Creating content partnerships that work

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Does your station have a news partner? Perhaps you share content from each others’ websites? If that’s the extent of your content partnership, you’re not doing all you could to get content AND promote your station.

Whether your media organization is working with a generous budget or one that’s extremely limited, strategic content partnerships can make a difference in what you’re able to provide to existing audiences and how you market to potential audiences. You may already have one of these partnerships in place, but let’s take a look to see what else you could be doing.

Understandably, you won’t build any agreements with organizations that are considered your direct competition for viewership or listenership. Those aside, however, there are still a number of ways to create meaningful content partnerships that benefit the organizations involved.

Radio & TV

Partnerships between radio and TV for weather and news have been longstanding. Since radio stations tend to operate with much smaller crews than their TV counterparts, the opportunity for turnkey content is huge. For the TV station, time spent creating this content gratis shouldn’t outweigh the benefit of the branding and marketing opportunity it creates. Statistically, radio reaches more people than TV meaning there is incredible value to market on this platform.

If you’re a radio station using a service for weather or news that is not a local television station, start making phone calls and consider your options for partnering. This will improve the localism of your product and hopefully eliminate the need for barter-ads or a monthly bill.

If you’re a TV station already providing content to local radio stations, make sure to use your portion of radio air space for branding that drives listeners to the platforms you want them to see (your on-air newscast, website, etc.). Promote your best stories in the sign-off and tell listeners how to find them. As part of your agreement to provide content, consider requiring :15 or :30 second spots to air during afternoon drive that can be updated daily and be used to send viewers to your evening newscast or website.

Finally, if you’re a TV station not providing weather or news content to local radio stations, it’s time to start. If competitors have already taken the biggest stations, look for smaller ones. Despite their lower wattage, local radio stations can have an incredible presence in the communities under your viewing umbrella. Believe me, I’ve seen this first hand. Don’t wait for stations to approach you. A low-cost (essentially labor only) marketing opportunity awaits.

Print & Broadcast

Little more than an editor stands between a print reporter and he or she having a story published online or in an actual newspaper. Oversimplified? Yes, but in broadcast there are a number of technological hoops to jump through in order to produce the final newscast. As such, print reporters can sometimes have more time available to delve into the details of certain stories.

A partnership with the appropriate print outlet can give broadcast stations (in TV and radio) the opportunity to feature more in-depth content their newsrooms may otherwise not be able to provide. Shared information can be included in newscasts, online and disseminated directly from the reporters as on-air guests. Both the broadcast outlet and the print operation should mention their partnership with the other when working with shared content in order to further the relationship and provide benefit to the other party.

Additionally, both print and broadcast outlets have advertising space that could be of value to the other organization. Consider options for trading this asset, giving each company an opportunity for branding and promoting the partnership.

Many of the suggestions in this article are in practice, but there are still news organizations missing out. Stations large and small should evaluate if they are partnering in ways that fulfill content needs and provide a means for marketing, branding and credibility. Don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunity to partner with another organization.