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Try your hand at engagement reporting
Use Google Voice to solicit feedback from your audience
Hi all! Google Voice isn’t exactly new to the block, but I’ve been using it for something that is *sort of* new to the journalism world: engagement reporting.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with the ProPublica engagement reporting team, and they bring a lot of nontraditional ideas to the table. A simple one is soliciting story sources and feedback via flyers.
These flyers, at least in my experience, don’t necessarily obtain new intel, but they do help spread the word and build relationships with your audience. People see them and think, “Oh, [outlet] is doing a story on that? Good for them.”
Of course, you wouldn’t really want to put your own phone number on these. I’m actually pretty blasé about handing out my number to sources, but even I wouldn’t go that far. This is where Google Voice comes in. It forwards to your real phone number, and creates a dashboard for all your voicemails, text messages and calls. Honestly I wish I had a dashboard like this for my regular phone.
All you need is a free Google account - if you wanted to be extra secure, you could even make a burner for that, too. At the end of the day, building rapport with your audience never hurts. Engage those readers, reporters!
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