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Posts Tagged ‘upworthy’

Finally, Viral Content That’s Actually Funny: The Onion To Launch ClickHole.com

Watch out Upworthy, BuzzFeed and the other bazillion viral content producers who rely on visitors falling into the rabbit hole of clicking link after viral link on their website. There’s soon to be a new, funnier kid on the block who’s going after your audience by poking fun at you…

(Screen capture from ClickHole.com)

(Screen capture from ClickHole.com)

Parody news site The Onion, which already garners robust traffic by playing off newspaper and TV news story stereotypes, announced this week it will set its sights on stealing some of the click love with a parody site of the viral content farms.

The new site, ClickHole.com, will launch in June. Don’t worry though if you can’t wait that long, there’s already a fun infographicesque tutorial up on the homepage where you can practice your clicking skills. Plus, the name is such a perfect parody of such sites that it’s hard to believe that domain was even available.

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Everything Upworthy Can Teach Journalists

upworthyThis week, New York magazine has a profile of the website we all love to hate: Upworthy.

Upworthy is the bane of many a journalist’s existence. It peddles in clicks, and has people sharing, painlessly and by the millions, pieces of content that concern topics we actually want to report on. A 10-page feature or package with video on the effects of poverty takes months to prepare and weeks to garner attention on Twitter. They find one video on the topic and it has thousands of views. It’s  more BuzzFeed-y than BuzzFeed; they at least have a news team. You should read the whole piece, though, because there are lessons to be gleaned from their success.

1) Ah, the infamous Upworthy style headline. In one part of the feature, they talk about ‘click testing,’ where they run through possible headlines and then see how clickable they are out in the wild. If it’s not clickable, they tweak. Every media outlet can do this, and if you want to garner more traffic, you should. If you feel icky about changing the headline after it’s originally published, just add a note. I see good digital outlets doing this all the time. Slate stories, for example, often have one headline when I see it in the morning and another by the afternoon when I actually get around to reading it. If it requires emails or write offs to tweak a headline or re-run and write a new social media tease to make it more interesting — you’re doing it wrong. Read more

Even Upworthy’s Corrections Are Designed To Go Viral

upworthycorrection_featuredYou’ve seen and no doubt probably shared a piece of content or two that came to your attention via viral news-worth-sharing aggregator Upworthy. But have you ever gone back to a piece you shared, or circled back to a piece you’ve already seen before?

No?

That’s the problem with corrections on the Internet. Nobody (OK, very few people) goes back to re-read or re-watch something they’ve already seen. Why would you when there are hundreds of thousands of other awesome videos that will make you cry or reconsider your life waiting for you to discover.

But what happens if that video or story misled you or contained inaccuracies? You’ll probably never know, or forget the source where you first saw that mistake appear. In a newspaper, clarifications and corrections are typically appended to the stories and appear in print, either near the masthead or in a standard area of the section of the paper. Blog posts often append updated information at the top or bottom, or strike-through info that comes to light as being wrong. But how do you get those misinformed visitors to come back to see that?
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Upworthy Quits Page Views, Measures ‘Total Attention Minutes’ Instead

upworthyUpworthy released a blog post today announcing their new model for measuring success: Attention Minutes.

Their source code and more information about its implementation is promised for the coming months (something to look forward to besides spring?). But for now, let’s take a look at their reasoning

Pageviews have long been on the way out and Upworthy has decided that shares, unique visitors, and Google Analytics’ time on site metrics just aren’t cutting it for them. By tracking “everything from video player signals about whether a video is currently playing, to a user’s mouse movements, to which browser tab is currently open,” Upworthy says this move ”will accelerate the drive toward quality.” But it’s really about being able to bottle that engagement and sell it to someone — advertisers, subscribers, investors.  By tracking what engages users, there’ll be more insight into why they share, which is the goal of viral content.

For real news organizations, watching how Upworthy tracks engagement is a highly recommended winter activity. Knowing what beats your users are most interested and where they’re consuming is vital to improving any digital newsroom. Shares and uniques are good estimates, but Upworthy’s right: it’s not enough, and sometimes misleading. Who knows what we’ll find out about our audience.

Has your newsrooms experimented with new metrics across sites? What’s the focus for you — shares or pageviews? 

The State of the Digital News Publishing Industry, According to the Internet

typefaceThere must be something in the air, maybe the end of a crazy year, that’s making writers introspective. In the past week alone, there have been some very good analyses of the state of the digital publishing . Since it’s cold outside (unless you live in a place where it’s not cold outside, and in that case, stop gloating) and you need some good reads for hibernation, here are five pieces that, I think, aptly explain the industry right now and help further the conversation.

“Against ‘Long Form’ Journalism,” James Bennett

Everybody in the room, put your hands together for Mr. Bennett. It’s not that he’s against expansive reporting, but the way the terminology is thrown around by publications. He asks:

“Is this just a fad, maybe even a fraud? Cynics would say that publishing a few big feature stories is a shortcut to respectability, and they’d be correct. But realists, I’m happy to say, would comment further that such features work: They draw in a lot of readers.”

Recently, I have find myself tapping out around page 3 or 4 of a feature article. By placing value on “long” we stop focusing on “interesting.” Let’s find another phrase, Bennet suggests, even if it proves tough;

Length is hardly the quality that most meaningfully classifies these stories. Yet there’s a real conundrum here: If long-form doesn’t fit, what term is elastic enough to encompass the varied journalism it has come to represent, from narrative to essay, profile to criticism? And how do you account for the blurring of boundaries as work from the digital realm energizes and reshapes traditional forms of journalism?

“Growing Obsession With Viral Content Exposes the Weakness of Most Digital Media,” Mathew Ingram

good post about Gawker’s Neetzan Zimmerman, although I wondered about this: “He posts only about a dozen items a day” http://t.co/rBfMIQvbxI

— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) December 2, 2013

Let’s put aside the fact that that headline is really long and plays into some viral trends itself. After the Wall Street Journal’s profile on Neetzan Zimmerman, Ingram was irked by how many times a day the subject posted, and posits that focusing on viral content as a growth strategy, while it works for some, may not be a great idea. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket sort of thing:

But even if the content itself continues to work — in the sense that people will always want to share photos of otters holding hands or cats that look like Franklin Delano Roosevelt — the value of those millions of pageviews is continuing to drop. That’s not just because there are more and more sites doing it, but because the value of incremental pageviews is sinking inexorably towards zero. Read more

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