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.
Wyoming PBS Marketing and Outreach Director Jen Amend used her time (and nearly 15 years of public tv experience) within the Digital Immersion Project to build a Digital-First strategy for their statewide network.
How did you choose what you wanted to focus on?
We’re in the process of creating and soon launching a digital-first series called “Our Wyoming,” which features short-form stories focused on the unique characters and characteristics of our state. This is our first attempt at any ‘digital first’ content and we realized in our planning that we were venturing into territory we didn’t have a lot of experience with. How do we market this new series? How do we integrate a broadcast roll-out? What is our digital media strategy?? This last question is the one I chose to focus on for this special Digital Immersion Project. Without goals, tactics, KPIs and targets in place, it would be hard to create a meaningful, impactful roll-out plan for the series.
What steps did you take towards achieving your goal, or getting close to it?
I have created a DMM (Digital Measurement Model) outlining our goals, tactics, KPIs and targets. My mentor, Patty Lindley from KCTS9/Cascade Public Media has been invaluable in helping me review my plan and adjust it to more clearly – and realistically – meet my goals. Our roll-out for “Our Wyoming” will begin In November. While it’s only one of several tactics we’ll be employing over the next 12-18 months, having an outline and distribution plan aligned to a performance tracking framework will help us stay focused and accountable to our goal/s.
What are your most valuable lessons from this process?
Be realistic! Creating a digital media strategy without having a digital media or web team is a daunting task. Understanding what we can and can’t do has always been something I’ve struggled with. Mapping out goals and tactics then stepping back and analyzing whether or not they’re achievable has been invaluable. I’ve discovered that some of our goals are not attainable at the present time, but could be in the future. I’ve also discovered that there are some things we can do now, with our present resources, which can have impact in our market. An honest, yet forward thinking approach is a balance. This project has helped me identify our digital priorities.
How will your station benefit from your participation in the project?
Being involved in the Digital Immersion Project has helped me think more strategically about digital media in general. The tools and lessons learned have helped us prioritize our goals and consider what we can do to improve our digital media presence.