Text Marketing for News and Media Outlets

Today, people interact with news and media in more ways than ever before. Even 25 years ago, the idea of having breaking news at your fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week was inconceivable. The rise of round-the-clock news was in its infancy, and the social media platforms that power life today weren't even theoretical ideas.

But now, news moves lightning-fast. You can sit down to read a newspaper in Florida and get news from Russia, China, Germany, and more. Digital news archives are available worldwide via the internet. A celebrity wears a specific designer, and sales spike in seconds. We all have a constant craving for new information, which is evidenced by the fact that millions of people watch some kind of news program daily and more engage with news in a digital form.

In 2013, only 54% of Americans used a mobile device to access news. Today, that number is 72%. From local news outlets to international media conglomerates, everyone is trying to win a piece of the mobile news market. Going forward, the demand for more breaking news reported faster is only going to grow. Keep reading to learn the best ways you can integrate text message news alerts into your news coverage.

How can journalists best use SMS marketing software?

Texting is by far the easiest way to share breaking news stories. Not only is it fast, but you can reach hundreds if not thousands of subscribers with one click. Like all media applications, SMS news messaging can have multiple uses. Let’s explore them.

Make accessing ongoing stories easy. Just text out a shortened URL to a breaking news story. By setting preferences based on clicks, you can ensure that everyone who clicks through to the article will automatically receive updates.

You can do the same with a Twitter feed. Clicking the link will take readers to the first post in a thread. Subsequent updates to the thread will automatically go out to people who clicked the first link.

Target readers’ interests

Assign each news beat different keywords. These keywords are words or phrases that people can text to a phone number to be subscribed to a distribution list. By targeting your texts to those specific keywords, say “HSSPORTS” for local sports or “NATIONAL” for breaking national news, you can be sure that you’re only sending links to people who actually want the information. This way, you increase the chance that subscribers click on the link because it interests them and you avoid sending unwanted links to everyone else.

Think of your advertisers

Your primary sponsors and advertisers will love being able to target their marketing to reach specific cohorts of customers. Sports and entertainment newsreaders are different kinds of consumers than hard news junkies. Not better or worse, just different. Imagine how much advertising can improve when your sponsors can share ads that appeal only to a specific group of readers.

Use polls to collect data and build audience participation

This tactic is used with great efficacy on morning and early afternoon newscasts. When discussing popular culture, local pressing topics, and the weather, you might like to hear from viewers about their experiences or opinions. For instance, send out a poll about winter road readiness when forecasting the first snowstorm of the season.

You can also use polls to collect data for upcoming stories or get story ideas. By engaging with your subscribers, you begin to build relationships with them. This is especially important in local news, where viewers or readers often have story leads.

Sample news and media text messages

There are many ways to use texting to your advantage in the news business. Text messaging keeps your viewers up to date on breaking news, weather, and more. You can use a text message in the following ways.

Breaking local news

Viewers have an immediate sense of involvement in breaking news. Whether it’s a tragedy, a good news story, or anything that intimately impacts your community, keep your viewers updated via text. Invite them to share resources in article comments, or advise them of press conferences.

Traffic and road closures

There are several types of traffic alerts you can use on a day-to-day basis. The first is delays and standard traffic patterns. Which areas have normal slowing or are particularly quiet on a day? The second is accidents – where, how many cars, if traffic can get through, and detours are all vital information to share with your viewers. The third is weather-related road closures. When your roads are impacted by snow, flooding, or fire, keep everyone safe with updates on conditions and road closures, so everyone stays safe.

Here’s a sample you can use:

“Intense snowfall expected overnight. Find out which schools will be closed tomorrow at http://site.url/xCLbT”

School delays and closings

Gone are the days of having to sit in front of the tv and wait for your school to show up in the delay or closing feed. Now, make parents’ lives easier by texting alerts right to them with major district closings and delays. That way, they can just glance at their phone to find out if the kids have to get ready or not. Or, text a link to a comprehensive list that updates frequently.

Business and financial news

People who follow business mergers and the stock market like knowing the most recent information. Mainly because this is a field that changes almost by the minute, it’s particularly important for day traders, fund managers, and heads of companies to stay up-to-date, and a text with breaking business news is important.

Sports texts

Sports fans always want to know the latest from their team! Keep them cheering with prep highlights, the latest trade moves, and the injury list. Congratulate college teams on a good outing or provide playoff scores. Your sports junkies will thank you.

Just like some people love their sports, others love their pop culture. They want to know the latest in celeb marriages, babies, and divorces. Who’s starring in a new movie, has a new hit album, or is taking a step back from the industry. It’s not world-changing news – it’s a break from them. And everyone needs a break now and then.

How to get your news station started with text messaging

Getting set up with text messaging is easy, especially since you already have a broad reach through your web, print, and television viewership. There are a lot of text messaging services out there, so do your research and choose the service with the right features to meet your needs. If you go with Appointibile, you will follow these steps to get started.

1. Choose a plan

Your first 30 days are free, with no charge, and never any obligation. Even when you’ve established a plan, you never have to worry. Change your plan or cancel at any time without penalty.

As for plan offerings, we begin with a 500 message plan for $25/month and max out at 50,000 messages for $625/month. If you need more than 50,000 messages a month, then your business is a perfect candidate for one of our custom plans. Get in touch with us and we will get you set up! All of our plans offer a 20% discount if you pay for a year in advance.

2. Select a phone number

The first step to establishing a text presence is choosing a phone number. At Appointible, we offer three options. The first is a local 10-digit phone number (a 10DLC number), which is a good choice for local stations within a select market. The second is a location-neutral 1-800 toll-free number. This is a great choice if you have a national presence.

The third option is to text-enable your existing phone number. This is the best choice for outlets that have a brand with a strong association with their phone number. You will still be able to make and receive calls, as all texts will come through the Appointible servers.

3. Choose your keywords

Keywords serve multiple purposes with business texting. They can be words that customers use to subscribe to certain content, for instance, “MADDOW” to get content from The Rachel Maddow Show or “BRONCOS” to get local Denver Broncos football news and scores. You can also use keywords to organize viewers based on their interests and focus information they receive so that they aren’t overwhelmed with news they don’t want.

You can also use keywords for your reporters, mainly if they cover a specific beat all the time. You receive unlimited users with your plan, and you can set individual user permissions as well. Your reporters can have two-way text conversations, which creates relationships between your viewers and their favorite reporters.

4. Add sign-up forms and buttons to your website

Text messaging only works if people sign up for it. Get readers and viewers into the texting game by advertising your new feature on your website. Offer free, exclusive content to new subscribers if they text you a designated keyword.

5. Advertise your new texting abilities

Now it’s your job to make your new texting service everyone’s business. Advertise your keywords during the applicable news segments or shows. Put your phone number up before a commercial break. Have your reporters and journalists share their special numbers or keywords. Advertise on your website and put the information on any print ads you have, like billboards and busses. Over time, you will see your viewership or readership grow!

Final thoughts

The news and media industry is the perfect field to partner with Appointible. Media and news consumers are always seeking more information, delivered faster, at all hours of the day and night. Feed their need with a texting plan. It will make them happy, and it will do wonders for your ratings and relationships, too.

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