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Think Out Loud Interactive Best Practices


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A study and recommendations for Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud Radio Program. How to best utilize social and interactive media for increased marketing, community building and online activity around the program.

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Think Out Loud Interactive Best Practices

  1. 1. THINK OUT LOUD Community Outreach Project July-August 2008
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Project </li></ul><ul><li>Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Next Steps </li></ul>
  3. 3. Overview of the Project <ul><li>6 week time frame due to grant requirements </li></ul><ul><li>To raise the visibility of the Think Out Loud site in the geographic area served by OPB </li></ul><ul><li>Increase traffic to the discussion area of the site </li></ul><ul><li>And develop best practices for ongoing online outreach activities </li></ul>
  4. 4. Approach <ul><li>A Blend of Traditional Marketing and PR </li></ul><ul><li>Community Outreach and Involvement Methods </li></ul><ul><li>New, Interactive and Social Media Approaches and Techniques </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why? <ul><li>OPB is a public non-profit. Based on members and “community” </li></ul><ul><li>Some targets difficult to reach and involve with traditional PR and marketing and new technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networking and Interactive requires community building </li></ul>
  6. 6. A Note on Social Media <ul><li>Social Media Explained in Plain English </li></ul>
  7. 7. Social Media <ul><li>Is an approach to marketing and outreach as much as it is about Internet tools </li></ul><ul><li>Allows others to spread the word for you </li></ul><ul><li>Connects to existing communities and builds new communities </li></ul><ul><li>Is efficient and low cost </li></ul><ul><li>Not always effective for “difficult to reach communities” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Social Media
  9. 9. Activities <ul><li>Add TOL to websites like Outside-in, OrBlogs, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Daily posts on blogs,etc. about shows </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of Influencers and provide outreach to these influencers </li></ul><ul><li>In-Person Meet-Ups </li></ul><ul><li>Phone Calls, direct emails to individuals and groups </li></ul><ul><li>Database of websites, blogs, listserves, groups and individuals </li></ul>
  10. 10. Critical Activities <ul><li>Ask Certain Guests if They Wouldn’t Mind Posting on Their Blogs and Letting Their Communities Know That They Will Be on TOL </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Outreach to PIN Members. Not Marketing. Asking them for their Leadership and Expertise in Their Communities </li></ul>This is the Idea of Community Connectors SOCIAL NETWORKING BEST PRACTICE
  11. 11. Case Study <ul><li>Open Source City July, 25th </li></ul>
  12. 12. What We Did <ul><li>Identify Influencers </li></ul><ul><li>Ask Influencers to be guests on show </li></ul><ul><li>Ask Guests to Post about Show on their Websites/Blogs, tell their communities </li></ul><ul><li>Post about Show on Blogs, Websites </li></ul><ul><li>Lizzy Caston, others announces it on Twitter </li></ul>
  13. 13. What’s an Influencer? <ul><li>A person with influence, leadership, trust in their communities </li></ul><ul><li>Large social networks </li></ul><ul><li>Large online presence – They are connected </li></ul><ul><li>They write, people notice and write about them writing – This is Viral Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Allows TOL access to new communities </li></ul><ul><li>Creates strong community around TOL </li></ul><ul><li>Influencers help spread word about TOL </li></ul>
  14. 14. What Happened <ul><li>1. Rick from Silicon Florist posts about it on his site </li></ul>
  15. 15. What Happened <ul><li>Rick’s Post Goes Out to Thousands of Readers </li></ul><ul><li>Some of Those Readers Blog about the show, getting picked up by 1000s of other readers </li></ul><ul><li>OregonLive writes about Rick being on TOL and links to TOL site </li></ul><ul><li>“ Twitterers” Read Lizzy’s Post, Other Twitterers start writing about it and linking to TOL </li></ul><ul><li>Other guests write about it, link to TOL, spread word. Audrey, another guest spreads word in her community, online, twitter, etc. </li></ul>VIRAL MARKETING AT WORK SOCIAL NETWORKING AT WORK
  16. 16. Results <ul><li>64 referrals from after they wrote about the guest's appearance on TOL </li></ul><ul><li>10 referrals from the Silicon Florist, a popular blog run by one of the guests on the show: </li></ul><ul><li>5 referrals from Reed University News </li></ul><ul><li>Several mentions in other blogs and websites and on Twitter (at least 5) </li></ul><ul><li>Large amount of comments, Increase in traffic to TOL site </li></ul>
  17. 17. Examples
  18. 18. Examples
  19. 19. Other Case Studies <ul><li>Hodge-Podge of Methods </li></ul><ul><li>Do What Works for Each Situation and Show </li></ul>Rural Communities, Ethnicity, Race, Language, Age Can Affect Outreach Methods Some Communities More Online Than Others. Some Communities Easier to Find and Connect With Creating Strong Relationships with Community Connectors Key
