Simon Ateba: Why African journalists should become like Google

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To be a good journalist in 2020, you would need to become like Google. Wait.. What?… I’m glad you asked. Here it is… There are at least 50 billion searches on Google every God-given day and almost 1.7 billion blogs and websites on the blogosphere, which means a blog or website for about every 3 persons or less.

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Blogs, websites and people who distinguish themselves are those who have understood what I am about to tell you here.

The reason people go to Google is for one single reason. Just one. Not two. Not ten. People go to Google to find answers to their questions. Full stop.

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The reason people go to Google is for one single reason. Just one. Not two. Not ten. People go to Google to find answers to their questions. Full stop.– Simon Ateba

Simon Ateba sits at the Portrait Gallery in Washington DC on December 26, 2019.
Simon Ateba sits at the Portrait Gallery in Washington DC on December 26, 2019.

And what does Google do? Google does not have the answers…hahaha….No one can have all the answers. So Google simply points them to the best answer or answers! That’s all.

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As a result, to rank high on Google, you must be able to provide answers to questions people have in your area of expertise or competence.

I hate repetition, but let me say this again. Google became a multi-billion dollar company because it does one thing…it points people to the right or best answers.

Google ranks you higher on their search engine if you have demonstrated that you are that platform that can provide best or better answers to searchers in your area of competence!

In other words, your job as a journalist should simply be to provide answers to questions. Every piece of content that you put out should answer a question or questions.

For instance, someone may want to know who are the richest people in Africa in 2019? Who is the President of Cameroon? What do I need to know to live in Nigeria or do business there? Where can I visit in Africa? If your articles do not answer these questions, you will not rank high on Google for people asking those questions.

Students at Harvard University for instance will never use your articles in their dissertations if you do not provide answers to questions they are asking. You may ramble, you may express anger, and shock, but to be a credible journalist or publication in 2020, you simply need to provide answers for your readers.

That’s why at todaynewsafrica.com, we redefined our mission: TO PROVIDE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS OUR READERS HAVE ABOUT AFRICA. It’s all about answers!

Before you put out your next Facebook post, ask yourself, what answer does this provide? And it can be a question about you…Nothing complicated…..Who am I? What do I believe? How old am I? What is it like to live where I live? Where do I live? There are unlimited questions and unlimited answers on earth.

And if you define what answer you want to provide with your content, then you will write a better, more focused piece than you would have without understanding what question you are answering.

So when journalists say a beat is dry or they do not have a story today, it’s because they have not understood the secret. They have not asked the questions around their beat. Journalism is all about questions and answers!

You know, I have lived long enough, and got white hair by the way, to know that whether here in Washington DC where I am writing this or over there, wherever you’re reading it, the truth remains that as the bible puts it, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!

Simon Ateba is the publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC. You can send him an email: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com or atebap@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @simonateba or LinkedIn

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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