My Audience is My Community | npENGAGE

My Audience is My Community

By on Aug 2, 2011


I recently attended the McPherson Co-op meeting and later the Public Media Development & Marketing Conference (PMDMC) in Pittsburgh, and I can’t say enough about what a great host city Pittsburgh was, but more importantly, what amazing work PBS & NPR Stations are going to accomplish in the coming year. As the (relatively) new Convio Account Manager for our Broadcasting clients my primary focus was to absorb as much as I could about the Public Media goals and interests, as well as spend some quality time with my clients in attendance (my manager might add to not get too far behind on my other work). So in many ways, I was a sponge trying to soak up as much information as I could.

One theme that stuck out among all others, originated from WQED’s President & CEO, Deb Acklin who said, “My Audience is my Community”. The quote was made in reference to the transition that she made from for-profit media to public media (it’s hard not to wonder if her instincts weren’t a foreshadowing to the collapse of the News of the World). Given that perspective, it’s no surprise that WQED is the home to Mr. Rogers, yeah, the ‘wouldn’t you like to be my neighbor’ Mr. Rogers, so I think it’s safe to say they know a little something about nurturing one’s community.

And according to Amy Sample Ward, a nonprofit rock star with NTEN and presenter at PMDMC, one of the best ways to engage your audience is to listen to them. And once you’ve listened,

it’s time to engage your audience in conversation and then to finally to start having real conversations with that community. Amy’s presentation focused on engagement through social media channels but others are engaging through other channels as well. For instance a hugely popular idea was WQED’s initiative to put a QR Code on their membership card, so members could easily access the member benefits available to them via their web-enabled Smartphone.   Another incredible idea of talking with one’s community is KQED’s idea of a pledge-free drive where members who donated over $40 received a code to listen to a pledge free stream of the broadcast online. While not for everybody, their session at PMDMC had one of the largest audiences with quite a lively Q&A.

So I encourage all stations, and for that matter all NPOs, to go out there listen to your audience and find the best to engage them, as ultimately they are your community.


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