Choosing Topics

Broad or narrow topics?

Start with broad topics. Categories and topics should be high-level. Narrow topics need dedicated readership or high value for your brand. Sports teams are a good example of a narrow topic. You should consider the volume of content necessary to maintain a topic. Avoid overlapping categories.Examples include:

  • Broad: Sports
  • Narrow: Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche

What should the topic mix be?

Create a list of 5-15 initial topics to use for on-boarding.

  1. Include a mix of hard and soft categories. Sprinkle in "Heartwarming" and "Food." Soft categories help bring in audiences concerned about frequent buzzing of their phone.
  2. Either go broad or narrow on categories like News or Sports…but not both.
  3. Create a category for on-air promotions. If you have a local branding for your top (sweeps-time) promotable content, then use that.

Seasonal and time sensitive topics?

Do not include seasonal or time sensitive topics in your initial set. Seasonal and time sensitive topics help engage with users on a regular basis.  Reserve these topics for items of intense and particular interest.  

Examples include:

  • April the Giraffe
  • School Closings
  • Election

Niche apps?

Do not use categorized pushes for niche apps now. Those apps already have a audience who have expressed interest in particular topic.  Segmentation will not help clarify user interests.

Example topic list

  • Local news
  • National news
  • Seahawks
  • Mariners
  • Sounders
  • Weather
  • Investigators
  • Traffic
  • School closings
  • Heartwarming.


When to send to all?

Consider if the push meets the 3 I's: Immediate, Interesting and Important.  This is an editorial decision, but we recommend you keep some traffic to "all users." It will be up to each station’s editorial group to determine their own level of comfort with an “all users” push.

Would you share that story with a user who already specified that they don’t care about that topic? For instance, ”I know you don’t care about the Mariners, but they drafted a _____.”

Number of alerts to send

Develop a “lock screen strategy” to increasing user loyalty, engagement, and trust. Often this will mean increasing alerts to an aggressive level.  Utilizing our different levels of alerts, news delivery is not overwhelming.  Only interested users will get the notification.

The different level of alerts that we have are:

  1. Send to all
  2. Send topic subscribers with a notification sound
  3. Send topic subscribers as a silent alert
  4. In-app alert

Expect Options 2 and 3 to make up the majority of the pushes sent.

What sort of workflow changes are necessary?

A variety of teams will manage topics. Training local digital teams will make the launch a success. Establishing expectations and responsibilities may be necessary.

Quick pushes

Choosing an article to push from the admin interface should be the de facto push process. Reduce the use of Quick pushes. Managing content unconnected to a story is cumbersome. To this end, we are removing the workflow of “scraping” a url in an upcoming release.  

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