Should newspapers have both a paper-branded Twitter account and accounts for individual reporters, even at GateHouse Media's smallest newspapers? Simply put, yes!
One of GateHouse's key 2012 content strategies — that we'll be doing onsite training on this year — focuses around our desire to ensure every newspaper has a Twitter account for their brand, but also making sure reporters at our newspapers, have accounts as well.
Hopefully today, I don't have to convince you why Twitter is important for newspapers. Referral traffic from social media sites picks up more steam (or traffic) each month in our company and Twitter can be an absolutely effective tool to provide information to readers who are hungry for live-like content.
But we have received questions recently about how our Twitter strategy applies to a weekly newspaper or a small daily newspaper. Why would they need both a newspaper account and a reporter account? In some cases, the account would be maintained by the same person. We get that concern, but there's some logic to our thinking. Our strategy aims to take advantage of the different ways users interact with Twitter.
Newspaper accounts: We believe a newspaper's Twitter account is meant to drive lots of headlines, news that is happening throughout the day, sports scores and links to great journalism. While we clearly encourage engagement and conversation with the newspaper's Twitter account and readers, a newspaper's account is most successful when it plays an RSS role, moving lots of headlines.
Reporter accounts: While reporters are effective moving links to their coverage, we see the most successful reporter accounts providing followers a glimpse into their coverage. What that means is reporters posting Tweets from coverage: Meetings, games, breaking news and events. We see reporter accounts becoming a platform to move "reporter notebook" items, those short, bright items that don't always find a place into a narrative piece. Often, there's great info in reporter notebook briefs and Twitter is a wonderful way to get that info out to readers.
People follow news organizations and reporters for different reasons. Some want news headlines, others want on-the-scene color and behind-the-scenes detail. Trying to blend all of that into a single account really doesn't work. That's why separating the newspaper account from reporter accounts makes sense.
Read some other posts I have written about Twitter:
Should Twitter accounts be featured in a reporter's byline?
Tweet on quarterback mislead me
Four reasons top editors should be on Twitter
David Arkin is Vice President of Content & Audience for GateHouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com
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