Journalists typically recoil at the thought of writing anything that resembles marketing copy — or even from thinking of news as a product. But we’re already long past the age when an established news brand was all you needed to determine the relevance and quality of news. If journalists truly believe the quality of their coverage is so great, and if their product is news, then why not market it directly?
What if you could read the label on news stories, to gauge quality and relevance? (Source: Keetsa, via Flickr, CC license)
I’m not talking about marketing news brands. I’m talking about marketing the merits of each story, right in the story.
Erin Kissane offers sage advice for writing product pages that I suspect could, with a twist, also make it easier for people (and search engines, and the semantic web) to grasp the value of quality news:
“Most product pages need to answer these questions:
- Who is the product for?
- What is the product?
- What does the product do for its target user?
- Why is the product better than the available alternatives?
“Stupidly simple, right? But the lack of answers to these questions is what leads to thousands upon thousands of wasted hours (and more money than I want to think about) spent writing, serving, and reading meaningless dreck that doesn’t inform users, promote products, or help anyone.”
Now: What if news stories included similar context? At least through some sort of categorization or tagging on the back-end. That could enhance relevance in search results, semantic web applications, or site features like optional pop-up boxes or an iGoogle-like personalized news interface.
That revised list might look like this…