Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been a rapid increase in television viewership--especially for local news stations. Viewers want to know exactly what's happening: where cases of coronavirus stand across the state, important contact information for critical resources, and what the latest restrictions are across their local areas.
In addition, viewers also want to know what local businesses are still open and how those businesses are working to decrease risks to their customers as much as possible. That’s where you, local business owners can play a vital role.
The Importance of Information
The demand for up-to-date information is high and there’s no shortage of it. With daily press conferences, fluctuating statistics and drastic changes to how we all conduct everyday business, news stations are working tirelessly to deliver information by providing more coverage by adding hourly updates and extending newscast hours. In return, more people are tuning in and continuing to watch throughout the day and night.
In the month leading up to the US Coronavirus Crisis, Meredith owned St. Louis KMOV News 4, has seen a drastic increase in its news ratings including a 71% rating increase in its 7a – 9a morning news, 100% increase in its 9a-10a Great Day St. Louis lifestyle news program, and a 25% increase in its 6p newscast among adults 25-54. (Nielsen St. Louis Live +SD Feb’20 & 3-23-20 to 3-27-20)
With the demand for news and viewership high, this is the time local businesses need to connect with their customers. Whether it’s a message of comfort, an offer for special services or just letting people know you’re open, there are many ways local businesses can give people what they want right now - information!
How to provide information to your customers effectively?
First, it’s important to keep advertising and provide your customers and target audience with information, assistance and support in a way that will be seen and appreciated. Here are some ways to accomplish that.
Tailor your messaging and commercial content to speak to the times. Provide a reassuring community message that will let viewers know that you're thinking about them and supporting them throughout the crisis. Be specific on what support you’re providing and transparent on changes you’re making as a company. Be sincere and let people know we’re all in this together.
Show your target audience what you're doing during this time to serve them and the community best. Show your target audience what you're doing to help make this time easier and safer for them. Are you offering curbside pickup or drive through for restaurants? Do you have special offers that are designed to help provide support to your customers? Financing options that can help make shopping easier? How are you adjusting your business to be available in a safe manner to your target audience? Right now, your audience may need that reassurance more than ever, so let them know exactly what you're able to offer.
Work closely with your media partner during this time. Your media partner has a good understanding of where your commercials will fit best and how they may impact your target audience. Collaborate with them to tailor your content and placement based on the current times.
Look into sponsorships that could be beneficial to your business. During periods of economic uncertainty, letting the community know about your business's continued support can help improve public perception and raise customers' opinions of your business. By working with a trusted media partner, you can create a custom sponsorship that can benefit the community or local charity while achieving your branding goals.
Consider OTT platforms. Of course, it’s not just news people are craving. It’s also entertainment and a sense of normalcy. Streaming views, like local station views, are also rising during this period. Talk to your media partner about advertising through OTT platforms to help extend your reach.
It's Important to Act Now
From viewers tuning into a newscast to those who are browsing for entertainment, your customers are finding it more important than ever to find out who's open, what companies are still available to them, and what options they have for keeping their lives as normal as possible. It's important to act now, while they're looking for this information. A sincere message or a simple statement about what you're doing to keep your customers safe can spread a great deal of security during this time. A media company like Meredith St. Louis can help you establish the right message and expedite the production of your content. Your customers want to hear from you and know what's going on with your business. They will deeply appreciate the support you can give them during this time of uncertainty.