On July 14th, I posed a simple question on twitter: Why not use bit.ly links in the newspaper?
Here’s the backstory to all of this. One day, i was reading the paper and I saw a line that read “For more info go to thestate.com” It looked a lot like this: This has long caused a very interesting discussion with our online department. Do people who actually read the paper go online to read an accompanying PDF or see a photo gallery?
This conversation always leaves me wanting two things. 1. A direct link to the story 2. A way to track if people are actually going to this “exclusive” content. That’s when it dawned on me, Why not use bit.ly? With bit.ly you get bot options! There’s a short link that and bit.ly provides analytics of how many people click on a link and when.
There are a few things to take into consideration, such as human error and broken links but there’s no reason this couldn’t be customized into your CMS. Since stories are usually put on the site before the paper goes to press for the first run, there should be ample time to create individual links to stories.
Seth Long took my idea and went into much more detail in his blog post and I encourage you to read it also.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts about this idea.