Last night’s San Diego Press Club “Writing for the Web” panel discussion provided some valuable insights regarding the differences between writing for print and writing for the web.
Christine Benton of Burson-Marsteller offered a number of SEO tactics for writers. She suggested that writers should use headlines, subheads and section headers that include searchable keywords. Go to https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and search for your keywords. If there’s a term more popular than yours, consider replacing it. She also suggested that writers optimize the title, URL, and first 100 words of news articles. She added, “To measure your results — on the day before your story goes live, do a search for your keywords and see how high your site ranks. Do the same search on the day your story posts and compare.”
Helen Change, business editor of San Diego News Network, said that people scan the web, they don’t really read, so insert lots of subheads, hyperlinks, lots of video and make it short. She suggested that you market your stories via Twitter, Linked in, Facebook, etc.
Scott Lewis, editor of Voice of San Diego, said, “The web is freedom. The web is everything you want a communication device to be. But with freedom comes a burden, to get noticed you have to do something that no one else is doing, you have to add real value.” He said under the old journalistic system, editors were the gatekeepers/created the portals for readers. Now people can create their own portals.
Scott concluded: “To know what you want to achieve and build a community that shares that vision.”
Ron Donoho, editor at SanDiegoDTOWN, and a blogger for NBC7/39, commented about the changing media landscape. He said, “A lot of younger people think that if it’s news, the news will find them.” He uses email, Twitter and Facebook to maximize the reach of his website. He added that he gets more comments through his Facebook page than through his website.
They all laughed about the question, “Where does your news life end and your personal life begin?