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Who won the Headline stories in 2013? Miley Cyrus and the Snowden Files engage the public most for 2013

by on December 13, 2013
 

Major crowd-sourced study reveals that engaging content and shocking headlines create the biggest impact

What do Papal intimacy, a screaming goat and candy-deprived children have in common? They all appear in the definitive Scoreboard of Content 2013, compiled by Ogilvy Public Relations and The Huffington Post UK. The Scoreboard of the most impactful online content this year was revealed today following a crowd-sourced appeal to more than 7.7 million* influential consumers and creators.

The Scoreboard includes everything and anything from videos and tweets to hash-tags and selfies from around the globe.

An expert panel of judges from the worlds of academia, media, marketing, content creation and social networks divided the crowd-sourced favourites into Top Fives across five genres: Sex, Humour, Fame, News and Lifestyle.

The top scoring content in each category, and overall, is as follows:

  • Miley Cyrus’ fusion of sex and shock at the MTV Video Music Awards, tops off a year of increasingly sex-fuelled music video content, and puts her at the pinnacle of the sex category, and overall
  • For news, The Guardian’s ‘NSA Snowden Files’ scored highest, leading impactful news sharing online
  • A home-production YouTuber, MrEpicMann, takes the top spot in humour with ‘How animals eat their food’
  • Number one in the fame category is another home-generated piece of content, ‘Pope Selfie’, taken by @FabioMRagona
  • In lifestyle, Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches achieved the top grade

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Whether fun or serious, the impact of the year’s top content is clear: between them, the Scoreboard’s Top 25 generated more than 1,113,100,000 views and 5,787,600 shares across social media.

Statistics, celebrity or monetary investment alone, however, did not guarantee impact in the mind of the public or top scores from our judges.

It was a combination of a hot title or headline, surprise and intimacy that our judges revealed as the keys to success.

The three secret ingredients of content success:

The keys to creating and identifying content that lives, catches fire across media, across mediums, across lives and through the years are:

  • A teasing, grabbing title or headline that demands universal engagement:  People need to know why to look, why to care and why to share in the first millisecond content is encountered
  • A promise of extremity: Extreme intimacy, exclusivity, sexiness, revelation, humour, shock or surprises are required to get noticed by the right people, and to get those people reacting, talking and sharing
  • A promise of social currency:  People need to feel that reacting to, with and sharing content reflects their own values and will benefit their own social standing and group

Red Topping: the new trend in online excellence

The Scoreboard reveals long-held principles of story-telling and mass appeal continue to define and determine popularity and success in the digital world. Humour, exclusivity, intimacy, shock, scandal, cuteness and teasing – the core facets of traditional ‘red-top’ reporting – kept the public engaged online and struck a chord in the UK’s collective psyche.

Money talks, but great storytelling walks

The Scoreboard demonstrates that whilst celebrity, professional production values and media-spend contributed heavily to the success of many top scoring entries, great content is does not rise to the top as a result of these factors alone. Across all the categories, home-grown or user-generated content which has been created with the keys detailed above, demonstrate another way exists. The algorithms of YouTube, Google and Facebook also ensure that the very rare pieces of content which drive engagement with no help are given help by the platforms themselves, and thus seen.