Q&A With Executive Editor at TheDodo – Using Tools to Save Time and Guesswork


By   |   November 4th, 2015   |   Reading time: 4 minutes Digital Journalism, Interviews

We talk to the Executive Editor at TheDodo about the role social media plays in getting content to her audience and how she uses smart technology to save her team hours of time and guesswork.


Kelly Burke is Executive Editor at TheDodo – a site dedicated to promoting animals and better care and treatment for them.

Noting the thedodo.com’s traffic had been growing apace – hitting 14.88 million uniques in September – we reached out to ask Kelly a range of quick fire questions about her role, how TheDodo achieves its impressive growth and reach online and what apps and tools are core to their success.

What is your role at the Dodo? Can you give us an overview of a typical day in the office?

I am the Executive Editor of Social at The Dodo. I oversee every step of our editorial process, from content selection to content presentation on social. It is my job to make sure every story we do is optimized for social distribution.

As a news site, how important is social media for reaching new readers for The Dodo?

At The Dodo, we have adopted a “social first” strategy.

Our mission is to make caring about animals mainstream, and we firmly believe that social media is the best way to achieve that.  

Has The Dodo had much success on alternative social platforms, such as Reddit? Or, is Facebook the main show for you guys?

We have had success on nearly every social platform, from Tumblr to Twitter to Reddit. However, Facebook has always been our “special sauce”.

Facebook is the most emotional of all social platforms, and since animal content is inherently emotional – The Dodo and Facebook make a great pair.

[Addition: Chart from SimilarWeb].

Screen-Shot-2015-11-03-at-11.15.15-AM

[bctt tweet=”‘62% of @Dodo’s site traffic comes from #socialmedia. Sharing is caring, it seems!'” via=”no”]

How do you and others at The Dodo use Spike from NewsWhip, in your daily workflow?

NewsWhip Spike plays a crucial role in our content selection process. Our editors and writers use spike throughout the day, searching for animal stories from all over the world.

Spike has really been a game changer for us, because it instantly shows us what users are responding to and never fails to serve up visually compelling stories for us to grab. Dozens of our recent top performers have come from Spike, including this heartbreaking story of a dog who was rescued after being buried alive.

Man who buried dog alive thought no one would find her http://t.co/FjzwOjkset pic.twitter.com/gJPKwguevB
— The Dodo (@dodo) August 6, 2015


This story broke in Paris, France, so we probably would not have found it for days if it weren’t for Spike. Luckily, we were able to share this resilient dog’s story that very day – and it instantly went viral.

My writers and editors say Spike saves about an hour of search a day (per person). Even better, though, is that Spike makes my writers and editors feel more confident in their pitches. When they find things that are high up on Spike, they KNOW that people will respond to the content.

That’s been the biggest thing for us, I think. No more aimless searches!

How important are analytics in measuring success at The Dodo? What metrics are you most interested in to gauge success?

A: We use analytics in everything we do. We firmly believe that data and analytics should inform every part of our social strategy. We are constantly analyzing performance in order to understand what our users are responding to.

Right now, we are particularly interested in how shareable our content is. Our goal is to make sure every story we publish on our social platforms compels our users to share The Dodo with all of their friends.

[bctt tweet=”‘We are most interested in how shareable our content is’ – @Dodo Editor @kellyeburke #analytics #socialmedia” via=”no”]

Do you have any advice for other social media professionals and publishers out there re how to get ahead or stay relevant?

Getting access to a tool like Spike can make a huge traffic impact for any publisher. It saves so much time, and it serves up stories with high viral potential from all over the world that you would have a very hard time finding on your own.

Thanks to Spike, we are getting big animal stories first.

Previously in This Series: 

a) Michael Bolen, CBC News
b) Wynton Hall, Breitbart News
c) Heather Bowen, Mirror Online

Find tomorrow’s stories, today.
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