Briggs: Chapter 11

February 29, 2012

Building a Digital Audience for News

Content of interest should be easily found through search engines and social media sites.

Measuring journalism

  • Track, measure and adapt

Track all that you publish

  • Total news stories per day
  • News stories by topic
  • Total blog posts per day
  • Slide shows per week
  • Videos per week
  • News updates
  • Social network posts
  • User-generated content

Set benchmarks

  • Set goals with criterion such as audience numbers, revenue, audience satisfaction
  • Think broadly when setting goals

Use web analytics software—Google Analytics—to track your audience

Identify key data points

  • Pageviews
  • Visits and unique visitors compared
  • Engagement (amount of time spend on the site)
  • Referrers (where traffic is coming from)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engines

  • Spiders and robots- small computer programs sent to record information on Web pages report back to search engines
  • Indexing- catalog where search engines refer to when users perform a search
  • Queries- computer programs take keywords and checks index for relevant results and presents them to Web page

SEO to grow audience

  • Aim to have Website among the first 10 search items
  • Utilize descriptive links and title tags
  • Write effective headlines
  • Headlines should be simple and direct for the readers
  • Robots will easily recognize a  headline that contains search repeated keywords throughout the story
  • Write for readers with Google in mind
  • Use conversational language
  • Engage potential readers

Use social media as distribution channels

  • News media Web sites should participate, comment and link

Increase social capital

  • Journalists should be a trusted center for a community
  • Participate in social media conversations and engage the audience to generate a two-way conversation
  • Aim to humanize journalism


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