Since its inception in 2017, media startup 1440 has been committed to making news accessible, informative, and impartial, all through a free daily email newsletter designed to be as unbiased as humanly possible. It’s facts, without motives. Lauren Routt joined the team as head of social in 2022 to reach new audiences and transform how news is consumed on social media.
Most media companies aim to capture attention ad infinitum to be profitable, using clickbait and emotionally-charged content to spur engagement, which often mirrors how they build their social media following. However, 1440 is bucking the attention economy, focusing on delivering just the facts in a newsletter that can be read in five minutes or less, and its social team was tasked with growing its presence on Instagram and acquiring new subscribers without leaning into these tired tactics. 1440’s main objectives for Instagram were to establish brand awareness and ultimately convert followers into newsletter subscribers. The 1440 team had to live and breathe its mission while working within social media formats and algorithms to tap into an underserved market on the internet – the passive news consumer.
1440 aimed to tailor the news featured in its daily newsletter for Instagram, with the intention to engage, educate, and inform, while also testing the hypothesis that there was an audience for impartial news on social and the internet at large.
At the crux of 1440’s social strategy was its mission and editorial guidelines. Even though social media is notorious for polarization, 1440 had to create compelling content without relying on emotional language or clickbait to stay true to its strict editorial guidelines. The team held each other accountable, making sure that the distinctive tone and essence of 1440 were never compromised by requiring at least 5 team members’ perspectives per post to ensure brand messaging alignment.
One of their key strategies was to constantly test out new content formats and features, and each piece of news required a tailored approach based on the platform, audience, and context. With their editorial guidelines as their north star, 1440’s social team experimented with various content formats, from captivating carousel posts, Reels, and intriguing stories on Instagram.
All of 1440’s social media posts are based on impartial news pulled from the media company’s daily newsletters. In an effort to synthesize this content into a format that is engaging for social media, the team implemented various informational graphics that help communicate the day’s news in an easy-to-understand, facts-first format. 1440’s carousel-style posts feature news headlines on the first slide and then dive deeper into the key takeaways on the second slide. Rather than gatekeeping and providing minimal information to get clicks, the carousel posts provide a deeper dive into must-know facts and critical details highlighted on the second slide. These carousel-style posts have thousands of likes and consistently see high engagement within the comments.
For example, they took a recent newsletter feature showing that Congress is older than it’s ever been and created a graph for Instagram that breaks down Congress's age by year. In another example, a recent study found that a rising number of Americans are switching religions. The first slide gives a big-picture headline, followed by several slides with pie charts breaking down the various reasons behind Americans departing from their previous religious beliefs. These graphs are an easily-digestible format that help followers understand the reasoning behind the headline. (Examples in links section).
By staying ahead of the curve and experimenting with innovative functionalities, 1440 continues to maximize the reach and engagement of 1440's content, while staying true to 1440’s mission of providing just the facts – solidifying 1440 as a trusted news source online.
Today, 1440 has become synonymous with trust and reliability in the media with more than 2.7 million active subscribers, and its social team has played an essential role in translating the same values across their social media platforms.