Thursday, August 25, 2005

Newsweek Taps Technorati to Provide Valuable Sidebar Content

There's been lots of hot chat about how mainstream news organizations can tap the power of weblogs to create more content value for their brands. According to Technorati CEO David Sifry's weblog, Newsweek has come up with a reasonable solution to this quandary: put links to weblogs that point to Newsweek news and commentary on that content's Web page. To my knowledge this is a first for a major online news outlet inviting external blog content onto their own pages (example, have to scroll down about 2/3 of the way to find it on an individual news article like this - the BlogTalk example that Sifry gives provides a better but less representative visual). The aim here is to make the news article itself the focal point of weblog-driven news amplification and commentary, aided by Technorati providing the neutral selection and feeding of the content. Technorati also gets a plug and a search box for bringing people back to their site (sample search results , note that the Newsweek logo on the results page does not relate to the number of returned search results specific to Newsweek, somewhat misleading).

This is a pretty shrewd technique for getting webloggers to write about Newsweek content: if they stand a shot at getting highly contextual links on a major news site sending traffic to their weblogs, why not mention Newsweek as the base source of a story rather than another source? As one commenter put it on Sifry's weblog, "Hell yes we want to see more of this!" It's a simple and effective way to drive traffic to their weblogs. News organizations are desperate to find better ways to be a part of the news conversation that is dominated increasingly by weblogs as the focal points of editorial story selection and spin via their links and commentary. This is a bold move by Newsweek to join the conversation with webloggers at more of a peer level, a recognition of their power to help shape the importance of news coverage. Technorati also wins big by providing webloggers an effective way to play with major media outlets, providing new branding strength that's bound to attract the attention of other outlets - or acquirers. The inevitable "leakage" of readers to other destination sites may hold back other publishers from trying Newsweek's approach. But with distribution prowess a nil-strength factor in Web content news organizations have to rely increasingly on the Web-driven conversation found in Weblogs and other emerging outlets to drive their online content into audience-defined relevance.
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