Pulling in Viewers with Pushing

June 16, 2017


Some push notifications can be brand breakers.


Most stations use notifications for breaking news. That is totally appropriate. But, depending upon the city, the station, and who controls posting, it is easy to fall into the trap of being branded as the crime station. If that is your position, great! If not, you have a problem. So, how do you determine when to alert viewers on their mobile screens? Remember news, by definition, is the occurrence of the unusual. A lot of breaking news is crime related.  If rival gangs are killing each other every week that is not “post worthy” news. It may be sad, but it is not unusual. However, if an innocent resident gets killed in a crossfire, that merits a push notification. All of this may sound like common sense and it is. However, I am constantly surprised at the number of media outlets that don’t follow simple guidelines.



Sometimes the lack of push notifications are the problem. In the morning viewers, regardless of screen, want to know how to dress and whether they will have a difficult commute. Most stations push weather. But if you are relying on your mobile device for constant traffic updates you may be disappointed. Traffic conditions are changing constantly. Make sure your notifications are as up to date as humanly possible. AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE ACCURATE. For example, if you live in New York City, you want to know about the current delays at all of the bridges and tunnels. I remember taking a car service from NBC to Newark airport. One all-news radio station kept reporting that drivers were experiencing a 30-minute delay at the Holland Tunnel. Our delay was two hours. That was a brand breaker.


Push to Pull

Push notifications can attract people of all ages. But in today’s digital world, if you want younger viewers to download and like your app, make sure that IT is dependable, reflects what is happening now and reinforces your brand. Pushes, done correctly, pull new viewers. Finally, do not use push notifications as teases. A 4:30 PM push that gives one line and ends with, “Watch the story at 5:00 PM” is an absolute turnoff. Digital viewers expect instant gratification!


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