Facebook brings COURIER new, larger audience

Publishers love to complain about Facebook. They make changes without telling anyone, their news feed has too many errors, customer service is non-existent or it takes away from smaller websites trying to earn a living publishing local news. Whatever it may be, Facebook takes a lot of hits from customers, many rightly so.

But there’s one thing Facebook does well, so well publishers make it a priority in an effort to grow readership. Facebook delivers readers (or viewers) like few other websites ever built. So much so that people are willing to give content away just to have folks see it.

I caught the Facebook bug because it’s a great spot to show my aerial videos. It also works well for promoting our stories that include a link back to our website. All this may sound simple and maybe obvious to grow our business, but the COURIER is a subscription-based newspaper and website that could not survive unless readers pay for the content. But Facebook offers publishers only one choice: no charge.

For news publishers, posting on Facebook has become a science that everyone does a little differently. How often do you charge versus give it away on Facebook to get more eyes on the content? For the COURIER, we simply take it on a case-by-case basis.

News videos, however, are in a league of their own because the medium can only be published online, sometimes with advertising. Video has quickly become the most popular medium people watch online. Because of this, literally every news website makes video a priority.

A perfect example occurred last week when I posted an aerial video of hikers climbing up a trail just past Devil’s Backbone, almost to the top of Mt. Baldy. As of press time, it had reached more than 72,000 Facebook newsfeeds, with 35,000 actually clicking and watching the video. By the time you read this, these numbers could have increased by thousands.

Now these numbers may not compare with Kardashian posts, but for a small news organization like the COURIER, posting on Facebook engages thousands of new readers. And what’s amazing is that less than half of this audience is from Claremont. The remainder mostly come from Claremont’s surrounding communities, but includes locations all over the world.

For those of you familiar with Facebook, right now the Baldy video has 670 likes, 226 comments and 374 shares. Could you imagine if a story in the COURIER print edition had 225 comments? That’s a lot of newsprint. But online, newsprint is free.

For a comparison, COURIER content will get between 2,000 to 10,000 views per post. But video usually tracks higher, with some getting upwards of 20,000 views. This is a classic example how technology and the Internet has helped publishers reach readers. It’s in part why publishing in 2017 can be so exciting. We have far more options and tools at our disposal to get the word out.

Keep in mind, the COURIER print edition and website includes all the news we produce. Videos are always on our website, and we even have a link on our homepage to the COURIER YouTube channel for archived videos.

Although our videos have open access for everyone, much of our coverage is for subscribers only who can simply login to access everything. But since readers want news served in print and online—through our website, Facebook, Instagram and email newsletters—we utilize these mediums to reach out to you.

The good news is the COURIER reaches more people than ever before. And we are doing everything possible to keep it that way.


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