How Planet Money’s TikTok account has become a breakout hit through careful scripting, engaging in the comments, and making a 24-year-old its star

Jack Corbett appears in a TikTok video for Planet Money.

Summary List Placement

Jack Corbett doesn’t dance on TikTok.

Instead, the 24-year-old NPR production assistant explains economics concepts to the app’s predominantly Gen-Z user base.

Corbett is the face of Planet Money’s TikTok account, which has attracted 235,000 followers and millions of “likes” since the spin-off from the NPR podcast and radio show debuted on the platform in May.

“I’m really bad at dancing, that’s what I’ll say,” Corbett told Business Insider. “Stylistically, I wasn’t really looking to try and mimic anything that was on the platform.”

Planet Money is one of a few “traditional” media brands that has successfully ported its content over to TikTok. The team’s lo-fi content style (Corbett films at home using a bed sheet as a green screen), TikTok-friendly formats, and engagement with users in the app’s comments section have helped the team build a fan base quickly. 

“As a maker of audio journalism, I loved that there was a popular social-media app that was audio-on by default always,” said Alex Goldmark, senior supervising producer at Planet Money.

Planet Money’s first TikTok post, an explainer on how stock market circuit breakers work, was originally slated for YouTube as part of the video team’s “Planet Money Shorts” series. But after seeing a draft of the post, the team decided its style would work well on TikTok. 

Around that time, the Planet Money team also joined TikTok’s Creative Learning Fund, a fund that pays creators, media publishers, and other institutions to post educational content on the app. Learning-focused content (a broad category that includes how-to videos) has become a focus area for TikTok. The company is testing a “Learn” tab in some markets. 

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Planet Money was one of the first shows in the audio podcast space to test out TikTok. Other programs like Freakonomics, This American Life, and even NPR itself don’t appear to have active accounts on the app.

“We scanned pretty hard looking for other economics explainers on TikTok, and there was like the World Economic Forum posting facts over slow pans of stock photos of cities,” Goldmark said. “There was almost [nobody] doing something similar in our beat, and so it was a wide open opportunity to just create a style.”

Playing with TikTok’s short video format, including ‘looping’ videos

Planet Money uses reporting from its audio podcast to script TikTok videos. But the team often edits scripts so that an explainer video will resonate better with TikTok’s user base. 

In one video, the team explained the economic concept of “sunk cost” by comparing it to the experience of stumbling upon a less-than-satisfying video on TikTok’s “For You” page and still watching it until the end. In another post, the team uploaded two TikTok posts back-to-back to illustrate Goodhart’s Law. 

Unlike some TikTok creators who spin out videos in mere minutes, Planet Money’s video team doesn’t rush its TikTok posts.

Corbett or another member of the video team will script a video, run it by Planet Money’s reporters for notes, film and edit the post, and then send it back to the original …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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