How to Write News Stories That Get Noticed Online

A picture of a news site
John Lamb/Getty Images

You always want your report to be the top story. These days, media pros are looking beyond the glory of being the lead on the 6 p.m. news or the headline of a newspaper. They want their stories to get noticed online and even go viral. While there's no magic potion to make your news stories get noticed by a global audience, there are some tricks you can use to increase your chances.

Create a Solid Headline for the Web

Writing headlines for the web is different than writing headlines for other forms of media.

Browse any newsstand and you're bound to see headlines that grab your attention with cute and clever wordplay.

That doesn't work online when you're looking for search engines to pick up your content. You have to be clear on your topic and emphasize the keywords your audience will be searching for to get your news stories noticed online. Write a solid headline for the web that will show up on page one of search results.

Write Stories That Will Have an Impact

You can't control the news you're handed every day, but you can focus on writing those stories so that they will have the most impact on your readers. You'll be in a heated competition to get those eyes on your story, but there could be hundreds of writers covering the exact same story.

How will yours be the one people read? Write news stories that have an impact by focusing on what your audience wants to know, why they should care and making your story connect to them emotionally.

Avoid Sensationalism

It can be tempting to attract readers with sensationalism. Getting the audience and the buzz through over-the-top reporting can hurt you, though.

You may initially get the boost in your web analytics,  but you'll damage your brand in the long run. Avoid sensationalism in your reports to keep your integrity and reputation intact.

Not only will your credibility benefit, you'll also build a loyal following.

Write Quickly 

Sharing news online is the quickest way of delivering the story to your audience. You need to write fast and accurately to be one of the first to get the news online.

The online news cycle works at lightning speed and you don't want your great story being the last to go up or the chances it will get noticed will be slim. Your competitors who posted their news hours ago will have gained the most attention while you're straggling behind to present the same facts. Write your news stories faster so you can beat the competition, but also start working on the next big story.

Promote Your Story Everywhere

Don't rely on search engines alone to pick up your story. That's like waiting for the bus to pick you up when everyone else is riding the bullet train.

You need to promote your story everywhere -- Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and even YouTube if your media outlet has a YouTube channel for its content. Always use social media to promote your news content. Every social media campaign should have this free, but powerful, promotional step as a rule, not an option.

Find Your Next Job

Job Search by