The Columbia Missourian is a daily newspaper that covers the city of Columbia and Boone County, Missouri. The paper prints 6,000 copies daily and had 2.4 million unique online visitors in 2016 with 7 million total page views. As a member of the team, I used Social News Desk, Parse.ly, Tweetdeck, Google Analytics and Drive, along with other tools, and worked three different types of shifts each week.
Social shifts: I managed the Missourian's Facebook and Twitter accounts, which have 15,000 likes and followers and 36,000 followers, respectively, during these shifts. I mainly scheduled posts for the accounts, but also monitored comments and shared breaking news.
Outreach shifts: I wrote weekly articles on things to do each weekend, reached out to various communities to share relevant coverage or promote current Missourian projects, identified and worked with community leaders to request nominations for our Progress Awards, wrote a profile of one of the Progress in the Arts winner and created Snapchat stories and Facebook photo albums for the Missourian's accounts during these shifts.
Beat shifts: I worked with the Community beat team to help them reach out to potential sources and promote their coverage, as well as creating related content for the beat.
I also wrote several weekly analytics reports and Monday Briefings. For the analytics reports, I looked at our social presence, video performance and website traffic for the week and offered critiques on what we were doing well and what could be improved. For the Monday Briefing, a weekly newsletter, I compiled and summarized noteworthy articles from the past week, listed upcoming events and found fun facts or quotes to share with our readers.
This Haunted Mansion piece was a story I shared on Halloween. People LOVED this on social, with 54 percent of total traffic for the story, or 2,200 visitors, coming from social. The story received 4,000 total page views and 3,400 visitors for an average time of 1:51, translating into 6,300 engaged minutes. The Facebook post reached 4,734 people, had 353 link clicks, 39 reactions, 23 shares and four comments, which was extremely high-performing for a Missourian Facebook post. The tweet, which had the same copy, received 7 retweets, 15 likes, and one comment. It had 73 link clicks and 2,911 impressions with 117 total engagements, which was also pretty great for a Missourian tweet. By tapping into excitement for a holiday with a timely story and fun and concise copy in the post, I was able to generate a strong and positive social response.
One of the main beat projects I worked on with the Community team was sharing our special Homecoming package, and specific stories from the package, with targeted audiences. My partner Lily and I compiled a list of alumni chapters and other groups that would be interested in the package content. I worked with the overall Mizzou Alumni Association and the Mizzou Homecoming group, specifically, sharing our content with them. The Alumni Association shared the package both in its newsletter and on Facebook using our bit.ly link, as I had requested, so we were able to see how many people we reached via our efforts. The overall package bit.ly link we used between the two of us received 1,526 clicks and the specific stories we shared received about 200 clicks on their individual bit.ly links as well. These results truly showed how important it is for us to connect our content with groups who value and care about what we're covering, both in terms of our value to readers as well as our quantitative performance.
Each week, I wrote a "10 things to do" piece for the weekend events and activities going on around Columbia and mid-Missouri. These service pieces always generated significant interest from our readers, typically receiving around 300 views each week. I also created a Google Form readers could submit if they had an event they would like us to consider including in a future piece.
Click the button below for an example of one of my "10 things to do".
As an Outreach team member, I would also occasionally work on special projects to promote our coverage, like the "Reading List" compilation in the link below. For this particular piece, I went back and read through all of our big stories of the fall and chose which ones would still make for a great read our audience would enjoy. 26 percent of visitors to this piece went on to read one of the selected stories. While there was room for improvement, this was a good number, particularly when compared to a regular story, which usually sees rates below 10 percent.
Another project I worked on was a weekly newsletter called the Monday Briefing. The Briefing would be delivered to readers inboxes every Monday morning to help them catch up with the big stories of the past week and see what was coming up in the week ahead. When deciding what stories to include, I would look for stories that performed really well, especially those that went beyond expectations, as well as stories that struggled or we expected to do perform better. I would include both types in the newsletter to help build more momentum for those high-performing stories and build new momentum and traffic for the underperforming stories. I also looked for general themes or topics in our coverage, such as Thanksgiving meals or Mizzou wins in the example below, which allowed me to simultaneously include a lot of stories while keeping the newsletter copy succinct for our readers.
Click the button below for an example of one of my Monday Briefings.
I also worked on the Progress Awards, the Missourian's first annual community recognition awards. I reached out to local organizations and community leaders to solicit nominations for the awards, and then interviewed Ed Hanson, the recipient of the Progress in the Arts award, for a profile piece.
Click the button below for a link to the piece.