Who in your area should be on a stamp?
What's the point of of questioning the audience? In your newsroom, when you ask a question across your site and social media platforms, do you have a metric for success? Is it 20 responses? 200? Somewhere in between?
Do you know what brings more responses -- time of day, wording of question, amplification by repeating across platforms? Is someone in charge of keeping track of what works and what doesn't and issuing guidance?
If you typically ask one question a day and generate 100 comments or responses a week, what can you do to increase that by a factor of 10? Who in the newsroom has suggestions for steps to take that might make that much of a difference?
Asking a question is not a resource issue -- it takes two minutes to go to Facebook and ask "what should we cover today?" or "how are we doing?"
It does take a few more minutes to monitor your activity and make adjustments so that week by week you engage more readers.
The Objective A highly engaged audience that is regularly creating content, a newsroom that initiates discussion, readers who react to news by spending time with your brand.
Measures of Success Comments, likes, clicks, page views, new questions, discussion threads -- and journalists who repurpose those discussions into articles or posts for a website or a print product.
Who's doing it well? Here's some evidence from a postal prompt about what works and what doesn't. If you have not asked a "who should be on a stamp" question, today is a good day. (Short url's included to ease sharing.)
The Indianapolis Star in one day had 17 Facebook likes and about 80 comments on a survey: who from Indiana should be on a stamp? Who will it be? Time for Indiana living legend on postage stamp | indystar.com http://bit.ly/nD5tYm Note the large photo of a favorite son.
The AP asked on Facebook and received 96 comments in the first day: http://on.fb.me/potHOi They amplified the request with a Twitter prompt that did two important things: directed people to Facebook and seeded the question with some possible answers from top names trending on Google search: Twitter / @AP: Interesting ideas of who belongs on a stamp — Wangari Maathai? Chuck Norris? — are on our Facebook page http://bit.ly/oBJFIAThe AP tweet to 500,000 followers had two dozen retweets: https://bitly.com/potHOi+
The Tennessean asked on its site and across social media feeds for local living legends worth featuring on a stamp. From the managing editor's Twitter feed @megdowney: I vote John Seigenthaler. @Tennessean. Which living TN legend would you want to see on a stamp? http://t.co/FQYiUpmI
Seeding the conversation with a few names seems to work. The Des Moines Register drew 50 comments on Facebook on the first day with this prompt:What living Iowan should be on a stamp? The U.S. Postal Service has changed the rules to allow living people to be honored on postage stamps. So -- who would be your Iowa choice? (Around the newsroom, suggestions included Hayden Fry, Slipknot, Fred Hoiberg, Shawn Johnson and Captain James T. Kirk.) http://on.fb.me/nrxUyi
A post on the Register's site had a bold call out asking readers to go to the Facebook page to answer: Who do you think should be first living Iowan on a stamp? | DesMoinesRegister.com http://bit.ly/pkeFDu
Lauren Wilbert List, a community producer for the Times-Picayune website, Nola.com, received more than 20 comments when she asked the question: Which living person would you like to see on a stamp? http://bit.ly/oakFyw
The LA Times fashion writer set up a survey: Poll: Which living face of fashion belongs on a U.S. stamp? - latimes.com http://lat.ms/nMFfTf
There were 89 comments in a day and a half on this Florida news site, and note that the writer included an email address for readers who wanted to add a suggestion without leaving a comment. Does that mean there will be a followup? What living American would you like to see on a stamp? Let us know - St. Petersburg Times http://bit.ly/p4ll6k
How many news organizations will do more than just collect a few comments? The Postal Service is inviting official submissions. Here are the official stamp criteria from the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee http://bit.ly/nfjDx4
This is an opportunity to keep the conversation going, to solicit a list of names, to put out a poll, to narrow the list to the top five, to formally submit the names on behalf of your audience, and to report back the status of the request. The requests can be segmented by geography or topic area: who would be your metro area choice? your state choice? who would be your choice from among local sports stars? fashion stars? business stars? civic leaders? entertainers?
Each one of those points is an opportunity for deeper audience engagement.
What is working for you?