Newsana: Top 5 tips for getting started in our community

Newsana is a community of smart, enthusiastic and thoughtful people who curate the best news stories on the Internet. Our members pitch stories. Pitches highlight key points and explain how and why these events, ideas and information are affecting the world we live in. Newsana members also vote on stories and pitches, as well as discuss and debate.

Now that we’ve been up and running for a couple of weeks, we’ve heard from a few community members that they found writing their first pitch and jumping into the community to be really intimidating.

We get it.

Just like walking into a party of super-smart folks, sometimes it can be scary to join in the Newsana conversation. But we’ll let you in on a dirty little secret:

Everyone’s intimidated – at first.

So, now that we’ve let the secret slip, here are some helpful tips for writing your first Newsana pitch and engaging with the Newsana community:

1) Upload your Newsana profile pic:

We humans love faces – we connect with them. A Simon Fraser University study on Human Images reveals this. Uploading a profile picture to Newsana helps convince others you’re real (credibility), and  make it easier for members of the Newsana community to trust what you’re saying. Plus, we want to feature some of the best pitches, and we can only do so when we can see who see your beautiful shining smiles : )

#Newsanaprotip: If you’ve connected Newsana to one of your social networks you can simply use your profile picture from that network. If you’ve created a stand alone Newsana account all you need to do is go to “View public profile” then “Edit my account settings” then “Upload a new picture”.

Newsana profile upload step one

 

Newsana profile upload step 2

2) Pitching to Newsana: Introduce us to some of your favourite websites

The beauty about the Newsana community, is that we’re all introducing each other to websites and content we may never have found on our own. We’re constantly hearing from folks that this is one of their favourite things about having joined. We bet you know of an awesome site we’ve never seen before that posts great content – and we’re eager for you to tip us off!

#Newsanaprotip: Once you’ve found a story, article or other content that you believe is important type or paste the URL in the “Pitch Essential Content Here” box. From there you can select which topic this content belongs in based on the five you belong to. Then you write your pitch (we’ll talk a little more about pitches in a bit). When you’re done writing click “Assemble My Pitch”; from there you can determine the pitch’s title, a brief excerpt from the content and pick a feature image. Finally, make sure the original content creator’s name appears in the “Author(s) Name” field. Click “Submit My Pitch” and you’re done!

Keep in mind that all sorts of content can be viewed as “essential” so don’t feel limited to just articles or news stories – infographics and video for example make for good conversation as well.

What makes a good Newsana pitch?

That answer is pretty subjective, but we find that community members respond more to pitches that are thoughtful, provide relevance and context, ask questions and feature key points from the content that’s being pitched. Your pitch is your chance to let your fellow community members know why you think this information is important.

#Newsanaprotip:

A community member pitched this Techcrunch article about online discussion platforms; this thorough pitch does a wonderful job of outlining both the article’s arguments and the community member’s opinion.

If you’d rather keep your pitch shorter that’s okay; this member pitched a New York Times article about the Boston bombing, and while it’s less thorough, it still gets the point across.

Do you have a different take on content that’s featured on Newsana? Re-pitch it!

Have you come across something on Newsana and feel like you have a different spin on it than the member who wrote the original pitch? Then it’s your chance to re-pitch it. Besides being an opportunity to elevate your Newsana rank, re-pitching can widen the audience for that content, highlight an aspect of the content you feel is missing from the original pitch, and give you a chance to express your personal opinion – this can be great for helping to get the conversation going!

This Globe and Mail article about hands-on dads was pitched by more than one member. You can see that both pitches feature a unique look at the article.

3) How to vote on a story/pitch:

When you come across content on Newsana that you think is worthy of a Top 5 spot you can vote on it. Voting on a story is a way to make sure that the best content makes it to the front page.

#Newsanaprotip: To vote on a story all you have to do is click on the “VOTE” button.You can also vote on a story pitch that impresses you. When more than one person pitches a story, it’s the pitches votes that determine who has the top pitch. Voting on a pitch is also a nice way of telling the community member that you appreciate the effort they put in. To vote on a pitch, click the “thumbs up” or the “thumbs down” underneath the pitch.

 

Newsana story vote

 

Newsana pitch vote example

 

4) Use your social networks to reaching a wider audience:

Another way to spread the word that you’ve found something really worthwhile, and written an awesome pitch, is to use Newsana’s social media sharing options.

#Newsanaprotip: Content can be shared with your friends on Facebook, your followers on Twitter and your connections on LinkedIn. Click the “Share” button (right underneath the “Vote” button), from there you can pick which social network you’d like to share to.

 

Newsana Facebook sharing example

 

Newsana Twitter example

 

Newsana Facebook sharing example

 

5) Join in the Newsana conversation:

One of our regular users keeps telling us that Newsana reminds her of a salon. We love the idea of people gathering and increasing their knowledge through conversation and debate.

So don’t feel shy about voicing your views or opinions. Sure, commenting may feel intimidating, a great way to get started though is simply asking a question about the pitch or content. Not all content is pitched to Newsana because the community member agrees entirely with it’s message, sometimes it’s just a way to provide a great starting point for a conversation.

#Newsanaprotip: Still feel lost? Check out Lifehacker’s guide to great commenting.

Luckily you don’t have to sit at your desk waiting to see if someone comments on your pitch or replies to one of your comments. Newsana will send you an email to let you know, complete with the comment that was left.

Not everyone has the same opinion – and we love that. Don’t feel down if your story doesn’t get as many votes or comments as you expected, or you don’t get many votes for your pitch. Not everyone will agree on what’s the most important content for the day.

Still have questions?

Feel free to contact the Newsana community team at any time, we love to hear from all of you!