The Digital Immersion Project, developed by PBS Digital with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is a unique opportunity that mixes in-depth training, hands-on workshops, and collaborative mentorship to improve overall expertise in digital strategies and tactics. The professional development program also focuses on strategic and organizational tactics, with the selected participants being able to draw on the project’s learnings and a national network of public media contacts to further digital success at the local level.
2017 was the first year for the project, bringing together 25 public television professionals from all around the country. The participants first gathered at TechCon in Las Vegas this past April, and have been working individually, in topical cohorts, and with mentors ever since. The first iteration of the project came to an end in October 2017.
All year long, each participant worked on a Digital Strategy exercise that takes the project’s learnings and maps them to the station’s goals, complete with tactics and deliverables. We are featuring just a few of these success stories for their system peers to learn from and gain a little inspiration.
Dale Fisher, KETC's Digital Media Manager tackled quite the project over the last year. Take a look below -- we hope you can learn from his experience and outcome!
How did you choose what you wanted to focus on?
When I first applied for the Digital Immersion Project, I didn’t have a specific idea in mind. I viewed it as a valuable professional development opportunity. When I attended PBS TechCon back in April 2017, I was open to seeing where my project might go. I came away from the conference with many valuable tips and ideas that I have incorporated into my regular workflow. Many of these ideas I learned from the Digital Immersion track curated for us by the PBS Digital team. Though some of the sessions didn’t directly apply to my final project, I did bring back many tactics I’m still using today, especially best practices for social media and online video. I also had the opportunity to sit down with Dan Haggerty, from the PBS Business Intelligence Group, to get advice on our Google Analytics setup. After the conference, I kept thinking about how the amount of statistics now available to us from our digital efforts is simply overwhelming. That’s when I decided my project would be to develop a “Digital Dashboard” to bring the most important data points together in one place:
“Create a Dashboard to gather statistics to benchmark and offer a holistic view across all of the Nine Network’s digital efforts - websites, social media platforms, email marketing, video views, localized PBS page views and video streams, and more.”
What steps did you take towards achieving your goal, or getting close to it?
I received valuable guidance from my mentor, Kate Alany, Director of Digital Analytics & Audience Insights for PBS. I had researched Google’s Data Studio (https://datastudio.google.com) to host my new Digital Dashboard and Kate had helpful experience with using this product. With so many data points available, she provided one piece of advice that stuck with me throughout the project: “What are the high level metrics that would be noticeable if they changed?” I kept this in mind as I developed the KPIs and targets for my Digital Measurement Model.
What are your most valuable lessons from this process?
It’s a journey! No really, it was a lengthy process from when the project began to building what I hope is valuable tool. There were many false starts and adjustments to what was realistic and possible. Data Studio is a great free product but it doesn’t always play well with non-Google products. It took some research from other users to figure out how to incorporate all the relevant data I wanted for this dashboard.
How will your station benefit from your participation in the project?
I’m still working on a few metrics, but I plan on sharing the Digital Dashboard with our staff. And I’ve already started using it on a daily basis. Instead of going to different websites for Google Analytics, Google Sheets, Adwords, YouTube etc., I go straight to the Digital Dashboard. I also view this as a living document that will always be in some state of flux. Besides the fact it’s always changing as new data is available, I expect new digital platforms and metrics will also emerge and I think it’s flexible enough to change with the times.