February 18, 2015

Melody Kramer spoke with Philly.com’s Erica Palan on Tuesday about how Palan works with her coworkers on social. Included in that conversation was the mention of a recent workshop for staff at Philly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News called “How to get your story read.”

After Tuesday’s story, people asked Palan to see the presentation for themselves. She has posted them here, and the presentation she created along with Diana Lind, director of digital audience development, is full of tips including why you need to get the headline right and how to get your story out on social media.

The purpose of the conversation was to help explain the elements of shareable content, Lind said in an email, and to show “how an article’s framing can have a strong impact on whether or not it gets shared, and therefore read.”

Their most popular content is breaking news and sports, Lind said, by far, “so the presentation didn’t focus on those subjects. Instead we really focused on other subject matter, like arts, business and entertainment, where there’s more potential for growth.”

Part of the presentation includes this advice: “Tweet your story four times.” When I asked Palan about it, she told me it’s the part of the presentation that everyone responds to. It came to her, she added, thanks to Amy Z. Quinn.

Here are screenshots of that advice:

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Palan is interested in how people are using other social media platforms to spark interest around their work, she wrote in an email.

“I think we all know that on Twitter we write a little something and share a link. I’m so curious about other platforms that aren’t obvious traffic drivers like Snapchat and Instagram.”

The presentation uses specific examples of why posts from reporters worked on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. The advice: “Find a social network where you feel comfortable and build a community there.”

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“I love the example of Helen Ubinas’s Instagram, because we can’t think of Instagram as a typical traffic driver since there’s no ability to link directly to a story,” Palan said. “But her use impresses me so much because it made me want to read the story in the next day’s paper.”

Palan does worry, by the way, that people will take the “tweet four times” advice as a hard rule, “which it isn’t. Four times isn’t necessarily better than three times or five times,” Palan said. “It’s more about thinking about different ways to share your content because you never know what will be meaningful to a particular reader at a particular time.”

Related: In December, Poynter’s NewsUniversity hosted the Webinar “Social Media and Analytics: Strategies and Metrics You’ll Actually Use,” and in January, Twitter’s Mark Luckie was the instructor for the Webinar “You are What You Tweet: How to Engage with Your Readers on Twitter.”

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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