Driving traffic to your web site is a priority task for most newsrooms these days. Front-line producers have developed sophisticated strategies to carry viewers from segment to segment, but effective web site teasing is rare in our business. In most newsrooms it is an afterthought, at best.
Unfortunately, most producers fall back on the ubiquitous newscast tease when pushing to the web site: “For more on this story, be sure to visit our web site at….” The station makes promises of hard-hitting enterprising journalism with limp coverage promises such as “more,” “details,” and “additional information.” This virtually guarantees the web site information is headed for oblivion.
No self-respecting producer would dream of promoting the next news segment in such a vague way. If we followed this same teasing strategy within the show, all our teases would promise “when we come back we’ll have more news,” or “when we return we’ll have details on the day’s events.” When we promote vague web coverage, we’re just being lazy.
The worst part is that bad web site teasing does double damage. First of all, it fails to drive viewers to your site. Do you really think someone is going to remember to check the web site after the newscast if the only promise is vague details of unknown coverage? Getting someone to move from the television to that computer in the upstairs bedroom requires some serious motivation. Unless you prove that the climb up the stairs is worth the effort, viewers just won’t bother.
Secondly, vague teasing brands your web site as a rehash of your newscast. For years, TV web sites have simply parroted information previously presented in the broadcast. All those years of neglect are coming back to haunt us now. Most viewers expect the same old same old on TV web sites. If you can’t be bothered to tell viewers about the specifics of unique web content, how good could it be? Teasing this way is like a restaurant teasing, “we’ll have lots of food at our establishment.” Unless we sell the sizzle of that juicy steak, viewers expect the same tired fare.
Just like in-show teases, web teases should promise copious coverage of riveting information mentioned in the story. Whenever you find yourself promising vagaries such as “more, details, further information, additional facts, a breakdown or other coverage,” that’s a sign you haven’t gone deep enough in your coverage promises. Be very specific in your promises and always ask yourself, “Is this tease motivating enough to get viewers off their butts, up the stairs, firing up the computer and searching for my web site?”
Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at firstname.lastname@example.org.