Skip to main content

Blogs, social networking are musts for journalists

FORT LAUDERDALE - Social media aren't just for socializing. They're also avenues for buying and selling product, and monetizing information -- turning stories into dollars. Today's journalists need to understand how to use these new media to their advantage.

That was the message this morning in a panel discussion about social media - blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and others - at the Boating Writers International meeting at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

"There are 20 million users of Twitter, 100 million YouTube users, and 250 million people using Facebook," said BWI board member and panel moderator Michael Sciulla. "Let's face it, the world isn't cutting down trees and writing just in print anymore."

Internet journalism is one way for journalists, freelancers in particular, to broaden both their reader and income bases. "[But] if you're going to do something that is Internet-related, you've got to think how you're going to make money. Good ideas are simply not enough," said Glenn Justice, editor of online magazine MadMariner.com.

Justice said the key to Internet success is generating traffic, and lots of it. He says of every 10,000 visitors to a Web site, 1 percent - about 100 - click on a product offering. Of those who click, just 1 to 3 percent - one to three visitors - actually buy something.

"It is a brutal equation to have to acquire tens of thousands of visitors and entice them to click," he said. Justice uses an arsenal of Web tools - Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook - to direct visitors to MadMariner.com.

He said Web journalism must be entrepreneurial. Journalists setting up their own Web sites can make money from Google ads (surf advertising), affiliate marketing (directing visitors to product or service sites), selling ads for their own sites, charging subscription fees to use them, syndicating blogs, and using sites to advertise services (writing stories, filming videos, writing content for others).

"You use the Web site to market yourself," he said.

Marine journalist Kim Kavin operates two sites, KimKavin.com, her personal site, and CharterWave.com, a charter and charter broker site. She writes two blogs and 12 to 15 stories a month, syndicates her daily blog, and is developing a blog site featuring the work of a dozen recreational boating journalists.

"We're all publishers these days," said Rich Lazzara, vice president of Lazzara International Yachts and creator of www.richlazarra.com, a social media site.

Lazzara has more than 1,100 followers on Twitter. He says there is money to be made on the Internet for journalists, but they have to start thinking like entrepreneurs.

"If you're not blogging today, it's something you need to do," said.

- Jim Flannery

Related

1_MIASF

MIASF Holds Annual Meeting

The South Florida trade organization announced new and reelected members, handed out awards, and arranged presentations by business leaders.

1_GASPRICE

Gas Reaches Record $4.59 Per Gallon Average

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, the summer driving and boating seasons will contribute to continued demand for gasoline.

1_MILLERMARINE

Power Lodge Acquires Miller Marine

The deal gives marine and powersports dealer Power Lodge four locations in Minnesota and one in Florida.

1_DOWDIVE

Boating Shares Suffer in Market Selloff

Major U.S. stock indices weakened yesterday, and recreational marine shares fared even worse on a percentage basis.

1_SCANIAFRANZKE

Scania Appoints President of U.S. Operations

Company veteran Jorg Franzke replaces Håkan Sterner, who is returning to Sweden.

norm

Promote Safe Boating Week; a Fishing Icon Passes

The May 21-27 observance takes on heightened importance with the thousands of newcomers to boating. Meanwhile, bass fishing lost a legend with the death of Ray Scott.

1_AZIMUTIBACKLOG

Azimut-Benetti Booked $2.1B in 2021 Backlog

The builder said new models and a “diversified product portfolio” drove sales growth to record levels.