Archive for July, 2013


Social Media as A News Source

How important is blogging for a company in the news media industry? Turns out that it’s pretty important, as it helps reaffirm the journalistic credibility, thereby strengthening the brand for the news organization. Many news organizations have already recognized this, and their websites often include channels dedicated to blogs written by editorial staff. For example, writers known for their expertise in automobiles, wine, gardening or food may publish their own blogs based on the same industries.

Ultimately, news organizations will thrive when they produce revenue. Revenue can be achieved by 1) increasing readership, as this will attract advertisers, 2) paywall revenue, where online readers will pay a fee to access stories on a news website. Simply put, online news organizations want not only more readers, but also more loyal readers.  Is simply writing a blog going to achieve this goal? How can news organizations gain even more value from their blogs? Here are a few recommendations.

#1: Engage. Then engage some more.

An engaged audience becomes a loyal audience. By asking readers questions, soliciting feedback or polling readers, news organizations can get two-way communication rolling. For example, the restaurant reviewer’s blog could ask readers to share the name of their favourite local restaurant so it can be considered for a future review. Or the wine expert’s blog could ask readers to vote for their favourite local white wine of the summer as part of  “Reader’s Choice” contest, with the contest winner receiving a trip to the winning winery.

When readers comment on the blog, be sure to respond. Again, this enables two-way communication and strengthens the organization’s brand.

Don’t forget that readers will share valuable content on their social media networks, too. So when you engage one reader, you are potentially engaging many more.

#2: Get the Community Involved. 

Op-eds and Letters To the Editor have long been a way for the public to contribute to the content of news media. Why not incorporate community blogs as well? This creates a positive feeling of “ownership” for the contributors and readers alike, who know that news content is not solely generated by the newsroom. As a result, people will have a stronger affinity with the brand, and will more likely be loyal readers.

The Vancouver Sun website does a good job with this. It contains a channel that includes not only editorial staff blogs but also blogs from the community as well.

#3. Encourage Readership.

While “selling” to blog readers is frowned upon, this recommendation strives to make it easier for readers to access additional news from the news organization’s website. This potentially  increases traffic/readers to the website. The New York Times website does a good job with this. At the end of content, in unobtrusive small type you will occasionally find the words, “Try unlimited access to for just 99 cents” or “Get Free E-mail Alerts On These Topics”. It’s not a hard sell message, and if people like what they just read in a blog, why not make it easy for them to obtain more information in the future?

Blogs for news organizations look like they are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Readers benefit from blogs because they can access content from a credible resource. News organizations benefit from potentially increased revenue.

If you have a favourite news blog, please feel free to reply below and share.