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:

- WEATHER IS A TEAM SPORT WITH CAPTAINS PROVIDING DIRECTION 
    -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.    

- WEATHER LEADS THE WAY
    - 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 

- CALENDAR IT
    - Have a calendar for the hurricane season
    - We can’t win this year without a calendar that WEATHER owns and distributes to everyone else
    - It should include:
        - Local past events (storms that damaged, not just hurricanes)
        - Local preparedness events & city meetings about the topic
        - All weather watcher outreach & station events where we can talk about our hurricane commitment
        - Define key dates of the season for your Local Market

- ALL CONTENT MENTIONS
    - All news stories (any platform) regarding hurricane content should mention the weather team 
        - No hurricane content should be posted/aired without their contribution and integration of our Weather Team
        - Use quotes and interviews with your team
        - Remind viewers people to follow our team’s social profiles
        - Check all content from last year to see if it needs to be reformatted to reflect this strategy

- DIFFERENTIATE YOUR HURRICANE CONTENT
    - Review the key points of differentiation with your digital, social, and promotion team so that we are all locked in on the reasons why people should choose us
        - Develop copy points we want to use
        - Graphics that support our differentiated efforts
        - The new capabilities we have (see below) and the value to the news consumers
        - Have the weather team distribute their list of reasons to watch so that they are locked in on the reasons they are the leader

- DEVELOP THE MOBILE APP AS THE GO-TO PLATFORM
    - Any hurricane related story is a legit reason to mention why it is wise to use our weather app
    - The need as the only source: 
        - Power outages
        - Evacuations
    - The need as the most convenient source:
        - Real-time radar when enjoying summer
        - Alerts anytime, anywhere
     - All Mets must know & show the latest offerings of your weather app
        - Before the storm arrives, show the tools in use during newscasts
        - Create hurricane specific app marketing graphics for use on all platforms

- ONLINE LINKS
    - In daily weather forecasts link to hurricane assets elsewhere on the website as often as possible
    - Have a list of the hurricane evergreen stories and snackables for the weather team to use regularly
        - Have the weather team distribute this to the staff so that everyone knows what we have ready to go

- PRACTICE BY DECLARING A DAY
    - Two options:
        - Go public and tell news consumers of your Prep Day
            - Get your team & your viewers ready
            - Special Reports on-air, online, app, social, etc.
            - Tips to Prepare in teases, social etc.
            - Could be sponsored (GM’s – no need for second option)
        - Keep it internal 
            - Only the Weather Team weather and news staff
            - Show plans for evacuation coverage, Live Shot drops
            - This illustrates leadership  for this season 

- THE PAST PROVES OUR COMMITMENT
    - Remind people what past hurricanes did to your community
        - Small bites on air
        - Big bites online supported by social
    - Show what’s changed in terms of technology/government planning
    - Bring back some of your best coverage, weaving it into current stori

- THE NEW – KEEPING YOU SAFE 
    - New technology
    - New data
    - New people with new expertise
    - New partners
    - New capabilities like new cameras or Live Trucks

- EVERYONE WORKS FOR WEATHER
    - True every day but especially during hurricane season
    - This is your chance for the weather team to remind the entire station staff of how critical it is to win weather
    - How all news, production, promotions, sales and management staff can: 
        - Share weather content in social
        - Contribute weather information (pictures, video, phoners)
        - Talk about our weather team’s excellence 

 

Examples:
USA Today 


 

Weather Graphics that Inform & Pop on All Platforms:


    

 

Tie-in to the Hurricane Hunters – Show every time they fly a storm!


 
 

Be Aware of Fake News:
This wasn’t real data. When you find it, let people know it’s out there and to turn to your team for reliable information. Friends don’t let friends repost junk!


 

Use Climate Central as a Source:


 

 

Climate Central is a nonprofit news organization Composed of scientists and science journalist who provide free information & graphics. They recently released a market-specific searchable media library.

 

Trumpet Social Success
Tropical information will get shared in the social space first. Use these types of stories to remind people the value of having the Most Followed Met in the market.


 

 

Put in some Prep Time in the Film Room

 


    
 
Every great sports team watches hours and hours of game footage of themselves and their opponent before a game. Do the same. Pull out your coverage from years gone by and watch examples of others.

 
Here are playlists on YouTube to watch Hurricane Coverage, Flooding and Promos:
   - Hurricanes
   - Floods
   - Promos

In the Leave a Reply boxes below, please share links to your Hurricane Coverage (all platforms) as we would like to add them to our SmithGeiger video examples on YouTube. Remember, there is a lot to be learning on how to/not to do Hurricane Coverage from hard-working journalists in all market sizes.