While search engine optimization remains essential, ‘social optimization’ is an increasingly important factor for news sites looking to make their stories cut through the noise online. Now News Whip, a startup that tracks socially-shared news stories, has published its list of the 25 most viral news sites.
NewsWhip says that it tracks around 60,000 newly published English language news stories every day, from approximately 5,000 sources. Taking its data for November 2011, the Irish startup, which we have previously looked at in depth here, looked at the sites which published the most which received at least 150 tweets or Facebook shares per hour, a rate that NewsWhip described as fast enough spreading to define as ‘viral’.
The Huffington Post comes out on top of the list with 1347 viral stories, followed by the BBC’s UK site with 1088. There was then a significant gap between second and third place, with the UK’s Guardian newspaper publishing 519 viral stories. The top 25 list published by NewsWhip is a mix of traditional newspaper brands and blogs, largely in the technology field – including a certain site called The Next Web too.
While NewsWhip is a relatively new company, it’s the only one we’re aware of that tracks and ranks the speed of social sharing in this way, something that is important when gauging which sites have the ability to create an immediate impact online.
With sites like BBC, the Guardian, Daily Mail and ABC News near the top of the chart, it shows that traditional brands can hold their own against younger challengers when it comes to social marketing of their stories. However, NewsWhip points out that it hasn’t included paywalled sites such as the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal in its figures.
How can your site climb the list? NewsWhip believes that it’s all about packaging your stories up so that they’re “socially-primed, tailor-made for tweets and sharing” – and you need lots of them too, the chart is all about volume of highly-shared posts. If you’re only producing one or two hit posts per day, you won’t be able to climb the list.