How do you write well-researched stories of substance while still getting people to read them? That’s the challenge of online journalism. And the fact that many sites pay based on page views and ad revenues just ratchets up the pressure.
It’s not like back when our parents bought a newspaper or magazine and simply read it. Now, we all have dozens of enticing snippets scrolling down our feeds and jamming our inboxes. So how do you get people to read about dry (but important!) topics like stochastic terrorism or climate change? Lure them in with an attention-grabbing title and a compelling story. (Pro tip: tying your article in with a trending news topic gives you a boost for search and social media.)
For example… Terrifying New Map Shows What May Be Left Of Florida As Sea Levels Rise got people’s attention. And, Hey Main Stream Media, This Man Is Not A “Gunman.” He’s A Terrorist got way more views and engagement than 5 Ways the Republican Party Promotes Stochastic Terrorism. I know, because I wrote both of them.
But garden-variety click bait’s not enough… At least not for me. I work hard to offer something readers can’t get somewhere else. I start out by finding a fresh angle and doing my research. I also try to have mercy on my readers’ eyes. It’s to read on a computer screen than on a page. That’s why I break up the text and lead people through stories with lots of subheads, images, videos, and other rich media.
Writing Samples for Online Journalism
Below are samples of some of my top-performing posts that I’m most proud of. When available, I provide live links.