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Back to School

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. 

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Top 3 ‘New Biz’ Mistakes to Avoid

Top 3 ‘New Biz’ Mistakes to Avoid

First, new business is a game of quality over quantity. When we ask our account executives for their list of “current prospects” we are often surprised to see them bring an alphabetized list of over 50 accounts.  How can a person make progress on anything if they are calling on 50 accounts!?  Instead, focus on 6-8 quality prospects at a time and put them in order of strength.   Set individual goals for each account and put outlook reminders in your calendar to accomplish certain tasks like…

1.    Cold call client
2.    Send client email
3.    Send client an article
4.    Send client research
5.    Send client a case study “sneak peek

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5 TSRs - August 2018

5 TSRs - August 2018

BRIDGE TO DISASTER - KSDK investigates the crumbling infrastructure that puts millions in jeopardy in a state near the bottom of the list when it comes to bridges. Where does your state or states stand? The bridge investigation is a data driven effort so here is a different take on how to tackle the story here from the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute.

PUPPY MILLS - Is your state one of those on the “Horrible Hundred” list? What should you look for if you’re looking for a dog? This is a highly shareable type of story that could also enhance your social media efforts as your community weighs in on what they see and hear. 

DIGITAL HEROIN - Maybe there’s just a fine line between being hooked on opioids and being hooked on your digital devices. Gaming is exploding, so are esports so what are the clinical signs of screen addiction? Help your audience get out ahead of it so their kids don’t follow in their addicted footsteps.  

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Hot Clips: August 2018

Hot Clips: August 2018

It's all about the Apps for our August Hot Clips as we move into Back-to-School mode, reminding people that we can serve them anywhere as they reignite their Fall routines...

Mini-Mornings (WWBT, Richmond): how this station's app is driven by expertise and familiar faces

Why You Need Our App (WSFA, Montgomery): no reason to be shy about how our App helped you today

App New Video Posted (KWCH, Wichita): explaining that we're constantly updating our App

The News Doesn't End (WINK, Ft Myers): the show may end, but the details keep flowing digitally

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Where have all the people gone?

Where have all the people gone?

We all put stories through different filters—patrolling for clarity, urgency, pace, meaning, context and more.

The one filter we were all taught on day 1 of journalism school or at our first small market job was that “news is about people.”

At this point, you kinda want to say duh-but instead I’m gonna say oops. As in oops - a lot of our coverage is missing real people. Where have they gone? How can we get them back?

I’ve seen countless newscasts where I can say:

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The new, new thing? Instagram. Again.

The new, new thing? Instagram. Again.

Instagram is not new, but media companies of all shapes and sizes have been rushing to Instagram in 2018. Changes and challenges with Facebook’s algorithm have partly driven the push, but it’s also because IG continues to surge in popularity with audiences. 

Instagram has long been known as the “positive” social network and local media companies have done well to leverage a strategy that emphasizes “pride of place.” Audiences will follow you if they look at your account and think to themselves, “this is why I live here.”

Of course, news brands also feel a responsibility for actually covering the news and presenting information that’s more important than a pretty sunset. “The trick is to balance the two,” says Lila King, Instagram’s head of news partnerships. “Do something that is deeply tied to what you stand for, being a pillar, a voice for the community. But also covering what’s happening.”

Yes, breaking news can work in Instagram, but should be done selectively. For example, KABC in LA saw a nice boost in referral traffic from this post. But if you look through the rest of the station’s feed, you will notice that its 220,000 followers receive a mix of content that  leans heavily toward “pride of place” with situational breaking news sprinkled throughout. 

Instagram has become a more complex platform in recent months, with Live, Stories and the new IGTV confusing what previously was a relatively simple play. Given that, we thought it would be timely to offer an Instagram reset with some recommendations for how best to leverage IG.

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Hot Clips: July 2018

Hot Clips: July 2018

From satellites to amazing in-studio technology and voice assistants, this month's set of Hot Clips brings out the best in super-sensory storytelling...

Alexa, Open Westworld (HBO): let the promo do the talking when it comes to interacting with your in-home voice assistant.

Augmented Tornado (The Weather Channel): the most impressive use of in-studio augmented reality we've seen to date.

The Green Is Gone (KGO, San Francisco): a quick satellite comparison showing the very clear fire threat in California.

Golf Ball Sized Hail (KDVR, Denver): a live shot prop that fits the story to a tee.

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10 TSRs - July 2018

10 TSRs - July 2018

1. How Safe is my Son? -  As kids get geared up to re-start school and sports programs there are an increasing amount of red flags concerning concussions and football helmets. Riddell, one of the largest helmet manufacturers in America, can’t even find a buyer because of the concussion issue. So, why allow your child to play at all? How safe are those helmets? Provide your audience with an audit of all the major school districts and what kind of helmets they are using. The attached list itemizes the three best football helmets aimed at reducing concussions so you can see if your school districts and peewee leagues are keeping safety as the primary focus.

2. The Eyes Have It - Before summer ends give the parents in your audience a few simple things to think about to keep their kids safe at the pool, on the field or just having fun. This one is a quick way to put together a July story with strong impact. 

3. How Stark is your Park? -  Ever wonder why your neighborhood park just isn’t like it was when you were growing up? The ball diamond is hardly playable, the tennis courts are full of cracks, the drainage always causes flooding, the retaining walls don’t retain – and the list goes on. In many communities decades of budget cuts and construction delays have led to a growing crisis in America’s parks. Get the ball rolling in your market with a user generated campaign where your audience sends in its thoughts, pictures and videos on which parks need the most attention. Find out how long it’s been since your parks have had a major upgrade - 25, 50, 75 years?

4. Robo Revenge - Sick and tired of those robo calls? Many times these are beyond annoying - they are scams waiting to happen. But, now there are apps for that Robo Killer, NoMoRobo and Mr. Number.  Do they work - have several of your most influential audience social media contributors give them a try. Could make for some interesting feedback in a Facebook Live too as others provide other remedies, alert you to scams or are already using a third party app and want to weigh in. Leave your audience empowered with these five ways to try to block robo calls. 

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10 TSRs - June 2018

10 TSRs - June 2018

It’s already time to gear up for Back to School. And after some of the recent highly publicized shootings the issue of safety is top of mind both in much of the research results we are seeing and of course in the minds of parents and students. To help you get underway many of this month’s TSRs focus on how safe your kids are in school, on the field and just hanging with their friends.       

1. BULLETPROOF BACKPACKS -  These days some backpacks actually claim “we’ve got your back.” WINK TV tests two different backpacks and three types of guns - you be the judge if the price is worth the piece of mind. 

2. READY FOR THE WORST - Does your state insist on active shooter drills? Many don’t. WSB wonders why Georgia doesn’t. Does yours? If so, what can your child expect…if not, why not?

3. TEEN THREATS - As your kids walk the halls how much safer are they today than before Parkland? What have your schools done to up the security? WNBC examines why the increase in teen threats and what is being done to keep your kids safe.   

4. TRENCH COAT BAN - One common theme in some of the shootings even since Columbine: trench coats used to conceal weapons. A check by KHOU found that about half the schools have banned trench coats as part of the dress code. Dig into your school districts - are they doing the same?  

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Preparing for Tropical Trouble – 2018 Hurricane Season 

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 

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