How to Start a News Blog
1) Finding your Niche
In today’s world, anyone can be a journalist or a news provider, and more than ever, people are turning to independent journalists. If you’re an aspiring journalist, now is a good time to have a new blog. With that said, you should find your niche.
A niche is a specific topic. This allows you to have a topic that has an audience, but less competition. With news, there are many topics. You can focus on worldwide news, US news, or news in your community. You can make it political, have wholesome feature stories, or commentate on the news.
Think about what part of the news you’re interested in and have the most knowledge about. Then, you can search for your topic on Google Trends and see how much consistency the topic has in the search results. If it looks good, you may want to make it your niche.
2) Think of a unique blog name and create your website
Now comes the fun part, creating your blog name. We suggest a name that’s short, sweet and is relevant to your audience. Some names for a news blog could be: Newest News, Unbiased US, or if you’re still stuck try using our blog name generator for some inspiration.
Once you have a blog name in mind, it’s time to get your website set up. Don’t worry, this is much easier than it sounds and can be easily done in less than an hour! Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
3) Get the essentials
A news blog may require an investment. If you’re going to do hard-hitting journalism, you may want to get a good camera and a mic for you to have, along with backup batteries. A recorder may be needed for your interviews, along with a notepad. These may be good for your own videos or even a podcast.
Make sure you start your social media platforms as well. Facebook and Twitter are great for news-related posts, and Instagram is good for photo and video.
Also, consider thinking about traveling, depending on how far your news blog will be. If you’re thinking about covering local news, you probably have a car or another form of transportation. However, if you’re trying to cover more worldwide news, consider getting accessories to help you with your travels. Portable WiFi and a laptop are a few good options. Also, consider looking for travel deals if you want to travel a lot. Traveling can cost a lot, and if you’re doing it for business, think about all the different ways you can save. Just make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
What content do news bloggers create?
As mentioned before, news bloggers can cover the news from a local or a global scale and they may commentate on it from a left, right, or in-between perspective. Some news bloggers are indie journalists who will make their own stories, while others take news already published and commentate on it.
They can create text-based content and video content as well. Podcasts may be used to commentate on the news or speculate on what’s going to happen next.
Some may encourage their audience to send in content for them to review, too.
There is no shortage of news blogs, so you can look at some of them and get an idea for their content.
Create engaging and relevant content
If you want to attract an audience, you’ll want engaging content. Some people like you to tell the facts through an unbiased perspective, and others will want you to be a commentator with your own personality and biases. Look at some other news blogs and see what they’re doing with their news. Take what you like about it and make it your own. If you see anything that may be improvement, such as reporting errors, fix it and make a better product.
News needs to be relevant as well. If your blog is dedicated to news around your town, stay local. Your posts need to be timely as well, but not so rushed you misreport the facts.
If you plan on taking other news stories and writing them in your own words, don’t just spin the words around. You want a reason why people come to you rather than the other guys. You shouldn’t distort facts, but maybe you could dive deeper into the stories. One way you can do this is to conduct your own interviews and clarify some facts that the original story didn’t leave clear. Or you can be able to take stories and commentate on them. Everyone likes hearing other people’s opinions. While reporting straight up facts is important, adding your own separate thoughts can work as well.
How to grow your traffic
There are many ways to grow an audience for a new blogs. Here are some ways you can do so.
- Social media. Share your stories on your profile and ask an audience what their thoughts on the news are. Use a bit of every social media. Photo stories may be good for Instagram.
- Optimize your website for SEO. This can help you bring your site to the top of the search results. A professional SEO firm may be able to help you out.
- Guest post on other news blogs or news sites. This can help give you exposure. Also, make sure you talk to other news blogs and be friends with them. A collaboration with other journalists may help build your traffic.
- Advertise. Spend a bit of money for some targeted ads on Google or Facebook.
- Engage with your audience. Someone doesn’t agree with your opinion? Respond to it. Encourage people to send you tips and news. Tell your audience to spread the word.
How to make money with your News Blog
Your news blog should be out of a passion for journalism, and not for profit. However, a journalist has to eat, and it’s possible to make money off journalism as a side gig or even full-time. Here are a few ways you can make money as a news blogger.
- Guest posting. You can guest post on blogs and news outlets, and not only will you get exposure, but a good blog will pay you for your contribution. Many freelance journalists rely on this.
- Put ads on your webpage. Ads that are relevant to your audience can help you make some money.
- Patreon can help. Your audience can pay a little money each month, and you can incentivize them by providing premium content. Behind the scenes videos, interviewing your audience, and other rewards are a few ideas.
- Paid sponsorships can help you make money. Some companies may pay you to review a microphone or a camera. A good journalist needs to be open with sponsorships, though.
- If you make enough good stories, you may be invited to events to speak or attend. You may be paid to do so, with travel fees paid for.
Top #3 News Bloggers
Buzzfeed started in 2006 as an entertainment blog, posting pop quizzes and relatable lists, but soon became their own news blog, making news for Millennials and from a more liberal perspective. Buzzfeed is a site people either love or hate, with its fans loving it because of its quirky writing along and how the news concerns a younger audience. Even its detractors can’t stop talking about it, which is good for their exposure overall.
Your blog probably won’t usurp Buzzfeed, but what you can do is use them as inspiration and to get news stories to commentate on.
#2 The Wrap
Founded in 2009, The Wrap focuses on Hollywood an entertainment news. Entertainment news is always a good niche. People love hearing news about a movie or other piece of entertainment coming out, and people love following celebrities. People live vicariously through the lives of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and a news blogger knows to cover their every move.
Doing an entertainment blog is a bit tough if you’re an indie journalist, as interviewing people who are more powerful than you is a tough challenge. What you can do is write about local entertainment in an almost celebrity-like fashion.
This is news from a more conservative perspective, with the author offering their own perspective on conservatism. Conservatism has been a popular niche due to Trump and the current political climate, with newer and older styles of conservatism clashing. If you’re conservative leaning, figure out your own perspective.
A partisan blog has a good audience, but it’s always tough to write for. If your opinions aren’t strictly partisan, you may end up alienating some of your audience. Some people love hearing more nuanced opinions, while others want preaching to the choir. Figure out which one you want to be.