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  • clarehiler 1:01 am on April 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: content, , , ,   

    Facebook for Journalists: More Work Than Twitter, but With a Bigger Payout 

    Here is an article from InsiderFacebook.com.

    Check out the full article here.

    Last week, Facebook launched a Page called Journalists on Facebook in an effort to encourage the news community to use the site’s Page feature as a distribution and research tool. Historically, Twitter has been more popular with journalists. thanks to its focus on link sharing, the additional distribution they can get thanks to the ease of retweeting, and the fact that it launched before Facebook Pages. But withFacebook sporting as many as 10 times more active users, journalists should still be focused on mastering the social network, even if takes more work than just tweeting copy and pasted URLs.

    Twitter is Quick and Simple

    Twitter and Facebook offer different advantages to journalists. Twitter’s short-form nature means journalists aren’t expected to do much more than tweet the headlines and links to their articles, unless they also want to engage in discussion. Twitter’s public nature discourages low quality replies, so journalists don’t have to slog through thousands of comments the way they might on Facebook. It’s also easy to measure impact and success, even if inaccurately, by counting retweets.

    Facebook on the other hand, requires journalists to craft compelling updates that stand out against the social content produced by their audience’s friends. Images, captions, and context have to be selected. Though comments to Page stories are also public, they’re not as visible as @ replies to a user’s own friends, leading large publications to receive hundreds of comments per post. While journalists want this engagement, many are too busy to actually wade through the comments and respond.

    On Twitter, the line between personal and professional is easy to blur. A fledgling journalist can begin by tweeting out their articles amongst their more friendly updates, and slowly focus more on news coverage as they gain news-seeking followers outside their social circle. This transition is more difficult on Facebook. At some point, journalists have to start a Facebook Page from scratch with zero fans, or sacrifice their personal profile by turning it into a Page and converting their friends into fans using Facebook’s new profile to Page migration tool.

    There’s an air of mystery to the news feed that might be discouraging journalists. With Twitter, if you tweet it, it will appear in a follower’s stream. But on Facebook, a journalist’s updates might not make it into the Top News feed, requiring users to actively sift through their Most Recent feed to find a journalist’s updates.

    Twitter also had a head start, launching in July 2006 about a year before Facebook Pages, with top news outlets creating Twitter accounts in February and March of 2008. Facebook’s personal profiles have been able to publish status updates since around the time that Twitter launched  in 2006, but journalists could only accumulate up to 5,000 friends. This allowed Twitter to set the tone of shortform news distribution, while Pages have instead been framed as something that businesses and journalists have had to adapt to.

    The Power of Facebook’s Rich Content Posts and Applications

    Facebook Pages holds great potential for journalists, though. Pages can post rich content such as photos or videos content with previews appearing in-line. The images and captions that appear beside posted links give users just enough information that they know they want to click through. Highly interactive posts, such as those using the new Questions product, can engage users while simultaneously securing additional distribution for a journalist’s posts.

    Journalists can start their own Pages, as Facebook’s new initiative encourages, but even greater power is available from using a single Page to represent an entire news organization, as Facebook has been promoting with its Facebook + Media Page since last July. Pages are designed to facilitate multiple admins, unlike Twitter accounts, and aggregating fans to a single Page helps cross-promote the work of all of a news outlet’s reporters and build a fan community.

    The use of applications by journalists, something widely unexplored, could help them forge deeper bonds with users. They can collect email addresses to expand the breadth of channels through which they can content them. Many apps, designed especially for Pages, can also pull demographic and interest data, helping journalists gain insights about who their audience is. Liking a journalist’s Page creates a link back to that Page in a user’s news feed and profile, driving Likes from a fan’s network much more effectively than Twitter’s follower lists.

    Larger publications willing to spend to increase their reach can use highly targeted Facebook ads to gain Likes, while Twitter’s”Promoted Tweets” doesn’t have self-serve tool, and doesn’t provide the same level of granular targeting.

    While Twitter is a natural distribution channel for news, it’s not necessarily the most effective, nor does it have the widest reach. Most major publications still have more Twitter followers than Facebook fans, but that could change with time. While Facebook might require journalists to learn a new skill set and apply some effort, there is great long term value to be gained from an investment in building an audience on Facebook.

