online publications on Twitter

Twitter Strategies for News Agencies

twitter strategiesResearch from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that 93% of tweets from major news organizations contain a link to their own site. Only six percent of tweets didn't have a link, and a dismal one percent contain a link to another news site. The study looked at over 3,600 tweets from 13 news institutions in a one week period, finding that their use of Twitter is primarily to disseminate their own information and content. Although this isn't a bad way for news agencies to use Twitter, the microblogging tool can be more than a soap box for your own news stories. Here are a few additional Twitter strategies for news agencies, so more of those tweets aren't just links to articles:

  1. Enhance Reporting by Asking Questions - Twitter is full of experts, and full of ideas. If you need help finding sources, or finding story angles, then let the Twitterverse in on it. This can save you a lot of time and headache if yo're stuck , or add more quality to your stories by finding more sources with personal experience related to your topic. Of course, Twitter shouldn't be a replacement for good 'ole legwork and talking to people in person. But, it doesn't hurt as as supplement.
  2. Listen - Make sure to listen to your followers and get a sense of what is going on. You may be able to find a few things to report on, or make contacts with your reporting or your news in the long run. A good way to listen is to consider what your followers would like you to write about, or to ask them for story suggestions. Another way is to look at trending hashtags, or see what sort of stories they are tweeting. Perhaps you could do something that ties into those hashtags or popular stories. Either way, you know you'll be delivering a product that your readers will actually want.
  3. Encourage Your Writers/Journalists to Use Twitter - It's important for news organizations to showcase a personal side as well, and your writers and journalists are some of the best people to do that. Let them share their stories (and the stories of other journalists and news organizations). Let them share tidbits from their lives and to have conversations with followers over the platform. Not only is this a little more personal, but it's also one more way for your followers to engage with your online publication or news agency. Make sure to encourage them to do more than just tweet their own stories, but to engage with their followers and to share the content of others as well.
  4. Have a Strategy - Simply tweeting links for the sake of tweets and having a presence isn't going to help you. It's easy to get carried away with tons of accounts, and tons more tweets. You need a bigger purpose than that. What sort of news will you be tweeting? Who are your readers? Who's your competition? Will you have other Twitter accounts working in conjunction with this one? Answer those questions, and then you can tweet with purpose.

If news agencies and online publications make a switch in their Twitter strategies and make an effort to include follower engagement, then they could pull ahead of the pack on social media. Social media is not longer perceived as an untrustworthy source, as something that only jokers and teenagers do for fun. Social media sites like Twitter provide a lot of opportunity for news agencies and online publications to find news, to improve the news they deliver, and to deliver the news of others (news that otherwise wouldn't have been covered by your organization).

5 Annoying Things that Online Publications Do on Twitter

Twitter best practices Twitter is an amazing tool for online magazines and publications. It's a great way to share your latest articles, to find out what is trending, and to do some networking with sources and other online publications. however, there are online magazines who are using Twitter incorrectly, or are tweeting in a way that drives followers crazy instead of engaging them. Here are five annoying things that online publications do on Twitter, and why they drive followers nuts:

  1. Tweeting 20 Times an Hour - That's once every three minutes! Even if you have that many articles coming out per hours, tweeting more than two or three times an hours clogs up the feeds of your followers. That's annoying, especially if your followers are looking for things to retweet or just want to see what's going on with the people/companies they follow. Pushing so many tweets in a short period of time makes it hard for your tweets to be relevant to your followers, or even get any attention as their competing against each other as well as against competitors.
  2. Tweeting a Headline w/o Context - This one drives people crazy because just tweeting the headline and the link to your article doesn't make the reader interested or engaged. Why should I care about your headline and article when a lot of online magazines are pushing their content the same way? To make  your tweet stand out, start by asking a question, or revealing a startling fact or statistic from the article. It provides a context that the reader could consider or relate to. It gives them a reason to read your article.
  3. Blatant Advertising - Without naming names, there is one online publication who constantly tweets "check out our website," "like us on Facebook", "share our web page". And that's it. It doesn't tweet articles. It doesn't tweet updates or questions or anything other than advertising. It doesn't give any reason why this Facebook page or web page is worth checking out or sharing. Non of their tweets provide anything useful to readers and followers. That's annoying, and will lose you followers instead of gaining them.
  4. Using Meaningless Hashtags - Hashtags are a way to categorize your tweets. This makes them findable by those curating content or looking for tweets related to a certain topic, like #solarenergy or #contentmarketing. However, some like to throw in all kinds of hashtags just to make their tweet show up in more places. Yet, some of these hashtags are useless and meaningless, such as #like, #alternative, #loving, and #this. Those hashtags cannot possibly describe any tweet well, and their use is only meant to file the tweet in more places in hopes of getting a few more eyeballs. Irrelevance is low quality, and using meaningless hashtags only ruins any value your tweet could possibly have.
  5. Tweeting Without Links - I've actually seen an online magazine do this, where their tweets ask people to check out an article or their latest issue, or they tweet about an event coming up, and provide no link to it! Granted, not every tweet should contain a link, but if you're going to tweet about an article or an event, then a link adds value to the tweet by giving followers a chance to read that article or to learn more about that event. No one is going to take the time to search the web for that article or event after seeing your tweet without a link. Make it easy for followers to engage. Do yourself a favor by giving people the links so they can actually visit your site or attend your event.

Twitter can be indispensable, but it won't do anything good for your online magazine if you do any of the five annoying things. These five annoying things irritate your followers, and will only drive them away or stop people from following you in the first place. However, stop these bad habits, and put good habits in their place, and you'll see a real difference in the results.