Digital/multimedia

5 things you can always promote online

Maybe it’s a slow news day, maybe you’re in a bit of a rush – whatever the reason, there may be times that you want to tweet or post a web update but aren’t really sure what to say. There are at least five things I can think of off the top of my head that you can always promote online.

I’ve said this before – journalists aren’t always the best promoters. It wasn’t until I became a digital editor that I started thinking about promotions. Let people know what great things you’re going to do. What great work you’ve already done. What things you want to do but need help. People have a lot of things they can consume online – now is not the time to be modest! Tell them what of yours they should check out.

That being said, here are 5 things I think a publication could easily promote just about any time – and should.

1) BLOGS

Many sites go through all the effort to get a community blogger set up on their site, then they set it and forget it. That results in a not-so-satisfying experience for the blogger, whose pageviews usually suffer from the neglect.

On social media, promote your blog directory page in general (“Like food? Cars? Travel? Whatever your interest, we’ve got a blog for you.”) or a specific blogger with something interesting to say that week. (“Blogger John Smith just got back from Greece. You’ll never believe what happened to him in the airport.”) Don’t rely on people finding the blogs through your site’s nav. You need to grab their hand and walk them over to it.

AND! did you know you can publish a blog to other sections on your site? NewsCycle users, find the blog post in the EditUI and simply add another taxonomy (such as Top Stories).

2) SOCIAL MEDIA

Post a web update every once in a while reminding readers where to find you on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, wherever you may be. People are lazy, so be sure to hyperlink everything. And let people know on one platform where to find you on the others.

3) MULTIMEDIA

Most of us are good about linking to great stories on social media, but you can also break up the parts that comprise the online package.

MetroWest Daily News wrote a story last month about a woman who walked into a police station and threw raw bacon at the dispatch window – all while a reporter stood by going through the police log. A few weeks later, the paper got the surveillance video that captured the whole thing. MetroWest posted the video on its own, even though there was no new news, knowing people would click (and they did, thousands of times). Then they promoted it everywhere (as did every other local news outlet).

Bacon throwing on Facebook

Even if you link a video, photo gallery or PDF to a story right away, you can always promote the multimedia elements on their own later. “ICYMI: Read the details of the crime in this police report,” or “If you haven’t seen the third photo in this gallery yet, you have to take a look now.”

4) PHOTO CALLOUTS

Chances are, there’s some photo you’d like your readers to send your way. Publish a web update and social media posts asking readers to share. Let them know what you want, how to send it and how you might use it.

5) COMING IN PRINT

It may not be an Inner Circle requirement anymore, but the intent of that initiative is sound and still relevant – let readers know what’s coming in the newspaper and make them interested in reading it. You can let them know online what you have cooking for the next day or week’s edition (which you may or may not be posting online, too).

The key here is the language.

“COMING IN PRINT: School Committee meets” – that was NEVER going to work. It’s way too vague and not at all compelling.

“COMING TOMORROW: We take a look at how your tax dollars are spent on everyday school supplies. You’d be surprised what you’re NOT buying.” I’d keep an eye out for that tomorrow.

6) BONUS FOR MASSACHUSETTS PUBS

The Mass. sites feature an online police scanner. It’s a cool feature, where you can rewind the scanner for your town back a few hours, so if you missed something, you can rewind and listen to what happened. And the paper can access a backend feature that allows them to download scanner chatter audio for really big news. This is a great thing to promote.

If your publication offers something special like this, you should add it to your “Don’t Forget to Promote Online” list.

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