Topic pages help readers follow news

22 Feb

Keeping up with the developments on a particular topic or beginning to learn about an ongoing news story can be intimidating to some readers. A new way to deal with this problem is to create a topic page.

Topic pages contain all of the context and background on one particular issue. The goal of the page is to provide information that will remain relevant to the issue no matter how it develops. Journalist often calls information that will remain relevant overtime evergreen. Evergreen content, which gives context without being connected to any one breaking event, should be the focus of a topic page. The topic page should also function as a hub for all of a publications links on that certain topic.

When a news site creates a topic page thoughtfully and on a subject that readers truly want more insight into, the page can become the go-to source for information on that topic. Which will not only earn a publication respect but more of those highly coveted page views.

There are some key elements which a topic page should contain.  The page needs to explain to the reader the history of the topic and the topic’s importance.  A benefit of a topic pages is that it will generate more natural search engine optimization for a website simply through having a page dedicated to a highly searched issue. Topic pages take advantage of the digitization of journalism. Topic pages allow for the kind of in-depth stories traditional print journalism could never afford the space to provide.  Topic pages draw in readers who are interested in exactly what the page is focusing on. This brings a much more interested and engaged audience to a sites articles and saves the reader time searching through a more traditional homepage of various stories.  Many news sites such as the New York Times and BBC News are having success with the topic page model.

One of the reasons topic pages are so successful is their ability to make readers feel as if they are getting the full story. Rather than throwing news out and assuming readers have background knowledge, topic pages allow readers to learn about issues at their own pace. They give the readers a wider-scale view of an issue.

Topic pages act as central locations for readers to learn about topics while simultaneously linking them to the latest developments. Topic pages are a hybrid of in-depth topic sites and breaking news. This advantage of being two things at once makes topic pages lucrative to news sites and valuable to readers.

My Delicious links:

http://delicious.com/mmcgarrell/feminism

Journalists can use delicious to bookmark sites relevant to their beat. Having a collection of resources for a range of topics a journalist may have to cover is a great way to streamline research and keep on top of any developing stories.  Delicious is a great tool for discovering other sites similar to resources journalists have already found, thanks to the great tagging aspect of the site.

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