Programming for digital screens doesn’t have to be too complicated, but it does require one key thing: a programming strategy. I’ve often found in working with most clients that having a clear and concise programming strategy is often the one thing that doesn’t exist going into setting up a strategy for digital signage screens. Furthermore, in most cases, a programming strategy is the thing people try to wing as they go. This approach is a recipe for disaster in the long run.

So why does having a programming strategy – the plan to engage the audience, using digital signage screens – matter so much, and how do you go about creating one?

1. You must clearly understand the audience that’s going to be in front of your digital screens

This is key and kinda determines the base of your programming strategy plan. Consider it the choice of what kind of cake to bake. In other words, the audience you want to engage determines what kind of media you need.  

Understand the vertical you’re in and who makes up that audience. Whether you’re in health-care or Automotive, or even Retail with a captive audience in front of your digital signage screens each day, there is a key patient, consumer or shopper demographic that makes up your primary group of eyeballs.

Even though this person or group may change and fluctuate from day to day or month to month, you need to understand the core profile of who sits in front of those digital screens day in and day out. This includes knowing everything from the age, gender and language needs in order to captivate the audience.

Understand what’s the most important digital signage content for these groups of people to see on the digital signage screens you are programming. If there are age splits, or gender splits during certain parts of the programming day, program for those target splits and have playlists with media available that will engage the audience.

Each audience will require a different video content programming strategy. The last thing you want to do is have a vanilla and generic  playlist running for 11 hours that’s not relevant to your audience. If no one is watching the digital screens, why bother having anything running at all. It’s not effective as a tool, if it’s not going to captivate the audience effectively.

So how do you reach engagement?

2. Make the programming strategy relevant and personal to captivate the audience 

Your programming strategy needs to be timely, useful “infotainment”. By this I mean it’s got to be relevant, but also able to entertain and engage the audience in some way.

Share what matters to captivate the audience by making the video content strategy personal as best you can. If you’re running a health-care network with moms and young kids in the morning hours, and older teens and adults in the evening hours, you want your programming strategy to shift.

Perhaps it’s a mix of targeted kids’ animations/cartoons or enriching educational music programs for the first half of your day, and then topical, seasonal entertainment, music, and sports updates with maybe some headline news, for the second part of your day.

Sprinkle in some healthy living, cooking, and lifestyle digital signage content that’s relevant to the age categories you have.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all the patients sitting in a wait room in front of those digital screens want to see is health-based content all day long. Believe me when I say from my own experience, the audience would rather see a movie clip, TV show except or DIY craft at the doctor’s office rather than a video explaining why high cholesterol is bad for you.

With this in mind, an Automotive or perhaps a Retail vertical programming strategy is gonna be different for obvious reasons – the tone you want to set to captivate and engage the audience matters. Tone is set by the strategy, which leads me to how to support the strategy.

3. Most important – have access to the best digital signage content library 

Once you’ve got a plan outlined for how to engage the audience you want and what kind of media you need to bake your cake – the last and most important step is making sure you’ve got access to the best video content to support that programming strategy.

You want to make sure your access is consistent and regular and that your library of video content is always available and updated and refreshed every day.

Without the right partner, your programming strategy won’t work if you can’t ensure that you can update your digital signage content, or as an example, have Hockey playing when it’s the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Content curation is a huge industry and there’s a reason why it’s a specialized field. It takes time and resources to cultivate and acquire the right kinds of media.

Take it from us – we spend every day working on ensuring WovenContent is consistently updated with the best-in class-industry content we can get our hands on. However, there are many choices out there and knowing who’s going to be a good partner, the right kind of partner, is critical for your programming strategy.

Do your research and look at the content options and curators available to you. Part of knowing your audiences’ needs in order to put the right programming strategy in place, means understanding if your access to content can provide you with all the choices you might need, that you didn’t even know you needed.

Written by Joellen Jacobs

About the author
Joellen has built an unparalleled content library for Wovenmedia, establishing long-standing relationships with over 150 top-tier content partners. Her deep knowledge of original video production from pre- to post-production and everything in between gives her a powerful advantage when negotiating with premier creators and distributors. Joellen has worked with clients ranging from NBCUniversal to AFI, DirectTV, Champ Car, Panasonic and Best Buy, and has honed her expertise working on media development within the retail, television and film industries.