Shane Snow

Shane Snow is the cofounder of Contently, an agile publishing platform for brands and marketplace for professional freelance journalists.


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As brands start building digital newsrooms, what do they need to succeed?

Thanks to social media, we’re getting used to big companies talking directly to us instead of just advertising next to what we’re reading.

When you’re consuming content in a stream — as we do when using Twitter, Facebook or one of the many other social networks — a story from The New York Times, an update from your crazy uncle, and a link to a cleverly captioned photo from Oreo all flow in the same river, and get equal weight.

Today, tools such as Twitter and WordPress have led to an explosion of brands producing and spreading content, competing with traditional media for audience attention and employing journalists as creative storytellers.

If all the content marketing statistics floating around the Web are to be trusted, brand publishing is now a staple of the modern marketing diet.… Read more

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What journalists need to know about ‘content marketing’

When a major newspaper suspends a vendor for faking bylines and a bestselling author/journalist goes down in flames over fabricated quotes in the same month, the magnifying glass suddenly focuses inward on an industry meant to expose truth.

Add the misreporting of a monumental Supreme Court decision and an HBO show not-so-subtly skewering cable news, and we’ve had a summer full of ethical discussion.

Today’s journalist faces an abundance of ethical challenges, some due to fast-paced publishing pressure, others to new, growing opportunities for work.

In particular, the swelling ranks practicing “content marketing” are giving rise to a new class of ethical dilemma.

Content marketing, aka editorial content published by advertisers in lieu of banner ads, (think BuzzFeed’s sponsored stories or Red Bull’s Media House), is the business buzzphrase of 2012.… Read more

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How to use Urtak, a collaborative polling tool, to increase reader engagement

A week before Thanksgiving, conservative news site TheBlaze.com posted a story about whether retail stores should be open on the holiday. The post received more than 120,000 responses in less than two days, reaching 140,000 by the end of the month. This spike in reactions was 500 times the site’s norm, but it’s not the first time it’s happened.

A popular story on The Blaze will typically get anywhere between 200 to 800 comments, but the site’s editors have discovered a way to increase user engagement on some stories by orders of magnitude. The Blaze’s 140,000 Thanksgiving story responses weren’t comments; they were reader interactions sparked by an interactive polling tool called an Urtak. (The same story received 264 comments at last count.)

Urtak is not like other Q&A tools; it’s a social poll that grows as a community engages with it.… Read more

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7 steps for building an effective community management plan

The growth of social media in newsrooms has sparked the need for community managers — people who are responsible for regularly interacting with a site’s audience and executing a community growth strategy.

The challenge with a new profession like community management is the lack of a template to follow when getting started. Every community is different, but the following seven steps will help you kickstart a community management plan:

Define community goals

Community management starts with goal-setting. What do you want to accomplish? Are you doing this just because everyone else is? Or do you have a vision of what success looks like?

“Goals vary from brand to brand, but I always keep a few things in mind,” said Emily Miethner, community manager for RecordSetter.com and co-founder of NY Creative Interns.… Read more

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