Are you aspiring to become an online journalist? Or else you are a budding content creator in the news area. If so, this article is for you. The world is moving to virtual platform. Well put, the world is moving to the fourth technological revolution. The revolution is phasing out traditional printed newspaper. Now, online journalism is taking space.
Digital publication and online media are becoming the ultimate sources of information. Everyone has an opportunity to share information. As such, there is a lot of information available to the virtual audience. Mobizines, e-zines, and webzines are making it easy for everyone to access real-time information. Thus, digital platforms are creating a hub of online freelancers and writers.
Nevertheless, writing content for the web is not the same as for the traditional media. Though you will apply your journalism knowledge, you will need additional skills to make you stand out. This article will address the six must-have skills that will make you stand out as an online journalist. Here they are:
Skills relate to traditional journalism
Despite it being online, you will need to borrow and apply some skills from the traditional journalism. Some of the skills you will need are:
ª Interviewing skills
To develop accurate and reliable news, you need to engage experts. Or else, you must interview the event organizers or people involved in the issue you’re addressing. So, you require to have advanced interviewing skills. Your need the ability to interact with interviewees and ask them questions that will offer you reliable information.
Also, you must have the ability to place yourself in the audience shoes and ask the questions related to their issues. Despite writing for virtual platforms, you will require effective interviewing skills. Hence, you must work on enhancing them.
ª Interpersonal skills
You’re working virtually. Why would you need this skills? Well, interaction is part of the journalism career. Whether it is online or offline, you need to interact with people in you mission to generate news and reports. You will interview high-ranked and general public for you to come up with fact-based and unbiased stories.
For this to happen, you need skills to talk with the prominent people in a way they will accept your requests. Also, you will need to interact with your audience and offer them feedback t their queries. This aspect is only possible if you work on your interpersonal and communication skills. Hence, despite being an online journalist, you must have the best interpersonal skills.
ª Editing skills
Many people think that since you’re writing for the web, you do not need to mind your grammar. Your information must meet the basic and advanced grammatical requirements. No one will follow in love or follow error-filled texts. Also, well written content will improve your online credibility and trust on the information shared.
For you to realize this objective, you need the editing skills. Your texts and content should undergo through an extensive editing process. In other words, the content published should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. No one should have to perform extra research to understand your news articles. So, you should venture in the editing skills.
Skills for web content writing
Apart from having the basic journalism skills, you will need to possess the web content development abilities. These skills will help you craft articles and news that will woo audiences and win you a stable virtual following. Here they are:
ª Heading and subheading development
Unlike in the printed media, people do not a whole day to read your information. Instead, they are looking for the exact information covered on a text. To earn yourself a large audience, your news article must meet several aspect. First, they should be easy to read. Every person should read and understand what you’re presenting. Their education level should not be a barrier.
Second, it must be easy to scan. The audience should go through the whole article within a short duration. For you to make the easy to scan and read, you need the headings. Your articles should have several headings and subheadings. These elements should follow the heading formatting which are H1 to H5.
Also, the heading and their subheading should be catchy. This way, your audience will easily find the information they need within a short time. So, to become a successful online journalist, you must have effective heading development and formatting skills.
ª SEO – Search Engine Optimization
As you know, traditional media has a place where the audience can find their printed documents. You can tell the place to purchase a newspaper. Also, you know where to collect a magazine. In the digital world, the same principle applies. The audience collection point is the search engines. People will stop on Google, Bing, Duckduck go, or Yahoo when looking for information. With many freelance journalist, you will likely miss an audience.
Even with the best information, lack of SEO skills will make it useless. As an online journalist, you need to understand how search engine works. Knowledge on keyword, link building, and ranking algorithms should be at your fingertips. Also, you should know the kind of information that will fall in love with the search engines.
Otherwise, you will just become a bad guy in the online world. So, if you want to become the pacesetter in the online journalism, equip yourself with SEO knowledge.
ª Chunking skills
Probably, you read web content. If so, how do you want it written? Certainly, your answer is easy to read. When writing online news, your goal should be ease of reading. You’re not writing a novel or a newspaper. Considering the nature of virtual audience, you must ensure they read a long document without even realizing it.
How do you do it?
Chunking. This approach involves breaking your information into small easy to read bits. Your aim at small paragraphs with white spaces separating them. Also, you can embark on bullets, numbered list, and subheadings. This way, everyone finds the information easy to read without struggling.
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