8 ways to make your content sparkle this Fourth of July

Here’s a round up of a few cool ideas any news organization could do over the next few days, all with the reader in mind.

By David Arkin

Just because many people will take a break from work over the long holiday doesn’t mean they won’t be seeking great content to help navigate the Fourth of July.

Holidays are a terrific time to build content readers can use from tips on where to go, how to stay safe and tricks on taking great photos.

I’ve rounded up a few cool ideas any news organization could do over the next few days, all with the reader in mind:

1. Map it: The St. Louis Dispatch has created a simple Google map where you can see all of the Fourth of July events in their region. This is particularly useful if you cover a large metro. This is a nice experience as the reader scrolls over the pin point and gets the details on the event.

2. Do a big list: If you have a lot of events in your coverage area, create a list form like the Asbury Park Press did here listing the 54 places to watch fireworks in New Jersey. This headline is much more effective than simply saying “Firework displays in New Jersey.”

3. Tell the story in numbers: A by the numbers piece could be really fun like the USA TODAY did here. Consider doing this for the largest firework show in your community. Think about numbers for total fireworks shot off, the cost, number of American flags on display, number of hot dogs to be served, etc. A different but engaging way to tell the story.

4. Go 360: WDIV in Detroit got on top of Miller Garage last year to shoot the city’s big fireworks show using 360. Showing the action from up high is a great idea and using 360 gives the reader a very unique experience. Experiment.

WATCH IN 360: The 2017 Ford Fireworks on the Detroit River.

Posted by WDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit on Tuesday, June 27, 2017


5. Find a great angle:
While these are fireworks photos from New Year’s Eve, they are still firework photos from the Telegraph. Like the Detroit TV example, finding a unique place to shoot from is important but also making sure you have an interesting element in the photo in addition to the fireworks is a best practice, like a skyline, a person or a single building, as you can see in their gallery.

6. Help readers take photos: This USA TODAY piece offers useful tips on how to take great photos of fireworks. It’s useful content and the kind of thing that would be quite sharable on the Fourth.

7. Create a quick contest: Use a contest platform or simply use Instagram and suggest a hashtag. Readers will be snapping tons of photos over the holiday, so provide them a way to win some cool stuff, the way this recreational website did.

8. Stay safe: KOIN in Portland did a nice safety piece on Fourth of July and NBC4I in Columbus, Ohio, looked at ways to keep your dog safe.

There are tons of ways to engage readers over the Fourth and have some fun doing it. Get creative, use lots of tools and create useful content.

David Arkin is the Chief Content Officer for the Local Media Association. He can be reached at david.arkin@localmedia.org or david_arkin on Twitter