To do great writing, read great writing. Here’s the great writing I’ve been reading this week:
A note on Newsweek – I want to be James Fallows when I grow up. I read his stuff and I can hear his voice saying the words in my head. They’re good words. Words that reveal a complex yet elegant thought process. This week, Fallows used his words to ponder the reasons the newest makeover of Newsweek didn’t stop the Washington Post Co. from putting it up for sale. Maybe, Fallows says, it’s because certain magazine genres appeal to a finite number of readers and the new, more essay-heavy Newsweek is drawing from a smaller pool while continuing to spend like it’s drawing from a much bigger one.
The 4 parts of an optimized online news site – Don’t let the unglamorous title fool you – this is juicy stuff. It could be titled “SEO for reporters,” or “How to get more eyeballs to your blog.” Online journalist Robert Niles explains how badly established news organizations – OK, newspapers – have done when it comes to optimizing their websites, then offers 4 big fixes. Why should you care? Because if you have a blog, you are a publisher. If you want eyeballs coming to your site, you can use Niles’ formula just as easily as a newspaper can. What he recommends:
1. Compile information on topics you write about all the time – a newspaper would call this a beat – into wiki-style pages that you SEO enable. Let those be the pages that bring the search engines to you, Niles says. I’ve never heard this suggested before but it’s brilliant. Here’s why: I did this without knowing it when I created a WordCount Blogathon page last year as a repository for all things related to the month-long blogging marathon that happens here every May. Since then, that page has brought more people to this site than almost anything else. I’m already thinking of other topics I can create pages for….right after this year’s Blogathon is over.
2. Run real voices and frequent updates. Niles writes (emphasis is mine):
An optimized news website would provide a collection of expert voices, presented in blog format, with daily (or more frequent) updates to complement the basic information presented in the site’s Knowledge Base.
Hey, that’s writers are doing in the Blogathon, providing expert insights on a daily or more frequent basis. If you’re blogging but all you write about is you, this should be motivation to pick a subject outside yourself and become an expert on it, all the better to pick up traffic and eventually revenue.
3. Create a community – where people can express opinions but you retain the right to moderate and play favorites.
4. Link to your archives – a lot easier for the average blogger or freelance writer than a newspaper with decades worth of clips to contend with. I know some freelancers who only include a sampling of their work on their website or blog. But if it’d help establish you as an expert or bring more readers to your site, why not include everything?
WAN’s Mobile Media Day Conference – If any WordCount reader is going to the World Association of Newspaper’s Mobile Media Day conference May 18-19 in Amsterdam, can you let me know? The conference will include online media execs talking about the apps they’re developing for smartphones and the iPad and I’d love a guest post if you’re up to it. Leave a comment here or find me on Twitter, @MichelleRafter.