Revised SUPER SITE e-news scoring tests editing skills eight ways
In the previous two articles in this three-part series, I introduced the SUPER SITE concept and outlined five tactics for achieving this key status for e-news sites. Now let’s look at how success at achieving SUPER SITE status will be measured.
Starting next week, Editorial Solutions, Inc., will apply its new SUPER SITE scoring system to all e-news analysis projects. A revised eight-factor scoring system now in development will reflect necessary editorial improvement practices.
Ten articles from each site under review will be scored in terms of how well they comply with these new factors:
- Inclusion of feature-length stories. The opening article and at least one other in a given news section should run 500 to 800 words in length. Each article should contain at least three exclusive end-user quotes gathered during personal interviews. Features should take universality of interest into account, ensuring that the information provided affects the maximum number of readers.
- Evidence of enterprise reporting prominence. At least 60% of the ten-article total word count should consist of content reflecting enterprise reporting. The calculation reflects the presence of exclusive, authoritative input from multiple sources. Competitively speaking, enterprise reporting is the most promising weapon that will distinguish dramatically between opposing publications.
- Presence of two or more embedded links per article. In our just completed ninth annual 50-site study, only nine sites reached this target. Links sending readers to related articles appearing in past issues deserve special attention.
- Emphasis on newsworthy personnel announcements. Many website articles about new hires and promotions are simply rewrites of press releases rehearsing the individual’s employment history. Instead, the employee featured should be quoted at the beginning of the article with a comment about a current industry issue or trend.
- Key story point at the start of each article. Too many articles launch with a batch of words identifying the story source, title, and company description before getting to the story focus. Instead, ensure that the key point of each story is addressed after no more than ten words of introduction.
- Use of decks to elaborate rather than duplicate heads. Headlines often require decks, even when shorter articles are involved. When used, however, the decks should not simply echo the details in the headline. Instead they should add additional, compelling information.
- Keeping average sentence length at 25 words or less. Beware a parade of 30- to 50-word sentences. When necessary, be prepared to paraphrase endless quotes provided in press releases.
- Format variety. E-news sections need not force a single narrative format on each article. Instead, vary the presentation of articles by means of brief Q&A interviews, original research results, guest columnist blogs, IQ tests, or other approaches to content.
Assuming the final scoring system is based on a total of 100 possible points, factors 1 and 2 can earn a maximum 20 points. The remaining factors can each earn 10 points. The overall target score will fall somewhere between 60 and 80 points.
If you have some suggestions for amending or adding to this list of factors, send your thoughts to me by e-mail to email@example.com no later than May 10.