Using chat or a call center to help your audience
Personal finance writer Harriet Johnson Brackey of the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., helped set up a call center and online chat to give readers access to eight financial-planning experts. The result was a full-page Sunday Q&A, online questions, blog entries and an opportunity to hear from about 400 readers, she says.
“People need help. They don’t have a lot of places to go to get objective advice,” Harriet says.
As part of Financial Planning Week Oct. 5-11, the local association of financial planners wanted to do a community service project. Harriet suggested its members come into the newsroom to take reader calls for three hours. She says reporters and editors willingly gave up their desks around lunchtime to make it happen.
Today’s Tip: Set up a call center and/or take advantage of online chat with experts to answer your audience’s questions about personal finance or the economy.
In the Web 2.0 world, audience members are seeking a relationship with news outlets. Technology makes it easier than ever to engage them in a dialogue with you and with outside experts.
“When you think about the decisions you have to make in your life, your readers have to make them, too. Instead of preaching about economics, get right in there next to the reader [and ask], ‘What resources can I bring to that?’” she says.
Harriet says some may see the project as advocacy, but she sees it as addressing an issue that hundreds of readers have.