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Tips on Integrating Editorial with Social Media

Integrating Social Media With Your Editorial

Back at the SIPA UK Conference in the summer—yes, think warm temperatures and lots of daylight—Sona Hathi of Melcrum and Mark Johnson of The Economist Group presented an excellent session on Practical Social Media: Integrating With Your Editorial. This is something that I know we deal with here at SIPA every day. Okay, the daily article has gone out, but have we tweeted about it? Which articles should be posted on LinkedIn? How much, if any, of the Hotline newsletter should be given to non-members through those channels. Are we being creative enough in what we do?

Johnson wrote that at The Economist,“Our involvement goes beyond simply running high-profile ‘brand’ accounts: on Twitter, for example, we also run separate subject-focused accounts for each of our magazine’s ten sections. Responsibility for [our social media] strategy is shared between marketing teams and editorial staffers. Our efforts to date have garnered a total audience of around 800,000 followers on Facebook and 1.2m followers on Twitter.”

Johnson emphasized the importance of tracking the visitors that come through social media and the other information that comes along with that. He also mentioned putting social media to more creative editorial use, highlighting their “Ask the Economist” and “What do you say?” events as examples. A recent print edition of The Economist featured a Special report on the world economy, written by John O’Sullivan, an economics editor. As a weekday follow-up—at 3 p.m. London time (to also accommodate the U.S. audience)—O’Sullivan took reader questions in a live Twitter dicussion, creating more good content.

Hathi offered these tips for your integration:
– Don’t let social media drive your editorial—let it be an extension of it.
– Stick to the tools that work for you! Even if it’s just one.
– Clarify the difference between your blog and your “official” editorial.
– Make social media part of the editorial workflow. Research; commission/writing; publishing; feedback.
– Don’t be afraid to be informal and have an opinion.

That last one can be tough for journalists trained in leaving out their opinions. But the idea is not to just provide information but to stimulate discussion and draw attention (and emails). Your audience is looking to you as the expert; so your opinion matters. Melcrum also uses LinkedIn for discussion forums for editorial research and to get ideas for future articles. They have a community there of more than 6,000 members.

Another tool that Melcrum uses that we don’t often talk about is Yammer, the internal social media tool. This facilitates conversation and information flow between colleagues in-house, so editorial can get content leads from their sales and marketing teams. Internal feedback can be instant (and save multiple disruptions), and less email can mean more time to create content.

Johnson urges that content producers still do the creating. “Successfully integrating social media activity with our editorial output has ensured that the core creative team retains responsibility for much of the content distributed onto third party platforms. Our social strategy has helped to spread a better understanding of our output to a far wider audience than could be achieved through our own website alone. Importantly, these channels have also become a very significant referrer of visitors to our site at economist.com; traffic from social media sites has increased more than seven-fold over the last 12 months.”

Melcrum’s blog continues to be an important part of their strategy. Written by the editorial team, they try to put up a new posting about once a week. Having more than one person write it takes the pressure off and allows people to write about what they know best. Readers of their magazine are encouraged to continue the conversation on the blog.

If you have further examples of how you are integrating your social media and editorial, we would love to know. Comment here.

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Today starts the 28th Annual SIPA Marketing Conference
in Miami Beach, with two workshops and an opening reception.

(Though tomorrow is when the sessions begin.)
You can follow some of the sessions and dialogue
by going to http://sipaonline.com/hashtagsmiami.
And join the discussion on Twitter at #sipamiami.

Learn the seven strategies that all successful special-interest online publishers have in common by downloading our FREE Seven Online Publishing Secrets white paper.

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