If you are running a news blog, you need to always update your blog with fresh information and latest happenings. By always being the first—or among the first—to break news items, you will not only turn your blog into the go to source for fresh and hot news, but this will also demonstrate your thought leadership in your chosen category and increases your blog’s potential for being explosively linked to by other blogs.

All these will result in massive traffic, volumes of comments and user interaction, inbound links, and widespread recognition of your news blog. However, sourcing for fresh news items can be difficult, particularly if you are just starting out and have little experience as a blogger. Even when you are experienced, the burden of having to ascertain the authenticity of news items is usually a concern.

As a news blogger, how do you source for fresh and authentic news items for your blog? The following tips will help you achieve that.

How to Source for News or Information for Your News Blog

1. Become a news junkie

You will have to devote a lot of your time searching the web for news that you can publish on your blog. And with time, the number of sources you check for news will increase—to probably more than 100 sources a day. Most of these sources will be blogs and news websites.

If you don’t go all out searching for hot news, you will have to settle for publishing news that most other blogs have already broken and that your readers will no longer find interesting. So, if you are serious about blogging about fresh news, you need to really scour the web for it.

Don’t worry, with time, you will have a list of selected sources to check daily—or hourly—and you will have no need to find more, since you will already have more than enough. Now, you are probably wondering how it’s possible to read hundreds of new sources a day, right? Here are two easy ways to achieve that:

  • Subscribe to RSS feeds of blogs and websites that you are likely to get fresh and authentic news from. In case you are new to this, an RSS feed is a format for delivering regularly changing web content, and it is used by news-related sites, blogs, and other online publishers. RSS feeds will provide you with a single page list view of all the newest updates on your favorite blogs or websites you subscribe to. So, you don’t necessarily have to visit each blog or website to get information on them.
  • Get a good feed reader. This is a program that allows you to grab the RSS feeds from various websites and display them for you to read and use. So, rather than checking through the RSS feeds of multiple websites, a feed reader combines them all in one single location, so you can view the latest updates on hundreds on blogs and websites at a time. Netvibes and Pageflakes are examples of web based feed readers that you can use.

2. Use Google Alerts

If you are particularly interested in news related to specific topics, you can use Google Alerts to get the latest information on your selected topics. All you have to do is set up Google Alerts for any phrase, and you will receive an email whenever new content containing that phrase is indexed by Google.

If your phrase is too specific, you may get updates only at sporadic intervals. And if your phrase is too generic, your email box will almost explode due to too many updates from Google Alerts.

3. Use Technorati and Alltop

Technorati and Alltop are great online resources for finding hundreds of latest blog posts from authority sites. One good thing about using both resources is that most websites that make it to their list are authority websites that rarely break unauthentic information. So, you can rest assured that you will be getting authentic news updates.

However, always remember to credit your original source of any new information—even if you have paraphrased the content.

4. Use social bookmarking sites

If you are looking for hot news updates that you can publish on your news blog, another smart option is to regularly check social bookmarking sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Del.icio.is, and so on. These sites allow individuals to share sites that they have bookmarked.

As with using Google Alerts, the key here is to use keywords relating to the type of news you are searching for. If you use keywords intelligently, you will be surprised at the loads of fresh content that you can unveil on social bookmarking sites.

How to Get People to Send You Stories/ Live Updates For Free—For Your Blog

Blogging is a serious task; and it could be difficult at times, especially when your traffic has started to grow and you feel even more motivated to publish new content frequently and consistently.

As your blog grows, you won’t be able to single-handedly produce all the content required to keep your blog going. And you will need more hands to help. In such situations, you have two options: Hire freelance content writers or get people to send you stories or updates for free.

Hiring one or more freelance writers could be very expensive, especially if you are a stickler for high quality content. And if your blog isn’t yet fetching enough profits to make up for that cost, you just have to ditch that idea or keep running your blog at a loss.

Instead of hiring freelance writers, you can get quality content for free. Yes, you can get people to send you stories and updates for your blog every day without paying for a single piece of content. That will relieve your burden and give you rest of mind, you know? Here are five tips on how to get people to send you free stories and posts for your blog:

a. Boost your traffic

Most people will only want to send in free content for your blog if it attracts massive traffic. Though you won’t be paying authors for their posts, they are looking for some benefit in return—either the privilege of being published on a high traffic, popular blog or the backlinks that they will be able to place in their author bio. The more traffic your blog attracts, the brighter your chances of attracting people who will submit free content for your blog.

You can adopt various online marketing strategies that can boost your blog traffic within a short time. Examples include social media marketing, email marketing, forum marketing, paid adverts, guest posting on other blogs, and so on.

b. Ask for stories and updates

People will not send you free content for your blog if you don’t ask them for it. So, you need to let them know that you accept guest posts and that they are free to send in their posts at any time. A good way to make people aware that you accept guest posts on your blog is to create a “Write for us” page. To make it even more obvious, display a banner requesting for guest posts on parts of your blog where it will be clearly seen. Be sure to link the banner to your “Write for us” page.

On your “Write for us” page, don’t just disclose that you are accepting guest posts; spell out the benefits that authors will enjoy by having their stories or articles published on your blog. Examples of such benefits include more exposure and the opportunity to get their thoughts across to a huge online audience, backlinks to their websites or blogs that will help their search engine visibility, and many others.

In addition, your “Write for us” page must include the conditions that posts must meet before they can be accepted for publication on your blog. This will enable those who intend to send you free content to understand how to craft the content.

c. Create topics that many people can write about

If your blog is about a technical topic such as medicine, law, or technology, you won’t have many people sending you free content. Why? Because only few people can write on such technical topics: experts. So you might not get free content consistently.

But if your blog comprises topics that many people can write on, you will get volumes of free content—so much free content that you won’t have to write anything yourself again. Examples of such topics include entertainment news and celebrity gist, lifestyle tips, relationships, and so on.

If you are running a blog that focuses on a technical topic and you want as much as possible people to send you free posts, you need to expand the scope of your blog to include related topics that are less technical—topics that many people can craft great content on.

d. Use various media to call for guest posts

Having a “Write for us” page on your blog might not be enough to attract as many volunteer authors as you want. So, you need to use various online marketing mediums to advertise your need for volunteer authors for your blog.