The Press Release: Dead or Alive? Take The Quiz!

Checking in to restaurants, local hot spots, and…the 5 o’clock news?

This is a guest post from Gina Goodman, Supervisor of Media Research at Cision. 

Photo courtesy of Monika Thorpe via Flickr

I’m a big fan of the local news. Everyday my fiancé and I fight over the remote when he wants to watch Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN, while I have to get my fix of Rob Elgas and Zoraida Sambolin on NBC 5 News Today in Chicago. Luckily he has to go to work first, so I win. Which is why a recent article about the social check-in site, GetGlue, piqued my interest.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, GetGlue is a social media site much like Foursquare, but instead of checking into a location, you check into whatever TV show or movie you’re watching, book you’re reading, or music you’re listening to, which is then shared with your friends. And now, if you live in Atlanta, you can check into your local WXIA-TV newscast.

GetGlue has partnered up with Gannett-owned WXIA 11Alive to create a pilot offering of local newscasts to Atlanta’s GetGlue users. Those tuning into the news can check in, post to Facebook or Twitter, and simultaneously share comments and chats with other viewers in real time. The concept to expand GetGlue’s reach to local newscasts began with a conversation between GetGlue founder Alex Iskold and Gannett’s social media director Jodi Gersh. Gersh was initially looking to offer more entertainment-based outlets, like Gannett-owned USA Today or USA Weekend. But Iskold immediately took to the idea of trying out local newscasts. As Gersh says, “He thought that could really drive a lot of engagement that we weren’t necessarily capturing. They might have been watching the local news, and maybe their neighbors were also watching the news, but did they know each other were watching it?”

From a viewer’s perspective, it makes a lot of sense.  People instinctively talk about the breaking news happening in their town, so incorporating that within the reach and entertainment of social media means that friends can instantly comment and chat about the morning news while it’s happening. And an active user can become an expert, or a “Guru”, to which others can follow and look to as a relevant source of information.

From WXIA’s perspective, it also makes a lot of sense. It allows for the station to actively check exactly who is watching and when at various times throughout the daily news cycle.  And just as Foursquare offers badges to users who regularly check in to a particular location, GetGlue offers virtual “stickers”, which users can then turn in and receive physical stickers, be it for Glee, Maroon 5 or WXIA, via mail. It acts as a free advertisement for the station. Gersh says, “The hope is that we’ll start to see people with their laptops with the WXIA sticker stuck to the back of it!”

Gersh said Atlanta was chosen for the pilot market because they are social media savvy and already have a large social media following.  So far, the venture seems to be going quite well. Having just debuted the newscasts on GetGlue in mid-September, the station has seen more check-in’s than initially expected. “They may have been watching anyway,” Gersh says, “But in terms of the social engagement, a lot of people are checking in. Which means people are sitting and watching the news and saying, hey, I’ll take out my phone or laptop and l’ll actually take this action and check into the show to let them know I’m watching.”

Gersh said she’s already been contacted by three other stations wanting to get in on the GetGlue action. Since it has only been a couple of weeks since WXIA launched on the site, Gannett isn’t branching out to any other markets quite yet. However, I’m sure it will be something to look for in the near future. Hey, the Windy City is pretty social-savvy, maybe soon Chicagoans will be able to check-in to Tom Skilling’s daily forecasts!

Tags : social media

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Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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