Organizations like PBS are no exception to this phenomenon. In fact, they must reach more deeply and touch the core of their viewers in order to encourage their emotional response into giving and supporting public media. In my opinion, the programming they bring is something that I cherish and welcome in our extremist and shock like programming that we so often find. However, what I think is more important to share with you in this post is how they are asking their customers (aka viewers) to share their personal experiences in how Masterpiece has changed their lives.
The User Perspective
I've been watching their posts on Facebook and in the email newsletter I receive weekly which refer to their "Share your Masterpiece story" social marketing campaign. It took about 4-5 times of seeing this before I would click on the link. Now that I've seen one video, I was impressed by the high quality of videography. They didn't skimp on making a video about a viewer. Which shows me that they are willing to put some of their money into this and take a risk that it will result in larger viewer support. This also says that if I want to share my story and show what PBS/Masterpiece has done to improve and enhance my life and if they chose my story, that I'd get a really great "moment" to share with the world.
Since I have a business and want to share my creations with the world, being a featured viewer in a PBS video could be considered "free" advertising. While they wouldn't likely talk about my company name or the products I create, they might show me in a light that draws a new audience to my work. Yes, I could make my own video, there are enough places and people with equipment and a willingness. But, to have a video made in Masterpiece quality? Oh what a delight and an honor it would be. It would still require my investment of time and possibly other costs to me, but I don't yet have the audience that PBS does. That is a very big deal.
The Company Perspective
Now that, you've heard what this type of campaign can mean to one user, let's think through what that might mean to PBS. I am a power user and regular content generator when it comes to my online behavior. I'm online every day and most of the time (5 out of 7 days) I create content online on one or more sites. However, I'm not the typical 1st on the band-wagon, Early Adopter. Usually, I'm part of the Early Majority (see this awesome article for more on what these terms mean). I'm the, let-me-watch-and-see-how-it-works-out-then-I'll-try-it-and-evangelize-it type. But, once I believe in something, I will stand behind it, and then sell it's wonders and glories to my friends and family.
The majority of the people online are listeners. I'd venture a guess that 90% of you reading this have never commented on a blog and may only "like" or comment on a facebook post once every 3-4 weeks. In all likelihood, I make up less than 5% of the online community. While I don't have a statistic on this, judging by my circle of friends, family, and co-workers (which I fully admit could be statistically skewed) who are typically Early to Late Majority and primarily listeners in their online behaviors, I'd estimate 5% to be fairly realistic.
The one area that they're missing out on reaching new people with this campaign is on their website. No where on there can I find a link to watch the videos, nor is it clear that it's going on. The only way I saw this was because I read to the bottom of my newsletter. This can be a strategy or a lost opportunity. If you're trying to narrow down your audience to particular types of viewers for a campaign, then use one channel (ie newsletter subscribers might be more loyal and have a higher likelihood of donating). If you are trying to reach out to all your viewers, then put the campaign in multiple places. Don't assume that one channel will reach everyone. Even those who haunt online sites may miss the campaign you want to reach them with. But, be cautious, making it too glaring, in-their-face, or too frequent of an update about it will turn people off. So, place it in all the prominent locations and be judicious about how often you make it known. Again, be aware of your audience and their reading/viewing statistics.
Now, I encourage you to watch this video and observe your own reaction.