Writing for the web: a June 2015 reading list

A random selection of articles on the art (or more accurately, the craft) of writing for the web:

Blogging

Why I blog by Andrew Sullivan | The Atlantic (November 2008)

My life in the blogosphere by Ben Smith | BuzzFeed

Article treatment

In Defense of the Listicle by David Leonhardt | New York Times

How to make journalism work online: five writing tips by me | Press Gazette

Beyond the churn by Sarah Smarsh | Aeon

New Associated Press guidelines: keep it brief by Paul Farhi | Washington Post

Quartz’s Kevin Delaney: Time to kill the 800-word article by Brian Morrissey | Digiday

The allure of the finishable news experience by Sarah Marshall | NiemanLab

The homepage

64 Ways To Think About a News Homepage by Melody Joy Kramer | Medium

The homepage is dead, and the social web has won by Zachary M Seward | Quartz

Homepage as front page is an historical accident by me | Guardian Media Network

Posted in Uncategorized

Paywalls, format and why we don’t always know what’s going to happen even when the signs are there

For observers of digital media two things stood out in Alan Rusbridger’s valedictory column in Saturday’s Guardian. The first was more obvious, the second more interesting.

1. On paywalls
The outgoing editor compares what he calls the “polar opposites” of the UK newspaper trade – the paywalled Times and the free-to-air Guardian. The Times, he notes, claims a daily audience of 281,000 while the Guardian registers 7 million unique browsers a day.

On an equal accounting basis, we’re losing (or investing) about the same amount of money. You’ll have to come back in 10 or even 20 years time to find out who judged the future best.

While he’s right to say it will take a while for the winning formula to be identified – and it may well be neither of the above – I wonder if The Times accept the phrase “equal accounting basis”.

2. On newspaper formats
Today’s discussions about publishing formats are most likely to involve 6in smartphones and 10in tablets but back in 2005 format meant broadsheet, tabloid or – in the case of the Guardian – the mid-sized Berliner. Why did the Guardian go for the third option when The Times and The Independent went tabloid? Rusbridger says there were “various reasons”. Intriguingly, one of those reasons was:

the amount of classified advertising we still took in print at that point

With the benefit of hindsight, print classifieds were already in terminal decline by 2005 with job boards, Craigslist, eBay and others making deep in-roads. Signs of digital disintermediation were evident everywhere. The chunky Monday Guardian, bulked out by media job ads that made it a default purchase for those us in the industry, was already thinning out.

Should the Guardian have read the signals better a decade ago? Perhaps. Will we continue to miss emerging trends likely to have a similar impact? Probably.

Posted in Uncategorized

A social media reading list | April 2015

Some useful links:

General

The Future of Search & Social | Linstock Communications

Get your website noticed in 10 steps using social, search and content | The Guardian

Facebook

Facebook, Topic Data And Ideas Generation | Content Desk

LinkedIn

What I’ve Learned From My First 20 LinkedIn Publishing Platform Posts | LinkedIn

Master The LinkedIn Company Page: 12 New Data-Backed Tips To Drive Engagement | Newscred

Periscope (and Meerkat)

Periscope up! Twitter’s live-streaming app is exciting us, but here’s how it could be better | The Guardian

Five things that make Periscope better than Meerkat | The Guardian

Snapchat

Snapchat helps Daily Mail and Vice Media get on message with youngsters | The Guardian

Twitter

10 Recent Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Changes You Should Know About | Buffer App

More sliding into DMs than ever before as Twitter adds group messaging | New Statesman

How to Find People to Follow on Twitter [Top 10 Ways] | Undercover Recruiter

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

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Posted in Social media, Training

‘How to write headlines that work online.’ And other articles.

Together with the team at Slack Communications, we’ve been working on a series of ‘how to’-style articles aimed at marketers, PRs and assorted comms professionals, including those that have to commission or create stuff (aka content) for a living.

Here are some links to the series so far:

Posted in Blogging, Content marketing, Writing for the web

Writing for the web: a reading list

Some of the most thought-provoking things I’ve read over the last few months on journalism, digital and writing for the web. (Oh, and a couple of pieces from me as well).

 

Posted in Writing for the web

Writing for the web and mastering social media workshops: forthcoming dates

These are the workshops I’m running in London over the next few months:

Friday 24 April 2015 | Frontline Club |
Mastering Social Media with Jon Bernstein | Find out more

Thursday 7 May 2015 | DigitalFWD |
Mastering Social Media for Marcoms | Find out more

Wednesday 13 May 2015 | DigitalFWD |
Writing for the web: the insider’s guide for content marketers | Find out more

Friday 5 June 2015 | Frontline Club |
Writing for the Web with Jon Bernstein | Find out more

I also run bespoke courses. Drop me an email at jon@jonbernstein.co.uk to find out more.

Posted in Social media, Training, Writing for the web

Taking Twitter lessons from the New York Times

Don’t try too hard to please Twitter — and other lessons from The New York Times’ social media desk runs the headline as once again the team behind @NYTimes offer some insights from a year’s tweeting.

Most of the advice is well received. However – as I argue in my latest piece for the Press Gazette – the notion that we shouldn’t try too hard to please Twitter is rather undermined by the example given.

The question implied by this advice is: do print headlines work better than written-for-social-media sells? Using the New York Times’s own example, the answer is yes. But that says more about the pedestrian nature of the digital effort than some overarching rule.

A good online headline or social media sell should combine the wit (either or both meanings of the word) of a newspaper headline with a dash of digital pragmatism.

Read: What New York Times teaches us about Twitter. And what it doesn’t

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Newspapers, Social media
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 silicon.com.

How to contact me>>


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