The United States’ elected leaders are the oldest they've ever been. The age gap between the government and the governed is wider than ever before. And the notion that our nation is a gerontocracy is now a reality that stands to hinder the nation’s progress and prospects, Insider journalists reported in “Red, White, and Gray.” Reporters spent four months collectively interviewing hundreds of sources and analyzing gigabytes of data to understand how the country arrived at this moment.
With all the resources and reporting that went into the collaborative project, our audience team’s main objective was to package and distribute the interactive 30-part series across Insider’s social platforms. Working with the editorial and graphic teams, the goal was to build a multi-platform campaign focused on breaking down the country’s aging democracy to Insider’s global audience.
The campaign’s distribution strategy was a meticulous and weeks-long collaboration between the politics and social teams. One of our editors, Victoria Gracie, raised her hand to establish a plan that was reviewed and finalized by the senior and deputy editors behind the series. The teams met weekly for 6 weeks up until the project’s launch date on September 13, 2022, and continued to meet afterwards in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections in order to extend the promotion of editorial package. Our plan honed in on how we would showcase and package both the written and visual components of “Red, White, and Gray” across Insider’s dozens of social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Reddit.
Once the audience team had its key creative players, Gracie’s plan called for assigning multiple content streams which included Twitter threads and moments, and finalizing video cuts for social in multiple formats. One example of this was an Instagram Reel time lapse of President Joe Biden starting when he first entered politics as a member of Congress up to the present day, garnering more than 223,000 views. We also leaned into creating animated gifs, graphics, and videos that showcased the number of well-researched charts and graphs illustrated throughout the package. Other unique tools we utilized to our advantage included a Twitter poll to engage users on the subject matter and a storyboard with the story links on our Flipboard profile that was then promoted by the platform’s editors.
With regular meetings and transparency throughout, there weren’t too many obstacles to overcome, and we were well-prepared and ready for the project’s launch. The only minor setback was that the date of publication was pushed back, which in the long run gave us extra time to fine-tune all of the elements we wanted to package across our social accounts.
Through a mighty collaborative effort, the teams promoted a total of 37 articles through multiple tweets, Twitter threads, Moments, and Spaces with our partners at Morning Consult. Additionally, we created Facebook posts, Instagram posts, push alerts, and more. We believe some of the traffic from this content was impeded, as this campaign crossed paths with our coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. With that being said, the landing page for “Red, White, and Gray” garnered more than 45,000 pageviews since its publication, with the top referrer platforms being Twitter and Snapchat.
On Instagram, the following posts became our top-performing posts for September on the platform:
Our Instagram posts recounting our Insider/Morning Consult poll racked up:
90K accounts reached
367 shares and 265 saves)
An Instagram feed carousel showing the difference between the president’s brains at 45 and 80 garnered:
142K accounts reached
290 shares and 677 saves
Our reel of Joe Biden through the years accumulated:
217K accounts reached
1,297 shares and 528 saves.
The coordination and planning behind this social campaign truly exemplifies an agile, dedicated, and efficient audience team that is made up of less than 20 members who can disseminate information to a global audience in a fast-paced newsroom.