Social Media

Digital Strategy
9:10 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Make Stories More Shareable on Social Media With 'Quotable' Images

How do you make an audio story travel even further on the web, which is a mostly-visual medium?

It’s a difficult question, and one that we struggle with on NPR’s Social Media Desk. Often, our audio pieces aren’t published with a photo we can use on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. So we started thinking: what would an image look like for a radio story? How could we make an image to help producers and reporters make their pieces more shareable?

We decided to experiment with letting the words speak for themselves -- by turning the best quotes and facts from a piece into a visual image that could be uploaded to social media and shared alongside a link to a piece. We call them "quotables," and it looks like this in action:

Adding an image to a tweet produces on average a 35 percent boost in retweets, according to a study from Twitter. Adding an image to a Facebook post, we found, has driven similar results. As we began turning our facts and quotes into images, shares, likes and pageviews on many NPR stories all went up.

This is because, we realized, people really like to share facts and compelling quotes with their friends -- and in a Twitter stream or Facebook newsfeed, images tend to stand out. We are hardly the only ones doing this. Buzzfeed’s True Facts Twitter feed spits out random facts that they discover from around the web. Another fact account, called UberFacts, has almost 7 million followers.

But there are a few best practices to think about when making images out of selected facts and quotes from your stories:

You can make pictures of facts or quotes as many times as you want on Twitter, but there is a limit on Facebook. After extensive testing, we realized that posting a quotable more than three times a week on Facebook has an adverse effect -- and people stop sharing and clicking. But on Twitter, which moves much more quickly, it is harder to overuse these images. 

Include the link to your story in the caption of the Facebook post or in the tweet you send. Make sure to write a caption for the photo you upload to Facebook, just as you would a regular photo. That’s also where you should link to your piece. Both the caption and the link will travel with the image when people share it, leading to more people coming to your stories.

 

Think about what people might want to share. That’s the bit you want to pluck out for your image. Pick out the most compelling quote or fact from the interview, but keep it short. Shorter is better -- we’ve experimented with both short and long quotes and shorter quotes or facts are easier to digest and share. We’ve also found that editorial content works really well -- much more than marketing content. Using the images for both editorial and marketing content confuses people -- and they are less likely to share the quote or fact.

You can use just about anything to make these images for your pieces. You can even make these in something as simple as Microsoft Paint. For a start, here are 14 tools collected by Buffer that you can use to edit images for social media.

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Breaking News Coverage
5:14 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

How Lean Newsrooms Cover Breaking News

KUNC's Grace Hood retweets an image of precipitation in Colorado that preceded epic floods in September 2013.
Credit @gracehood

  Size is often considered an impediment to covering breaking news, but several newsrooms are using their resources strategically to provide information for the breaking news audience in times of crisis. In this webinar with West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporter Ashton Marra and KUNC digital media manager Jim Hill, we see key attributes of lean newsrooms that cover breaking news well. 

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Shows
12:01 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Twitter Tips from MPR Talk Show Host: Share How You Think, Not Just What You Think

A 360 view of The Daily Circuit Studios at MPR.
Credit The Daily Circuit social media host Stephanie Curtis

Should a show host run their own Twitter account? During our Twitter chat about digital strategies for shows, that question came up several times. There's not a yes or no answer, but one show that has benefited from active social media accounts is The Daily Circuit, a daily three-hour long show on Minnesota Public Radio.

The Daily Circuit has a digitally savvy staff, including a social media host and two hosts that are active on Twitter. I turned to host Kerri Miller for her tips and thoughts on using social media as a talk show host.

Miller, in addition to one to three hours a day on air,  tweets several times a day asking questions related to the show, about the latest books she’s reading, and more to over 11,600 followers. 

During our chat, she said that although it took her time to fit social media into her schedule and to figure out what to tweet, it is now an integral part of her job at The Daily Circuit.

Here are five tips she shared from her experience:

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Social Media
11:04 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Tips from Reddit: Explore Before You Post, Find Your Local Communities

Victoria Taylor is 'chooter' on reddit.
Credit reddit.com

The website reddit can be a place for unique story ideas and a way to reach new audiences in your communities.

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Social Media
11:07 am
Fri May 9, 2014

This Small News Team Used a Key Question to Create #DroughtVoices

A photo from voicesofthedrought.tumblr.com. The Friant-Kern Canal is supposed to be a centerpiece of the original Central Valley Project plan. The canal "was reduced to a trickle" when reporter Ezra David Romero took this picture.
Credit Ezra David Romero, Valley Public Radio

Valley Public Radio’s series Voices of the Drought explores the impacts of California’s historic drought by showcasing the many people that the drought touches, from snow surveyors to farmers.

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Digital Strategy
1:00 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Six Questions About Tumblr, Answered by Tumblr

A picture of the Tumblr login page, that refreshes with random images from Tumblr users' posts.
Credit Background image provided by Jolie Ngo, 36x48.tumblr.com

When I think about which of the many social media platforms are tailor made for radio, Tumblr is the first to come to mind. In terms of ease of use, formatting, and even content, Tumblr can be just right for the time-crunched public radio reporter, producer, or for special projects.

I am sure there are Tumblr doubters out there, but like all tools, the power is in how and why you use it.

To help answer some questions we had about using Tumblr,  I spoke with Danielle Strle, Tumblr's Director of Product for Community & Content. I asked her to shed some light on some common questions we hear about Tumblr: 

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News Training
4:07 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Q&A: Why Michigan Radio Lets 26 Staffers Post to Their Facebook Page

Succeeding on Facebook isn't an easy task. Your station posts are competing with every other post from every other page that your fan has liked, from baby pictures to other local news outlets.

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Digital Strategy
9:11 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Lessons From #NPRWIT: Preparation and Collaboration Keys to Social Storytelling Success

Photos of many of the women in technology fields who tweeted days in their lives during the #NPRWIT series in March, 2014.
Credit Davar Ardalan

Throughout the month of March, women from technology fields in Silicon Valley to South Africa live tweeted a day in their lives using the hashtag #NPRWIT.

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Digital Strategy
1:50 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Training On Demand: How To Grow Your Show's Audience on Social Media

Credit Jason Howie/Flickr

You’ve set up a Twitter account for your show, and started tweeting. You have a Facebook page and you’re posting to it regularly. You've read about how to get your show started off on the right foot with social. Now, you might be asking what the next step is to help make your social media efforts resonate with your audience.

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Digital Strategy
2:27 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

Four Methods From WNYC To Give Content From Shows Extra 'Digital Love' [VIDEO]

Jody Avirgan, Producer for WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show.
Credit Jody Avirgan

One of the issues we hear show producers struggling with again and again, is how to find the time to do digital content justices in the midst of a tight production schedule, especially if there is not a dedicated web producer. 

To find some possible solutions we turned to Jody Avirgan, a producer for WNYC's midday talk show, The Brian Lehrer Show. Jody is responsible for the majority of the show's digital presence, but also is a full time producer for the show, and has experimented with how to make the web succeed with the limited amount of time he can give to it. 

Jody recently joined us for a webinar to share how he tackles the challenge of creating great content and balancing his on air and online responsibilities. You can find the full recording as well the slide show from the presentation below. 

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