WhatsApp recently launched a channels feature in over 150 countries making it accessible to millions of users. This new feature of WhatsApp is similar to Telegram’s channel feature. But considering the large number of users on this platform, its impact will be greater.
WhatsApp Channels ?
WhatsApp Channel is a one-way broadcasting tool where admins can share text, photos, videos, website links, run polls. This is what the Updates tab looks like in the app.
Users can search for channels of their choice and follow them to get updates. Currently, channels of celebrities, sports teams, artists and publications are available on WhatsApp.
Channels are public, but administrators can decide who can follow them and turn on its visibility in search.
Since the beginning, messages and media posted in channels can be seen by followers, non-followers can only see updates from the last 30 days.
Admins can also prevent followers from taking screenshots and further sharing these updates with their contacts.
Channel participants’ information is private and cannot be viewed by other participants or the administrator.
Since WhatsApp channels are one-way broadcasts rather than conversations, the onus lies on admins to ensure that content is posted that is safe, relevant, and appropriate for followers. Here are the channel guidelines suggested by WhatsApp.
Why WhatsApp Channels will be effective medium for news publishers and bloggers to distribute content?
- WhatsApp is a popular messaging platform and already has a significant user base. Publishers can reach out to them very easily using the channel.
- Let’s understand why WhatsApp channels can be a great medium for content distribution and reader engagement.
- Readers can follow a publisher’s channel by searching for it on WhatsApp or clicking on the channel link. Following a channel requires only one click making it a seamless enrollment process.
- There is no limit to the number of followers a channel can collect. So publishers can continue to grow their follower count and reach a larger audience without worrying about follower limits.
- News and media publishers can use a variety of content formats in WhatsApp channels. It supports text, photos, videos, website links and more. It has no character limit.
- Followers can react to channel updates using emojis which helps publishers understand what type of content works best for their audience.
- WhatsApp also allows channels to run polls to get feedback on topics and tailor their coverage to suit the needs of their loyal followers.
- WhatsApp channels can be a great way for publishers to drive traffic to their websites and social media handles. Adding a link to your latest article, or video from your YouTube channel allows publishers to drive traffic to the destination of their choice without any restrictions.
- Publishers can urge their followers to share the content with their friends and family to extend their reach beyond the channel.
- Channels are muted by default but publishers can request their followers to unmute updates and receive notifications. This can be a great way to drive traffic to breaking news and other urgent topics.
- For example, a finance news publisher might use the channel to share live stock market updates. Similarly, a sports publication may take advantage of the channels to broadcast important updates from sporting events.
- WhatsApp delivers updates seamlessly, which helps users read updates at their leisure (even non-followers have a 30-day window, remember?). As a result, updates shared on WhatsApp channels have a much longer shelf life than other distribution methods.
How can Publishers use WhatsApp Channel ?
- With WhatsApp Channels you now have direct access to a significant portion of your audience. You can even convert non-followers into followers if you have interesting updates that they like.
- Keep updates brief, focused on a specific topic, and to the point. This helps your followers understand the news quicker and are more likely to click on the link and visit your website.
- Experiment with different media formats to find which one works best for your followers. Instead of just posting a link (which displays a meta title and meta description) you can add some context in text format. Images and videos can also be a good way to attract attention. Videos will consume more bandwidth for followers so use it wisely.
- Use surveys to engage followers. When covering a sporting event, run a poll to find out who your followers think will win.
- Add UTM parameters to the URL you are sending on WhatsApp channel, this will help you track
- Sharing timely updates with updated information will help users make a habit of seeing them regularly.
- Follow these best practices to increase your followers and help your channel grow.
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