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Practical steps for increasing readership, using social media

Practical steps for increasing readership, using social media

Poynter's Mallary Jean Tenore wrote a lengthy post on ways for journalists to attract more traffic to their work. Using social media to communicate with readers and sources can help maintain current audience and attract more, she said.

Her advice could be summarised with one word: "engage". Reflecting on personal experience, she offered practical advice for journalists.

Using Twitter, unsurprisingly, is critical, she believes. For example, she advises journalists to let their sources know about stories, as they may spread the word by retweets. This can drive significant traffic to the article - particularly if the sources have a substantial Twitter following.

When tweeting about stories, including the Twitter handles of people who might be interested in them can be helpful. They might retweet the link, giving the story further exposure.

If other news sites have already written on the topic your article is about, it's a good idea to link to their articles. It could also be worthwhile to include those sites in a tweet about the story as it's always possible that they retweet it.

Outside Twitter, Tenore advised to comment on articles that have been written about the topic your story is about. A link to your article should be included in the comment, of course.

Lastly, it is possible to tweet about your articles more than once to get the maximum exposure, especially after updating a piece. When tweeting follow-ups, it would be advisable to not use the same tweet twice but to lift a quote from the article, for example.

Tenore's suggestions are a good way to get more exposure for your pieces on the Internet as they help you to reach the kinds of audiences that would presumably be interested in your work. She doesn't, however, go further into the topic of engaging with readers.

Many news organisations are discovering that communicating with one's audience through social media is an efficient way to build a strong rapport with readers. Last week, the New York Times experimented with its Twitter feed by making it human-controlled. For the first time, the newspaper conversed with its readers on Twitter - a move that was appreciated by many.

The American Society of News Editors published last month a social media guide called "10 Best Practices for Social Media", which takes a wider look at how news organisations can make use of social networks. The use of social media is a topic that is arousing plenty of discussion currently, coming up recently, for example, at the BBC's Social Media Summit.

Tenore's advice would require a lot of social media knowledge and, perhaps more crucially, time. Is this something journalists can take the time to do? Or should publications think about appointing a dedicated social media editor, with profound knowledge of the field?

Source: Poynter



Teemu Henriksson


2011-06-01 16:10

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