11 December 2011


Publishing Your Own Online Newspaper: An effective way to increase your audience?

If you’re on Twitter and Facebook and haven’t heard of Paper.li yet, you will soon. Paper.li is a new way for users to gather news, content, and information from your network and publish it as your very own newspaper. As a “content curation service”, it’s a way of providing fresh content to your followers without having to author hundreds of articles each week. It came to my attention a month or two ago, when suddenly I started seeing messages like this:

paper.li social influence twitter facebook

Initially, I was sceptical- I’d never heard of the “Social Bookmarking Daily”, and I just dismissed it as some sort of half-baked content scraping aggregator. But, as I started to get more and more of these mentions, and from different users, I realised that something must be going on. And then I started to get more and more followers on Twitter, and I realised that this was somehow helping me to connect with like-minded professionals/enthusiasts. I was really impressed.

Apart from the fact that is encouraging to see that peers want to share your content, I began to wonder whether these online newspapers were just another fad. After all, I already sign up to blogrolls and dailies from handpicked sources, so why all of a sudden would I want there to be a million other sources offering similar content. Then it dawned on me. These papers aren’t so much great sources of content (sure, the content is good, sometimes great), but they’re a very effective way of introducing users to each other who share specific interests.

For instance, my blog on Why Businesses Should Use Social Media to Establish Cross Cultural Relations went up on DJ’s Daily on 7th December. paperli social media influence kloutUnderneath the article, you’ll see my profile picture and Twitter handle. If you hover over it with your mouse, a box shows you the tweet which originally mentioned the content, along with options to reply, retweet, follow, unfollow, and favourite the content. I think this is a really good way of having your content distributed without having to find the followers yourself. And what’s more, you’re likely to gain followers from it. I did, and recently my Klout score has rocketed because I am able to have much more meaningful and focussed interactions with people in the industry than before. Indeed, I do take the time to find and follow people who I think will be interesting, but I am sure the fact that my content has been distributed in this way has certainly helped it along.

If we look at the context of the example above, it might help to show how this content was picked up:

My original tweet: “Social media can help you avoid Walmart’s dead fish http://t.co/G1PmauPD #marketing” I think we can agree that’s a fairly original and interesting message.

The content: Take a look for yourself. It includes graphics to break up the text; I put a quote midway through the content; and I introduce people to a not-so-familiar social network- it’s educational; and I use Walmart as an example, which gives it greater appeal to both industry and non-industry readers.

Result: Content was picked up by the online newspaper on the same day I tweeted about it.

What does this tell us? Creating engaging and original content, and targeting it at the right people with a snappy, original message is a far more effective approach, than canvassing wide audiences with mediocre ramblings that don’t help the reader in any way.

So, the next time you think about offering up your content on the web, take the time to produce something which is thoughtfully crafted and well-written; consider how you’ll present it to your network; and target the right people. Who knows, you could well be on the next “Adam’s Daily”…

I love chatting to people on Twitter, so why not follow me at adam_seo_cow. Alternatively, leave a comment here and let me know what you think.

By Adam Cowlishaw


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