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Engaging Audiences: Measuring Interactions, Engagement and Conversions

June 15, 2012 in Community, Resources

The rise of social media tools has empowered online news startups to distribute content, market their sites and track users. However, most small news sites say they cannot lasso data to track whether they are turning users into supporters who will help their sites survive.

According to a national survey on audience engagement, nearly eight in 10 online survey respondents said they could not measure whether their engagement strategies were also converting readers into advertisers, donors, content contributors or volunteers…

“Such an effort is beyond our capacity,” said one respondent. “We need help,” said another.

These are among key findings of a new survey, funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, focusing on how “digitalfirst” news sites are engaging their audiences and measuring that engagement.

“These small sites can measure interaction with their content, but they don’t have good tools to measure meaningful engagement,” said Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which spearheaded the research. “This affects both the future of their operations and the impact they can have in their communities.”

…At least four types of engagement surfaced in the survey responses, but how well the respondents optimized these engagement strategies varied by organization. They include:

  • Engagement as outreach, driving users to consume content.
  • Engagement as reaction, inviting users to comment, share, like and chat.
  • Engagement as stakeholder participation, getting users to contribute stories, time, funding.
  • Engagement as civic participation, activating audience members to address community issues.”

Source: Engaging Audiences: Measuring Interactions, Engagement and Conversions (pdf)

Social Media Biz

May 22, 2012 in Community, Resources

Welcome to We’re here for two related reasons:

  • To help businesses and organizations achieve maximum impact with their social media strategy or campaigns.
  • To highlight news, trends, tools and resources around social media, social networks and Web 2.0.

In 2007 was named the #1 site covering the social Web. CNET named founder J.D. Lasica one of the top 100 media bloggers in the world after he launched (150,000 members), the first video hosting and sharing site.” Source: Social Media Biz

Social media isn’t just a marketing tool. It’s a philosophy and a way of engaging with stakeholders. It’s more than setting up a Facebook page. It’s about redefining how you do your work. The old model of doing business is disappearing and it’s no longer top-down. It’s not enough to delegate social media to an intern or even a consultant like myself. You need a game plan to incorporate it into all aspects of the organizational mission. When I talk to executives, they have their own set of priorities and social media can be jarring for them because it fundamentally shakes up how they do things. Change doesn’t come easy but when they see the lessons learned from successful organizations, they get excited about the possibilities.” Source: J.D. Lasica interviewed in Social Technology Review

Mobile Security Survival Guide for Journalists

May 22, 2012 in Craft, Resources, Technology

The Mobile Security Survival Guide for Journalists helps you better understand the risks inherent in the use of mobile technology. It also discusses some tactics you can use to protect yourself. The guide covers both local journalists and those on assignment in another country. It is important for any journalists or person engaged in sensitive work to understand that mobile communications are inherently insecure and expose you to risks that are not easy to detect or overcome. This guide is designed to help you navigate these challenges.

We outline the risks and offer tips to help mitigate them. Our primary goal is to help you make better decisions about using your mobile phone while on assignment for both your professional and personal communication.

It should be noted that this guide does not guarantee your safety. Rather, it is a foundational resource for you to understand and minimize risks of mobile communication in the field.

The Mobile Security Survival Guide is written with the workflow of a journalist in mind:

  1. Mobile Network Awareness: The Basics — What does your mobile use say about you?
  2. Preparing for Assignment — Assess your digital risks and prepare your phone.
  3. Reporting/In the Field — Talking to sources and conducting interviews; checking in with your newsroom, your phone in emergency situations.
  4. Filing the Story – Sending updates, news bursts, or multimedia content from the field.
  5. BONUS! Social Media – Safer use of social media to follow news, connect with sources, share breaking stories and promote your work.” Source: SaferMobile

Socialbrite Sharing Center

April 19, 2012 in Community, Education, Resources

A free learning hub for nonprofits & change-makers… Power guides, tools, tutorials, reports, resources & more. Socialbrite helps nonprofits and social enterprises with all facets of social media. Our services include strategy, creating a social presence and running campaigns.

In addition to our strategic consulting services, Socialbrite is a learning and sharing community with more than 1,000 free articles, tutorials and resources about how to use social media to advance your organization’s goals. See our Sharing Center and tutorials page, where we highlight social tools and strategies that can be used to advance the social good.

We hope you’ll contribute your expertise to help further expand what’s already become the deepest social media learning center on the Web.” Source: Socialbrite


April 19, 2012 in Community, Craft, Distribution, Resources, Technology

Storify lets you curate social networks to build social stories, bringing together media scattered across the Web into a coherent narrative. We are building the story layer above social networks, to amplify the voices that matter and create a new media format that is interactive, dynamic and social.

In the Storify editor, you can search social media networks to find media elements about the topic you want to Storify. Look through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and more to gather material for your stories.

Drag and drop status updates, photos or videos to bring together the social media elements that will best illustrate your story. You can always reorder elements in your story, or delete them if you find something better. And you can always add more items later on. Your story is always editable, so you can pull in the latest from the social web.
A Storify story is more than just a collection of elements from social media. It’s also your opportunity to make sense of what you’ve pulled together. You can write a headline, introduction and insert text anywhere inside your story. You can add headers, hyperlinks and styled text. Build a narrative and give context to your readers.

Storify stories can be embedded anywhere on the Web by simply pasting an embed code, just like embedding a video. You can also connect Storify to your WordPress or Drupal blog, publish to Tumblr or Posterous, or send an email newsletter through Mailchimp.” Source: Storify

Niche news publishing: “No one shoe fits all.”

