Panelists say TV stations have to stop making excuses for not becoming the leading online presence in their markets and offer examples of low-cost ways to do just that.
If TV broadcasters do nothing else next year to enhance their Web presence, they ought to use their Web sites to cover local high school football, says Richard Warner, CEO of What’s Up Interactive, which builds and maintains Web site for TV stations.
Citing the Friday Night Blitz section on the Web site of KMOV, the Belo station in St. Louis, Warner said high school football is just the kind of “hyperlocal” content that all broadcasters should be looking for.
“If you can be the first mover in the market, it creates an advantage you can’t lose,” said Warner.
And high school football can be produced cheaply by recruiting students, parents, coaches or schools to provide the stories and the video, he said.
Warner’s was just one bit of a whole lot of advice proffered at a session from the RTNDA News & Technology Summit track at NAB New York Wednesday.
The other two advice-givers: Steve Safran, president of Safran Media Group, and Stephen Warley, executive director, digital media, 602 Communications. Both are Web consultants and regular contributors to lostremote.com, a broadcasting-oriented Web site heavy on new media news.
All three of the Web experts stressed the need for broadcasters to use the Web to get closer to their communities and tap into more local advertising dollars.
Warley’s bullet points for stations sites: hyperlocal, searchable and aggregation. He underscored aggregation, saying that stations don’t have to produce all or the content on their sites or even most of it.
The panelists said that content can come from advertisers and from people in the community. People will contribute for the recognition or because they are passionate about a subject, Warley said.
Safran warned against allowing designers to take over Web development. Some of the most successful Web sites have been “ugly as sin,” he said, citing Craig’s List, the Drudge Report, Google and YouTube. The information and “how you get it out there” is more important than the look, he said.
Warley said some of the best Web sites are those produced by small local newspapers that have already “ingratiated” themselves with their communities. “When someone says they don’t have the budget [for a Web site], I point them to the St. Albans Messenger.”
Safran said the key to Web revenue is salespeople dedicated to selling the Web. The Web has to be more than a throw-in on spot sales. “Added value stops now,” he shouted into his mike. “No more added value.”
For more advice from the panelists and more of the Web sites they like, go to lostremote.com.