     

     
  • clarehiler 2:55 pm on April 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: content, , ,   

    HOW TO: Optimize Your Content for Social Discovery /via @davidsasson (Outbrain)

    Since the rise of search over the past decade, few obsessions have run deeper in the world of online publishing than search engine optimization (SEO). In an attempt to grow their audience and gain exposure for their content, publishers have increasingly focused on keeping Google’s crawlers well fed with tasty morsels of meta data, keyword repetitions, internal linking and more. But designing websites for crawlers often has a downside; namely, it can lead to a poor experience for flesh-and-blood users. How often have you actually used a keyword tag like the one below to navigate a site and discover new content?

    Probably never. It’s wasted space cluttering the page, used only to help Google instead of actual readers.

    Luckily, this mentality is beginning to change as the sources of traffic into publisher content diversify. While search may have constituted the majority of referrals to a publisher five years ago, we now see it giving up ground in favor of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and through the recommendation of other content creators and curators who link out more frequently than ever before.

    This development is great for publishers. Not only does it mean they can return to their emphasis on structuring content for humans instead of crawlers, but the audience engagement levels from these sources is much higher. For instance, across the hundreds of major publisher sites where my company operates, we see that bounce rates (meaning people who consume only one page on a site before surfing elsewhere) from search traffic is generally 14% higher than from other sources. Similarly, time spent on site from search traffic is lower by about 16%.

    These changes aren’t totally surprising. After all, someone accessing content from search is usually looking for an answer to a question. If Google does its job perfectly, then the person should never need to go deep into a publisher’s site to get what they came for. Meanwhile, how do people find great, original content using a search engine if they don’t even know it exists? They can’t. Search provides wonderful answers to directed inquiries, but it is not the natural starting point for discovering new, interesting content.

    This changing landscape, however, means that publishers need to refocus on the larger question of content discovery: How do you create content that will find its way to people who are in browse mode? And equally important, once people come to your site, how do you help them discover great additional stories so they stick around longer? Fortunately, a lot of the tactics required to improve discoverability are a return to common sense principles.

    1. Write Better Headlines

    Your headlines need to be interesting and feed people’s curiosity, not simply focused on keyword density and repetitions. Good titling boosts clicks, especially from social networks like Twitter where users won’t see a blurb or image.

    For example, print publishers like Cosmo have known for years that people love lists. This translates to digital, too: “The 9 Reasons We Love Fatty Foods” will pull in audiences, even if you’re boxed out on Google for the keyword “foods.” (Interesting tidbit: Research on the publishers in my company’s network indicate that odd-numbered lists will net you a 20% increase in headline click-through rates vs. even numbers.)

    2. Make It Visual

    Add an engaging thumbnail image representing your story. Just as photos draw people into content in newspapers and magazines, a great image goes a long way online. Now that sites like Facebook automatically pull in your thumbnail when people share your story, it’s more important than ever to designate engaging images in your page structure in order to capture audience attention from outside and within your site. At my company, we find that when we add thumbnail images as part of an article headline, we see a 27% increase in click engagement and content discovery.

    3. Hold On to the Readers You Have

    Use your page’s real estate wisely. We tend to focus on tactics for drawing new audiences into our content, but it’s equally important to think about how to ensure those people quickly find additional great reading material once they arrive. This means analyzing the real value you’re getting from each navigational device on the page. Are people using them and clicking deeper into your site? Or are you simply cluttering the page with links that have diminishing returns? Avoid the notion that you can spray paint your way to a work of art. If you’re not getting at least 1% engagement on a navigational module, junk it and keep the page clean.

    4. Create the Best Possible Content in the First Place

    Write great, original pieces. Easier said than done, of course. But now that content discovery is moving more and more into the hands of real people who are sharing it, recommending it and reading more of it once they come to your site, there’s a limit to how far you can get through repurposed or aggregated content.

    The tactics used to optimize for overall content discovery continue to evolve. While making sure your content is well represented in search will always play a role, SEO should be seen as just one piece in a much larger puzzle. It’s now more important than ever to design your content for humans, not just crawlers.

