungle about the importance of having formats that complement each other, about thinking of newsletters as a full media outlet in their own right, and about the "standardisation of articles" in general.

“The effectiveness of branded content depends above all on its quality”

“The effectiveness of branded content depends above all on its quality”

Jean-Christophe Demarta is senior vice president of global advertising at The New York Times. Having grown familiar with the media world over the course of 25 years,...

Jean-Christophe Demarta is senior vice president of global advertising at The New York Times. Having grown familiar with the media world over the course of 25 years, the former director of advertising at Le Monde and the International Herald Tribune lays out his vision of the future of advertising and branded content in the digital era...

“Content quality will be a distinguishing factor in the long term”

“Content quality will be a distinguishing factor in the long term”

Today, 37% of B2B decision-makers have already bought a product or service after finding out about it through content on social media. In three out of four cases,...

Today, 37% of B2B decision-makers have already bought a product or service after finding out about it through content on social media. In three out of four cases, the person wasn't in contact with the company before seeing the content. This is just one of the findings of the third edition of the Social Selling Barometer published in July. The study, which involved surveying 650 B2B professionals in France between February and March 2020, was carried out by La Poste Solutions Business and the agency Intuiti's UserLab. Story Jungle discussed social selling in the digital era with one of the Barometer's contributors: Franck Chenet of Antalis.

“The success of any content marketing strategy is intrinsically linked to how daring it is.”

“The success of any content marketing strategy is intrinsically linked to how daring it is.”

He was notably the Branding and Advertising Director for ten years at Capgemini Group, a global leader in digital services and the number one provider in France. Now,...

He was notably the Branding and Advertising Director for ten years at Capgemini Group, a global leader in digital services and the number one provider in France. Now, Emmanuel Lochon is the Chief Marketing Officer at Capgemini Invent, the new brand launched just 18 months ago. In an exclusive interview, he talks to Story Jungle about essential developments for brands in the digital world, the importance of data, and personalised communication, in an era dominated by content.

“Being seen as a reliable source of information”

“Being seen as a reliable source of information”

Phillipe Duchêne, who masterminds digital strategy for Ingencio, a group specialised in payment systems, analyses how the company has succeeded in transitioning towards brand...

Phillipe Duchêne, who masterminds digital strategy for Ingencio, a group specialised in payment systems, analyses how the company has succeeded in transitioning towards brand publishing.

AXA turns to Take Part Media to develop educational platform on data security

Take Part Media is collaborating with Publicis on an international platform for AXA dedicated to data security issues in Germany - and soon the rest of the world.

Take Part Media is collaborating with Publicis on an international platform for AXA dedicated to data security issues in Germany - and soon the rest of the world.

Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix

Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix

Bozoma Saint John is the global CMO of Netflix. She got her start in marketing at Spike Lee's advertising agency, before going on to become Head of Global Consumer Marketing at...

Bozoma Saint John is the global CMO of Netflix. She got her start in marketing at Spike Lee's advertising agency, before going on to become Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Apple Music & iTunes, and later Chief Brand Officer at Uber

“Turning employees into brand ambassadors is a strategic priority”

“Turning employees into brand ambassadors is a strategic priority”

Rémi Valade is Head of Online Marketing for SAP France, a world leader in business software. In this interview, he tells Story Jungle about the strategy adopted by the German...

Rémi Valade is Head of Online Marketing for SAP France, a world leader in business software. In this interview, he tells Story Jungle about the strategy adopted by the German group's French subsidiary, and shares his thoughts on the formats shaping today and those of tomorrow.

Financial Times and Take Part Media partnership accelerates on Capgemini platform

For the last four years, Take Part Media has worked hand-in-hand with the Financial Times, Britain's foremost financial daily, to bring to life a multi-media editorial platform...

For the last four years, Take Part Media has worked hand-in-hand with the Financial Times, Britain's foremost financial daily, to bring to life a multi-media editorial platform for Capgemini dedicated to technology and innovation.

LinkedIn’s top 10 tips on improving your company page

At the end of February, LinkedIn released a publication entitled Recharge Your Marketing 2022: a collection of advice and interviews with experts on how marketing specialists can...

At the end of February, LinkedIn released a publication entitled Recharge Your Marketing 2022: a collection of advice and interviews with experts on how marketing specialists can get the most out of the professional platform.

“Sharing informative content is a first step”

“Sharing informative content is a first step”

Brands have been positioning themselves behind the Black Lives Matter movement for days now. Many of them participated in "Blackout Tuesday" by blacking out their social media...

Brands have been positioning themselves behind the Black Lives Matter movement for days now. Many of them participated in "Blackout Tuesday" by blacking out their social media account pages with black squares in a sign of solidarity with the protesters. Sincerity or opportunism? Stéphanie Laporte, Director of social media agency OTTA, shares her views.

Story Jungle team dedicated to content

Gilles Prigent CEO & co-founder ...

Should you activate LinkedIn creator mode?

In March 2021, LinkedIn launched a brand-new profile setting: creator mode.

In March 2021, LinkedIn launched a brand-new profile setting: creator mode.

Tara Horstmeyer, Founder at Happy Words

Tara Horstmeyer, Founder at Happy Words

Focused on "content creation for busy execs", Tara Horstmeyer specializes in ghostwriting, content coaching, and storytelling on and off the LinkedIn platform

Focused on "content creation for busy execs", Tara Horstmeyer specializes in ghostwriting, content coaching, and storytelling on and off the LinkedIn platform

What type of content is engaging on LinkedIn?

Entrepreneur Justin Welsh recently presented his vision what kind of content generates engagement on LinkedIn. According to him, there are 4 main approaches you should be prioritising...

Entrepreneur Justin Welsh recently presented his vision what kind of content generates engagement on LinkedIn. According to him, there are 4 main approaches you should be prioritising if you want to capture attention on your personal page.

close
{POPUP_CONTENT}