FYI Friday: Engaging Your Digital Ecosystem

Hello PBS stations! My name is Ida Rosenthal, and like Barry, Brionne, and Paul, I am happy to be joining the PBS Interactive team this summer as an intern. Every week this summer, the four of us will be sharing articles and tips on ways to drive more traffic to your website, to better understand your visitors and their needs, and keep you up to date on the latest best practices. Our goal is to give you quick, actionable advice you can use right now.

This week, we’ll be looking at engagement as a way to improve customer service, inspire concrete actions on your website, make users think about your content, and improve their digital experience across many platforms.

Top Tips on Posting and Responding to Comments by Kerry Bridge 
Compiled by Brionne Griffin 

One of the best things about social media marketing is that there are virtually no barriers to entry, but the risks of negative engagement run very high. While most communication professionals are guided by their own discretion, a tangible tool can help you navigate the gray areas of customer service on social media websites.

As part of their Social Media Toolkit, Dell created an infographic with tips on commenting, like “be human,” “get to know the community,” and “don’t speak out of turn.” The infographic also includes a flowchart that walks you through the best way to respond to different types comments, whether they are positive, aggressive, or spammy self-promotions. So next time Misguided Mindy posts a comment on your wall that isn’t 100 percent true, you can look to your social media infographic to determine the best way to respond.

8 Attributes of Content That Inspire Action by Daniel Tynski 
Compiled by Ida Rosenthal 

When users come to your website, you want them to do something. But having weak calls-to-action like “Watch this” or “Donate today” will not inspire deep engagement because it doesn’t offer value to the user. To tackle this problem, Daniel Tynski highlights 8 attributes of content that inspires action, and luckily, PBS stations have the potential to incorporate many of them.

For example, content should demonstrate mastery, offering readers insight about topics that aren’t being discussed by other sources. It’s also important that content offers a narrative that allows the user to take an “exciting journey” with your website. For all the attributes, check out the full article! Tynski also offers a rubric that allows content producers to quantifiably evaluate if their content is incorporating each of these elements.

Using Cognitive Content to Captivate Your Audience by Tracy Spetka 
Compiled by Paul Lopez 

Engagement is a key measure for any station using social media. However, if you’re having difficulties engaging with your audience, creating “cognitive content” might be the answer. Tracy Spetka describes cognitive content as something that elicits an immediate response in the brain, whether the person is aware or not. She adds that “while there is no such thing as automatic engagement on a post, there is automatic engagement in your mind when you’re exposed to certain types of content.”

For example, you can prompt users to interact in the digital space by offering fill-in-the-blank style questions. Read Spetka’s article for more details about how to increase engagement through cognitive content.

How Multi Screen Consumers Are Changing Media Dynamics by comScore
Compiled by Barry Blitch

Picture yourself checking a social networking site on your phone while watching online videos with the TV on in the background. That scenario is becoming increasingly normal for many Americans. These “digital omnivores” are consuming media on multiple platforms at the same time.

This comScore report highlights some important findings, including that multi-screen (17%) and digital-only (11%) usage is growing, especially with younger demographics. Consumers are using multiple platforms, including tablets and smartphones, to supplement their “digital diet.”

The good news for PBS stations is that, according to comScore’s findings, consumers who watched content via online video and TV consumed 25% more minutes on the TV platform than the TV audience overall. This is an important reason to bolster content on all platforms, “ensuring a connection with the loyal ‘core constituency’ of the digital ecosystem.”


  1. CPB also created a social media handbook for local stations to use the might be helpful. Here is the link

  2. "Cognitive content"? Sounds like something straight out of a ny video production codebook.