Class Recap: Ryan Rendell

Ryan Rendell went to Elkhorn High School and then attended College in Chicago. He got a job working for Sundance Film Festival by messaging someone on Facebook. Now he works at Silicon Prairie News (SPN). SPN is a website that writes about tech start ups in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. It started out as a blog because no one was talking about amazing start ups in the area. It works as journalism in the since that they care about accuracy, independent objective voice, follow AP style, do quotes, and try to be honest with the information they have. Their goal was to build a community around the website. Big Omaha helped with doing that.

Big Omaha was a huge part of driving traffic to SPN. Big Omaha is an event that SPN puts on to let people come out and talk about their companies. The ticket sales go back into funding the website. Rendell talked about how many major news sites are connected to large events like Big Omaha. The event creates content for the site like speaker videos, stories leading up to big Omaha, live coverage, coverage after event, interviews with speakers. This is a great way to always have content on your site.

Company Profiles are SPN’s main bread and butter and most of what they do. They cover companies that no one has heard of and companies with a lot of media attention. The way they do headlines is they do the name of the company in the first two or three words. Stories with company logos as the cover photo do not do well on Facebook but stories with photos tend to do more with viewers. Maybe it is due to Facebook not want to give the company’s free advertising. To make a successful blog you should stick to one topic so people who are interested read on story and can read more that they are interested in.Feed into something more than a blog. Have some kind of event that people can come to or a book that people buy, some other thing that you drive other people too that makes it bigger than just a blog.


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