My five top tips for sourcing content for news feeds

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Like the rest of the ClickThrough Marketing content team, copywriter Jack Adams is a qualified journalist. He is a specialist on citizen journalism and blogging. Here, Jack shares five top tips for creating a useful industry news feed on your site.

In traditional journalism, there’s always been debate about what makes a good news story.

Is it a story’s significance (Jimmy Savile)? The timing (the Christmas tsunami)? Or the general demand for it (Kate Middleton’s baby)?

Although most journalists have a relatively solid approximation of what they consider to be a good new story, it’s by no means set in stone.

However, with news used for content marketing purposes things are slightly clearer.

There are a number of steps that can be taken when sourcing industry news for a businesses’ news feed or even a blog.

If properly implemented, this news content could have a really positive impact on how audiences view a businesses’ site – setting your company up as a real authority in its niche.

Here are five of my top tips, which may help you source news for your businesses news feed or blog:

Think like your audience – is the story likely to interest them? Remember, as the one in control of sourcing, writing and publishing this news, you are essentially a gatekeeper or an aggregator, separating the captivating goings-on in your sector from the banal stuff that no one wants to spend more than two minutes half-heartedly skim reading.

If you don’t go for interesting angles, you’ll bore your readers, and you’ll probably bore yourself too.

Therefore thinking like your audience, and deciding what topics from your sector are likely to captivate them, will help you a significant amount in finding a decent story for the day.

You might be able to attract a reasonable amount of traffic to your site with any old rubbish, but you’d be delusional to think that it’ll lead to a meaningful conversion.

Always try to draw people in with news content that is first and foremost informative and interesting. News which is odd, or a little bit quirky, is also very enticing – especially when it comes to social shares.

Find an accurate source: Accuracy is one of the main pillars of journalism; news without truth is just gossip, and there are plenty of forums, social networks and articles you can read online if you like your facts made-up. As a provider, you must always be vigilant when sourcing potential stories to use in your industry news feed. Whilst mainstream news outlets, official organisational blogs, social media channels and press releases are in most cases very useful sources, you mustn’t assume that they’re 100% accurate: especially press releases.

As evidenced by the recent fake press release on PRWeb, which claimed Google was buying a company it wasn’t, even the biggest news outlets can get it wrong.

Always check your facts across multiple sources before you start furiously tapping yourself into frenzied state – it’ll keep you out of a lot of trouble in the long run.

If you’re completely clueless about news law – an area the ClickThrough content team are experts in, due to our journalistic training – then it’s probably best for you to leave industry news well alone, and create a blog instead. There are far more lenient rules on ‘fair comment’ opinion pieces – where you can give your own view on the news - than there are on objective news articles which have to be fair, balanced and accurate.

Take a wide-berth when it comes to news about competitors: Simple really, it’s your news feed or blog, so why would you want to promote one of your main rivals on it in any way? Your news feed should be used to promote your business and the latest goings-on within its sector. Regardless of whether there’s positive or negative news about your competitors – steer clear.

Look for stories you could possibly follow up on: Big breaking new stories often run for days and days; one breaking in your sector could yield incredible traffic rewards for your site. With a relevant story of this magnitude, you could capitalise on the interest of searchers by running with it over a couple of days. If you cover the initial story well enough – possibly by picking out that angle that other outlets in your industry have failed to spot – your audience is likely to come back for more, furiously checking for the latest updates – potentially increasing the amount of traffic directed to your site. We did this for the Google Penguin update earlier this year and received thousands of visits over a series of days, thanks to finding the right angles for follow-ups.

Don’t go for news that tenuously links to your sector: Your audience will see straight through news content that isn’t particularly relevant to your site - and so will search engines, in particular Google – especially since it implemented its strict, quality-control-based Panda search algorithm. You could potential damage your site’s SEO values by producing irrelevant content, whether it’s in your on-site content, news feed or anywhere else.

On the odd occasion where your irrelevant post might make it past the attentions of search engine web crawlers – when determining page ranking and indexing it – it won’t make it past the beady eye of Google News – which is absolutely vital if you want the opportunity for your content to be viewed by the masses.

If your content is poorly written and lacking in any real relevance to your site, it won’t rank particularly highly. By spending a small amount of extra time searching for a story that’s directly related to your industry, you’ll increase its chances of ranking in a much higher position, and increase its visibility on your site.

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