A few days ago, we published an interview with Paper.li publisher Morell Maison, entrepreneur and founder of osargenews.com. He talked about his vision for putting the website on the map as the go-to destination for the global African Diaspora.
In the article, Morell also mentioned how instrumental Paper.li has been in driving the news that affects that community across the globe. With more than 109 papers currently powering osargenews.com, we felt that this unique project offered a great case study on how Paper.li embeds can be used as “content companions” on your website, offsetting original content creation and as a tool to deliver content that your visitors are looking for.
What is osargenews.com?
Osargenews.com is a news, culture and educational website that offers services to connect the African Diaspora. Morell founded osargenews.com to facilitate connections between the numerous members of the African continent and Diaspora on any device. The site’s offerings are many:
- a forum
- a diaspora-centered recruitment section
- a digital library
- a film archive with diaspora-related documentaries and orsagenews.com’s own commissioned series
- a marketplace for diaspora-related products
- a news aggregation service for more than 100 countries that updates twice a day
Osargenews.com is an ambitious project in many ways. The African Diaspora is huge and fragmented. “This has created quite a challenge as to how to link it back up again, to enable it to plug back in and reconnect.”
And there is competition, of course. Several platforms deliver the same kind of news aggregation services. So standing out from the crowd and “doing things differently” wasn’t only an important factor, it was a necessity.
Creating one paper to cover the African news wasn’t going to be enough. What Morell and his team required was an all-in-one solution that was easy to use, easy on the budget and offered an end-to-end solution for sourcing, presenting and distributing content on a country by country basis. He required a solution that could:
- Be maintained by a small team
- Allow for readership growth without additional monthly charges
- Aggregate news from many sources at once (currently 1,000) with minimal work once implemented
- Allow for visual content alongside written content
- Offer customization for unified branding
- Integrate effortlessly with their website
Here’s how Paper.li helped
Working with our standard 9$ USD Pro Package, Morell was able to fulfill eighty percent of the features he required to move forward in building a global diaspora newsroom.
The remaining twenty percent required some modifications to our existing logic. Working with Morell and the Osargenews team we added the additional functionality they needed to launch:
- An html newsletter subscribe widget offering visitors the ability to subscribe to a country newsletter update directly from their site.
- A redirect feature for the Paper.li auto-tweets to direct traffic to the embed on their website page instead of to their Paper.li.
- Customizable templates for subscriber confirmation and success emails, offering custom text fields and banner branding.
These features not only support Morell’s project requirements, but are features that will benefit the entire Pro publishing community and will be integrated into our standard Pro package.
1. Nomad Embeds and Subscribe Widgets
Osargenews.com offers a variety of service for the diaspora, but the first thing a visitor sees when arriving on the osargenews.com home page is an impressive interactive map of the world.
The visitor clicks on a region, selects a specific country and then the magic happens: you are taken to a dedicated country page that showcases facts (e.g., history), osargenews.com’s Twitter stream, pictures, and an embedded paper that aggregates news and stories shared by reporters, agencies, bloggers and people located in that country.
Here is an example with Kenya.
Visitors to the page can subscribe to daily country newsletter via a customizable Subscribe Widget located in the right sidebar.
2. Iframed paper
The iFrame embed, a Pro exclusive feature, is the option that Morell chose to highlight and distribute Global Diaspora news across the board.
Morell chose the iFrame embed over the Nomad widgets for the additional branding flexibility it offers. An iFrame carries over a paper’s custom header, lending to more unified overall branding and matches the email newsletters his subscribers receive daily,reinforcing the osargenews.com message.
The iFrame also places greater emphasis on visual content. Articles surface thumbnails, thus drawing attention to the message and increasing the likelihood of clicks and shares.
3. Faster news coverage
Paper.li has helped osargenews.com bridge the news gap in many countries. Why? Because papers cover more ground and deliver updates faster than most national and local media.
In our interview (add anchor link) with Morell, he mentions two specific examples: Jamaica and Libya.
“Today I received thanks from a British Jamaican woman who is amazed she is getting news through osargenews.com on Jamaica, which is not readily available in Jamaica even when she is there. She says she is receiving stories not covered by the usual media.”
“I have a Libyan gentleman who can’t wait for osargenews.com to go live, so his friends can also follow developments through the site. He is feeding information and news back to his family that he receives to his phone from the site, news that they are unaware of.”
4. Smarter and easier content aggregation
By delivering the news faster than competition, osargenews.com is staying a step ahead of the curve.
Unlike most aggregation platforms that only rely on major publications to highlight the news, Morell and his team took the time to familiarize themselves with Paper.li’s powerful search functionality for content sources.
Located in your Settings Dashboard → Content, the engine surfaces relevant sources based on your exact search terms. These sources include organizations, brands, communities, and individuals and come from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and RSS feeds, and can be added very easily — up to 25. Just click the green cross to do so.
For Morell and his team, the ability to fine-tune content at the source has been a differentiating factor for using Paper.li over similar services. With advanced filters like language and additional search fields per added source, they have been able to ensure that each paper is tailored and relevant to its audience.
A happy ending
Osargenews.com has officially launched and we’re thrilled to be taking part in helping bring important messages, news and stories to the African Diaspora globally.
The past six months working with Morell to fine-tune and support their efforts has been an exciting and inspirational collaboration for the Paper.li team. Not only did we get an insider’s view of where we could improve and enhance the service to the benefit of the entire publishing community, but we did this hand in hand with a publisher to help an entire team realize a dream that will benefit people worldwide.
Do you use Paper.li to power the news on your website yet? If not, we would love to show you how!