Covering severe weather doesn’t always have to be a chaotic situation. Having a bank of evergreen stories you can use can help make it easier to manage and at the same time create lots of value for your readers
As the temps start to cool, we’ll soon (and maybe in your city you already are) be greeted by winter weather watches and school closings.
There are many things you can do to meet your digital audiences’ needs with severe weather content, but today I want to focus on the idea of building an evergreen strategy for content that you can pull out for winter severe storms.
You of course will tell your audience the storm is coming, you’ll cover it, you’ll create galleries and video lists but most TV news websites are loaded with features that can also help your audience navigate the weather that’s in front of them. Many of those features sit in weather apps or in links on a weather page.
All of that content is like a toolkit that you can feature that helps readers find the things they’re most likely looking for and gives you repeat traffic every time severe weather hits.
Here’s my go-to list:
• Interactive radar: Create a story that links up any radar you have. When a storm is approaching, push that story out with a new headline like “Use our radar to track this afternoon’s storm as it hits your neighborhood.” The story only needs a few graphs that explains what you’ll find on your radar. It’s also a good opportunity to promote your weather app.
• Cameras: If you have cameras around your city, create a story that embeds those into a single article. Same idea as the radar, as the storm is coming (or even after it hits), tell your audience to use your story that features those cameras to see what it looks like high above the city.
• Bad roads: Many stations have maps that show road conditions in real time. These are helpful for people wondering if they should hit the road, so build a story with as many of these as possible to hit the many ways people may be navigating your area.
• Share photos: Most station’s have a way for readers to upload their photos, so always have a story ready to go that encourages people to share their images with a way in the story to fill out a form to share it.
• What questions do you have? On your site with a story and/or on social media, ask your audience what questions they have about the storm. Have your meteorologist go on Facebook Live and answer them (and encouarge more questions) then take their responses and put them into a Q&A story.
• Prep tips: Do these by season (the first freeze, during the dead of winter and then for the summer).
• Promoting your weather team: Create a graphic that can be pushed out on social media that promotes the weather team, your app and their social media handles, as you gear up for the weather.
• QR code: Use a QR code to direct people on air to your app but also your website’s /weather page where they can find all of this information.
The key is not overwhelming your audience with all of these with every storm but taking the severity of the weather into consideration and using these as applicable. It’s also important to not post five weather stories all in a few hours, so understand when the storm is coming and post these over a few days.
You likely have written these stories (maybe more than once), so write a story — or re-cast a story you already have — in a timeless way that can be used over and over.
I’d love to help your media company with your weather coverage and other digital initiatives that can help grow your audience and revenue. Contact me at David@davidarkinconsulting.com today.