We recently told you about a unique content-sharing partnership in Denver. Here are more ways to expand your coverage through partnerships. This post is adapted from an article originally appearing on Chris’s blog.
Does your station have a news partner? Perhaps you share content from each other’s websites? If that’s the extent of your content partnership, you’re not doing all you could to get content and promote your station.
Whether your media organization is working with a generous budget or one that’s extremely limited, strategic content partnerships can make a difference in what you’re able to provide to existing audiences and how you market to potential audiences. You may already have one of these partnerships in place, but let’s take a look to see what else you could be doing.
Understandably, you won’t build any agreements with organizations that are considered your direct competition for viewership or listenership. Those aside, however, there are still a number of ways to create meaningful content partnerships that benefit the organizations involved.
Radio & TV
Partnerships between radio and TV for weather and news have been longstanding. Since radio stations tend to operate with much smaller crews than their TV counterparts, the opportunity for turnkey content is huge. For the TV station, time spent creating this content gratis shouldn’t outweigh the benefit of the branding and marketing opportunity it creates. Statistically, radio reaches more people than TV, meaning there is incredible value to market on this platform.
If you’re a radio station using a service for weather or news that is not a local television station, start making phone calls and consider your options for partnering. This will improve the localism of your product and hopefully eliminate the need for barter-ads or a monthly bill.
If you’re a TV station already providing content to local radio stations, make sure to use your portion of radio air space for branding that drives listeners to the platforms you want them to see (your on-air newscast, website, etc.). Promote your best stories in the sign-off and tell listeners how to find them. As part of your agreement to provide content, consider requesting :15 or :30 second spots to air during afternoon drive that can be updated daily and be used to send viewers to your evening newscast or website.
Finally, if you’re a TV station not providing weather or news content to local radio stations, it’s time to start. If competitors have already taken the biggest stations, look for smaller ones.
Despite their lower wattage, local radio stations can have an incredible presence in the communities under your viewing umbrella. Believe me, I’ve seen this first hand. Don’t wait for stations to approach you. A low-cost (essentially labor only) marketing opportunity awaits.
Print & Broadcast
Little more than an editor stands between a print reporter and having a story published online or in a print newspaper. Oversimplified? Yes, but in broadcast there are a number of technological hoops to jump through in order to produce the final newscast. As such, print reporters can sometimes have more time available to delve into the details of certain stories.
A partnership with the appropriate print outlet can give broadcast stations (in TV and radio) the opportunity to feature more in-depth content their newsrooms may otherwise not be able to provide. Shared information can be included in newscasts, online and disseminated directly from the reporters as on-air guests. Both the broadcast outlet and the print operation should mention their partnership with the other when working with shared content in order to further the relationship and provide benefit to the other party.
Additionally, both print and broadcast outlets have advertising space that could be of value to the other organization. Consider options for trading this asset, giving each company an opportunity for branding and promoting the partnership.
Many of the suggestions in this article are in practice, but there are still news organizations missing out. Stations large and small should evaluate if they are partnering in ways that fulfill content needs and provide a means for marketing, branding and credibility. Don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunity to partner with another organization.
RTDNA’s latest research will show that the percentage of TV stations providing news to other outlets has decreased slightly this year, but the number involved in a shared services arrangement is up slightly as is the number of stations involved in a cooperative venture. It will show that fewer radio stations are using an outside source of local news.
Details will be available in the Local News by the Numbers research report to be released in June. Learn more and subscribe to receive the report at RTDNA.org/research.
Chris Hoke is a media development, management and on-air professional. Chris is the Assistant Manager and News Director for Iredell Broadcasting in Statesville, North Carolina. He has reported on everything from local politics and community stories to national pieces aired on Fox News Radio stations across the United States. During his tenure at Iredell Broadcasting, Chris developed the station’s news program, helped grow its web presence on various sites, created a digital sales platform for the station’s sales team and led the development of its television station in addition to numerous other projects. He is the author of The Dorm Room Newsroom: Learning & Broadcasting Outside the Lines.