Carol Tice reports:
"Reporters are in the business of getting noticed – if their stories don’t make a splash, they’ve essentially failed. That’s why they are completely focused on delivering information their readers want to know – and they use a variety of newsgathering techniques to dig it up. Fortunately, these methods aren’t hard to adopt – you can totally do this. In fact, it’s a wide-open opportunity for any blogger who wants to raise the bar for their content...[M]ost blog posts don’t tell us anything we haven’t seen a hundred times before. So if you want mad traffic to your blog, break a big story...
[S]coops happen all the time. You just need to know how to find them. One excellent way is to interview interesting people. Do a bunch of interviews on one topic, and you can even write an expose – readers always love to get a peek behind the scenes, or find out if a company’s promises are really true. And be creative about where you look for information. If you’re profiling a popular person or company, check for lawsuits on Lexis-Nexis or Justia, ask around your network, and [search] Google...to see what you find. Dig up some fresh dirt, and you’re sure to have a popular post...Reporters always have scads of ideas up their sleeves because they usually need to write several stories every week – and they never know if their editor will like their top choices. So they’ve always got backups. I call this newsgathering process 'collecting string.' Each factoid you find may not be a story in itself, but as you collect news items, you’ll start to see how your pieces might connect into an interesting, coherent set of information – a ball of string, or a trend story, instead of unrelated scraps...Create idea lists as you turn up news so that when post time rolls around, you’ve got dozens of possibilities, and you can choose the strongest topic...In addition to reading within your sector, look beyond it for ideas that might be old hat in one industry or community, but fresh to your readers...Interviewing means talking to a live human being, either in person, or on the phone, or [on] Skype. Talking to people live also allows you to build relationships, and find out personal details or tips nobody else has published. Journalists are always cultivating their sources, building trust so that they get the news first. That unique content is worth its weight in gold. A quick interview on an interesting topic can get you a ton of traffic...Tons of book authors, academics, researchers, business owners, and other experts are dying for any scrap of exposure they can get. Ask them for 10 or 15 minutes...Make a habit of ending your interviews with a future-focused question that gleans you more ideas, like, 'What’s next for you?' That way, you can hear what’s coming up that you might not know to ask about. Bonus question: Ask if you can have an exclusive on the information they’ve just given you...Journalists...nail down every fact and tell readers where they found it. You can do this too – and give your blog instant legitimacy. Find relevant research that sheds light on your topic...It’s not hard to find new surveys with a little online research – so do it. Once you get your hands on the data, see what fresh conclusions you could draw from it, aside from the headline that research house is pushing in their press release...Finally, double-check and make sure you’re citing that data accurately. It’s easy to look at the wrong line on a big chart...Here’s a final, easy trick journalists use to ensure they have a steady stream of great stories: When they hit on an interesting topic that gets a strong response, they set up a reminder that they want to revisit it again later. Reporters create 'future' files and drop a note in for six months or a year after that big conference, earthquake, bankruptcy, or interview with a fascinating rising star. Then, when that date arrives, they write a follow-up about what’s happened since...Follow-up posts have built-in popularity because they reference something readers are already familiar with and curious about. Few bloggers take the time to follow stories down the road this way, and readers will love you for giving them the update. Too many blogs raise an issue or make a claim of what they’ll do, and then the topic vanishes, leaving readers hanging. If you vowed to lose 50 pounds on your blog, be sure to come back a year later and post about it again – even if it’s to discuss why you failed to reach your goal...Think of yourself as a beat reporter covering your blog’s topic instead of 'just a blogger,' and your readers will see your blog as a high-quality online magazine. And they won’t want to miss a single issue."
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