Wednesday, November 28, 2007

podcast: org integration proposal

For the social media organizational integration proposal, student Katherine Strate suggested that her hometown newspaper integrate podcasting. Her background research from the Rome, Ga. case study and examples of the type of content the podcast should include were among the things that made this podcast proposal stand out.

The proposal she turned in follows.

Client: The Citizen Tribune, Morristown, Tenn.

Purpose: To increase readership and community involvement by implementing the use of podcasts on their Web site.

Overall Proposal:

Why The Citizen Tribune has a need for podcasts:

The Citizen Tribune, a local afternoon paper is undergoing major personnel and readership changes. As of late, The Citizen Tribune has been lacking in community coverage that affects the younger crowd moving to the area. Local stories concerning the older Morristown population are not appealing to the new demographic in town. In addition, The Citizen Tribune is an afternoon newspaper, so their coverage is slightly delayed.

I believe the implementation of podcasts on their Web site would be a useful and effective tool to gain newer, younger readership. The older population of Morristown is dying, and reading an actual piece of paper for the news is dying, too. More and more people are referring to the Internet for daily, local and world news. Putting podcasts or v-casts on the Web site, if advertised correctly could increase readership on the Internet, and it could increase younger readership.

Case Study- The Rome News-Tribune, Rome, Ga.:

The daily newspaper in Rome, Ga. has increased its readership tremendously because of its use of podcasts. Its staff of writers and editors at the paper realized the need for deeper, more personal coverage of the community. They became aware that Rome citizens were more interested in community news, and they read the paper to receive it. Other mediums, like television, were used for world news coverage.

After making a game plan, the paper decided to disperse the podcast coverage; from football games, to school plays to town hall meetings, someone was there recording. According to the editor, the most successful podcast they posted concerned a play at one of the local elementary schools. They advertised the posting of the podcast before the show, and they received hundreds of hits. Once people realized they were podcasting, they started to call the paper making suggestions for possible locations. A firefighter, the father of a girl in the school play, invited the editor to ride in a fire truck with he and his squad.

That kind of community involvement, participation and energy is what The Rome News-Tribune wanted, and podcasting took them there.

Opportunities in Morristown for podcasts:

So many community events happen in Morristown that no one knows about. School board meetings, festivals, church gatherings, PTA meetings, business openings, Chamber of Commerce breakfasts and other functions are important for the life of the town.

Since Morristown is an average-sized town, community is extremely important. High school rivalries and craft fairs are two of the most important topics about which the community cares. If the podcasts covered most events at the high schools, hundreds of people would go to the Web site to listen and watch what went on.

What is also important is out-of-state readership. Grandparents, friends and other family members will go to the Web site to watch or listen to their relative or friend in Morristown. People are increasingly going to the Internet for their first search for information. This is a medium that should not be missed.

The main audience:

As mentioned before, the old are dying out and the young are moving in. Podcasts would mainly target younger families and teenagers who are interested in the community events. If they know to come to the Web site to listen or see that coverage, they are more than likely going to look elsewhere at the other articles.

While covering local government is important, covering local education should be a top priority with the podcasts. Students at school or working parents in front of a computer know how to navigate a Web site and look for information. Consistently updated podcast coverage would result in a consistent podcast “listenership.”

Main Steps:

  1. Set a certain agenda for definite podcasts- either weekly, monthly or by another time. The agenda should be based on the audience- the younger the better.
  2. Cover each event fully and loudly. Let people know you are there.
  3. Make business cards or fliers with the Web site and general information about how to find the podcast.
  4. Consistently cover the basic agenda to gain regular followers. Once new opportunities arise, increase coverage in other areas.
  5. Make a section on the Web site about the podcasts to inform readers they are available.

Benchmarks of success:

The first and easiest benchmark would be increased readership on The Citizen Tribune Web site. If the podcasts are properly advertised and talked about, I believe readership could go up at least 10%.

A second benchmark would be receiving suggestions and community involvement about the kinds of podcasts they do. A newspaper tries to cater to what its audience wants, and I believe it would be a huge compliment to their efforts to receive coverage suggestions.

In addition, if the option is available, readers could post their own pictures or videos (with approval) about each event. Using tools like flickr and YouTube would be immensely valuable.

The program Google analytics could be used to track most of the traffic that goes to each part of the Web site.

Possible Obstacles:

Since The Citizen Tribune’s Web site has not been a main source for news, a possible obstacle could be getting people to go to the Web site to hear the podcasts.

People also may not know what podcasts are. New media terms are foreign to most of the population, especially Morristown’s, and citizens may not be able to see the advantages of using podcasts.

Another obstacle could be the experience of the staff at The Citizen Tribune. If the person assigned to do the podcasts has not been properly trained or is not covering the right events, the plan could fail. Appropriate training and appreciation of the tool are necessary to implement it effectively.

Note: this proposal was created for as a part of a student project in class (ADPR 5990) & is no way an indication of what the organization is planning on doing regarding social media. Students selected clients & social media tools on their own based on their personal interests.

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