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Bill Seitzler's Articles

Climate Change Adds to Impact of Hurricane Florence

As the effects of Hurricane Florence continue to be felt in the Carolinas, SmithGeiger asked Climate Central to write an article on how and why Hurricane Florence was such a different rain-maker. Climate Central is an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public. They provide resources for journalists covering weather and the environment. We hope you find value in reading this article and in using their work to supplement your storytelling. A lot of their material makes for great digital content with plenty of social opportunities.

Hurricane Florence: Lessons Learned

The past week has been a harrowing time for many local broadcasters and the communities they serve. Preparing for Hurricane Florence paid off for many SmithGeiger clients all across the East Coast. The lessons they learned (and will learn over the coming days) are worth review. If your station covers Hurricanes, Tornadic Weather, Wildfires, Flooding, Blizzards, or Ice Storms, we think you can find value in reviewing the following with your Weather, News, Digital, & Marketing teams.

Preparing for Tropical Trouble – 2018 Hurricane Season 

It’s the first week of June and many of you have already seen massive rain associated with the tropics. As if you needed a wakeup call!

Here are some strategies & examples put together by the SmithGeiger team (special hat tip to Andrew Finlayson) we trust you can use to add to your 2018 Hurricane plan. Many of these thoughts will also apply to those of you who compile Severe Weather & Monsoon plans as well.

As usual, this is just a short list so contact your SmithGeiger consultant for more strategies & examples and market-specific research!

Hurricane Season Strategies:

-News & Weather personnel must be invested in the planning & execution
- Your station’s Chief Meteorologist and the weather team should be the captains who can articulate the value of your weather brand, your radar, and other tools in your weather center
- The Team & Technology are investments that your station has made in keeping your community safe.

- Make weather own it… all weather accounts have to stay tight to this story…meaning they are on top of every development, every announcement, and their social platforms are the source of the station’s main social platforms

Brand Marketing in a Multi-Platform World

Have you ever had it happen to you? You bump into the same person over and over again in the same week or month. Sometimes it’s a friend you really enjoy seeing. Maybe it’s a person you don’t know but you recognize them from the local grocery store. Or perhaps you keep bumping into somebody you really don’t like.

As marketers in a multi-platform world, your job is to get people to “bump into” your product/brand over and over on many different platforms, hopefully in a short period of time. Reach & Frequency targets for local TV ads have changed as viewers’ habits on watching TV has changed. TV advertising is still very powerful and can create an emotionally connective experience where we get viewers to feel something while they learn something. To get that broad audience (Reach) and get your message heard over and over (Frequency) you need to blend in the advantages of social & digital platforms. We need to do this in branding our local TV news image and quite frankly we need to sell local advertisers on this concept as well!

Before reading on, let’s be clear about the use of the word “brand”. Your brand is not your positioning statement or slogan. Your brand is the “top of mind thoughts” people have about your product. Your positioning statement (slogan) should move people to the brand you are trying to achieve.

SmithGeiger Presents Research Findings at NAB Show

Seth Geiger was one of the key presenters at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. In addition to presenting research findings in his session “The Media Trajectory: Alignments Between Leaders and Consumers”, Seth moderated a NAB Show panel which included Dave Smith, Chris Archer, Chris Lang, John Culliton, Mark Biggs & Andrew Finlayson.

Infographics: Quick-Turn Audience-Friendly Content

Infographics are one of the more under-utilized forms of digital content for Local TV stations.

Here are four reasons why you should consider utilizing Infographics as part of your daily digital content offering:

1. Easy to Understand: Research shows our digital audience is often “on the go” or in need of quick digestible content. When you visualize data news consumers can more easily understand/engage with the content.
2. Repurposing Content: Infographics can be made quickly from information or data journalists have already gathered. Timelines help news consumers remember the history/impact of the story.
3. Break up the Sameness: Pictures and video are great for you digital content but Infographics can be eye-catching because it breaks up the sameness of the layout.
4. Shareable: When the audience connects with the content, Infographics can be very shareable. Comparisons and Lists can be favorites with news consumers. With Facebook’s recent changes, local news publishers need to find as many ways as possible to create “shareable content”.

TV Sportscasts: Barrier to Viewing or Reason to Keep Watching?

Sportscasts inside local TV newscast face an uncertain future. As is the case with Weather & News, Sports consumption in the digital space has a direct impact on why/if viewers want information in a TV newscast. It has to pass the same Immediacy/Impact test as the rest of the content.

Unique to sports versus weather or news is the audience composition. Pretty much everybody watching a local TV newscast is inclined to be interested in News & Weather content but with traditional sports….the audience composition is much different.

Every viewer in all local television markets can generally be put into one of the following three groups as it relates to their interest in sports:

1. Sports Fanatics
- Crazy about sports
- Consume a lot of sports scores/news online
- Active on Social Media

Eclipse - Back to School Impact

Administrators from many school districts across the country have delayed the first day of school in accordance with the Total Solar Eclipse, while others are starting on that very day. Teachers will use the astronomical event as a learning moment, a time to inspire students to understand more about our solar system and atmospheric science.

Here are some examples of how they are using the event as part of their curriculum:

Students Travel to See Eclipse

Teachers Request Free Eclipse Glasses

The Latest News Feed Changes from Facebook

They’ve gone and done it again!

Facebook announced changes to their algorithm to make sure only the best, most engaging content is coming through on your news feed.

Please click this link for details.

Here are some highlights:

- FB is now using something they call Real-Time Signals to see which posts need to go beyond its Organic Reach
     - Has a friend commented on a post, seems to be one of the most valuable metrics
     - How do these signals change in real time
     - Are some posts Temporarily more important?
         - Favorite sports team just won a game and everybody is writing about it
- FB claims this change with Real-Time Signals won’t affect most pages
     - “We anticipate that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed. Some Pages might see a small increase in referral traffic or outbound clicks, and some Pages might see minor decreases. Pages should continue to post stories that are relevant to their audiences.”
     - TV Station pages aren’t “Most Pages” so don’t be deceived by this notice from Facebook
         - We must earn our engagement more than ever by getting people to “do something” with the post (Click, like, share or comment)
         - But it now appears comments are going to take on heavier weight, especially as it relates to fast-moving topics

It's Time to Get Real with VR in 2016

Everybody is picking this to be the breakthrough year for Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) technology. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas there are more than 40 AR or VR booths showing off the best and brightest new ideas, devices and experiences. Video games and Movies may be the obvious first content creators for VR but some in the News & Marketing Business are already getting real as well!

2015 was the year some journalists dabbled in VR and 2016 could be the year more jump in neck deep!

  • September ’15 – Frontline released their Heart of Ebola Outbreak Documentary
  • October ’15 – CNN broadcasts the Democratic Presidential Debates in VR to mixed reviews
  • November ’15 – NYT mails VR Google Cardboard headsets for their Free VR App allowing their subscribers to watch their magazine’s films
  • November ’15 – AP announces partnership with LA Times for five VR journalism projects
  • 2014 – Des Moines Register builds VR video on Farm Families for Oculus Rift

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