Guidelines for using a News Item versus an Article for your product in the Extension CMS.

The Web Services group is frequently asked, "Should I add my information as a News Item or an Article?" This best practice describes the differences between these two product types, and provides examples of when they should be used.

Once created, a product cannot be converted from a News Item to an Article, or vice-versa. If the incorrect product type is used, you would need to recreate that in the correct format, so it's important to choose the correct format initially!

News Item

Any information that is time sensitive should be created as a News Item product. News Items have a relatively short period in which they are relevant (generally, weeks or months).

Example reasons for a News item:

  • An upcoming event not included elsewhere on the Extension site. Examples include Ag Progress Days, events hosted by a partner organization with Extension involvement, or events where an Extension educator is a guest speaker/instructor.
  • Seasonal conditions such as weather, soil, insect, or disease observations specific for the current year. Examples include, Wet Winter Postponing an Early Lime Application; Tomato Late Blight has Emerged; Tick Season has Begun.
  • Short term situations or press releases, such as Pesticide Education Program Educates Grade School Children on Mr. YUK; or 2017 PA Impact fee Disbursements Announced.

News Items can be thought of in similar terms to a newspaper, magazine, or newsletter.

Examples

News item
This news item summarizes an event that occurred recently.

News item
This news item provides up-to-date data on the spread of the spotted lanternfly.

Seasonal conditionsThis news item provides current seasonal conditions, and points out to evergreen articles for more detailed education.

Article

Articles contain evergreen information. Evergreen means that the information is not specific to a certain year, is relatively timeless, and has a long life span.

Examples include:

  • Weed or insect identification
  • Renovating your Pastures
  • Growing Great Tomatoes
  • Preserving Trees in Construction Areas

Articles can be thought of in similar terms to a chapter in a book or a publication.

Why Articles?

The value of creating your evergreen educational content as an article is primarily driven by the opportunity to create long-standing, content-rich pages, which will drive search engine traffic. The article pages are always visible to Google and other search engines, and build credibility over time by gaining inbound links and traffic. Inbound links, or backlinks, are links to our website from an external source, and are extremely valuable in achieving a high rank in search engine results and are a leading driver of traffic to our site.

As an author, you can continue to add evergreen content to article pages and have a single resource to send people about a given topic. All of this over time will provide Google a consistent resource it can index, monitor, and improve your chances of appearing higher in search engine rankings.

Examples

article on ponds
This article provides basic facts on invasive species in aquatic environments.

article on trees
This article is a guide to the steps for preserving trees in construction areas.

News and Articles Working Together

So, how should you use news and articles together? Let's walk through an example. Let's say you are John Tooker, and you have a lot of content on the insect pest, Potato Leafhopper, but you also provide customers with updates on the pest and management of it as well. It would be best to create an article(s) on Potato Leafhopper, which has all the evergreen content you want someone to know about the subject. This would be the landing page that you send people to with general questions, and the resource other websites and partners will start to point people to over time, creating valuable inbound links to our site.

Now, what if you have an alert or news update on Potato Leafhopper? You can quickly write a news item with the information that is relevant for the moment or the season, which your customers need now! This should be quick and focused on the issues at hand. However, within the news item, you can link your customers to the Potato Leafhopper article for more information. This creates efficiencies because you do not need to recreate the evergreen content each time you write a news article. Just link to the article you created and keep maintained as the ultimate resource on Potato Leafhopper.

Example News Item that points to an evergreen Article:

Potato Leafhopper news example

Conclusion

This is a new approach, but one that has the opportunity to streamline your work and drive more traffic to your content on the website. If you are unsure which option to choose when creating a new product, feel free to submit a request to the Web Services group, or connect with your Marketing Strategy Specialist for a consultation.