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Briggs: Good content key to digital survival

March 27, 2010

By Anthony Capps

For news organizations to be successful online, they must produce good content and add value to the Internet.

Mark Briggs, entrepreneur and author of “Journalism 2.0” and “Journalism Next,” said good content, no matter what organization produces it, will be spread via online social networks – such as Facebook and Twitter – which is key to increasing a website’s traffic.

Mark Briggs. Photo by John Ryan

That means all organizations need to be learn how to properly use these social platforms, Briggs said.

Facebook and Twitter are the two largest examples of sites journalists need to become familiar and fluent in because they offer access to much more than a new way to broadcast information.

The two are essential to be active on and asking the community to interact with the news organization and each other is key. These sites help news organizations spread breaking news, crowdsource, and link to other sites on the web and in-house linking to previous stories, topics or projects on certain subjects.

Facebook seems to have broken an age barrier, while Twitter has not become a habit for young people. However, Briggs said the older people get the more Twitter appeals. Facebook takes a time commitment and it’s something the older you get the less time you have for the one site.

Briggs said YouTube is another vital platform news organizations need to be on.

There may be some hesitation by some to learn how to use these sites, Briggs said, but journalists should learn them because the platform these sites have developed will never go away.

“Companies may come and go but the service will never go away,” he said. “Something will take their place.”

Briggs suggested story-level pages include the ability for a reader to share the link on various social sites. This will allow it a story to enter into ReddIt, StumbleUpon, Delicious or Digg.

However, Briggs warned against news organizations creating their own accounts on such sites because it is fake promotion and the audience probably won’t be local – no benefit for advertising.

“Knowing who is visiting your website and your online site and where they’re coming from is all a part of your big picture,” Briggs said.

Since most traffic doesn’t come from people first visiting the home page, Briggs said to increase a news organization’s search engine optimization is incredibly important.

This means more headlines and the first two graphs need to have all the key words mentioned and stating the obvious – like the city, county – is important. This “Googlejuice” allows search engines like Google to find the stories and place them at the top of a search because Google partly runs by how many keywords are on a web page.

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