Mastering social media: more things worth reading

Here are some articles I’ve come across recently that I’ve found useful. At the bottom of the page there are links to previous social media reading lists, too.



Introducing the Tweet Activity Dashboard (Twitter)

What does it mean when someone favorites your Tweet? Here are 25 possible answers (Washington Post)



News Feed FYI: A Window Into News Feed (Facebook)

Facebook timing its users to crack down on ‘click-baiting’ headlines (The Guardian)

When Does A Facebook Post Get Most Traction? Sunday! (Forbes)

FB Newswire, A New Tool for Journalists (Beyond Bylines)

Best Practices for Journalists on Facebook (Facebook)



How a single LinkedIn blog post took 5 days to outperform my entire blogging output over the previous 4 years. And what we can learn from this. (Andrew Bruce Smith)

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn (HubSpot)



Understanding the Knowledge Graph (Kahena Digital Marketing)

How to Create Google+ Hangouts On Air: A Step-by-Step Guide (

What the end of Google Authorship says about the difference between search and social (The Media Briefing)


More reading
Social media reader: Mastering Social Media
Mastering social media: a reader
Mastering social media: another reader


Posted in Uncategorized

Why online headlines are different. And 5 other Content Desk articles

I’ve just completed some work for Content Cloud, a new digital marketplace that puts those seeking content (words, photos, graphics etc) with those that make it. Content Cloud has a sister site called Content Desk and as well as helping develop an editorial plan for the site, I contributed a few articles along the way. Here they are, all in one place:

How to write headlines for the web

What George Orwell can still teach us about writing and readability

Online headlines are different. And here’s the proof

David Mitchell and the art of 140 character storytelling

The Content Marketing Strategy checklist

The Streisand Effect and lessons in transparency






Posted in Blogging, Content marketing, Digital strategy, Journalism, Mobile, Newspapers, Publishing models, Search, Social media

Mastering Social Media: A Frontline Club Workshop | 12 September 2014

A quick plug for the latest ‘Mastering Social Media’ workshop that I will be running at the Frontline Club on Friday 12 September. It is aimed at journalists, former journalists and anyone in a communications role who truly wants to understand the power and potential of social media.

Here’s a taste of the agenda:

How to Tweet: A social media primer

This session will teach journalists – in-house and freelance – and communications professionals how to raise their profile, extend their reach and understand how to integrate social media into their newsgathering, research and campaigning.

This interactive session will cover the following and more:

  • Social media: understanding the basics
  • Two tales from the newsroom that demonstrate the power of social
  • Six ways social media can help your journalism: crowd sourcing, fact checking, taste testing, finding eyewitnesses and more
  • The social media audit: from Twitter and Facebook to Google+, LinkedIn and beyond
  • When to post: how online consumption habits are changing
  • How to manage your social footprint all in one place
  • How to get noticed and grow your follower count legitimately
  • Eleven social media tips

How to Blog . . . For reputation, profile and reach

In this session, Bernstein will explore the basics of blogging, the dos and don’ts, reveal who are the masters of the craft, and layout the editorial techniques – as well as the tactics and tools – you’ll need for success.

You’ll cover a range of subjects including:

  • Blogging basics
  • When is a blog post not a blog post?
  • What kind of blogger are you? The polemicist, the educator, the analyst, the observer, the magpie and more
  • How to establish a tone of voice
  • Frequency and variety: defining a rhythm to suit you and the reader
  • How to get noticed
  • Blogging dos and don’ts

You can find out more here, including how to book.

Posted in Blogging, Social media, Training

Twitter and the art of 140 character storytelling

In essence this is why I think Twitter remains interesting:

Those who insist that Twitter is made up of nothing more than trivial, self-indulgent and tedious posts simply haven’t seen it at its best. And Twitter works best when people accept that it is their job to add the layer of creativity on top of what is a very simple platform, namely SMS text messaging minus 20 characters.

Like the best tabloid headline writers and advertising copy writers, the craft lies in the ability to convey meaning and emotion in a limited space.

Continue reading; David Mitchell, Twitter and the art of 140 character storytelling



Tagged with:
Posted in Social media, Writing for the web

In the course of ‘Politics and the English Language’, Orwell offers not one but three numbered lists. Eat your heart out BuzzFeed

Q. What can George Orwell teach us about language and readability?

A. Quite a lot.

His 1946 essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’ is not to everybody’s taste but as guide to simple and effective writing it’s a great place to start. I’ll be using it in my Writing for the Web workshop at the Frontline Club in November and I’ve written a piece on it for Content Desk.

Among the advice Orwell offers is this:

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

1. What am I trying to say?

2. What words will express it?

3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?

4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And in the course of the 5,000+ word article, he produces not one but three numbered lists. Very now.

Read: What George Orwell Can Still Teach Us About Writing And Readability


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Posted in Blogging, Content marketing, Journalism, Magazines, Newspapers, Training, Writing for the web

Newsnight’s future, data journalism, and town hall Pravdas

A couple of weeks ago I appeared on the Media Focus podcast hosted by Paul Blanchard. I was on with Suzanne Franks from City University. We talked about:

- Newsnight post-Jeremy Paxman and came up with a list of obvious (and not so obvious) replacements
– Data journalism (with a little Channel 4 FactCheck nostalgia); and
– Local council freesheets


You can listen to it here (second on the list, as of posting)


Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Digital strategy, Journalism

Web headlines have to work harder than print headlines. Here’s why

Over on the brand new Content Desk site, I’ve written a post on the craft of online headline writing. Underscoring the piece is an argument that web headlines have to work harder than print headlines. Here’s why:

Invariably a print headline, whether in a magazine or a newspaper, will be supported by:

- a standfirst (sometimes known as the sell, intro or kicker)
– an image or photograph
– an image caption
– a pull-quote; and
– the article itself

All of the above help sell the article. If the headline doesn’t pull you in, the image might; if not the image then the standfirst, the image caption, the pull-quote or even the opening few paragraphs of the piece itself.

By contrast, an online headline will often act alone – seen among a list of links on your website, a link on someone else’s site, on Twitter or on a search engine results page. And because it frequently works alone, the headline must do more.

We can argue over the merits of some online headline (link bait, anyone?) but what is more difficult to dispute is this: if a headline gets clicked on, it has succeeded; if it doesn’t, it has failed. That’s web meritocracy in action.

Click here to read ‘How to write headlines for the web‘ in full.

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Posted in Content marketing, Journalism, Training, Writing for the web
Jon Bernstein: I am a digital media consultant, writer and editor and this is my personal blog.

Previously, I was digital director / deputy editor at the New Statesman, the multimedia editor at Channel 4 News, launch editor of Channel 4 FactCheck, editor-in-chief at Directgov and editor-in-chief of

How to contact me>>

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