Web Content Formats - Links Posts: How To Convert Your Link Posts Activity Into Effective Niche News Publishing
From Steve Rubel to Sepp Hasslberger, many beginning bloggers as well as a good number of experienced ones like to publish (especially on weekends) posts that are nothing else but a collection of recommended links they are offering to their readers. These digests of links have gotten over time different names: link posts, linkstream, best links of the day, news grabs and so on, with a thousand different variations.
Screenshot from Steve Rubel blog
If you look inside a link post, sometimes the links in it are just a series of article titles, while other times they may include an excerpt from the actual post, a short introduction or a comment by the blogger who has selected them.
Such link posts are a relatively fast and easy way to share valuable resources one has discovered online without getting into the task of writing a full post for it. Time restraints and a desire to share more are generally the driving motives behind these link posts.
As I wrote recently, such linkstreams are by all means a simplified and primitive form of newsmastering, (an emerging news selection and re-publishing practice that gives way to making more people into individual news editors (what I call newsmasters) for very specific audiences).
Once you realize that, you may consider as well to take the bull by the horns and instead of having such "filler" posts, transform your normal day-to-day news reading into a very valuable news publishing activity.
From Posting Selections of Links to Full Newsmastering
Sepp Hasslberger makes his links posts more SEO friendly by prefixing the generic title with one specific keyword set that focuses on one of the news in his links - too bad that the title is not representative of all the actual contents... but how can you when you cover so many different topics?
Unfortunately, the basic link stream post approach, has many inefficiencies, and while it is definitely better than not posting anything, it is not the most efficient way to produce news content and since it is not in many cases a daily feature, it offers moderate value to your readers who during the other days have no selected news digest to look up to. Furthermore a link stream post does require as much time to be published as a pretty professional newsradar (what is a newsradar), and this is why I invite you to give a serious look at taking up this option.
Link Posts Limitations and Problems
1) Not SEO friendly - titles are generally very generic and the collection of very diverse links makes these posts not a good search engine reference as they are about too many different things. The link stream is good only for loyal, repeat visitors to your site or feed but it is basically useless for visitors coming from search engines. (See Sepp Hasslberger example above).
2) Not RSS friendly - people scanning titles of news inside their RSS reader will likely skip over titles of link collections like "Link Grabs" or "Best Links for 11/11/08"
3) If you make your hand-picked news into a weekly generic mix post that brings all of them together, you are basically already doing a news curation job. The problem is you are not serving it as such and you are not doing daily.
Advantages And Key Reasons for Doing Newsmastering - Creating Newsradars
1) To Create a unique news channel
Providing your original filtered news selection of what is to be read out there on a systematic basis can be of great value to your readers.
2) To Increase Authority
When you start being a resource for news to others you gain in credibility and authority in your field of interest. Just like for newspapers, people view the ability of selecting and identifying relevant news to publish a high-authority trait.
3) To Offer Great Value for Your Readers
People can subscribe specifically to your news selection if your focus matches their specific interest and save tons of time in not having to scan each and every news story from all the site that cover their interest.
4) To Support Diverse Marketing and Business Opportunities
Newsradars can be used in a number of ways to provide both extra value to your readers as well as to create more content on a topic, introducing a new content space for sponsorship, enriching an existing guide and more.
My Suggested Strategy: Abandon Link Posts, Start A Your Own Newsradar
What I recommend to do is to create thematic news channels (what I call newsradars) as they serve a fantastic double purpose:
a) Keep you on top of the news on a specific area of interest.
You need to read those news anyhow for your interest. So why not making of the process of keeping yourself informed the base process for creating a valuable news channel for your readers?
b) Provide a unique and valuable news service to your readers - select and share the very best and most relevant stories from your daily scan into a dedicated news channel for your readers
In this way you keep doing what you are already doing (scanning specific sources for news of interest to you) while adding the benefit of creating a valuable news channel for your readers and saving yourself the time of creating that weekly link collection posts which you now have no more need for.
How To Create Your Own First Publishable Newsradar
Create a newsradar on a very specific topic or theme it is not so difficult. You do not need to know any programming languages and if you follow closely the steps listed here below you could probably set-up one in less time than you may have thought.
1. Make a list of the news sources you want to tap into
This should be a list of URLs, listing all of the RSS feeds from those news sources that you want to keep monitoring for relevant news o your theme/topic.
2. Input them inside Google Reader, Blogbridge or Mysyndicaat
If you are a starter, just go to Google Reader, setup an account, and input all of the RSS feeds you have put together at point 1.
3. Scan regularly all of the incoming news as a river of news
Now, when you log into your Google Reader you can effectively scan the river of news coming in chronologically form all of your trusted sources.
4. Pick and select the most relevant one for your readers
And here comes the important part. You now need to play the news editor, the news jockey, and hand-pick the news coming from those sources that are relevant for your specific theme / topic / audience. How do you "pick"? Just click the "Share" link below each one news story that is appropriate. By doing this you will be automatically creating a new RSS feed which now contains only your hand-picked selections. This is the feed you want to publish. You can get the address of this feed by looking at the top of your Google Reader page
5. Publish the RSS feed generated by with your own picks
Now you can use a number of different solutions to embed / publish your newly created newsradar inside your blog or web site.
Here a few detailed screenshots of where to find the "Share" button inside Google Reader as well as the Shared Items RSS feed and its URL.
a) This is the "Share" link button you find underneath each news story inside Google Reader.
b) This is the "Shared Items" link in the left sidebar of Google Reader where you need to click to see all of the stories you have "shared".
c) Here is the top of the page in Google Reader when you have clicked on your Shared Items link. Note the highlighted link to a public web page where all your shared items are published.
d) This is the public web page Google Reader automatically creates and which contains your newsradar made up of all of your shared news stories.
e) And here is where you need to click if you are using Firefox to access and find your newly created newsradar RSS feed address. Click that orange icon in the address bar and the next URL you land to is the RSS feed of your newsradar.
That's it! Now take that RSS feed and publish it / embed it on your selected web pages and you can say you are a newsmaster.
Not completely clear on what you need to do? Have more questions? Post a comment here below or if you want to see me in video showing you how to do this in a step-by-step demonstration, just sign-up for my updates via RSS or email and you will soon find out.
Update: FeedInformer is a great service to mix multiple RSS feeds into one as well as for publishing an RSS newsradar into your web pages. Check out their new service which relaunched today.
Originally written by Robin Good for Master New Media and first published on August 19th 2008 as "Web Content Formats - Links Posts: How To Convert Your Link Posts Activity Into Effective Niche News Publishing"
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