Content marketers should take note that news is in demand, with more than half of online news consumers taking to search engines to find breaking headlines each day.

Brafton has reported that nearly half of Americans say the internet is their leading source of news information, and this marks the first year the web has surpassed newspapers in terms of news readership. Research from Pew further confirms that news content is in demand, and brands might find that search-optimized news articles bring traffic to their sites.

Pew's Information 2.0 report indicates that nearly three-quarters of American adults (71 percent) get news online. Notably, portal sites (which seem to include search engines and news aggregators) are the most popular sources for news, used by 56 percent of online news readers daily.

In fact, 80 percent of online news readers say they often “come across news” a few times a week while searching the web or doing other things. This means that SEO-savvy content that is updated with industry developments may catch internet users' interests.

Special topic sites are another leading news source, proving just as popular as traditional newspaper sites. The survey found that more than one-third of online news readers (38 percent) visit these sites to keep up with news each day, indicating that sites offering industry specific news (relevant to their services) can become recognized as thought leaders.

These findings might encourage original industry news content publication, and brands set apart as thought leaders (or “specialty sites”) may find that this helps their Google rankings as well. As Brafton reported, specialty sites with industry specific content came out as some of the winners of the recent Google algorithmic update.

Marketers should also consider distributing their news content via social channels and email newsletters. Nearly half of online news readers (44 percent) identify themselves as “receivers” that get news through social networks and emails on a weekly basis.

No matter what type of content brands offer on the web, social distribution is becoming increasingly important to bringing in traffic. In fact, Google's Matt Cutts has said that social media marketing should be an SEO priority for brands.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.