‘Plan for the Machine, write for the human.’
Journalism is changing. News is being diverted from printed pages to screens and devices.
News consumers no longer sit on the bus or on the couch at home scouring pages for fresh stories. They now sit behind desks, are on the move and always connected.
This change towards online media has seen the evolution of the blog. And blogging, which can include other aspects of online communication such as tweeting or microblogging, has always been directed at an audience.
But nowadays it seems bloggers and journalists are not only writing for an audience, but also for the machine, that is, the internet.
Glyn Mottershead at Cardiff University stressed the importance of being able to be ‘found’ online by an audeince as news organisations battle it out.
But where do audiences come from?
According to infographic labs internet users turn to google as a first port of call:
Google = 84.73% market share
Yahoo! = 6.35% market share
Baidu = 3.31% market share
Bing = 3.30% market share
Ask = 0.71% market share
AOL = 0.40% market share
Other = 0.20% market share
Similarly, research shows 93% of consumers worldwide use search engines to find and access websites, including news. Meanwhile, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of results, it is essential to know the Google’s machine language to get on the first page of results.
So in order to reach an audience, bloggers and journalists will have to become Search Engine Optimisation or (SEO) savvy.
It will involve developing a method of writing headlines and intros for the internet, using accurate keywords, categories, meta descriptions and tags to optimise one’s chances in being found by search engines such as Google.
There may be one downside (or upside) depending on one’s sense of humour but SEO means there is little room for ‘puntastic’ headlines in news stories: The days of award winning headlines such as ‘Super Cally Go Ballstic, As Celtic Are Atrocious’ will be relegated to the pages of history.
What is clear from these changes is that the job of the journalist has become more complex: writing for the machine with the human in mind.
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