Years from now we may all be remembering where we were August 21, 2017 for the Great American Eclipse. For those who live smack dab in the path or within driving distance this may also be remembered as the biggest day in UGC history to date. Outside of the gaggle of local and national media covering this there will be millions of people who will simultaneously send up their drones, fire up their 360 capabilities, record a video, Facetime it or just simply shoot it from their mobile devices.
Capture that magic right now! Choreograph a multi-platform plan to get a dedicated UGC militia- Eclipse watchers working for you. To get you started:
Facebook Live - Schedule a number of these in the coming days which will not only answer people’s questions about everything from how to get there, to best places to stay, to of course the eye safety angle. Make your real motive for doing these to be about acquiring UGC. Be bold and overt and ask people who are going for UGC and to share how they will be recording the moment. Your aim is to get immediate access to their footage and their reaction. Remember: there are infinitely more of them than there are of you. In addition to liking all your commenters message, find those who can be your Eclipse watchers and sign ‘em up! Consider traveling with them to observe through their eyes.
Newscasts - Capitalize on every Eclipse story from here on out guiding people to your Facebook Live or your Facebook Eclipse post and being direct about inviting them to let you know if they are going into the zone.
Marketing - Create a :10, :15 or :30 with your chief met – again guiding your audience to where you want them to contact you to let you know their Solar visual plan. After the event invite those who contributed to a massive promo shoot as you thank the community for their efforts: “We couldn’t have done it without ya”. Once you got ‘em there make sure they are part of your database of fans who you tap for other future efforts like weather. Create a distribution list of those folks who can be tapped for future station or news efforts.
Traffic - Whether you are in the zone or in nearby states the traffic issue will be real- imagine not just the drive to the zone but the millions who will leave simultaneously. Two thirds of America live within a days drive of total eclipse. This has the potential to paralyze the whole country. Some have said this will make Woodstock look like a backyard BBQ! Could be the biggest traffic jam ever in America? Will this shut down highways? What are your state or local police doing to deal with this? Think traffic on steroids! There are UGC opportunities here too as you will want immediate live feedback if you carry live coverage on any platform. And don’t forget a squadron of drones- whether they are yours or belong to your audience the visuals of both the arrival of mass humanity and the exodus will be something like we have never seen.
Video - This kind of total story ownership will also require you to have an amped up video/live ingest plan. Who and how many people will be assigned to sift through the firehose of videos and images you will receive? How can you immediately turn that material around for your live app offering, Facebook Live, and of course your on-air? This is a slideshow extravaganza opportunity for web, mobile, on-air and social media. If you’ve been less than active on Instagram and Snapchat- this is the event to do an about face. Who will be assigned to make shareable memes and social videos from your content? Make sure that you have 360 degree video of both the event and the traffic.
Anoint yourself the Official Eclipsevision station and back it up by splattering the efforts of your community everywhere. Think BIG on user generated content and how it can become the backbone of your coverage. After all this could be the event that not only breaks the internet but maybe social media, too!
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