Before you get together to start building a news outlet site and testing it in your selected market, there is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration.
Some questions you might ask yourself are: What are my goals? What tools can I use to create this site? Honestly, where do I even start?
Developing this won’t be all rainbows and butterflies, but thanks to the Tow-Knight Center’s Roadmap for Digital Media Startups, your site can flourish. This toolkit gives you an informative outline of how to develop a successful news site while including helpful web-based and low-cost services to create and launch your desired site.
There were a few points that I thought were important:
- “Pre-Launch Basics.” Content, Disruption, People, and Revenue. Your users want value, so make sure you’re offering them that. Your users want to know what you offer and in order to do that, you need to find a way to deliver that to them. In order to distribute content, you need someone, even if it’s just you. You need money. These four aspects come with a variety of questions and to make sure you’re headed on the right track go through the ones that are provided in this chapter. Answer each truthfully and this way you can figure out how to make your site and content successful.
- “Define your Audience.” Demographic (age, ethnic background, income, gender, etc.) and Psychological (hobbies, interests, lifestyle, behaviors, etc.) information are key in order to create a user profile. You want to know what type of users you want to attract. You want to gather as much information as possible and once you’ve done that you’ll get an idea of who your target audience is. Then once your audience has had some time to view your site, send out a survey to get a feedback on how you’re doing.
- “Communicate your Brand.” Your brand is essential because you are selling this to the users on your site along with advertisers. Make sure your visual identity helps you create that feeling you want on your site as well as for your users. Pick your name and develop a style guide. If you’re struggling, this chapter gives you a number of helpful sites to check out that can create the design you are looking for.
- “Social Media Marketing.” You need to know how you want to use social media to market your site. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Foursquare, Tumblr, Google + and Instagram are all extremely helpful and popular social media platforms that can get your site booming. Once you’ve decided what you want to you use, make sure you are consistent. It is noted in this chapter that, “the most important thing to remember is to be authentic” and the way to do this is to actually use the tools that these platforms provide.
These are all great strategies to use when coming up with your business/site plan, but it is always good to remember how you are representing your news outlet in the first place.
In Newsonomics: Rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values Ken Doctor notes the four principles in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. These are:
- Seek truth and report it.
- Minimize harm.
- Act independently.
- Be accountable and transparent.
Make sure to follow t
he rules and be responsible in the way you display the information, news, and media on
your site. I think the one that really stands out to me is, “Seek truth and report.” Don’t lie, no one likes a liar. Be honest and true in all aspects of your news outlet and you will not run into trouble.
With all that being said, get on out there. Startup that news outlet and don’t be afraid. The world is yours.