It’s not enough to simply publish content on the Web and hope that the audience will come. You have to work the system.
Writing at Poynter Online, Managing Editor Mark Russell of the Orlando Sentinel shares some strategies that work for his newspaper’s site:
1. Write Web-friendly headlines that are readily picked up by search engines and clicked on by searchers. This means using quick, informative, concrete language. Some recent examples from the Sentinel’s site:
- Kidnapped teen’s dad: ‘Watch your children’
- 10 held, 3 at large in cocaine roundup
- Polk residents can recycle tires, phones, ink cartridges
It also means avoiding the clever turns of phrases that may amuse your colleagues but leave the Web audience scratching its collective head. For instance, "Commission to dive in on pool." Oops–that was a rare instance of The Sentinel ignoring its own advice.
2. Submit article links to social recommendation & networking sites. Russell describes two recent cases in which the paper attracted considerable attention for local stories by putting links to them on Facebook.