Use The “Five Ws” To Build Your Content Strategy

The 5 Ws of Content Strategy

The 5 Ws of Content StrategyYou know that blog that you love, or that online magazine that keeps you coming back for more? If you’re craving more posts to read, there’s a reason. The content creators have a strategy in place to lure you in like a siren’s song.

If your brand is producing content, you need a strategy to guide it, too. A strategy is more than creating a set number of blog articles a week; it’s about having a goal-oriented, actionable plan that inspires readers to engage with your brand.

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Storify Gathers Social Media Mentions of News Stories

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Journalists and writers are always looking for quicker and more efficient ways to get the latest news. We are increasingly depending more on using social media as a way to get current information from around the world. Among some of the new tools available is a free website called Storify.com. This site lets you gather tweets, TwitPics, Flickr photos, Facebook updates, YouTube videos, and Instagram photos in one group. You can then add commentary and publish it on the Web as a story. Using the Storify editor journalists and the general public can search social media networks to find related posts about their topic of interest.

Burt Herman, co-Founder of Storify started the site when he was looking a lot at innovation and how it could be applied to journalism website copywriting services with the web and social media. “Everyone on the ground is potentially a reporter,” he says. The site officially launched in April 2011. Herman says that instead of searching all these different places and copying and pasting, with this site it’s basically just drag and drop, then users can put the their story together on the site and embed it anywhere else.

Herman says as far as attribution goes, whoever puts the story together gets the credit. “You can have your story here, publish it and someone else can publish it on their site, but you will always have the attribution and you can see all the places your story has been embedded,” he adds.

Herman gives an example of a student journalist who put together a story on Occupy Wall Street and the Washington Post embedded it on their site.

According to Herman, in the near future, Storify will be made more user friendly so that the general public can use it to create stories about various topics and publish it.

I got some feedback from Jaclyn Schiff, a journalist / media consultant in the Washington, DC area who’s used Storify. Schiff says Storify is a clean and visually appealing way to take pieces of web content and weave them together to tell a story. She’s used it to create lists (here is a recent example from Brazen Life) and summarize live-tweeted events (here is an example that she used as part of a UN Dispatch post).

“The web is so real-time these days. News is being broken and reported in tweets, status updates etc. I think Storify is a great tool for presenting highlights or summarizing a story that has already played out online using the “original source material.”

Schiff adds that although Storify can be a little buggy at times, it’s usually fast and easy to use and integrates seamlessly with most content management systems.

4 Online Tools to Watch in 2012

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Twitter and Facebook spent much of 2011 battling for social media supremacy, while Google introduced its own social network, Google +, last summer.

Experts have a range of predictions for 2012, among them that social media will get boring (perhaps the focus will shift towards using the tools instead of reporting on them as news) and that businesses will increasingly outsource content (good news for you, freelancers!). Content curation, image-sharing, and video also appear on most social media predictions.

As we welcome the new year, here are four of the websites and apps we’ll be watching.

  1. Pinterest: Design bloggers, brides-to-be, and photo junkies have been using this image-sharing site for awhile, but it’s recently gone more mainstream with a fluffy of new users. In fact, Mashable reports that Pinterest grew from 1.2 million users last August to 4 million as of December. Users “pin” images they like to one of their themed “boards” and other users can “repin” images (similar to retweets on Twitter). Book-lovers might use Pinterest as a visual representation of books they read or want to read, while novelists might create boards for each character or setting to use as virtual inspiration boards. And some bloggers and website copywriting services are already using the site to boost their traffic by pinning an eye-catching image from each post.
  2. Storify: This is social media curation tool went live in April 2011, allowing users to tell stories by collecting tweets, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and other types of multimedia content in one spot. Recent stories include the Italian Economic Dilemma and New Year’s Eve at Occupy Wall Street. Users in other languages and media outlets like The Weather Channel and The Vancouver Sun are already using it, and we’ll be interested to see if it gains momentum this year.
  3. Instagram: This photo-sharing iPhone app is already wildly popular, and an Android app is in the works. We predict that similar services like PicplzPath, and Color (for 30-second videos) will continue driving interest in real-time photos as 2012 unfolds. MediaBistro’s 10,000 Words blog offered tips on how new organizations can use Instagram (or any of these photo-sharing tools, really) to crowdsource information or share breaking news while following to the principles of ethical journalism.
  4. Flipboard: This iPhone and iPad app for customized news reading was downloaded more than a million times within a week of its December launch. As mobile content heats up, apps that give readers greater control over the media they consume and how it’s displayed could help news organizations stay relevant. It’s also a way for journalists to cut through the clutter online and current in their beat. One of Flipboard’s competitors, Zite for iPhone, was described as the Pandora of News.
Writers, have you used any of these website or apps for reporting or consuming news? What would you add to this list?

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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