Field of Dreams. What a great movie, right? I can’t forget that classic line, “If you build it, they will come.”
When I reflect upon Blue Jay Journal TV’s journey over the past two decades, I am amazed at what we have built. We evolved from VHS tapes delivered to a local cable access office to all digital. We have a YouTube channel and our own website. Just like VHS tapes aren’t our mode of delivery anymore, that classic movie line doesn’t apply either.
Along the way I have learned an important lesson. Your staff can create the most amazing content, but if you do not work to promote it, don’t expect anyone to see it. It’s true. You can build it, do nothing to promote it, and NO ONE will come.
So, how can you work to drive traffic to your publication’s website? Let’s dig in!
#1. Put your URL on your staff shirts.
#2. Posters and flyers on PAPER! If your school allows you to hang items on walls, do it! Make them fun and creative. Markers, glue, creative hand lettering and more! It is great to be a little more “analog” in a digital world, but if you want to go digital visit canva.com. You can print the posters and flyers in color for display.
#3. Your staff needs at least one (ideally more) social media accounts. Promote your site with screen shots of what people can see. Always include the link! You can even use canva.com to create fun graphics to encourage people to visit your site.
#4. Get staff members to promote the site on their personal social media accounts. At least twice a year, I have my staff members promote the site on their social media accounts, screen shot the evidence, and then show me. Anytime I do this, I see HUGE jumps in our site traffic. I have had students include our URL on fun Snapchat stories, Instagram posts, tweets, and even on their Facebook accounts. On the rare occasion one of my students doesn’t have a personal social media account, I ask them to either text or email a link to our site to a few friends or relatives.
#5. On almost every TV show we produce, our hosts ask our viewers to visit our website. I think the simple act of saying it for them just engrains that URL into their brains! I have had students who aren’t on our staff tease me and say, “and don’t forget to visit us at www.bluejayjournal.com” as they pass me in the hall.
I think each way we work to promote our the site makes a huge difference. Blue Jay Journal TV serves a high school of 1,278 students. We just had 3,130 unique visitors to our website in the last 30 day period. For our school and community, I am pretty amazed by those numbers. We built it, we promote it, and they come to visit!