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Reinventing an icon — How we redesigned the region’s leading news and weather website for new audiences and revenue opportunities without sacrificing a loyal consistency — Case Study

A Case Study on the responsive website redesign of power house local news leader WRAL.com and the exciting results from the project.

The Goal:  While logging 3-4 million page views on an average day, super-successful, online power house WRAL.com still needed to evolve or die.

  • News viewing habits for important younger demos had shifted since the site’s last update
  • Mobile devices had become the top access mode
  • First created in a supporting role to broadcasting, the online arm of WRAL-TV had become a strong, independent brand in its own right and needed to explore new revenue opportunities

The Challenge:   Size and scope were formidable.  Not only did we have to hire web vendors and agree on a major design changes, the real devil was in the details.

  • More than 300, 000 pages, half a million pieces of content, including instantly changing headlines had to be integrated into a homegrown content management system that adapted to 6 different screen sizes and configurations.
  • Breaking news and weather needed special looks and treatments
  • Sports needed a separate identity, as did popular franchises like TechWire, GOASKMOM, and High School OT
  • In addition,  all fact-finding and decision making required buy-in from across the business, including news, sports, weather, sales departments, radio stations and popular online franchises

My Role: On-site strategy, project management and leadership from beginning to end over a one year period. We provided the cool head, confidence, and sure planning to see this major overhaul through on deadline, within budget, and without blow back from stakeholders.

2014_01_side_by_side _WRAL.com

The Results: 

  • 78% increase in monthly video views
  • Effectiveness of some ad units: increased by 371%
  • Increase in download speed—desktop only 35%
  • Increase in unique visitors – 31.9%
  • Created 30% more advertising inventory
  • Offered creative and innovative native advertising opportunities, more sponsorships and less display

Check out my recommendations from the WRAL crew.

About the author

Melissa Kennedy

I am an innovative, practical problem-solver with an MBA. Pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for a Fortune 100 company, including monthly online TV program viewed by 120,000 customers. Created a scalable channel marketing service model and established a new customer communication channel through partner web syndication. Developed marketing plan for start-up technology firm. Launched first comprehensive marketing campaign for major science and technology university's $1 Billion fund-raising effort. Award-winning performance for 15 years across functions, industries and organizations.

My passion for results goes beyond professional pursuits. I am a global facilitator and co-organizer of Startup Weekends and serve as an advocate and volunteer for many local charities including Food Bank of Central/Eastern NC, North Carolina International Affairs Council and Connected Women of North Carolina. Plus, I have served as the President for the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association,

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