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, the initial 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 an 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.

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