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PBS Annual Meeting - Digital Media Strategy, Part 2

The following is a summary of the Digital Media Strategy, Part 2 session held at the PBS Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 18th at 11:30am. We're highlighting the PBS Interactive sessions on this blog. A complete run-down of sessions from the Annual Meeting is available in the Conferences Blog on PBS Connect under Attend | Learn >> Conference Blog.

Interactivity was the name of the game at PBS Interactive’s Digital Strategy- Part 2 Concurrent Session Workshop. Moderator/host Shane Guiter (@shaneguiter) from KLRU Austin (http://www.klru.org) brought high energy to the proceedings. Joining him were panelists:

• Phil Meyer: Station Manager, WTIU, Bloomington, Indiana. http://indianapublicmedia.org/tv/ @wtiu
• Mike Bauhof: Director of Digital Engagement, Nine Network of Public Media/KETC, St. Louis, Missouri http://www.ketc.org/index.asp @KETCEconomy
• Alexis Rapo: Vice President for Broadband and Interactive Media, WGBH http://www.wgbh.org/ @WGBHboston

Read more about the panelists on PBS Connect (Attend/Learn>>Annual Meeting>>Conference Links>>Concurrent Sessions)

First up for participants was an exercise designed to get them thinking about their station’s digital strategy. Guiter had each attendee take five minutes to jot down answers to the following four questions:

• What are you goals/priorities?
• How will you measure success?
• Who is your audience? Where are they?
• What are your current resources and capabilities? This includes dollars, equipment & people

There was a buzz in the room as attendees shared their initial strategy ideas with their tablemates. (the room was set in rounds) There was a lot of nodding during exchanges as people heard common themes that resonated with them, including:

• The need to utilize the people network. Stations sharing with other stations
• How to determine who the audience is. If you know you still have users with dial-up connections, do you design to them? (One attendee suggested investigating whether the dial up audience may also be on mobile devices & also accessing station content that way)
• The push and pull between IT staff concerned with security, and content producers wanting to experiment and try new things.

Panelist Phil Meyers and Mike Bauhof shared real life examples from their stations, walking attendees who they answered the same four questions when plotting out their projects
Phil talked about WTIU’s election coverage ( http://indianapublicmedia.org/election/)

• He believes in a Balanced Scorecard, meaning financial results are not the only way to measure success
• They’ve had success training the news producers to be responsible for getting their stories online in addition to the radio or TV platform they’re producing for.

Mike talked about two of the Nine Network’s projects, Surviving the Mortgage Crisis (http://www.stlmortgagecrisis.org/) and Homeland (http://explorehomeland.org/).

• With the Mortgage Crisis, they acted as a convenor and connector – convening conversations & connecting people to other organizations within their community.
• Homeland is another project aimed at convening conversation around a complex topic (Immigration). They’re working on a documentary that will air in 2012, but launched the web presence last summer to bring their community into the conversation from the beginning.

Alexis Rapo from WGBH walked us through how to use analytics to help decide which projects to work on, how to shape them and then measure success. Her advice is to adjust your workflow so that you identify your success measures & track them from the beginning. Checking in on your “scores” as you proceed should be a daily task akin to grabbing your cup of coffee. Too often, analytics get pushed to the end of a project when we’re already working on the next project, causing us to lose the chance to adjust tactics as we go for greater success.

Some helpful resources Alexis mentioned include:

• Google Ad Planner (www.google.com/adplanner/) – Allows you to drill into an in-depth breakout of your audience using Google Analytics.
• Facebook Insights (www.facebook.com/FacebookInsights) – Gives information on the performance of Facebook fan pages, and who your fans are.
Klout.com – Provides insights in Twitter activity

Wrapping up the session, Shane gave out parting gifts to use back at home stations including a summary of the workshop, a Analytics tip sheet and how to do an Envisioning Sticky Note exercise. Everything is posted from the session at: stationbestpractices.pbs.org under "Digital Strategy".

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