Journalists face a serious issue in today’s overwhelming online world full of promising articles on websites all over the web and just one click away. Everyone wants their content to be read, and that causes a surplus of content and a shortage of the readers’ time. Metrics can help to understand how to get read by readers – if they are considered by journalists.

Make the metrics count

As a recent article on mediashift.org states, a survey found that even though most news outlets monitor metrics, they do not act upon them. The Engaging News Project at The University of Texas at Austin conducted a study among 525 editors and directors from various U.S news outlets showing that the analytic work stops after collecting data. However, the step followings data gathering is so critical in order to improve audience engagement, page design, or revenue development.

More specifically, whereas half of the TV channels already partner with researchers and about 24% of them use A/B testing, more than 80% of newspapers are far behind and do nothing beyond collecting the metrics. Even worse, 1 in 10 news organizations and 17% newspapers do not monitor their metrics at all, said the article.

The failure of using metrics properly is just a lost opportunity for news outlets to be successful in today’s competitive world. An article on poynter talks about using metrics. Writing Web headlines and posting article links on social media outlets is critical in order to increase traffic on online content, but the author of the article, Vicky Krueger, provides 4 critical steps to follow next.

According to Krueger, one should identify the top articles (from search, social media, other websites), and compare the web headlines put on them. Besides that, one should see which search queries drew readers to articles and how those terms match with words in the headline and the text, she said. One should also note the characteristics of headlines and articles that worked best and keep using those characteristics, as well as looking whether other sites linked to a story and what their targeted audience is.

How does WSB-TV use its metrics?

Journalistics lists the 25 top newspapers by website traffic according to Google. This is interesting to know, and when checking the Google PageRank for WSB-TV, the most outstanding fact found is that WSB-TV gets a lot of traffic drawn to its website from social media outlets. And WSB-TV does have numerous followers on Twitter (530.4K) and likes on Facebook (1,110,814). Apparently, the Atlanta-based TV station does do well on using their social media platforms, in fact social media posts generate about 10% more traffic than the actual website. However, they can still improve their metrics on links and direct search, the percentage values provided by Google PageRank are relatively low, why WSB-TV has an overall score of 6/10.

How the issue of using metrics relates to class?

Even on our own personal WordPress sites, we can see some metrics and then act upon them in order to make our blogs more successful and appealing, so they are viewed by a broader audience. Especially the steps provided by Krueger can be very helpful when trying to increase traffic on our blogs.