February 29, 2012 in Blog, Craft, Experiments, Revenue

Journalism Accelerator

Little shoe big foot -- Journalism Accelerator Forum

Image credit: Lars Christensen - Fotolia

Go deep, not wide, in content and audience. That’s my quick overall takeaway from today, Day Two of our forum on sustainable journalism. Today’s conversation focused on particular opportunities for niche sites.

Let’s start with this question, and a thanks to the Oregonian News Network’s Cornelius Swart for posing it:

Who if any have done or understood the demographics of their audience before they launched their projects. Of those out there in the niche world, who has done a media audit since they launched? Are people just pricing products and seeing if they take off? Do people have a sense of audience/customer base in terms of income and consumer habits/values?”

That’s still open to answer on the forum threadBased on comments throughout the conversation, niche news sites have particular opportunities to build tight relationships with their audiences – and that is key to bringing in revenue. Rusty Coats put it this way: To monetize deep content, own the master narrative.

That is, become the voice of authority (through your coverage, of course) on a subject matter – and work diligently to hone that subject matter so that it isn’t too horizontal. Deep coverage is vertical. Readers and underwriters appreciate the focus – and that helps weed out who is NOT your audience or underwriter community.” Read the rest of this entry →

Rebooting Media: The Digital Publishing Revolution for a Fully Social Web

February 24, 2012 in Distribution, Resources, Technology

Rebooting Media: The Digital Publishing Revolution for a Fully Social Web brings together eight of the most thoughtful influencers and offers their most cogent assessment of the new online relationship-building that is helping to connect people in absolutely unprecedented ways.
Together, these eight contributors reinforce three dominant themes:

Building a media brand on the new social Web means that publishers have to meet consumers where, when and how they want. It’s all about user-driven pull, and publishers need to offer experiences and establish relationships that may not be on their own terms.

Facebook is a transformative platform driving new personalization and connectivity across the upstart social Web. We are still waiting to see all of what Facebook ultimately becomes, but we know it represents a once-in-a-generation paradigm shift.

Any way you look at it, search (as we know it) is declining. The open sharing of social networks, and the power of social endorsement, are seriously altering what consumers look for on the Web, and how we’re engaging with content. The search algorithm has lost out – big time – to the will of the audience.” Source: Rebooting Media


December 29, 2011 in Craft, Resources, Technology

We believe CoveritLive allows for a new type of online reporting; it’s a great tool for providing your expert and in-depth commentary during an event, with the ability to interact in real-time with your readers through live polls, instant questions and multimedia. Here are a few of the many ways CoveritLive can be used to engage online audiences:

CoverItLive is a simple application that can be installed on a blog with an embed code. From the front end on the blog, readers can follow the reports on the time line. They can ask questions, give comments, or send files for example pictures. At the back end the blogger or reporter controls the process. He or she starts the reporting by typing messages on the time-line. This setup makes CoverItLive highly interactive and opens the road to real time messaging.

From the console there are lots of possibilities. For example adding photos or video; sending a news flash to the followers of the session; or doing a quick poll. A session on CoverItLive is also open to Twitter, meaning tweets can be published directly.

Adding a webcam is easy, and the followers can see what is happening on location…Generally CoverItLive works best when the news breaks so fast that it does not make sense to start traditional reporting on a website or blog. Good examples of interesting practices of live blogging were the shooting in Norway … or the tsunami in Japan.” Source: Memeburn

2011 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey

October 25, 2011 in Experiments, Resources, Technology

The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey found that 2010 marked a turnaround year for local TV news. Stations added 750 jobs last year, recovering all the losses of 2009 (400 jobs lost) and making a dent in the 1,200 jobs lost in 2008. In fact, the survey found that anticipated hiring in 2011 could bring the industry back to its precrash peak by the start of 2012.” Source: Radio Television Digital News Association

The survey includes:

Part I: More Jobs, Higher Profits in TV News
Part II: Record Amount of Local News Produced on TV
Part III: Stations Sharing Content, Resources
Part IV: Increasing Maturity for Local News on the Web
Part V: Changing Social Media Landscape for TV & Radio
Part VI: Sharp Rise in TV & Radio News Salaries
Part VII: Mixed News for Women & Minorities in TV, Radio News

Community engagement: A practical conversation guide for newsrooms

October 7, 2011 in Community, Craft, Resources, Revenue

There is a general understanding among journalists these days that flourishing in today’s media landscape involves more interaction with and responsiveness to our communities. Community engagement is often cited in future-of-news conversations as a key to continued success. Nine out of 10 editors in a Spring 2011 Reynolds Journalism Institute survey said they were talking in their newsrooms about how to make the news more social and participatory. The survey reinforced, however, that editors aren’t sure what exactly that means or how to go about it.

This discussion guide is an attempt to help get folks started.

As part of my 2010-2011 RJI Fellowship (“Ditch the Lecture. Join the Conversation.”), I spent several months interviewing journalists about their changing relationships with their communities. I focused on their attitudes and actions toward their intended news consumers. Along the way, I took notes about the questions these journalists seemed to be pondering, and of the tips and strategies they shared with me. I grouped those strategies into three categories of engagement: outreach, conversation and collaboration.

You’ll find many of their ideas on the following pages, and I’m indebted to everyone who shared their time and expertise with me.” SourceReynolds Journalism Institute