Copyright 2021 by DNN Corp


Andrew Finlayson's Articles

Top 10 App Download Keys

1. Do a paid Facebook app download campaign.
2. Mention your weather app virtues specific to hurricane related needs. This could be weather content or hurricane prep content that you have.
3. Drive the app as being powered by your team of hurricane experts. Give them specific roles they have in supporting the app experience.
4. Give mets time in the newscasts to talk about the app. Consider creating short packages/long bumps that weather team members can reference.
5. Have the apps specifically mentioned in ALL hurricane related content.
6. Encourage your staff to say they have the app and are using it right now.
7. Do more promos on air, making sure it isn’t a generic app download campaign.
8. Tell the audience that hundreds or thousands have downloaded the app to have the very latest on the tracks of storms headed our way.
9. Proof your apps in newscasts and weather including any push notifications. Mention how you are going to have this capability to warn during a hurricane.
10. Track your app downloads and talk about the focus, the different responsibilities, and the reviews you are getting each day in the AM editorial meetings.

Back to School

What does back to school time mean to you and your station? For number one stations it means an exciting opportunity to connect with viewers throughout the region. While too many stations confuse back to school with features on backpacks and bus stop forecasts starting up again, smart stations realize that back to school isn’t just about the kids ending their summer break but a fundamental change to the market.

Back to school is back to five important developments that smart stations take full advantage of:

1. Back to School
Certainly there are a big set of stories to be had with back to school, ones that touch almost every part of the station from sales to news, from traffic to weather to the sports department. Smart stations realize that back to school coverage isn’t just aimed at busy parents but recognizes that schools (including colleges and universities) are big employers in the region, are one of the biggest tax spends by local governments, and a new school year speaks to key issues facing the community such as drug abuse, gun violence, and other important issues that often benefit from the station’s investigative team taking a closer look, creating stories that are timely, relevant and speak to the entire market, not just parents.

The Voice of the Voter: Interactive Voting Tools, On-Air Polls & Surveys

SmithGeiger has noticed an increasing number of stations using voting on-air and online/social to connect with their audiences. When used correctly, interacting with the audience can have some significant benefits. When done poorly, such on-air surveys can damage the brand, the newscast and the digital success of the station.

There are six reasons we’ve identified to consider interactive voting tools:

1. Revenue – If stations can sell the concept to local advertisers and make money, that is reason enough to consider using this tool day after day on multiple platforms. That said, stations have to know how to do it well. If a station makes a few dollars but ruins a quarter hour rating day after day with poor execution of on-air questions/contests, it can cost a station money in the long run.

Recommendation: Discuss where such interactives will appear and how often before sales is engaged to sell any voting presentations. SmithGeiger can provide additional recommendations on what content and concepts work best across screens.

2. Page Views – If stations do on-air voting and point to the website for the voting effort, it can lead to increased traffic to the website. That can be a place of sponsorship mentions, but it can also be a source of additional revenue from ads in the page beyond the sponsor mentions, not to mention additional clicks to the website from the voting page.

Recommendation: Look at the voting experience like a viewer each time such is used on-air and see if the digital team can embed videos or point to related videos and other links. The vote page should be a recirculation engine to other content if at all possible…come to vote and stay for another piece of content.

Strategies for Smart Speaker

Not another platform!” I can hear you; already stretched digital teams raising legitimate concerns about asking how they can do a quality effort in this new audio command environment. After all, media companies still have broadcast, website, mobile, social, OTT and podcasts to manage.

SmithGeiger research shows a surge of smart speaker use nationally (ask your SmithGeiger consultant for the very latest figures) and this growing audience is often seeking news, weather, traffic, and sports…the very strengths of local newsrooms through these devices.

As someone who has five smart speakers in my home, I can testify to their utility and not just to set reminders and tell the time. The smartest of our clients have realized this opportunity and drawn on their research and our partnership to address the five challenges of any new platform.

1. What Does The Audience Do/Want (And Where Does That Intersect With Your Brands)?
2. What Does The Technology Allow (Creating Skills Is No Longer A Specialist Activity)?

Facebook Breaking News

Have you noticed a tiny "Breaking News" icon on any of the Facebook posts in your feed yet?

