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Bento Goes on the Road

By Jen Carter, Station Products & Innovation

A new year brings new prospects; yet we all struggle with old challenges. For many of us that means grappling with the good, the bad, and the ugly of the digital world. To help alleviate some of those challenges stations face, the Station Products and Innovation team has started phase 2 of rolling out Bento for the system.

By now, you probably have heard of Bento. It is a CMS product solution stations can use to build complete, robust station sites, as well as smaller, targeted microsites. Its key features include full integration with COVE, Merlin, PBS Kids content, etc., as well as flexible tool sets to be utilized as stations feel best fit their needs. As part of this rather unique rollout process, PBS Interactive was able to hold several in-person meetings last fall called Bento Implementation Trainings (or, less cumbersomely, B.I.T.s).

What is B.I.T.?
B.I.T. is a two-day immersive training focused not only on using Bento as a product, but also on the strategy that goes into having a digital presence. As a direct result of these trainings in the fall and the hard work of the participating stations, we are able to hold a second round of in-person trainings.

This time with a twist.

We are going to take our training on the road to three stations throughout the U.S., as well as host one training at PBS.

The Benefit of B.I.T.

Stations enter the training as Bento Trainees and leave as “Certified Bento Masters.” Being part of the first adopters of Bento, stations will be fully on-boarded and will continue to learn and grow the product by informing PBS Interactive of their needs.

These two-day sessions are chock full of hands-on product training and professional development. During the first day, stations will be learning and building in the Bento admin tool. As part of that training, they will also learn concepts and functionality. At the end of the first day, each station will leave with a working microsite, which they will take back to their station and share. They will also be given all the tools, including extensive documentation, that they need to continue building and learning.

On the second day, stations will get professional development sessions focused on analytics, strategy, goal-setting, and SEO. This day is mainly comprised of presentations and discussions that we hope will expand and spark stations’ interest around digital and public media relevant topics.

Where and when are the B.I.T.s?
 Dates for these upcoming trainings are:
•    B.I.T. West: January 14-15 at KPBS in San Diego, CA
•    B.I.T. Southwest: January 28-29 at OETA in Oklahoma City, OK
•    B.I.T. North: February 7-8 PBS at PBS in Arlington, VA
•    B.I.T. South: February 25-26 at WUCF in Orlando, FL

Who goes to a B.I.T.?
To date, we have on-boarded about 42 stations through B.I.T. Most attendees are stations that have been on a waiting list for Bento. However, implementing Bento is not a requirement for attending the trainings. Any station can attend B.I.T., and while space is limited, we are open to growing the trainings after January and February if we have enough interest.

How can my station take advantage of Bento and/or B.I.T.?
Even if your station doesn’t have any immediate plans to use Bento, this is a unique opportunity to learn and give your feedback. After the two days, you will have Bento access and knowledge so if your station wants Bento down the road, you will be ready. If you are interested in Bento and haven’t already reached out to us, please email us at: pbsi_stationservices@pbs.org.

You can also track the trainings by following #PBSBIT and staying tuned to our newsletter and blog.