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 will complete at the end of October 2017.
All year long, each participant has been working 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.
He started as an intern, and now Chris Zellers, Creative Director at WVIA has chosen to tackle social media publishing and measurement to truly understand the station's digital audience.
How did you choose what you wanted to focus on?
Social media is something that hasn’t been given the attention that it deserves here at WVIA, for a variety of reasons. We have a very small staff, and we don’t have the ability to dedicate a full-time employee to social. When the DIP came along, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to gain insight from other stations, and PBS itself, on how to make social thrive using the resources we have. When I was fortunate enough to gain inclusion in the project, I decided that my goal for WVIA would be to structure social media publishing and measurement to prove value to internal stakeholders and to better understand and expand our audience.
What steps did you take towards achieving your goal, or getting close to it?
A number of steps have been taken. I’ve determined the key metrics that are of the most importance for each of WVIA’s social media channels, and have begun compiling them into a monthly report that helps to gauge progress and growth over time. I’ve developed a multi-platform engagement report for our larger projects that is distributed to management for review. I’ve created a publishing calendar to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, and that content is being distributed at the optimum times.
What are your most valuable lessons from this process?
Facebook will offer you a million and one different insights and metrics. It’s important to determine a few of those that are important to your goal, measure those, and tune out the rest of the noise. It’s extremely overwhelming when you first dive into that dashboard, but when you’re able to focus, it makes things much easier.
Another insight I’ve learned is that it’s very important to be able to convey these statics to stakeholders in a language that’s easy to understand. Reach, impressions, engagement, etc. may seem self-explanatory to someone in the digital realm, but might as well be Greek to other departments.
How will your station benefit from your participation in the project?
In so many ways! One incredible benefit is having the incredible network of Digital Immersion Partners to bounce ideas off of. Another specific benefit is by measuring performance, I was able to pinpoint a trend in our Facebook publishing that posts centered around educators performed extremely well. I was able to take this information and present it to the leadership team, and received an enthusiastic response from our GM. We’re now looking into developing a new digital initiative that centers around teachers that have a great impact on their students, and we have measurable data that our underwriting team can use to aid in securing sponsorship.
Stay tuned for more stories from the Digital Immersion Project partners!