Promotion and Audience Building Ideas You Can Use

We’ve just wrapped up our Sep­tem­ber Monthly Reporter Chal­lenge, which focused on pro­mo­tion tech­niques reporters could take on to build a wider audi­ence for their sites and broad­cast cov­er­age. But sta­tions can help in the effort, and since we had a ques­tion from StateIm­pact Okla­homa on what the entire statewide col­lab­o­ra­tive could do to bet­ter spread the word, let’s cap our monthly chal­lenge with a look at some ideas you can use.

First, if you haven’t seen it, here is the orig­i­nal post with guid­ance I gave reporters about how to build a larger fol­low­ing. The goals:

  • Gen­er­at­ing buzz around the StateIm­pact brand; get­ting peo­ple talk­ing about it
  • Build­ing up fol­low­ers on Twit­ter, Face­book, and your site
  • Build­ing a more loyal audience
  • Increas­ing the reach of your content
Beyond the tips out­lined in that ear­lier post, we’ve also observed what our sis­ter project, Project Argo, has done to build audi­ence. I’ve picked out a few tra­di­tional and non-traditional pro­mo­tion they’ve done to get you thinking.

Build­ing on Estab­lished Sta­tion Audiences

To draw upon the already-existing audi­ences of your sta­tion, use your StateIm­pact reporters on your air for Q&As, and if pos­si­ble, for­mal­ize that by doing it reg­u­larly — a once weekly StateIm­pact “Debrief” can help estab­lish the brand with your lis­ten­ers. Your station’s Face­book and Twit­ter pages should also be con­stantly pro­mot­ing StateIm­pact and post­ing StateIm­pact sto­ries on the sta­tion FB wall. That will help bring in your sta­tion “fans” who need an entry point.

Delib­er­ate Out­reach to Other Out­lets
StateIm­pact Penn­syl­va­nia, which won the monthly chal­lenge, is delib­er­ate about pro­vid­ing pre­views or heads-up on their ban­ner pieces to other news out­lets and other blogs, or peo­ple who head list­servs on their beat. This is a two-way street, how­ever. Make sure your reporters are also link­ing to and pro­mot­ing the work of other news orga­ni­za­tions, if it’s good and worthwhile.

Face-to-Face Pro­mo­tion
Whether it’s throw­ing a StateIm­pact Launch Party (which some of the Argo sites hosted), or just mak­ing sure your reporters show up at events where there are gath­er­ings of a lot of peo­ple on the beat (some­times not to report, but just to con­nect), face-to-face source build­ing is always a key to spread­ing the word. If you still want to con­sider a launch party, email me cause it’s not too late — our national pub­lic launch doesn’t hap­pen until Texas is online in early November.

On-Air Pro­mo­tions
DCen­tric, the Argo site focus­ing on race, fea­tures a 30-second, pro­duced promo dur­ing breaks that I hear every time I’m dri­ving to work dur­ing All Things Con­sid­ered. If you’re not doing it already, con­sider let­ting the reporters pro­mote them­selves on the air with an “ad” for StateImpact.

Emails and Newslet­ter Men­tions to Mem­ber Donors
Do your station’s sup­port­ers know about StateIm­pact and how they can help fund it? Make sure there are some rounds of email to newslet­ter sub­scribers and mem­bers to make sure they’re in the know.

Adver­tise­ments in Your Local Paper
Dur­ing their early phases, KPLU’s Argo site bought adver­tise­ments in The Seat­tle Times and on KCTS, the PBS tele­vi­sion sta­tion in town. If news­pa­per ad rates are too high, the alter­na­tive weekly in your city might be a more afford­able place to advertise.