Promoting the news goes mobile

Television news promotes itself better than any other form of journalism.  TV stations routinely set aside valuable airtime to advertise stories set to appear on upcoming newscasts.  Now, though, the most effective promotions may be airing on cellphones.

“I believe the value of a tease on mobile is much more valuable than a video tease during an afternoon show,” says Rich Murphy,  senior Web producer for, the website for WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C.  “Maybe more valuable than a tease during prime. I think it has more of a chance of being paid attention to on mobile than the white noise within a program’s commercials.”

Murphy points out that, during the day, few people are sitting at home watching television, but plenty are checking their smartphones.

News promotions may also be a little easier to produce now, thanks to mobile newsgathering.  Where once a promotion producer had to beg for the information and video needed to tease a good story, now sending information back to the newsroom is routine for journalists at stations like WTTG.

“Is it becoming common practice for crews to email us photos and short summaries during the day.  We use it to update myfoxdc and keep our viewers updated on developing news,” says Murphy.

Of course, social media play a role in promoting content and the story updates end up on Facebook and Twitter, as well.

For the website itself, search engine optimization (SEO) remains a critically important part of driving traffic, and your headlines are at the heart of an SEO strategy.

“Rule of thumb is to make sure your headline has the 5 words people would use to Google the story. Cute, tricky headlines do not accomplish that,” says Murphy.  “Also putting ‘photos’ or ‘video’ in the headlines is a good thing for when someone may Google ‘Oscars, fashion, photos.'”

Still, Murphy says mobile is the big focus right now.

“Mobile is the number one growth area. For many stations more people are accessing content from smart phones than computers. Mobile penetration is growing much faster that PCs.”