It is becoming increasingly common to find courses on online marketing for journalists. As traditional journalists adapt to the online media, they discover the need to adopt strategies and tactics from online marketing to attract more readers and produce virality. The social logic of the online world is interactive. The reader is no longer only a reader: he also shares, comments, rates, subscribes, etc. Online editors and writers have to learn how to provoke these behaviours. Below we have a list of the fundamentals every online journalist should consider.
SEO (Search Engine Marketing)
SEO is one of the most important aspects of online marketing to consider in journalism because Google, Yahoo! and other search engines are an important source of traffic, sometimes the main source. When writing content, journalists should keep in mind what keywords will help users to find the articles and to include those keywords as many times as possible without any detriment to readability and style. The main keywords should be in the title, subtitles and in the content and meta tags.
With tools like Google Trends and Keyword Planner, we can easily check which search terms are prevalent in any region and target those specific queries with our content.
Social networks are another significant source of web traffic, especially the most popular ones like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and Google Plus. We consider them at the moment of writing by asking ourselves questions like “Is this something my readers would be likely to share?” or “How can I motivate my readers to make comments?”. Some online blogs and news websites have become successful by exploiting virality with shocking content, even by jeopardizing informative quality. In some cases, the titles of the articles have been written in a deceiving or an intriguing way, just to attract the user’s curiosity and consequently their clicks.
In the online world, multimedia content is crucial. Eye-catching images and videos make articles more attractive, increase interaction and are decisive for getting clicks. Every article should have at least one image because it will be shown as thumbnail when sharing the article on social networks. Also, images are an important factor for SEO because they attract traffic from Google Images and other search engines that allow image search. Important keywords should be included in the images’ titles and meta tags.
Online journalism, unlike traditional journalism, has the possibility of undertaking a detailed analysis of the user behaviour on the website. It is important to keep in mind the information provided by web metrics for editorial planning and content production. By studying web analytics we know what topics attract more visitors and interactions or which articles are attracting more backlinks. Newspaper editors, for example, can decide to stop covering a news story or to increase the coverage, according to the reader’s’ interest.