Digital Voltage Energizes Salt Lake City

Last Updated by James Davie on

Titles are hard!

Not just for blog posts, but for YouTube videos as well.

At the recent PBS Digital Voltage workshop held in Salt Lake City, participants got to take a look at a then-unreleased episode of KQED’s Deep Look and try to come up with a title and description – sorry, “keyword-rich description” - that would hook viewers as they scrolled through the millions of choices offered there. It was about Acorn Woodpeckers and their unique method of storing food for the winter.

Our groups came up with some pretty creative ideas, some punny, some bawdy…none of which were used by Deep Look, who, it turns out, already had a title in mind. But it was a great exercise – practical, hands-on, fun, and creative. Which pretty much describes the whole two-day workshop.

As the representative of the hosting station, I’ll admit I was a little bummed to hear that the workshop in Salt Lake was going to be the most…let’s say “intimate” of the eight conferences put on by PBS Digital Studios with support from CPB. By the end of it, though, I felt the group in attendance was the perfect size. We had great interactions with each other during our table work, had time to interact and ask questions of our presenters, and really got to talk about how to apply what we were learning about finding and activating an audience, funding digital productions, and optimizing content for our chosen platforms at our individual stations.

Digital Voltage made a pretty big impact for such a short conference. Since we hosted, KUED was lucky to have not only our Digital Media team present, but also staff from Marketing, Community Outreach, and Broadcast Production. Not an hour after the conference ended, I was approached about when we were going to get together again to talk about what we had learned and where we needed to make adjustments in our own digital efforts. We did so the following week.

And that meeting was loooong. And substantive. And we made real changes based on what we had learned about how valuable a host can be to a digital series, how content posted to Facebook should be “shareable,” while content on YouTube should be “searchable,” and how valuable it is to take a clear-eyed look back at your results and make adjustments based on them.

And (to use an analogy that the staff here will mock me for forever) like the Acorn Woodpecker in the video in our exercise (, we now have a store of ideas and knowledge to draw from as we continue to plan our digital future.

Yeah, endings are hard too.

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