Here are a couple of quotes – one heard from a Mansfield area journalist some weeks ago (not important who it was), and another from a news publisher in another location far from here. Both refer to the concept of including links from other media on one’s news site. The first is paraphrased but very much the gist of what was shared.
Local Journalist: “We would never do that. We’re in competition with other sites!”
Non-Local Publisher:“The one mystery of … news organizations is that they still don’t link out.. which is ludicrous. Every day… multiple news organizations are putting out stuff that’s interesting to the audience, and if you’re not willing to share that with them, shame on you!”
What that publisher discovered is a premise upon which 1812Blockhouse is based. We want to be the best place to go each day to get access to the best writing and coverage about Richland County and Richland Countians.
We do this each day in more than one way. Six months ago, we added “Hand-Picked Richland News” to our standard content to make that other content easier to find. As a result, each and every day 1812Blockhouse provides links to stories in the Shelby Daily Globe, The Bellville Star, WMFD, Richland Source, the Mansfield News Journal, and/or any other media that might cover a local story – all “above the fold” in a featured placement. We’re the only local site to do this.
Our readers have responded! Hand-Picked Richland News drives a great amount of traffic to 1812Blockhouse. We’re actually thrilled that some will click on a headline they find interesting and read our “competition.”
All of that shared, in that period we have learned a handful of lessons and made a few “tweaks” to that section of our site. We’re planning a couple of others and thought we’d share.
First, some time ago we added a key to signify what sites have either a paywall (a subscription fee) or a registration wall (where site registration is occasionally required for access). As we share in that key, 1812Blockhouse will never ask for payment nor registration for our primary content.
Second, some weeks ago we prioritized placement of the story links in Hand-Picked Richland News. Those from freely accessible sites get top placement, followed by registration and finally paywall sites.
Third, we have recently added an asterisk “*” each time we add a news link after our original morning roundup. Those links will continue to the next morning.
Fourth, we are working on a way of presentation that provides, in some cases, a bit more of a unique headline about a given post. We want to make reading Hand-Picked Richland News as enjoyable as possible.
If you have suggestions on how to improve this part of our site, please drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.