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Making Sense of Social Media Metrics in the Newsroom

social-media-1There are so many ways to use and track social media success in the newsroom; it can make your head spin. In a recent report on The Media Briefing, writer Chris Sutcliffe outlines how to make sense of all those numbers, and what some of the best social media editors in the industry do. The whole piece is worth a long, hard read, but here are some of the main points.

1. You need to decide on a story by story basis what you want to achieve via social media. Sarah Marshall, social media director for the Wall Street Journal says:

Are you wanting to achieve clickthroughs, or are you wanting to give people a service? Now if you’re properly doing your job best, you’re giving people a service, you’re telling people what’s going on in Kobani at the moment, or what Turkey’s position is, you’re essentially giving them a service but not requiring them to click through either on Facebook or Twitter. But then as a news organisation you don’t get the hits.”

2. Newsrooms need to focus on what kinds of stories do well on various platforms and go from there. Do you create content specifically for a platform? Maybe. Or it could even be as simple as changing the way you write the headline on Facebook as opposed to Twitter.

3. You can use reader response as a way to edit the story. As long as you’re updating and letting readers know you’re updating (and not just erasing your mistakes and sneaking off), you should gauge a story’s success and make it better. If people are going to be looking, you might want to change that featured image. Or link to more content internally. It’s also a way to know what interests people, leading to better follow-ups and additional content, an interactive map of election districts if a gerrymandering story is performing well, for example.

The whole point is to use social media and analyze it. How does your newsroom use metrics to change the workflow?

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Israeli Tech Start-up Spot.IM Enables Publishers To Turn Visitors Into a Community

spot.im post picThe creators of Tel Aviv-based Spot.IM say that their free platform, now currently in Beta, can turn any website into its own social network, thus greatly diminishing the need and reliance on external, social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and countless others.
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Hacks and Hackers New Executive Director is Planning for Growth

hackshackers post picFor the uninitiated, the Hacks and Hackers Network is an international, grassroots organization of journalists and technologists who use technology to visualize information and find and tell stories.

Since the group’s first meeting five years ago, in a bar in San Francisco, more than 80 communities worldwide now boast a Hacks and Hackers group.

In an effort to continue that growth, Jeanne Brooks, the group’s first-ever executive director, has come up with a plan to help the global journalism and technology group bolster its numbers as well as its impact.

Brooks, who is supported by a 2014-2015 fellowship from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, wrote on her blog, “At the outset, my aim is to create a roadmap for not only sustainability but for scaling the impact of the network.”

She added that while a global network of volunteer leaders has helped grow the movement, using various methods to organize and nurture local communities, a more comprehensive strategy is now needed to encourage new growth. Read more

Storytelling Conference May Have Tips for Digital Pubs

11Interested in how storytelling will continue to take shape online? An upcoming event in New York City called The Future of Storytelling (FoST) Summit is inviting media and technology professionals to gather and learn about innovative ways that stories are being told.

Guests include Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, as well as BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti, and Webby Award founder Tiffany Shlain.

The series of workshops and master classes is geared toward filmmakers, communications officers and media members, though I can see how learning about what’s on the cutting edge of “storytelling” — in terms of methods, current trends, and future outlooks — could be extremely useful for product developers, digital editors, and analytics folks at news organizations. With consumption on mobile devices rising exponentially, presenting information and stories in a functional yet efficient way is any media person’s challenge. Apps, data visualizations, video, longform text, infographics, aggregated content — what’s the right way to go?

The FoST event may just have a few answers. FoST is invite-only, but you can follow the discussion on Twitter during the Oct. 1-2 conference here, using the hashtag #FoST.

SEO and Other Terms to Know for Digital Media Success

As print publications continue to close shop or move content entirely to the Web, more and more writers and editors will need to adapt to the digital landscape. And with this new environment comes a new language every online journalist should know.

At the top of the list is SEO or search engine optimization. No doubt you’ve heard of it. ”SEO… determines rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo searches,” said Brande Victorian, deputy editor of MadameNoire.com. She added:

It’s sort of this game of picking out keywords that are going to make the content that you write show up in these searches so that you’re getting more page views than anyone else.

Once you have your keywords (another important term) determined, the next step is to incorporate them in your headline, dek and body copy — in a cohesive, natural way. Forcing keywords into your copy won’t fool Google — and does a disservice to your readers.

For more vital words digital journalists should know, read: 7 Terms Every Digital Media Journalist Should Know.

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