Engagement – a buzzword for many industry professionals and one that’s key for journalists.
At a recent media networking event, a journalist from The Times explained the strategy behind its digital content and how the dynamics have changed, bringing a new meaning to reader engagement.
Before the rise of the internet, a story was researched, filed and then published. The trail ended there, with the exception of a possible letter to the editor in response.
Now the trail begins once the story is published with the option of numerous outlets enabling a reader to engage with both the story and the journalist behind it.
Social media outlets have a big part to play in this, with many journalists embracing them as a means of fostering a direct link between writer and reader.
The comments section under an article online, once thought of as the ‘wild west’ of journalism, has now become a flourishing area of debate with both reader and journalist sharing their thoughts and progressing the issue.
This active input from readers allows them to cultivate a greater link with a particular media and, in turn, offers the media outlet valuable insight into its audience. The ability to gain feedback on the story in question and insight into readers’ views enables the outlet to further target its content to ensure it remains relevant, timely and keeps readers coming back for more.
The inclusion of keywords, weblinks and hashtags in the copy prolongs the debate by bringing in other relevant pieces of content as well as serving a valuable SEO purpose.
Engagement – it’s not a nice to have, it’s a business imperative.