  20. 20. Keys for Success <ul><li>Identify Influencers and Community Connectors </li></ul><ul><li>Organized Information – Can make updates, posting, connecting streamlined and reduce duplication of efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Create and Nurture Relationships to help with ongoing Outreach </li></ul>
  21. 21. Analytics <ul><li>No Hard and Fast Patterns Per Show Hard to pin down Activity = Result, Patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Too Many Variables Per Show </li></ul><ul><li>Overall Patterns Emerged </li></ul><ul><li>Statistical Results Evident </li></ul>
  22. 22. Analytics <ul><li>26% Increase in Traffic, Activity on Site in August </li></ul><ul><li>Largest Increase any month since Launch </li></ul><ul><li>User Registrations Steady </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in activity from “Difficult to Reach Communities” </li></ul>
  23. 23. Analytics Monthly Averages vs. Month of July and Month of August 555 430 568 New User Registrations 977 858 813 User Comments 9,581 7,470 7,705 Visitors per Month 20,822 15,810 16,933 Page Views per Month August July Jan- August
  24. 24. Lessons Learned: Meet-Ups <ul><li>A More Traditional Approach </li></ul><ul><li>The More Outreach, the More People </li></ul><ul><li>Direct Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Time Consuming </li></ul><ul><li>Creates Face to Face Relationships, the Best Kind </li></ul><ul><li>Planning, Enough Time Crucial to Success </li></ul><ul><li>PIN Members Very Excited and Active to Meet-Up </li></ul><ul><li>People want activities at Meet-ups </li></ul><ul><li>People need help engaging with others at Meet-ups </li></ul>
  25. 25. Strengths of TOL <ul><li>Steady and Growing Online Presence and Community </li></ul><ul><li>Commenting and moderation policies and practices are important and effective </li></ul><ul><li>There is very good synergy between the on-air and online content </li></ul><ul><li>Staff Very Good at Connections and Finding Key People </li></ul><ul><li>TOL is providing unique and high quality content </li></ul><ul><li>TOL is very good at &quot;leading&quot; the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>TOL graphics are clear, iconic and memorable </li></ul><ul><li>TOL is very good about crediting and linking to other online sources </li></ul>
  26. 26. Risks and Barriers <ul><li>Website Functionality is a Huge Problem </li></ul>Barrier to Participation by Staff and Readers, too time consuming to post Need a Blog, Current Site Being Asked to Function Like a Blog but is Not Structured to Be a Blog Risk of Presenting Inaccurate Information – No Preview or Draft Feature Analytics do Not Allow Details, Tracking over Time User Feedback and Site Organization Can Be Better
  27. 27. Other Issues: The Biggies <ul><li>Lack of Activity in Comments Sections </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Systems to Easily Find and Do Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Underutilization of PIN Members for Expertise, Involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Presence in Other Communities </li></ul><ul><li>Give People a Reason to Come to Site </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Time, Staff Resources </li></ul>
  28. 28. Recommendations <ul><li>Need a New Website </li></ul>WORDPRESS. Industry standard in Professional Business Blogs Customizable, Easy to Maintain, Efficient, Cost Effective and Secure Cut Staff Time Posting in Half (or more) TOL can Make Simple Changes – Frees Up Web Staff for More Important Work Simple Design Changes Will Increase Activity and Participation
  29. 29. Recommendations <ul><li>More activity on the TOL site by Staff </li></ul><ul><li>More activity in “Webosphere” by Staff </li></ul><ul><li>More Presence at Community Events </li></ul><ul><li>Better Utilization of PIN Members – More Structured Community Connectors </li></ul><ul><li>One Database, Not Several </li></ul><ul><li>Continue with High Level of Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Give Incentives for Activity and Participation on Site </li></ul>
  30. 30. Outreach/Social Media and Networking Expertise <ul><li>Successful outreach and involvement is strategic and ongoing, not a one time deal </li></ul><ul><li>Interns can do some tasks, but should be guided and mentored </li></ul><ul><li>Systems, such as databases can decrease risk of lost information and duplication of efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Some activities are not appropriate for marketing dept. due to journalism breach of ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Some activities, like event planning, better off in marketing department </li></ul>
  31. 31. NEXT STEPS <ul><li>Web Needs Analysis, Feasibility and Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Determine Staff Capacity, Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Job Function </li></ul><ul><li>Continue with Analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures for Outreach, 12 Month Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Formalized Way to Better Engage PIN </li></ul>
  32. 32. THANK YOU! Lizzy Caston Lizzy.caston ({at}) 503-803-3326 THINK OUT LOUD