....who writes in the news section on Dengarden? Is this a nom de plume for a staff member or someone who has been hired to write almost daily content that's promoted on the Dengarden Facebook page?
I just looked at DenGarden… and all the front page news stories don’t make sense for the site. They’d be more appropriate for Exemplore since they’re about ghosts.
I think it’s also weird that those stories about ghosts would be up top and the first thing people see when they’re looking for home and garden information.
I found this when I Googled her. She's an editor for Dengarden.
A profile at https://hubpages.com/@laurengordon doesn't exist.
At least two of the PetHelpful writers have a profile, but as you say the Dengarden writer doesn't. The PetHelpful writers find a social media post about pets and then create an article about the post. They sometimes discuss people's comments on the social media post. I took a quick look at the Dengarden account and the process seems to be the same. It would be interesting to know how helpful that process is for the website. I've recently noticed that they sometimes include a link to our articles, which could be useful.
If it draws in traffic to the social media accounts so lots of people get to know about us and it creates brand awareness, it could be beneficial. My criticism was always that nobody knows about the network sites. I know the bottom line is that organic traffic from people Googling a search term is what's most important, but if people see a familiar name on SERPS that they've come across before on social media, they might be more likely to click the result.
Interesting, and she says Arena is looking to hire writers to produce 8 to 10 x 300 word pieces initially for Dengarden, then other sites at $25 per hour. Aren’t there enough hubbers creating free content at the moment?
Right? If they're willing to pay $25/hour to non-HP members, then they should at least pay the HP authors either a per-word rate or a per-article rate, rather than the pennies we receive now.
Per views/reads like Medium does would be nice too.
Granted, Medium is per reads, but higher views does account for more reads.
Maybe they want to make us redundant and just pay outright for content that they don't have to share ad revenue on?
Then why not pay us outright, too? Throw us an extra bone for articles that generate high ad revenue.
I am not concerned about these writers. They aren't writing the same kind of content we are. They will not replace us, at least not as things appear right now. If they can bring in some visitors through social media that's a good thing.
What does concern me is the sudden influx of low-quality pages to the sites. It appears these articles disappear from the news page in about a week. Hopefully they are completely removed at that point.
I'm on the same page with you. I feel a little uneasy writing out my concerns since HubPages is the boss kind of thing.
The thing is, those 300-word articles written by the editors appear on the page before any of our articles do. Don't you consider that a deterrent?
Not really. Traffic comes from search. Very few people go straight to the niche site wondering what's new every day.
I have more of an issue with how they show more news articles in the "Read More" widget rather than sending readers to our articles.
That is absolutely unfair to the writers here (Us I mean).
It is also unfair that these news blurbs aren't saddled with the horrible video at the top like ours are. If they can go lighter on ads with these blurbs, why can't they reconsider the disasters they have turned our articles into?
Excellent point, Eric!
I'd also like to point out that all of this speculation, negativity, frustration, confusion, and suspicion could be avoided if HP would just communicate with us they way they used to. When you see something like this it is easy to make assumptions and create our own narrative, but we could be way off.
Eric has raised a point that I hadn't thought of before. The sites with news are publishing short articles every day. In the case of the PetHelpful ones, these short articles often contain multiple quotes from another site. I wonder if these factors could be a problem.
Immediate gratification. Looks like there is a trend now of getting lots of views on things that go viral on social media, while evergreen content takes time to establish and rank in search engines, but provides more long-term traffic potential.
We are likely considered the evergreen specialists, while these writers are the newsworthy specialists. They are likely experts in finding things that are trending over the internet and write about them in a way that captures the attention on the news feed.
In a perfect world, I think it would be possible to combine the two. For instance, a while back there was a video of a dog who appeared to be crying that went viral and many speculated that dogs could cry like humans do. I made an article on "can dogs cry like humans do" backed up with research and added the video.
From a trendy subject, it turned into an evergreen one, while still incorporating elements that piqued people's interest at the moment. Of course, I didn't have much success because, back then, we didn't have the luxury of appearing on a news feed.
So it would be great if HP could collaborate with us and share with us trendy topics (or we can search these on our own) which we can strategically churn into evergreen topics with a quick turnaround. That would be a win-win so the articles don't need to be deleted after some time since they are just fluff with no evergreen potential.
These articles can have a title that is newsworthy initially (like, "watch this video of dog crying, but are they real tears? Here's what researchers say) and then can be turned into a title that is more evergreen later on (e.g. can dogs cry tears like humans do?).
We can also provide the most attractive info in the first paragraphs (since it seems like these authors write just 300 words) and then add more details below for those who want to learn more or with some tips. We can even eventually delete the first 300 words later on, if they were mostly about the trending videos.
I know of a website that astutely does this- turning newsworthy topics into gems full of knowledge nuggets, with links to study and research, magically making them evergreen. They also strategically use titles that makes clicking almost irresistible: "This little trick can save you hundreds of dollars on your yearly water bill" or "add this natural supplement for a more restful night" or "dietician shares what you should do to shed pounds like never before"
I looked up what these authors are writing on Pethelpful on MSN feed and many can be turned into evergreen content easily, while still retaining their newsworthy info. If they are doing this for all niches, I think us writers can provide more benefit and for the long-run by offering the best of both worlds.
