Jason DeRusha: Lessons in New Media

Media Training, Seminars, Advice

How TV Stations Should Set Up Employee Blogs

Posted by derushaj on August 18, 2008

I’ve been obsessively watching the Olympics.  There’s a commercial for KARE11.com performed by Mayda which some of my coworkers think is horrible, but I think is kind cool.  Mayda raps about several of KARE’s high profile bloggers, and invites me to check the blogs.

So I typed in kare11.com/blogs and found nothing.  The real URL is kare11.com/blog.  OK.

They promote Sven, Diana Pierce, KARE-mudgeon, and Perk.  I thought I’d see what the last several blog entries entailed.

Sven: 12 days ago and one month ago.  Come on Sven, you could at least blog weekly.
KARE-mudgeon: last updated one month ago.  Enough said.
Diana (Lady Di): After quite a delay in blogging, she’s back.  Three days ago, and two months ago.
Perk: He’s done an awesome job from the Olympics.  The KARE web effort for the event has also been impressive.  This is Perk’s Olympic blog.

So what’s my point?  TV stations should resist the temptation to have everyone in the world blog.  Instead, pick a few people who would be engaging and drive page views, and promote them.  Not just online with banner ads, but consider having an on-air promotional campaign.  Ideal blog topics: politics, consumer, sports, local events.  If you’re in Denver, it’s skiing.  If you’re in Minnesota: Maybe it’s fishing.

In the KARE example: Perk is nailing it.  At my station, WCCO, Terri Gruca struggled at first finding her voice in blogging, but now it’s a great stop for deals and consumer tips.  (if anyone should think I’m picking on KARE, Mark Rosen has a WCCO blog that should be put out of its misery, considering the last post was from May 29)

Group blogs? Sometimes work, but generally they result in no one taking charge, and a lack of unique voice.  That’s a recipe for disaster online.

Why not have everyone blog? No one likes doing extra work that isn’t supported and isn’t viewed.  This shouldn’t just be an ego stroke.  This should be a new way of telling stories and engaging viewers.  Getting newsroom employees motivated to work online is a huge challenge.  The “Everyone will blog” approach is more destructive than the “no one will blog” approach in my view.  Crappy blogs lead to viewer/web user disappointment.  You don’t get a lot of do-overs. No blogs is simply a missed opportunity.

Ed in the comments recommends CONSISTENCY.  I couldn’t agree more.  Publish daily, weekly, monthly, whatever.  Just be consistent.  I tend to think you should post multiple times a week.

9 Responses to “How TV Stations Should Set Up Employee Blogs”

  1. Ed Kohler said

    Consistency is really a key aspect of building an audience. Daily, weekly, monthly. Doesn’t really matter as long as it’s consistent.

  2. […] Video: KARE11.com Blog Promo: Wow. (via DeRusha) […]

  3. justin said

    Here are some other highly opinionated suggestions for Kare11:

    Look at what other (successful) blogs are like on the internet. Note how many of them show the full post, aren’t cut off mid-sentence. That’s just weird.

    A blog without RSS? Seriously, WTF? Even the Star Tribune has RSS. Useless, gutted, RSS, but at least you can get the headlines and a sometimes working link if you want.

    In terms of the design, the blog posts take up maybe 1/3rd of the total usable page width on the home page. I realize there’s lots of shameless self promotion to fit in there, but how about maybe making the real content jump out at us a little more? And all the blogs look pretty much the same, too. Maybe a little playing with the color scheme would be good.

    In terms of URL design, content organization, and SEO, Kare 11 has a ways to go. These are pretty bad:
    http://www.kare11.com/blog/costantini_article.aspx?storyid=519784&catid=303
    No way at all to get any indication what I’m going to read.

  4. Billy D said

    I second the thought on blogs with RSS. They’re useless and I don’t read them. Unfortunatly this applies to Jason’s WCCO blog as well. When I do stop by I like what I see, but I don’t have the memory to stop by frequently.

  5. derushaj said

    My blog does have an RSS feed. here it is

  6. Ang said

    My reader has, like, seven DeRusha blogs. What the hell.

  7. derushaj said

    I have much to say.

  8. Ang said

    Oh. We know.

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