Media companies are increasingly relying on the Web for news reporting. A breaking news story and always-connected readers to online channels can be both a blessing and a curse. Web channels must be prepared to deliver flawless breaking news reporting, or they run the risk of losing readers.
Weighing both technical and strategic considerations, media companies must examine how their Web sites perform around the breaking news process. Being the first to the Web may buy you a few seconds of exclusivity, but how do you stand apart from competitors? Below are five top recommendations for supporting breaking news via online channels:
1. Ensure seamless integration with external content
When breaking news occurs, news teams need to capture content, add value and publish it to their sites immediately in order to establish credibility. Your Web publishing platform must be optimized to adapt to rapid content publishing cycles. With the right platform, you can pull content from any RSS feed, move it into a Web content management system (WCM)and publish it instantly to multiple Web sites.
Major media companies measure their time to Web for major stories in seconds, not minutes. If your WCM can’t match this standard, you may want to start looking for a new platform.
2. Provide a rich-media experience
As online video consumption continues to explode, it’s become critical to add visual components to news coverage to engage audiences. Hosting the story quickly is the first step, but can you support supplemental content, such as video and audio to keep an engaged reader on your site? Assess your WCM and its ability to support rich media assets. Can it scale to support high viewership of rich media? Can it integrate this media into your online repository and external media libraries?
3. Develop a microsite
Particularly big news events often warrant the creation of a unique microsite that can seamlessly reuse content from existing repositories and other sources. Your microsite should offer an in-depth resource to visitors with the latest breaking news, videos and photos from official sources. The easier your readers can access related content from your archives, the more engaging experience you can offer and the more traffic you’ll direct back to your site.
4. Make it social
With any major breaking news story, there’s bound to be reader discussion. It’s essential that your Web presence support social conversations for a sticky experience. Provide a forum for readers to communicate with others in real time and optimize your content for maximum exposure. How well can your readers share your content on social networks? Sometimes, readers’ content can break a news story first, especially with local news sites.
5. Evaluate the performance and stability of your WCM system
When readers come to your site, you have one chance to provide the information they’re looking for or you risk losing them to competitors. Your site must be able to support increased activity without crashing. Many architectures today are capable of storing and managing data on the Web, and support for technologies, like NoSQL and Relational Databases, is evolving.
To support traffic and content, ensure your platform can scale and take advantage of the cloud for enhanced hardware scalability. Running in the cloud can reduce many costs, including hardware, development, deployment and ongoing operations. It’s wise to choose a WCM that will provide relevant, contextual information to each unique Web visitor so they don’t just visit your site, but stay a while.
Ultimately, being proactive on many fronts will not only arm your organization for the next big news event, but position your company to fully engage readers.