Let's paint a scenario for you. Imagine you wake up on January 21st of next year, and it's snowing outside. (For this particular exercise, you do happen to live where this is not out of the question, so stay with me. By the way, you also have kids.) One of the first orders of business for your morning would be to get a sense of what your particular day will bring. Is your first stop:

1. A network morning show?

2. The morning paper?

3. The local news to check for school closings?

More and more, it might also be #4., checking the local TV station's news website or mobile app to get some hyperlocal information about such "personal daily news" needs.

Most likely, you'll be choosing the medium that can bring you the most timely, most relevant information that will be able to solve your most immediate concern.

As a marketer, you need to understand that these avenues are open to consumers and that they're being used, often, and more importantly, on multiple platforms. Local stations are also using their digital assets to extend branding opportunities to their on-air advertisers.

In its simplest form, what's particularly unique about this sort of digital bundling is in the content that advertisers can be associated with – destination media touchstones of people's everyday lives such as weather, traffic, lottery, local news and sports. An advertiser has an option to "roadblock" the content as it appears on-air, on-line, and on mobile.

One of the more interesting is a "find the cheapest gas" local sponsorship with content that appears on all three devices – truly a community service that can only exist in local media, with participation from both advertisers and the community that they serve.

But there are opportunities beyond simple segment banner advertising on these extended properties. Local stations can leverage their social media sites as promotional drivers, often extending local contests and sweepstakes from on-air announcements to on-line participation. Stations use their social sites such as Facebook as a place to sign up for entry to special events, such as charity golf outings with the station's "sports guy" — with a participating notable athlete— or to hype local festivals with content delivered straight to an end-user's mobile device.

The "Enter & Win" on-air promos drive people to Facebook, naturally accompanied by the related display ads, where customers sign up for the contests. While there, consumers have an opportunity to establish that most enduring of all virtual corporate relationships – the "like".

Essentially, these digital properties are tools for an advertiser to extend their relationship with their local customers. Throwing a "like" to an auto manufacturer might not move the needle much in terms of a relationship with the eventual driver of the car. But at the dealer level – where relationship marketing is really their bread and butter, a "like" for the dealership might potentially have real benefits for the customer in the form of deals or other local promotions run by the dealer.

When you come right down to it, consumers are willing to forge a bond with those things that mean something to them and that they, well… like. But oftentimes in the social media space, clicks aren't pursued independently; they're more likely to be activated when it's made easy and somewhat seamless. Since TV is a strong driver to the web, the local broadcast television stations make that easy connection between advertiser and end-user – once there, advertisers can deliver the goods, customers deliver the "likes".

It goes beyond TV's adage of the customer inviting you into their living room. These digital properties create a sort of return-path input stream from the consumer, which feeds a deeper perceived connection to an advertiser. By offering selective, personal touchpoints of media, your customers invite you into their lives – and that's where the friendship can begin.

Don Seaman joined the TVB in January 2012 as Manager of Marketing Communications, where he is responsible for promoting and raising awareness of the TVB, and of Local Broadcast Television’s value propositions within the traditional and digital media industries. Don can be reached at don@tvb.org.

Read all Don's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Local Matters.

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