Building a Digital Audience for News

Traditional “old-school” journalism just doesn’t cut it anymore in this new day and age of technology and not to mention its rapid advancements. New distribution models are showing that online journalism is the way to go since it can be accessible from practical anywhere with Internet access. But before you go publishing stuff to the web, it is important, imperative really, to build your audience. You must analyze what you publish, what your readers like ad don’t like, and then do more of what they like! Seems easy, right?

The fundamentals of building your audience include:

  • Content tracking
  • Web analytics
  • Search engine optimization
  • Effective headline writing for the Web
  • Distribution through social media

Track ALL that you publish. Look at your views and comments made by the audience. Examples of things to track are:

  • total news stories per day
  • blog posts by specific blog
  • video stories per week
  • Twitter, Facebook, or other social network fans and followers

The easiest way to track this information is with a Web-based spreadsheet that many people can access, so the task of updating the information can be distributed. Next, track your audience!

After you know what you’re publishing, you’ll want to know what your audience is consuming. Once you know what they are interested in, you’ll have no trouble posting things in which they will like. Use web analytics software! (the software and mechanisms to track Web site traffic) You can use Omniture, NewsBeat, and Google Analytics! Other options to explore include ChartBeat and Clicky, which both offer low-cost services that will give you real-time tracking better than even Google offers.

Identify key data points! These include:

  1. Pageviews
  2. Visits and unique visitors compared
  3. Engagement and referrers

Search Engine Optimization

Essentially, search engines perform three man in functions:

  1. Spiders and robots: These are the small computer programs that are sent out by search engines such as Google and Bing to crawl the Internet and track and record the nformation found on Web pages.
  2. Indexing: Larger more powerful computer programs on the search engines; servers take the information sent from the spiders and robots and build large database files with references to all the content connected to the right links.
  3. Quieres: when you type a keyword search into the home page of Google or Bing, you are making a query of that search engine’s database.

Track, measure, adapt!

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