Monday, October 24, 2011

Create Your Own Paper for fun and profit. Part 1

You may not know it, but I'm the publisher of six newspapers. What's more I don't spend more than an hour a day on the job. Some days I don't do anything at all and the paper still gets published. And you can do the same thing.

It's all through the power of technology offered through, an online service that scans Twitter feeds for links to articles, pictures and videos related to key words you select and then turns them into a newspaper. You can remove any of the articles you want or reposition them on the page.

Here's what one of my papers looks like:

How it Works

You know all those links you get in Twitter to various articles, blogs, videos etc. Well, searches through the entire Twitter data base daily for fresh content that matches your key words and other parameters you set up. It then collects them together into a newspaper format. Even if you never really go public with this it's a nice way to search for your own content on subjects that interest you.

Why would I want my own paper?

The first reason is to just keep up on subjects you find interesting. This is a great way to find articles galore. You can also set up the program to just search links posted by certain twitter accounts. So, if you want to keep up with articles posted by Writer's Digest, Scientific American and Biblical Archeology Review, you can set the program to just search those twitter posts for links.

The second reason is to promote your own content. You can do this in two ways. In the photo above you see the blue box on the right. That's an editor's note. You can post in it why you have created this paper and include a link to your own website or blog or Facebook Fan Page. You can also change it at any time. So, if you want to announce a book signing related to the subject of the page you can. I would however, steer clear of overt advertising.

Another way to promote your own content is by including an RSS feed to your blog or website as one of the feeds you configure for the service.

Thirdly, this helps with your own personal positioning in the marketplace. You are positioning yourself as someone providing the public with useful information. Indeed, you are the "expert" so to speak. You have provided the customer or potential customer with something valuable.

Finally, it's a good way to get twitter followers. Whenever the paper comes out those who provided the links get a mention in the promotional tweet that goes out. I have been getting 2-4 new followers a day since starting my papers. At that rate my number of followers should triple by the end of the year. And these are serious followers. They aren't a bunch of people following you because you sent out a bunch of follows to them. They are actually interested in this topic and thus interested in what you have to say.

Tomorrow, I will give you some tips for setting up and customizing your paper. 

If you want to follow or subscribe to any of my papers here are a list of links:

Free Your Education
Science Fiction and Mystery Writers
Science for Science Fiction Writers
History News
Publishing and Writing News
Bible Study


  1. Hi Terri. What an interesting idea. I checked out several of your newspapers. They all look really nice, very professional looking, in my opinion. It's amazing that you don't have to spend a lot of time on them. Looks like you've spent hours on each one.

  2. Susanne--

    I know. I shuffle a few things around. Try to get something with a graphic in the prime upper left position. I remove a few things that are irrelevant. But it's usually not more than five or six minutes per paper. Often, they are good to go as is. The algorithm does a great job overall. It seems the key is choosing good key words that lead to lots of articles.

    You can run a key word search on Twitter in their search engine to see which ones produce the best results.

  3. Great idea, Terri. But, what's the difference between a newspaper and a newsletter?

    Are they the same?

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  4. Karen--

    Not really, but then also, what is produced by the program isn't exactly a "newspaper" in the traditional sense of the word either.

    Mostly, designs it's layout to look like a newspaper. Also, it is pulling stories off the web many of which have been published by news organizations or para-news organizations. Therefore, there is more formal news content than you would have in a "newsletter."

    Newsletters tend to be informal and usually limited to the activities of one organization. Writer so-and-so will be in Wisconsin at a book signing. That sort of thing. They also usually have only a handful of stories which have little depth to them. They can easily be read in 10-15 minutes in their entirety.

    There is also usually a greater diversity in the stories and the writing in a newspaper because you have more than one person writing the material.

    Newspapers have more in-depth coverage, more stories, different writers. So, in that way is closer to a newspaper than a newsletter. If you sat down and followed all the links and read all the articles (something I don't advise doing) and watched all the videos, you would spend a couple hours on each edition.

    But is really an aggregator program. It follows the links found on Twitter and Facebook based on the keywords you put into the program. It then, organizes all that material into a layout that resembles a newspaper.

    I've been thinking about making a "private" one that just grabs all the links my own twitter friends send me.



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