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Why Comments Matter in the News Industry

  • by: Sandra Figueiredo
  • On: 22, Jul 2021
6 min read

The news industry is one of the most engaged industries on social media. Not only is the industry that has the highest post-per-week ratio, but it also receives a high number of comments.

78-postnewscomments

Comment sections are the first step in engaging readers with your content and sparking interest in visiting your website. Fruitful debate and engaged readers will help you develop audience relationships that convert into revenue for your news business.

Here’s why your news brand can’t afford to ignore comments on social media:

1) Comments can help you drive up revenue

Engagement matters, whether you have a revenue model around advertising or subscription-based (or a mix of both). Having an active social media comment section builds interest around the content and will entice more people to click through your website.

For advertising models
Posts receiving a high volume of comments will have expanded reach and increase the number of visits to your website, making your display ads opportunities more appealing to advertisers.

For subscription-based models
Comments can help you uncover potential subscribers. People who take the time to comment on the news are likely to spend more time reading your content and will be more willing to pay for subscriptions.

Valuable readers usually write longer and more well-thought comments and engage in civil debate with other commenters. It’s a good idea to engage with these users, sharing additional content that may interest them based on the topic at hand and help them move through the buying funnel.

BBC News Example of engaged users

Facebook Ads - extra tip: Create a custom audience to target everyone that engaged with your posts with subscription ads. This will increase the potential of converting these users to paid subscribers.

2) Comments can help you foster democratized content with fruitful conversations

Press is the fourth pillar of democracy, representing the right of freedom of speech and expression. The comments section creates a space for readers to grapple with important topics, which is fundamental for building democratized content. It allows readers to express themselves and elevate participatory journalism.

Building engagement through the comment section is a great way to improve your relationship with devoted readers. Comments sections on social media provide publishers the opportunity to deepen relationships with readers by creating an opportunity for open dialogue. However, news organizations need to establish a safe and protected space for open discussion. 

3) Toxic comments may keep valuable readers and sources away


News stories on social media are frequently hijacked by trolls, spammers, hate speech, discrimination, and other harmful comments creating a toxic and negative space that engaged readers will try to avoid. Valuable readers prefer to engage in civil and fruitful discussions. 

More than that, some reporters and editors are also concerned that offensive comments with personal attacks may discourage potential sources from speaking on the record.1

Moderating harmful comments on social media is essential to promote quality and civil discourse. BrandBastion can help moderate such comments, so your comment section is clean and safe for productive debate. 

You must keep your community guidelines social media moderation policies up to date. They need to set clear moderation guidelines on your social media pages and make it clear what kind of behavior will not be tolerated. You can download our template here.

huffpostHuffpost's Commenting & Moderation Policy

4) Comments can help you stay aware of urgent issues


The news industry works 24/7, and so does social media. Posting dozens of news links on social media can leave room for human error, and you need to be ready to act swiftly.

Technical link issues, a typo in the copy, or a high amount of negative sentiment from users, are the type of situations that need to be addressed quickly. BrandBastion will send instant alerts so action can be taken before these issues escalate.

5) Comments are potential sources for ideas and stories


Citizen journalism’s importance has expanded drastically with social media comment sections. Journalists can monitor social media comments to find breaking news, sources, eyewitnesses, and so much more.

Comments can help you uncover follow-up stories on your news, and find different perspectives on specific issues.

Keeping Your Brand Safe on Social Media

Brands in the news industry tend to get a lot of engagement on their social media pages, making it difficult for internal teams to moderate and monitor at scale.  BrandBastion’s Moderation + Alerts solution processes every comment you receive, hiding unwanted and harmful comments across your social media posts. You customize your moderation guidelines, choosing what type of content you consider damaging and want hidden (e.g., spam, discrimination, brand critique, competitor mentions, among other categories). Our Moderation + Alerts solution takes the weight off your shoulders, giving you peace of mind, assured that comments are effectively monitored 24/7.

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Sources 1 Diakopoulos, N., & Naaman, M. (2011). Towards quality discourse in online news comments. Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on Computer supported cooperative work CSCW 11, 133-142. doi: 10.1145/1958824.1958844

 

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