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Posts Tagged ‘reader engagement’

Your App is a “Walkie-Talkie” and You Need to Start Using It Like One

docwalkietalkieAs news publishers talk about ‘unbolting’ their digital enterprises and newsrooms work on being more mobile in the name of more engaged with their audiences, it’s hard to imagine what that eventually looks like. To start, it might be helpful not to change our actual news products but focus on new ways of using what we have.

Investing in baby steps, if you will.

That’s what the guys behind the software seem to think anyway. Mag+ is the ‘content publishing ecosystem’ and software behind many of the newspaper and magazine apps you might read — New York Magazine, The Atlantic Weekly, Bloomberg Markets, Chicago Sun-Times, Popular Science, and The Next Web to name a few.

They’ve also just released an upgrade to their software that mirrors some general trends in news publishing. Mike Haney, co-founder and creative director for Mag+, says that the upgrade focused on redesigning the storefront and better sorting, so users know what they have when they want it. They’ve also partnered with eMagazine Insight, so publishers can track the effectiveness of in-app links and banners and hone their marketing campaigns. Most interesting for a mobile newsroom is the take on push notifications and alert channels. Another partner, Appboy, brings custom segemented messaging to Mag+ apps. From their release:

In addition to issues, the app can deliver custom push notifications, promotions, cross app promotions, in-app notifications and news feed items that can be specifically targeted to users based on what they’ve done in the app. Combined with a built-in feedback tool, these features make the platform a more effective communications tool and opens it for a broader range of uses.

It’s just one step in looking at the app as a multi-channeled tool to build better engagement with readers. Haney explains:

We talk about being a content hub. Its not about just designing your issue and pushing it out, but it’s about creating a relationship with your consumer. It’s like a walkie-talkie — you have one in your pocket and they have the other one, and you have the ability to reach out and talk to them and give them control about what they get from you. Read more

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

New Web Pub Focuses on ‘American Renewal’ and Compelling Readers to Act

NationSwellIf you’re looking for something other than cute animals or faux civil rights controverseries to inspire you on the internet, it’s arrived. It’s called NationSwell, a new media company that focuses on good things. Forget if it bleeds, it leads; NationSwell’s headlines are about non-profits conquering food deserts, environmental iniatives, health policy and innovation, and eduation.

It’s like the 2008 Obama campaign met Henry Blodget. The site is a mix of aggregated and original reporting by a team of seasoned freelance writers, led by founder Greg Behrman and managing editor Cathy Sharick, formerly of Time.com.

And some stories, although it’s still in beta, are connected to direct ways to take action, whether it be donating to the cause or tweeting a representative associated with the issue. Unlike other media companies focused on “things that matter,” like Upworthy — NationSwell wants readers to do more than just hit a share button. With recent trends and successes in crowdfunding, social entrepreneurship, and viral content, it’s not a bad business model.

You can follow them @nationswell.

NY Post Reporter on How to Create a Successful Blog: ‘Consistency’

JozenCummings

Jozen Cummings likes to call himself a professional ‘date-maker’ and that’s an accurate description for his career as of late. Cummings is the dating reporter for the New York Post‘s Meet Market column, and he runs the blog ‘Until I Get Married,’ where he shares the ups and downs of bachelorhood.

Cummings, whose writing has appeared everywhere from Essence to The New York Times Magazine, had no dating-related clips to show for himself when he initially went in for the interview at the Post. But he did have his personal blog on the topic, which helped him land the gig.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do?, Cummings talks about setting up blind dates, his writing process and how to cultivate a following on your blog:

Now that you’ve been kind of accidentally intentional with your blog’s success, what advice would you give up-and-coming bloggers to optimize their blog’s popularity? 

I think the most important thing is to find a schedule and be as consistent as possible with it because that’s the thing that people need in order to engage — consistency. It’s more important that you publish your post on the same day every week than it is for you to write five different times five days a week. Do it once a week for four weeks at the same time and then the fifth week, have a post ready, but don’t post. Give it a day. And I guarantee there will be somebody who you didn’t know was reading who will hit you up and say, “Yo, where’s my post?”

For more advice and what it’s like to be a dating reporter, read: So What Do You Do, Jozen Cummings, Blogger And Dating Columnist For The New York Post?

– Aneya Fernando

Response: No Comments, No Problem

Be QuietI would like to claim responsibility for Popular Science removing its comment section, but I am sure it had little do with my rant a few weeks ago.

That said, I was thrilled to read their post that ‘in the name of science,’ they’ve turned their comments off.

John Kroll writes in this blog post that there is no good reason to turn off the comments. In fact, he says turning them off is lazy and has little to do with science, and much to do with the bottom line.

Maybe it did have to do with the bottom line, but let’s take a look at some of his points: Read more

Are We Stuck with Hashtags and Like Buttons?

The coverage on Nieman Journalism Lab yesterday of the Engaging News Project pretty much ruined my coffee break as I clicked through the research: there are few things I love more than seemingly wonky research about journalism and democracy. Especially when it’s put in action. Talia Stroud’s research shows, in the most simple explanation, that when you change the language, it can also change how people engage with your website. That should perk most of our ears up. If you want, you can already start making your readers ‘Respect’ stories instead of ‘Like’ them with a WordPress plug-in.

What you can’t make people do, according to her research, is actively seek out information that goes against their views, or their niche. That sounds like old news to me. We’re all in our own little ‘bubbles’ to use Bill Maher’s lingo. That’s bad for democracy, but good for online publishers. It also has something to do with why magazines have fared better in a digital landscape. Chris Hughes of The New Republic spoke to a lot of like-minded, nodding heads this week about how readers (users? can we agree on a terminology?) still look for ‘curated editorial experiences’ whether online or off. That’s something not easy to do with a daily news site, but the goal of most magazines — whether it’s the New Republic or Slate or Field and Stream. 

Apart from saving democracy from ourselves online, the Respect button has my head spinning for another reason. In terms of design and user experience, it’s hard for pubs to break out of the Web 2.0 standards whether it’s about asking readers to like things, comment, or use hashtags. I’m sure there are many strategists and design experts who haven’t slept considering the same things.  I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that everything starts to look the same, all the time. I don’t know for how much longer I even want to ‘like’, let alone ‘respect’ content online, although that’s the formula publications work with to determine all the numbers that make up their bottom line.

Maybe it’s the stormy weather on the East Coast that has me thinking too much about it — but what do you think? If we’ve moved past Web 2.0 and onto the semantic web, how does that affect how we’ll have to start thinking about reader engagement and page design? Is it just that we’ll  be able to better search our hashtags and generate more niche content to read? 

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