Newspaper reporters and writers have the chops and credibility that many bloggers, even successful ones, can't touch. But they have a different sort of secret sauce that could drive you to a new level of newspaper success.
The most influential bloggers share a few common threads that their audiences respond to, and so might yours. They're not especially difficult, but they do require a different way of thinking.
Want to transform your work? Learn to act more like a blogger.
#1: Bloggers Know How to Build an Audience
Articles posted at national digital news sites sometimes have comments numbering in the thousands and even tens of thousands. But when was the last time the writer joined in the conversation? That's not a community, it's a sounding board.
Successful bloggers build an audience by interacting with them. And devoted blog readers keep coming back and commenting because they feel a connection with the blogger.
Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says, "Influence is made, not born." Every blog started out with nothing. The thriving ones did something different from all of the rest. "Remember that bloggers' influence is derived from their own ability and moxie, whereas journalists' influence is in large measure derived via the outlet they represent."
#2: Bloggers Remember That Social Media is Social
Most newspapers have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. And so do bloggers. The difference, again, is the personal way that it's used.
For bloggers, social makes communication a richer experience with video, live streaming events, real conversations and a sense of community.
Social is a shared newspaper content dream waiting to be had. The audience can share a post and then move on, which is probably what they do now. Or they can participate in an engaging conversation that makes shares more likely.
#3: They Don't Even Think About Paywalls
Imagine a paid blog. It wouldn't be a lucky one. The same applies to paid news content if you ask news consumers. Some newspapers have made the paywall work. But search Twitter for "paywall," and this is what you'll get:
Take Down That Paywall: Foundations vs. Top Journals Over Open Access https://t.co/b28MsSBTpO
- Katherine Hay (@KeHay) January 25, 2017
I wanted to see this but a paywall blocked me
maybe this is why false news is a thing, no one can read real news https://t.co/uNXVffHpW7
- Paul Tagliamonte (@paultag) December 19, 2016
This is a different news climate where transparency is imperative. Paywalls can send the wrong message.
Of course, bloggers don't think about paywalls because they don't need the same level of revenue. Their audience wouldn't buy it, anyway. So maybe put a new twist on social media shares and see what happens.
Reach out with options, don't block the people you want to attract. Give social users a paywall workaround that only functions from a social media share and see how much happier they'll be.
#4: Some of Them Would Love to Partner Up
Some journalists keep a regular blog. And bloggers recently won First Amendment protection as journalists. But they're still not the same. So what if newspapers partnered with bloggers and each side benefitted from the skills and resources the other lacked? That could be the new journalism you've been looking for.
Baer says bloggers:
- Build their influence from the ground up
- Are super busy
- Need high traffic and influence
- "Want to co-create content with you"
Blogging for a newspaper would give them more exposure and newspaper brand credibility, which can be churned back into their own blog and ultimately bring more opportunity. Newspapers would gain the personal touch, influential citizen journalism skills and a deeper authenticity that salaried employees can't spare the time to craft.
Agility keeps bloggers scurrying after some new something that impresses the audience and makes content more and more shareable. Unfortunately, being agile is something newspapers can't afford. At least not without adding more to the payroll.
But thinking quick and adapting to change is part of that blogging secret sauce. Figure out how to be visionary like a blogger or better yet, partner up with one. If not, their reach and influence might surpass yours before you know it.
Want to learn more about the state of the newspaper industry and what comes next?