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TODD SMITH — American Society of News editors goes digital for measurement

TODD SMITH

TODD SMITH

In a sign of the continuing industry-wide shift away from print, the American Society of News Editors recently announced that its membership structure will focus on monthly web traffic rather than print circulation figures.

The change, announced by ASNE in an email to members last week, is a “long overdue” acknowledgement that “digital media is a primary platform for storytelling and where consumers often turn first for news and information,” ASNE President Mizell Stewart III, the vice president for news operations for Gannett and the USA Today Network, told Poynter.

“The leaders of U.S. newsrooms have moved far beyond their roots in daily newspapers, serving readers across every content platform. Now, ASNE’s membership structure reflects that reality,” he said.

Under the previous dues structure, editors and news executives paid membership fees according to their publication’s print circulation, with a separate section for online-only news sites. Going forward, that will change.

Now, membership will focus on monthly unique visitors. There are different membership tiers for news organizations with more than 10 million unique visitors ($395), 1 to 10 million unique visitors ($295), 500,000 to 1 million unique visitors ($195) and less than 500,000 unique visitors ($95).

ASNE has also announced a new, lower-priced membership tier for news leaders who aren’t in a top-two position at a news organization and opinion journalists. These changes aim to reflect the organization’s emphasis on cultivating up-and-coming news executives and welcome journalists from its merger with the Association of Opinion Journalists.

The ASNE board realized that expanding membership categories to include leaders at all levels of news organizations would only strengthen the organization and the services it provides.

This isn’t the first change ASNE has made to reflect the rise of digital media. In 2009, the organization dropped “newspaper” from its name, citing a desire “to reflect the fact that we serve editors who are leaders in delivering news on multiple platforms.”

Tips For Better Facebook Engagement

If you are experiencing a drop in Facebook engagement and want to do something about it, there are key small changes you can make to give life to your posts, generate clicks, likes and comments.

Here are the seven tips for better Facebook engagement according to Social Media Examiner:

1. Pose a Question.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to kickstart a dialogue with your Facebook fans is to ask them a question. Basically, you’re inviting a response. If fans can relate to the question and you find a way to leverage people’s interests or needs, they’ll find it hard not to answer. Here are some questions to ask:

» Specific: What’s your favorite?

» Tips: How do you?

» Experiences: What’s your favorite moment from experience/memory?

» Edgy: Do you think?

» Direct: Why do you?

» Events: Who is going/Who attended?

» Timely: Today is…, so what are you?

2. Ask Fans to Make a Choice.

A fun way to get your fans to engage with you is to publish a “this or that” post. Ask people to choose a side, pick a favorite, or make a choice between two things. An added benefit is that it can create a division among your fans, which can spark a dialogue in the comments.

Most of the time, those debates are good fun but be mindful of trolls. If you want to spark even more debate, you can always mix in a little controversy but avoid politics.

3. Post When Your Fans Are Online.

People use Facebook at different times of the day. Some are on Facebook throughout the day, while others may only check it in the early morning or evening. If you’re randomly publishing a few posts each day, there’s a good chance some of your audience will miss them. By the time they check their feed, your content could be buried.

A better tactic is to post when your audience is most active. Check your Facebook Insights to find that data. To access it, click the Insights tab and then click Posts in the left menu.

By default, the dashboard shows data for when your fans are online. You can adjust the date range to compare blocks of time so you can see what times of the day your fans are most active.

Tip: Posting late at night (when your fans are less active) isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s less competition in their feed, so the people who are active on the site are more likely to see and engage with your content. If that engagement jumps a bit, there’s a better chance your audience will see it when they come online in the morning.

Try posting at different times to see what works best for you.

4. Share Relevant Images.

A picture can say a lot more than a text post. A visually striking image can bring the rapid thumb-scroller to a halt. Images have proven time and again to improve engagement, especially when they tell a story or connect with the audience on a personal or emotional level.

According to BuzzSumo, Facebook posts with images see more than double the engagement of basic text posts.

Use relevant, colorful, and high-quality images. If you want to spice up your photos but don’t have Photoshop-level skills, try free tools like Canva and Adobe Spark.

5. Engage With Other Brands.

There’s no rule that says you need to limit your Facebook efforts to your own page. Wander the social landscape, post to other pages, and engage with brands when there’s synergy and a shared audience.

However, you need to be tactful. The other business and their fans know what you’re up to, so don’t post spam. Treat it just like you would audience engagement: build the relationship, share content, and engage with people.

If you can work out an agreement to share someone else’s content, it will help provide a mutually beneficial boost in organic reach, as both sides are exposed to a wider audience.

6. Crowdsource Feedback.

People love giving feedback. When you ask for input the right way, your audience will jump on board and be quick to respond. The added benefit is you can uncover opportunities to improve your business and delight your customers.

Imagine the potential boost to customer loyalty (and future engagement) if you make changes to your business based on the input you receive? Give this tactic a try. It’s a much more personal approach than surveys and you can respond to people directly to address their feedback.

7. Include a Call to Action.

The standing rule for any kind of marketing is that if you want your audience to do something, you have to tell them to do it. Use a call to action in every post, whether it’s to prompt a comment, share, opt in, like, RSVP, or any other action.

Haywired Mic | Pence Keeps Cool, Kaine Melts in VP Debate

The only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election season was a complete disaster for the Clinton campaign. While Mike Pence kept his cool, Tim Kaine tried to imitate Joe Biden’s interruption-heavy performance against Paul Ryan in 2012 – without half his charisma. Kaine’s biggest downfall, though, may not have been his smarmy, negative, ceasingly interrupting mouth.

Compared to Kaine, Pence told a compelling story of a country that has lost its way, and how he and Trump intend to restore it. “Make America Great Again” might be one of the best political slogans of the past decade. But Trump owes its creation to people such as Margaret Thatcher and Reagan, who worked to spread the neoliberal gospel that’s now seeped into both parties. That evangelizing project has been incredibly successful, with each candidate airing concerns about government spending, personal responsibility and the limits of American coffers.

Kaine’s constant “I know it all” interruptions might be considered the 2016 version of Al Gore’s groans. It made him come across as a thoroughly unlikable figure.

By contrast, Pence was calm and cool. He methodically hammered home the Trump campaign’s positive themes – let’s get America’s economy moving again, let’s put American workers first, let’s bring back American jobs, let’s project strength in the world, America needs change.

Pence won the debate by a landslide, and wins a Golden Mic, while Kaine gets a Haywired, Melted Mic!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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