2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Catching the biggest fish in your (social) network

Published: June 11, 2014, 11:50 pm, by interns

Joey Stipek | joey.stipek@gazette.com

Boris and his plush sardine

Here is Boris. Boris is short-hair Russian grey who enjoys fish, naps and social media. Boris is one of my key interests along with data visualization, FOIA laws and New York Knicks basketball. Boris lives in Oklahoma currently. He is not afraid of tornadoes unlike some of you in Colorado.

Much like my principal interests, media organizations have long carved their homepage platform into specialized areas of interests. Nowaday news organizations attract their audience by heavily marketing these specialized areas or niches on websites, according to the American Press Institute.

The Gazette does this with ColoradoSprings.com for happenings around town and OutThereColorado.com for hiking and outdoors. News consumers will find the information that fits their interests or biases. In some cases, both.

To understand networks, you must understand your audience. When you know your audience, you leverage it for clout.

For Boris, he would tailor his tweets or blog posts for things he deems interesting within his niche (such as cat food or fish).

In tailoring the content on his blog or social to these particular interests and niches, Boris will draw in a healthy amount of web traffic based on the level of connection to the network.

The more similar interests Boris follows to his beat or niche, the most of an authoritative source he becomes within the network. Additional ways he can become an authoritative source include:

    • The strength of his connection of the network is what draws traffic to any of his blogs or social media handles.
    • From his followers, people who follow him because he’s interested in cat related interests and people who are curious about Boris.
    • Sharing stories on social media either through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
    • Constantly blogging or writing stories based on your beat or related interest.

When Boris veers from his specialized areas of kitty interest, he’s “casting his net” into the network. Boris does this in hopes of reaching a broader audience (or reeling in a nice sized fish).

“Casting the net” only helps build upon his existing core audience. This only helps build upon Boris’ brand of being an adorable, yet informative cat.

Joey Stipek attends the University of Oklahoma. Follow him on Twitter @JoeyStipek