The roll-out is underway, with some interesting initial rules and guidelines about how many and how often media companies can deploy this tag. We wanted to highlight this article if you haven't seen it yet, and definitely get in touch with your Facebook representitive to get-in on the beta action.

This might become part of your breaking news tree that now includes:

Hurricane & Storm Storytelling Examples

There are many different facets of a hurricane for a local news station to cover in order to keep viewers informed and safe before, during, and after a hurricane. SmithGeiger has compiled a set of examples that showcase impactful hurricane coverage both on-air and through social media.

City specific…

Close up of the track…

Slice the storm…

Eclipse On-Air & Online

The Eclipse is almost here. Even if your station is far from the path of totality, this scientific event will be a significant story on air and online as well as an exciting social media opportunity.

Some teams are doing countdowns on the front page and weather sections of their websites. This is something that can be sponsored (if nothing else, it could be sponsored by your station’s app which we could position as an essential app…that we’ll have special push notifications that day and breaking news advisories as needed). Your team could plan how this countdown can occur on air (sponsored clock) and on social media. Planning a set of countdown tweets to when it will be at the peak nearest to your market can help your team demonstrate their awareness of this event.

Turning Your Smartphone Into a Super Snackable Machine

The value of video, particularly short social mobile friendly videos that many call “snackables”, becomes clear as your team works across all platforms each day.

To help your team create these videos which are often consumed by smartphone users, you don’t have to look beyond the smartphone itself. As someone at the BBC described it, journalists need to go from their pocket where we keep our phones, to the pockets of today’s news consumers.

Today your smartphone is not just a high definition camera but also a video production tool and social media content creation platform. It also allows you to rethink how you cover stories, as lightweight gear that we always have with us, your team can be more nimble and less invasive in covering stories.

For these reasons leading news organizations are using smartphones to shoot, edit and share stories that connect them with their audiences around the world. From the BBC to ABC (from down under), journalists are beyond experimenting with mobile journalism, they are regularly producing stories using their smartphones that are intended for their audiences watching on smartphones.

Facebook Outreach To Local Media: Practical Insights and Advice

Under increasing scrutiny from the press and public due to the role social media has played in recent news events including the United States election, there has been an increase in activity from Facebook to explain themselves and the role they play as many people’s “front page” of content consumption.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he believes in a “strong news industry” (his recent manifesto to the world is here) but while he has shown concern about the issues of fake news, he hasn’t specifically addressed the massive distribution and economic disruption created by Facebook to local publishers.  


Facebook clearly would like to have quality content be a larger, not smaller part of their engagement machine going forward.  To that end, they have launched a series of meetings and presentations for national and local media to explain the ways that Facebook works and wants to collaborate with news publishers.  From the new head of news partnership, Campbell Brown, hosting exclusive meetings at her New York City home with media elite to the Facebook Journalism Project, Facebook is reaching out with three messages: Collaboration on new products, training and tools for journalists, and training and tools for “everyone” in an attempt to improve media literacy.

Super Bowl 2017 Coverage Strategies for Non-Game Carrying Stations

If you don’t have the Super Bowl, what options do you have against such a ratings juggernaut?  You can attack the day by being fully aware of the opportunities that the game gives any content creator.

Ignore or Attack
Your team can decide if you are simply going to ignore this planned breaking news event that is of such a magnitude, it changes the spending patterns and the waistlines of many of your viewers, or you can decide how to be part of the coverage and conversations and attack across all screens.  There are three phases that your team can compete around.  

Obviously, if your team is in the Super Bowl your planning will operate on a magnitude not spoken to in this document.  For ideas on how to cover your local NFL team if you are not carrying the game, speak to your SmithGeiger consultant. 

Before The Game
The lead up to the game is a weeklong plus set of breaking news stories.  You can use them to enhance the reputation of your station for owning breaking news and for your sports talent being the leading sports voices in your region.  You can also position yourself as the local breaking news leader in general and in particular with weather should that be a factor in your area in the hours leading up to the game.   If there is any weather in the region, be aware of the opportunities to do a live news cut in on air and on social/digital since the station carrying the pre-game will be reluctant to break in all day due to the advertising dollars that could be lost.  Attack by staffing so that you can do extended local news cut-ins if local breaking news or weather merits it.

Pages: Previous123NextReturn Top