Those of us who specialize in certain niches or the many great researchers on HP can also provide an expert insight considering that many things that go viral are misinterpreted and may even prove to be potentially harmful (e.g. watch this video of a child riding a dog like a pony).
Just my 2 cents
Hmm. Very interesting points you’ve made here.
Good thoughts, perhaps we could use their articles in the way we once used the title generator, which is long gone now.
It would be nice for management to weigh in on that idea, before we spent time on it to find it's something editors will frown on, as duplicate content already on a niche site.
That would be nice! Yes, it would be great if they could weigh in on this, also because if we were to write on these trendy topics, by the time they are reviewed, and make it to the news feed, we have lost momentum and the trend would be already gone for good. Lately, articles move very slowly to niche sites and we would therefore miss the train. This is something that would need to be reviewed quickly and published immediately.
My hope is that the stories selected for these viral sections are curated correctly. I know it's all new and experimental, and I respect the people who are jumping into this. I think for the niche sites the first things people see should be relevant to the target area. I have a hard time with the ghost stories on DenGarden since it veers far from what I consider home and garden. It seems better suited for Exemplore, which I know doesn't draw in traffic like DenGarden does... at least, not at this point.
As a former journalist, I would merit these as fluff or trendy stories and not really news. It would be stories that are considered in the kicker block for broadcast TV, the last stories you'd show to kind of boost the morale after all the hard news. Admittedly, I liked finding the lighter stories and putting them together more so than the hard news. Stories that are unusual break the mold and give you a new sense of wonder. Optimism is important, and I don't think I would have lasted in journalism as long as I did without the lighter stories.
I'm a little concerned that the new writers would be committing themselves to 3,000 words a day. Stephen King aims for 2,000. At 3,000, it's going to be harder to edit proficiently, and we may run into a quantity over quality issue. It could be so much quantity that the quality doesn't have a chance to breathe... kind of like overwatering a plant. I do think quantity leads to quality, but 10 stories at 300 words 5 times a week plus adding pictures and video, and ascertaining that they have great editing and creative juice to them can be a lot on the mind. If you're also having to seek out and find these stories and they're not assigned to you... it's going to be intense. In that way, absolutely, give them a full-time job to pull it off.
If it were me managing this project, I would suggest a "write as many good and strong 300 stories as possible in a day" strategy rather than a strict quota of 8-10 stories. 3,000 words can run you into burnout mode and then you can expect a high turnover rate. Also, during certain times of the year... you will run into dry periods where there just isn't a lot of trendy/news content. Those days will be a grind.
Personally, I'd prefer these news segments to be called "trending" and to flip the order on the pages to have the popular articles first, that way you're ensuring the kind of content people want is first. I think people mostly stumble to the niche sites through Google searches and not going to them directly, but it should still be taken into consideration the look of things for those that do directly go to the sites.
My hope is that if the trending sections are done correctly, and maybe with some real news stories, that it could bump up the authority score of the sites. With a higher authority score, you could open the floodgates to more traffic. News sites typically have better authority scores, but not necessarily from viral pieces.
Viral stories are a kind of niche. Not everyone is into them, but having them alongside evergreen stories could diversify HubPages' portfolio, which could be a good thing, like Alexadry said.
One area that I would highly recommend for HubPages to explore to gain traffic: true crime. Cold cases and the like are still getting people's attention. People love unsolved mysteries, and I've seen different outlets time and again grow because they grew a team for it. That could be a whole new niche site. Buzzfeed has a version of this that's probably more appropriate for HubPages than something that's too gory, intense, and mature. Also, the great thing about cold cases and the like is the information is actually pretty easy to find.
I left journalism during the pandemic in 2020, and the true crime / unsolved cases I wrote (under my journalism name) still get traffic. The trending content pieces and their traffic died a long time ago. You can get a lot of "day-of" traffic with trending pieces, so it does have value.
For HP writers, if you want to find trendy pieces to try writing to and making evergreen, my suggestion would be to watch the news and wait for the last segment or two. If it's an hour-long newscast, the second half might be where the fluff starts. You also don't have to wait for the news to come on TV, local stations have webcasts that you can use to your advantage. TikTok is also a treasure trove of viral things. Use keywords and look through Instagram.
Also, with these trending pieces, the clickbait language could be a turnoff to some readers. When we're already struggling with the intensity of ads that could be a problem. I think some of the titles for the stories veer into clickbait territory. You want to make sure the trending sections are seen as stories and not confused for ads.
I do agree with above comments that it seems unfair if the trending pieces don't get hit with ads. Eric makes several good points about this. I'm in favor of HubPages considering other advertisement platforms. A sitewide editing, trending story section, and update to advertisements could improve things here significantly.
Now, I'm not a consultant, so all of this should be taken with a grain of salt. It's not really right for me to act like a consultant, and I don't have all the facts/data before me. There are reasons HubPages doesn't tell us things, some of which we might want to know that could be helpful, and in other ways, it could be for our own good not to know. (I would love for us to get more communication from HP.)
I felt inspired to write about this emerging situation and offer some candor. I'm probably going to feel somewhat anxious communicating this much... but do know I care about HP writers and staff alike. The editors here have saved my butt thousands of times, and if I didn't receive their guidance... well... my 2013 self here was definitely very raw and unpolished.
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