I first met Amy Vernon when she attended our SEJ Summit last year and was one of the most epic live tweeters there. Now, I’m so excited to learn from her as she speaks on Lessons From the Newsroom: Why Search and Social Should Utilize Principles from Journalism.
Her new(ish) position at the Daily Dot as Director of Audience Engagement has given Amy the opportunity to further implement her experience on how online publishers can use tactics from journalism to create enticing content for target audiences. Below, I ask her more about this and how journalism should shape the content we write and publish online.
Want to see Amy and other speakers from The Home Depot, Grainger, Google, and more? Chicago Early Bird tickets are on sale now!
You were a journalist during what you call “Great Newspaper Culling of 2008”, which was a rough time to be in the traditional news business. Today, you work for The Daily Dot, an internet news source. How has being in the traditional news field informed the way you work today?
The really interesting thing is that the core of the industry hasn’t changed. At its heart, it’s about gathering information that people need—or want—to know, and packaging it in a way that makes sense.
Your preso for SEJ Summit Chicago will discuss how your experiences in the newsroom have affected how you approach search and social. What is the biggest mistake you still see brands making in the search or social areas?
Treating them as totally separate animals. Besides all the signals the search gets from social, you absolutely need both in order to compete in the marketplace—whether you’re a brand, a publisher, an individual, or an organization.
Some will go all-in on search; some will go all-in on social. Neither is the optimal way to behave online today. Either way, you’re going to miss out on some really solid audience numbers.
Another part of your presentation is talking about why SEOs should be concerned about audience engagement. That is a pretty big shift from the link building schemes of 10 years ago. What area (outside of SEO) do you think SEOs need to focus on utilizing more?
Finding ways to identify and capture those people who are accidental repeat visitors. Many people will always click on a link from a source when they see it, but don’t seek it out. That’s mainly because it’s easier that way. You’ll trust a specific source and know when you see it that it’s worth the click. But we’ve made it so much easier to follow news via social than via subscription.
The next stage will be to use those analytics to find those repeat visitors, those people who already trust you, but haven’t thought about coming to you directly because there are few simple ways to do that. And no, an app isn’t the answer.
You have a great deal of experience in the social field, and I am curious – what social platform do you think will be the next ‘big thing’? Either to rival FB and Twitter or experience explosive growth.
Well, it’s obvious now that live video streaming is already the next “big thing,” and we’ve only just scratched the surface of it. But I think we can look to the past to see the future. Social has totally gone in cycles, with Twitter chats harkening back to the chat rooms and message boards of the 1990s, chat apps echoing the texting boom, podcasts back in vogue and the renaissance of email newsletters.
It’s hard to say what the next, next big thing will be, because who would have thought podcasts would explode again? Truthfully, I think we’re going to go through a period where community building is important again – it’s kind of slipped with the segmentation of audiences, but people want to be a part of something.
Bonus Question: You are the self-proclaimed “bacon queen” and run the only bacon news aggregator on the Internet. Please tell me more, this sounds like something I need in my life.
Ha! I feel really badly, but I haven’t updated BaconQueen.com in a while. I feel like I need to rectify this. Or just sell the domain already. But basically, I became known as the Bacon Queen when I was on Digg, as a joke among friends. It kind of took on a life of its own, and I realized I needed to do something with the name.
There were so many bacon blogs already, so I decided to just aggregate all the news and info out there about bacon instead of just doing something other people were doing. I turned to my friend Josh Cunningham to see if he could code up a template for me that was like Drudge—very simple. Believe it or not, there was no template – free or paid – that I could find at the time. He created it (and you can download it, complete with some automated features) and the Bacon Queen was born.
Sadly, as I noted above, I haven’t had as much time for it in recent years (I was doing it manually before the automated features were created) and she’s languished.
I just got bacon grease on my phone last week and I wasn’t even mad. So I get the bacon love. 🙂 Thanks for answering my questions, Amy. See you in Chicago!