Publishing scoops and breaking news on your blog or website is certainly one of the most effective ways to attract traffic and backlinks. If the news item that you are breaking is interesting, controversial or important for the people in your niche, they will certainly want to talk about it, linking to your article as the “source.”
So far so good, but how do you actually find the scoops and break the news story before other people? There are basically two strategies for this.
1. The Fast Tracker
The first strategy, which I call “fast tracker,” involves tracking the information that the companies and/or people will release publicly, and then being among the first to propose that information as a news item.
Here is one example to illustrate the case. Suppose that Google announces inside its AdSense Blog that AdSense accounts will start to required a valid credit card to be accepted. TechCrunch tracks that blog, and upon seeing that post, one of its writers immediately writes about it.
In reality, therefore, this strategy is not about finding real scoops, but rather about covering them fast, so that other people will see you as an “indirect source.” On the example above, for example, Google itself was the one breaking the news, but TechCrunch would probably get a lot of traffic and backlinks anyway, because it was the first tech blog to talk about it.
If you want to use this strategy, therefore, all you have to do is to track as fast as possible the companies and people that release important information in your niche. Practically speaking, you could create a special folder in your RSS reader and add the RSS feed of all those sources. Another good idea is to track sources that no one else is tracking.
2. The Real Breaker
The second strategy, which I call “real breaker,” is about really being the first website to write about a specific news story or event. This strategy is obviously harder to implement, but it also has larger returns, both in terms of traffic and backlinks.
On the first example, many people would link to TechCrunch, but many others would identify the original source and link to the Google Blog instead. Had TechCrunch being the real breaker, it would get all the traffic and all the links.
How do you go about finding real scoops? It is simple, you need to have contacts with the people that have the will or authority to share that kind of information. Usually it takes time and effort to build those relationships, but if you have a news blog or website, it certainly is worth it.
On the practical side, the first thing that you need is a somewhat popular blog. It would be useless to contact Apple’s PR manager asking if he would be kind enough to let you break some Apple news in your blog with 145 RSS subscribers and 342 daily (albeit fanatic) visitors.
It must be a win-win situation, after all.
Once you have a blog that is popular and respected in your niche, you should get busy trying to build your list of contacts. Get in touch with the companies, try to identify the person that is responsible for the PR or external communications, offer them some initial coverage and so on.
Journalists have been cultivating this art for decades, and it would be interesting to hear the perspective of one. If you worked or know someone who worked as a journalist and would be willing to write a guest article on this topic, please drop me a message via the contact form.
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