When reporters reach out with social tactics, traffic happens

By Steve Outing

Today’s tip was spotted in a recent article by Robert Niles of Online Journalism Review, “Keeping Your Job in Journalism.” While the article is aimed at instructing journalists on how to keep their jobs in an era of downsizing and transition-of-the-business-model chaos, one recommendation helps not only the individual journalist, but his or her news company.

Niles urges reporters to promote their content to people most likely to value it. As an example, a beat reporter covering higher education might keep a mailing list of bloggers covering the topic, and e-mail them alerts about new articles he’s published.

That’s excellent advice for the individual. I’d also suggest that it’s good for the company, so much so that company leaders should require that (or at least strongly encourage it) from reporters.

In today’s media-crowded world, no newspaper or TV news show can exist as an island, hoping online users come for a visit. It’s important for journalists at mainstream news organizations to reach out in order to get picked up elsewhere online.

Niles explains:

“Most established news organizations remain clueless about how to promote their work in the social medium of the Internet. Make it your personal responsibility to do better with your work. … Build a list of readers and sources to message whenever you publish a new piece. Facebook and other social networks provide an easy way to start with this. Just create a page and invite readers and sources to become your ‘friends.’

“Give readers easy-to-use tools to forward and share your work. Link to other sources and politely invite other writers and sites that cover your beat to link to you, from time to time.

“When I worked at the Los Angeles Times, a few fellow online editors would hit Google to find discussion boards and fan sites covering people and movies the entertainment section was featuring the next day. We’d e-mail those webmasters links to our stories even before they’d hit the front page of latimes.com. And we often found that those sites sent those stories more traffic than other pages on the Times’ website did.”

Excellent advice. A social media strategy can bring in significant traffic to your website.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!