    Read the full article here: http://mashable.com/2011/04/07/optimize-content-social/

     
  • clarehiler 4:37 pm on March 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: content, experiment, hashtags, lists, microlists, share responsibility,   

    Top 7 Ways to Save Time on Twitter via/ http://mashable.com/2011/03/12/save-time-on-twitter/

    1. Follow Other People’s Lists

    Using Twitter lists is a great way to keep up with what’s happening in your industry and connect with relevant people in an efficient way. And because chances are someone in your industry already went to the trouble of developing a great list of people to follow, there’s no need to recreate the wheel.

    You can use a site like Listorious to search for other people’s lists by topic. For example, a boutique clothing merchant could use Listorious to search “fashion” to find lists of fashionable tweeters. Once you’ve identified a comprehensive list, follow the list and also set up a column or running search in your social media tool dedicated to that list’s feed so you don’t miss any tweets. When you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, go back and follow the top people from the list so you can start to build direct connections.

    2. Cut Clutter With Microlists

    When you’re following more than a few hundred people, your main Twitter feed starts to become more like noise than a conversation, and you’re likely to miss what key influencers are tweeting about… especially if you only have time to check in once or twice a day.

    A great way to cut through the clutter is to create your own microlists of key people to follow. For example, I have a list of media, analysts and influencers who are important to my clients running in the center column of my social media dashboard so I can easily stay on top of what they’re tweeting. You can go back through your existing followees and put them into lists, and as you follow new people, simply put them into lists as appropriate. Follow these lists in separate columns to facilitate quick scanning. I’d recommend keeping these lists to no more than 50 people to keep the stream manageable.

    3. Automate Routine Processes

    While Twitter is a great way to make direct and authentic connections with your customers, there are still many activities that can be automated. For example, some tools, such as SocialOomph, let you send an automated direct message thanking new followers. Ping.fm lets you update your status on Twitter, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites, all at the same time from one place.

    Another way to fit tweeting into your schedule is to develop tweets in bulk and schedule them to go out later. Many tools are now available that offer this functionality, such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Twaitter. Because most people only check Twitter off and on throughout the day, you can schedule the same or similar tweets to go out over the course of a few days without most people seeing the same thing twice.

    4. Follow Keywords and Hashtags

    Here’s another time-saving tip: follow keywords and hashtags to easily find relevant content to share. For example, activist blogger @unsuckdcmetro follows the hashtag #wmata (Washington Metro Area Transit Authority) to track real-time tweets about the DC Metro. This allows him to uncover breaking news for his blog and to keep up a steady flow of tweets for his readers without having to spend time searching for content.

    I recommend setting up a running search or column in your social media tool on particular terms and hashtags so you can quickly scan for interesting content to retweet and for people to engage with. Some tools will also let you set up alerts to monitor particular keywords and will even periodically e-mail you a digest of the tweets that contain those keywords.

    5. Mine Existing Content

    If you’ve got a company blog, you’ve likely got a ton of great content that’s only been tweeted out once with a simple headline. Social media consultant David Spark recommends going back through your blog and pulling out good quotes as tweets with a link back to the article, and then scheduling all those tweets over time. You can do the same thing with your news and customer case studies as well. And while you’re at it, why not assign this project to a sharp team member who’s eager to participate in the company’s social media and marketing efforts? You’ll have one less task on your plate.

    6. Share Responsibility

    Ad hoc projects aren’t the only jobs you can offload. If your business has more than just a few employees, chances are there are several trustworthy people who could actually be tweeting on behalf of the company. Simply come up with a few simple ground rules for tweeting, review the protocol with your team and let them have a go. Supervise the tweets for a week or two to make sure they’re on the right track.

    Citrix Online’s @GoToMeeting is a great example of how to do this right. It has multiple people tweeting and includes their initials with each tweet. The Twitter page also features the names and photos of these tweeters. This approach not only distributes responsibility and makes the Twitter conversation more lively, but also gives the company a more human face and personality.

    7. Plan Less, Experiment More

    Don’t spend ages planning — just start trying new things. Spark suggests that instead of having a one-hour meeting to plan your social media strategy, cancel the meeting and require team members to spend that hour writing a blog post. And instead of having another meeting, spend the next free hour reading the other blog posts, leaving comments and promoting it to your social networks.

     
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