Updated: PBS Says Bon Appetite! with New Food Site

Written by Ashley Carufel, Contract Producer, PBS Interactive

In early May, the SPI blog gave stations an introduction to the upcoming PBS Food content channel that will serve as a centralized web location to better aggregate and promote cooking content from both a national and local level. The Food team has some exciting project updates.

The Food team launched a micro-site on Saturday promoting July 4th recipes (called "PBS Celebrates July 4th") which we are using as an experiment to test the concept of the Food vertical. The site includes content from "Everyday Food," PBS Parents' Kitchen Explorers- a food blog, and local content from three of the test sample stations involved with the project (KCTS, WGBH, and KQED).

The site has been performing tremendously with promotion via the homepage, PBS Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as the PBS and PBS Parents newsletters. The micro-site has been averaging 5,000 pageviews daily with a maximum bounce rate of 1.35%! We feel this micro-site is an exciting representation of the type of features the Food content channel will explore as well as a demonstration of the volume of traffic it stands to attract- and thereby direct back to station content.

The Food team would love if stations would help promote the micro-site via their own social media handles. A sample tweet and post are included below:

Twitter: Happy July 4th! Check out patriotic recipes from @PBS to put your cookout in full patriotic swing!

Facebook: Liven up your July 4th menu with some patriotic recipe suggestions from PBS' beloved chefs! What's your favorite thing to eat on Independence Day?

Many thanks to the following stations who have already retweeted and promoted the micro-site: WGBH, KQED, Mountain Lake, WPBT, Smoky Hills Public TV, KCPT, UNC-TV, KNPB, WETA and WSKG!

The Food content channel has made aggressive progress toward launch, and has the following information to share:

Promotion of Station Content: Once a week, the Cooking module on the homepage has featured local station content. Featured stations thus far have seen a clear boost in traffic from homepage promotion. Local content will be integral to the editorial direction of the Food content channel, and the module will continue to regularly feature local content on the homepage of both and the content channel.

Station Traffic: Last week the module featured a blog post from KQED's Bay Area Bites called "Gluten-Free Vegan Macaroni and Cheese" which received 805 pageviews (more than twice the traffic from its posting on BAB). Station content on average has received about 400 pageviews when promoted on the homepage module, which matches the average for promoted national content in the module.

Timeline: The Food blog will go live with a streamlined homepage in July, and the full content channel is expected to be complete by the end of summer.

PBS Food blog: We have decided on the name "Fresh Tastes" with the tagline "A Celebration of Food and Cooking;" however, suggestions for other taglines are still welcome.

Meet the Food bloggers: Hope that whets your appetite! Look for an announcement soon about our new Food Bloggers! 

Station Test group: We are starting the content channel's development process with eight test stations chosen for their variety of food-related content as well as demonstrated expertise in the food space. The eight stations primarily serve as advisors for the project, and provide insight for the Food team regarding proper representation of station content and station branding within the content channel.

The eight stations participating in the test sample group are: KQED in San Francisco, California; WVIZ/PBS Ideastream in Cleveland, Ohio; WTTW in Chicago, Illinois; KCTS in Seattle, Washington; WMHT in Albany, New York; WXXI in Rochester, New York; WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts; and WQED in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Stay tuned as we verge closer to launching the PBS Food "Fresh Tastes" blog, and be sure to let the SPI team know if your station promotes the "PBS Celebrates July 4th" micro-site!

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