Every news focuses on question types ‘Who, What, When, and Where.’ Explainer or explainer journalism informs the reader about the ‘Why’ and the ‘How.’
It attempts to go beyond and behind the news and gives readers background information about the particular story to understand the story and its nuances. In digital media, explainer journalism aims to report and explain events as they start unfolding.
The Rise of Explainer Articles
Though the concept may sound new, its roots lay in traditional journalism. Previously, web newspapers would run stories to explain what was happening in the news. Once the web-based news erased newspaper-based journalism issues, explainer articles started getting published as soon as an original story broke.
Examples of explainer journalism include “The Guardian’s Pass Notes,” which conversationally examined various issues. A good attempt at explainer journalism was practised by The Week magazine, which strived to summarize the news of seven days into small, bite-sized information chunks.
Explainer Articles Changing the Face of Digital Media
The explainer format is especially beneficial to digital media marketing because it gives the writer authority as a subject matter expert (SME). The educational aspect helps most brands stop reporting stories of conflicting interests or criticizing their industries.
Any B2B brand committed to content marketing would want to entertain, educate and captivate the audience by writing and explaining the industry they are in. If you want to explain why you think your brand is providing the best offer, you need to explain your point to the audience in great detail and put your claim in the proper context.
For example, a bank would do a world of good by publishing explainers on financial topics that they counsel clients about, such as how to survive in the stock market, retirement accounts, make sound investments, cryptocurrency, etc.
The explainer has indeed changed how digital media marketing functions as it has shown the path for creating trustworthy content and how to contextualize relevant news stories for the audience. The audience, too, gets to know in-depth information about their areas of interest. The goal, however, remains the same. If you are a digital media services company, you need to channel attention; if you are a brand, you need to sell the product.
Explainers are the easiest way to achieve both these objectives. Any brand that pays attention to what the audience is saying regarding concerns, issues, etc., and digs deep in search for audience-centric angles, will surely find a unique editorial voice. Explainers would, therefore, place the brand much above its competition and establish it in the top tier of digital publishers.
How Explainers in Digital Media Are Here to Stay
Explainers have enabled media providers to show insight and intelligence in their content. It has also attracted search engine traffic as readers might ask the ‘Why’ questions. It also means that the media platform receives additional traffic from Google News that tends to find its space on the opening pages for explainer-style content along with basic news and other stories.
It is all the more important nowadays as media has got new tools to enhance it. It might not just be words. Today, data can be presented in a very interesting, eye-catching manner with the help of illustrations, infographics, and videos that graphically explain and summarise tricky concepts easily and quickly.
An explainer is nothing like a traditional article; it is more of a conversation. Therefore, you don’t find it following the typical structure of a regular article. A good explainer must answer questions, something that a regular person would ask, and not a subject-matter expert.
As we answered in the previous question, an explainer is meant for a regular person, just like talking to your friend or mother.