Tweeting birds
Credit: Photo by petesimon on Twitter. Some rigts reserved.
Storify is a powerful tool for curating content from social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and SoundCloud.

The platform has come a long way since it launched in private beta in 2010, and used by news outlets to cover everything from the Arab Spring to the Oscar Pistorius trial.

An article on Poynter identified the five types of stories best suited to Storify as breaking news, social movements, internet humour or memes, weather stories and to highlight conversation around significant events.

The platform was bought by commenting platform Livefyre at the end of 2013, and earlier this month announced the introduction of Storify Enterprise, a paid-for version which replaces Storify VIP.

Storify Enterprise is suitable for larger publishers, offering extras such as ad-free stories and the ability for multiple editors to collaborate on a single story.

This guide will focus on how to use the free version of Storify. Scroll to the end for a story we made featuring crowdsourced examples of how journalists are using the platform.

Creating a Storify story

1. Click the green 'new story' button in the top right corner of the screen. Now, give your Storify a headline and a brief description to say what it's about. Using key words will make your story more easily findable in search.

2. You can start adding elements to your story from platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and SoundCloud.

To see the full range of options available for importing content, click the 'plus' button to the right of the dashboard. From here you can also re-order these options by dragging and dropping so the ones you use most are easily accessible.

Storify edit your sources
Screengrab from Storify.com

3. To import posts from Twitter, you can search by @username as well as by key words or hashtags. If you get a lot of results, you can narrow them down by excluding retweets, or by choosing to show only tweets with links.

You can pinpoint your results further by searching for tweets posted within a specific location, although bear in mind that this only works if a user has enabled geo-location on their Twitter account.

4. To add media from Twitter or any other platform, simply drag and drop the elements into your Storify. You can reshuffle these elements as you like, and click anywhere within the editing box to add section headings or descriptive text text to your Storify.

Your Storify will auto-save as you work, so there's no need to worry about saving it.

5. To delete an element, hover over it and click the cross that appears. You can also preview how your finished story will look in the dropdown underneath the 'draft' button on the top left.

6. When you're ready, click 'publish'.

Sharing your Storify
  • After publishing, you will see a pop-up offering you the option to tweet to notify people who have been mentioned in your Storify. This is a good way to drive more views to your story.
  • Storify also offers a number of options for sharing on social media in the dropdown at the top right of the screen.
  • You can also share individual elements of a story using the share option which appears when you hover over a post (the second burron down in the screengrab below).
  • You can also generate an embed code using the button at the top left to place your Storify on your site.
More tops Storify tips
  • The default cover image of your Storify will be taken from the first element of your story, providing it has an image attached. You can change the default cover image by hovering over a post in preview or published view, and selecting the 'image' button (third from bottom on the right).

Storify screengrab 2
Screengrab from storify.com/journalismnews

  • If you're ready to publish your Storify but want to continue updating it, add something along the lines of "To be continued..." at the end to remind people to check back.
  • Once published, you can change the way your Storify appears. Click the template button on the top right and choose from classic story, grid or slideshow – great for image-led stories.
  • Once your Storify is published, you can give it a custom URL to make it more SEO friendly. Find this option in the the dropdown next to the 'notify' button.
  • You can follow other Storify users to see their content in your home feed, and you can also like and comment on other stories to help build engagement. To post a comment, hover over an individual story element and click the commenting option that appears.
  • When you're done, don't forget to export your Storify as a PDF so you have a permanent record of it in case any social media posts you have included are edited or deleted.
  • You can use Storify for newsgathering or finding extra context around a particular topic or beat. Simply do a search using the box on the top left and you will see results from whole stories and individual story elements.
If you have a good example of how you've used Storify for covering news and events, you can share them with us by tweeting us @journalismnews.

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