Since becoming online director in Ventura in 2004, I’ve included a slide in all my presentations on web content strategy called, “What We’ve Learned From Blogs.”
Typical bullet points:
- Post often
- Post irregularly
- Stay on topic
- Post chronologically
- Engage in conversation
These are things that the most popular blogs do.
Frequent updates, unfettered by deadlines, and coming in reverse chronological order are proven traffic drivers.
Blogs are also about conversation — even bloggers who don’t allow comments on their sites, still engage in conversation by linking to and commenting on posts from other bloggers, or MSM articles.
Most popular bloggers also focus on a particular theme, be it politics or culture or sports, etc.
Blogs are arguably the first web-native publishing model, so it only makes sense that blogs would provide a template for how to publish online.
Howard Kurtz writes this week about the breakout success of HuffingtonPost.
Is it any surprise that one of the fastest growing online publishing operations is powered by frequent updates, lots of content and lots of links?
This is a formula that works. I’ve seen it work first hand, and continue to see it work.
The significant variation for HuffPost is the broad range of topics the site covers.
Too many newspaper web sites are still focused on being the newspaper online. That’s a mistake. Newsrooms should focus on making their sites a community news platform. That’s how you grow traffic.
[…] Read the full article here: What we’ve learned from blogs […]
I was blogging when HuffPo first came online, and I have to say that one of the key things that the site achieved was the ability to wrangle people who wouldn’t ordinarily blog into posting on the site. The significant variation for HuffPo isn’t the topics, or the frequency of posts, or the links, but the celebrity nature of many of the writers who’ve posted in the past.
Not saying that the rest of this post isn’t true, but HuffPo is an anomaly because of its celebrity-packed stable of authors.
Bryan, you hit on a point I thought about and then forgot while writing …
Brand identity helped HuffPo a lot, but that’s one thing, within their own communities, that a newspaper site also has going for it. So that’s not an unbeatable advantage for HuffPo in context.
Yes, I agree, inasmuch as a local newspaper has some local “stars” to attract readers. But HuffPo is on a different level as far as star power goes. They can get folks like Jamie Lee Curtis to write something. Now that’s not something that the average newspaper is going to be able to achieve. Still, I think most of your points are spot on.
[…] howardowens.com: media blog Â» Blog Archive Â» What weâ€™ve learnd from blogs â€” how to grow audience Too many newspaper web sites are still focused on being the newspaper online. Thatâ€™s a mistake. Newsrooms should focus on making their sites a community news platform. Thatâ€™s how you grow traffic. (tags: owens blogs newspapers community online) […]
With regard to Bryan’s comment about celebrities – I think a broader factor lacking from the 5 point list is the importance of authentic persona/charisma.
Newspaper reporting to a large extent is devoid of personality, and the “personalities” projected by most TV news anchors too artificial to work in the more intimate environment of the net.
Regarding “personalities” … search my site for “personal journalism”
yes agreed Howard.
Over the last few years traditional news sources have lost audiences – but it is not just blogs that are in the ascendancy.
Talk radio – I would venture Limbaugh has more minutes of audience than all the bloggers in the US combined.
Books – much of what we know of Iraq etc comes from books/reviews of books.
Movies – news editors complain that the public is not interested in the difficult issues like global warming and health care reform.
What do books, blogs, movies and talk shows have that traditional news reporting does not? Could it be authentic personalities?
[…] howardowens.com: media blog Â» Blog Archive Â» What weâ€™ve learnd from blogs â€” how to grow audience “Post often, Post irregularly, Stay on topic, Post chronologically, Engage in conversation” (tags: internet newspapersites community participatory journalism citizenmedia blogging) […]
[…] There are obviously other lessons that mainstream-media can learn from the blogsphere but the importance of personality, charisma, authenticity is close to the top of the list. Howard Owens disagrees. In his list ofÂ â€œWhat Weâ€™ve Learned From Blogs.â€ When I commented on this ommission his somewhat cryptic response suggested that while he was an advocate of stronger public personas for journalists this was not an area where bloggers were the best model. Perhaps he is right – after all newspaper journalists don’t need to follow the example of the celebrity personas who power the Huffington post could certainly learn the same lesson from Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh. […]
[…] Owens, Howard. â€œWhat Weâ€™ve Learned From Blogs â€” How to Grow Audience.â€ Media Blog (9 July 2007). http://www.howardowens.com/2007/what-weve-learnd-from-blogs-how-to-grow-audience/. 35 […]
[…] This is one of those things blogs have taught us. […]