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How publishers can boost traffic to their original breaking stories

Breaking News’ expansion to MSN and NBCNews.com drives more referrals to publishers

In the old days of the internet, when a news organization broke a story, other publishers would link it, giving credit where credit is due.

Today an original breaking story — especially from a local TV station or newspaper — fractures into a million pieces in just a few moments. Other publishers quickly spin up their own versions of the story and send out social media posts linking themselves, not the originator. Many more people Tweet the news, not crediting where they found it in the first place.

Call us old fashioned, but Breaking News links straight to the original source. Not just from our own site and app — where our weekly active users are up 50% over the last year — but wherever we distribute our updates.

And now that distribution has made a big leap. We’re now helping power real-time coverage on MSN and NBCNews.com, two large sites with news-hungry audiences. In both cases, updates link directly to the source, sending exponentially more traffic to publishers and our partners.

Publishers may not have noticed the traffic boost when looking at their analytics reports. That’s because the only referrals that track back to Breaking News are those from BreakingNews.com — a small fraction of the total traffic we send. The rest originate from the source of distribution:

When you add it all up — which is difficult to do exactly — Breaking News is responsible for sending several million referrals every month. We’re also boosting publishers’ social and SEO juice in those critical early moments of breaking an original story, so the true impact is even harder to measure.

For publishers, this represents a growing distribution opportunity.

More than 400 publishers are Breaking News partners, but some aren’t taking full advantage of it.

Here’s how it works. First, ask us to whitelist your news organization’s Twitter account. Then whenever you tweet an original breaking story, just add #breaking or #breakingnews somewhere in the tweet itself. Like this:

(If you’re opposed to such hashtags, you can also add #bn to the end of the tweet, and #developing, #amberalert and #silveralert also work).

Those tweets instantly appear in our publishing platform, alerting our editors and increasing the chance they’ll see your story first. In essence, you’re fast-tracking your story to our editorial team.

If you’re a local news organization — and the story mentions a specific location — the tweet will also automatically appear in the “nearby” tab on the Breaking News app. This tab is becoming increasingly popular with the recent addition of tipping, and it’s a great way for newsrooms to reach more people in their local markets. Partner tweets look like this:

To make it all work, partners need to remember to add one of the above hashtags. But if you forget, you can also submit a story to us directly through BreakingNews.com (click the mail icon), the Breaking News app (as a tip) or via the Twitter iOS app directly (share via the Breaking News extension.)

And if you want to become a partner — or have forgotten if you’ve signed up already — just a drop us a note. It’s quick and easy.

(By Cory Bergman)