My favourite story of the week comes from Collins Dictionary.
I was on the M69 heading to Leicester yesterday morning when I heard they had declared ‘binge-watch’ the new word for 2015.
Given the choice my preferences for a spot of binge-watching are The West Wing or Game of Thrones.
Whether you’re a binge-watcher or not, this concept is a great hook for a news story. And it’s one they use again and again. Last year the word was ‘photobomb’ and in 2013 it was ‘geek’.
But why does it work so well?
Obviously it’s right on message for Collins.
The Oxford English Dictionary is probably the dominant brand in the sector; they claim to be the ‘definitive record of the English language’ on their website. To get noticed Collins needs to be a little different; they need a distinct ‘personality’. The Word of the Year concept gives them exactly that.
It’s fun, quirky and they’ve done more than just publish the list. In Etymology Corner on their website they have a great piece on ‘Dadbod’, the second word in the top ten and there’s an entertaining column by Lucy Mangan on the whole list. They’ve also produced some really witty cartoons.
The media love the story. By definition it taps into the popular discourse so it’s relevant, and turning it into an annual event makes it timely, giving everyone a reason to cover the story today.
Plus it’s lighthearted at the same time as providing an angle for commentary on society. This means the story can be adapted to suit different media outlets – it’s can be spun to be relevant to outlets as diverse as the Today Programme, The Mirror and Newsround.
But I think they’ve missed a big opportunity on social media. There’s plenty on Twitter, but everywhere else is pretty barren, despite #bingewatch being used a lot, as you would expect if it’s the word of the year!
If you want some advice on how to increase the impact of your stories, give me a call.
Click here to read the top ten words of the year.