Turn Archives into Assets: Unleash Website Engagement with Historical Features

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In the fast-paced world of online news, where headlines fade faster than coffee gets cold, it’s easy to underestimate the power of history. But for newspaper publishers, embracing the past can be a strategic goldmine, fostering reader engagement and loyalty in unexpected ways. This is where features like “This Week in History” come in, offering a nostalgic glimpse into the archives and reminding readers of the paper’s long-standing role in their community.

Benefits of Historical Features

By incorporating historical features like “This Week in History” into your website, you can:

  • Boost Engagement: People are naturally curious about the past. By presenting historical content in an engaging way, you can capture their attention and encourage them to explore your website further.
  • Build Loyalty: Showcasing your newspaper’s rich history fosters a sense of community and connection with your audience. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to learn about their local heritage and feel a deeper connection to your brand.
  • Improve SEO: Historical content can attract valuable backlinks and improve your search engine ranking, driving new visitors to your website.
  • Enhance Content Strategy: Historical features can offer unique content angles and perspectives, enriching your overall content strategy and providing valuable context for current events.

From Archives to Action

  1. Then and Now Features: Compare photos and stories from the past with their modern-day equivalents. How has your town changed? Did a news prediction from 50 years ago come true?
  2. Interactive Quizzes: Design quizzes based on articles and advertisements from the archives. Test your readers’ knowledge of local history and pop culture from other eras.
  3. Reader Contributions: Ask readers to share memories or photographs triggered by archive content. This personalizes history and brings older readers’ unique perspectives to light.
  4. “On This Day” Series: Highlight a local news story or advertisement from a specific date in the past. It’s a daily dose of history for your audience.
  5. Behind the Headlines: Pull back the curtain on a major news event. Use the archives to trace the news coverage over time, revealing changing perspectives and evolving stories.
Today in History at AP.com
This Week in History from Fishwrap
by Ancestry.com
U.S. News and World Report
Picturing This Week in History column
The Washington Post
History: Retropolis

OHT Article Widget

Our article widget provides a way to feature historical content anywhere on your website, providing:

  • Easy Integration: Seamlessly integrate your widget into your WordPress website without coding or technical expertise.
  • Automatic Content Generation: Query and display relevant historical articles based on specific dates or categories.
  • Engaging Presentation: Choose from customizable layouts and design options to visually enhance your historical content.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Improve navigation and encourage exploration of your archives through user-friendly features.

We’ve found many examples of publishers assigning an historical features column to a staff member, who then troves the newspapers archives to generate a new compilation story each week.

With the OHT article widget, you can sort and filter by category and date ranges in order to automatically pull relevant stories from your archives and dynamically update the feature widget for each visit to the site.

This has the potential to greatly increase reader engagement and time-on-site.

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