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Think Locally, Act Digitally: The Advantages of Partnering with Trusted News Teams at TEGNA

With public trust, truth, and transparency top of mind for digital marketers, local news has emerged as one of the safest environments for advertisers. 11Alive’s Michael Villela discusses how local businesses can thrive by aligning content with digital news content, and how #TeamTEGNA can help.  

Meredith Cunningham Published: June 23, 2022
Think Locally, Act Digitally: The Advantages of Partnering with Trusted News Teams at TEGNA image

By Michael Villela, Digital Sales Manager at TEGNA’s 11Alive

Little digital billboards. They are everywhere. A person can see nearly 10,000 advertisements per day, most of which are delivered electronically as banner ads while we are on connected devices. Ad exposure has grown significantly over the past 20 years and creates anxiety for marketers and local businesses who struggle to stand out from the noise.

But it doesn’t have to be stressful.

Many digital advertising firms offer a programmatic approach to banner and pre-roll advertising that allows a marketer to achieve a broad reach across millions of websites through a single transaction. However, most firms can’t guarantee that these websites are of good substance. That’s where TEGNA comes in.

In a time when programmatic ad buying is the norm for digital marketers, it is important to identify and partner directly with platforms of significant value. Like social networks that offer a direct path for ad buyers, local news sites are most effectively leveraged when deployed through a local account executive with experience launching local digital campaigns.

The Advantages of Thinking Locally

Most businesses now face global competition, and with consumers being exposed to thousands of ads per day, using a tool such as a news site for advertising increases the chances of reaching consumers who think locally. This mindset has tremendous value, as it is reasonable to assume that a person seeking out information about their community will engage with businesses in the same area. They also understand how they are supporting the community by shopping locally.

If your business is facing increased competition from overseas, take any opportunity you can to reach the citizens actively engaging with your community. Reach your next customer directly when consuming local content through an array of unique advertising opportunities on these digital platforms.

Every TEGNA network has a digital companion with a loyal following of local news consumers. These digital properties are more than just a static website; they include streaming and mobile apps designed to meet audiences wherever they choose to consume local news content. As journalists who are firmly planted in the community create stories, it is the links to these digital platforms that pop up on a Google search or in a social media feed, presenting opportunities to deploy digital billboards to a locally-minded consumer. A close relationship with your TEGNA representative is vital for identifying opportunities for high-impact initiatives on these valuable pieces of digital real estate.

Identifying Valuable Opportunities within News Content

There are big news days that result in more traffic on a news site and knowing these days can create opportunities for marketers looking for value and reach. On days of significant importance, local news sites see a spike in traffic. Many sites will sell an opportunity to own all the advertising units on a homepage for the entire day for a flat fee (also known as a home page takeover).

For example, are there local elections taking place on a specific day? If so, are there opportunities for a home page takeover to reach people checking on the polling results throughout the day? These fees are typically the same for any day of the year, but the value is much greater on high-site traffic days.

Is there a long holiday weekend coming up? We know that the weather section is going to see some activity as people plan how to spend an extra day off! If there are threats of upcoming extreme weather, you can expect a lift in visitors to local news sites for updates. There are sure to be a bunch of push notifications going out to app users as the storms make landfall. Every time an app user opens one of these weather stories, advertisements are delivered to the viewer. Many roofing and home improvement companies can leverage this digital real estate, as intense weather events are usually how homeowners identify issues with their properties and homes.

In another more specific example, 11Alive, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta, posts many high-quality photos as runners in the world’s largest 10k, the Peachtree Road Race, cross the finish line every year. These photos are a source of web traffic from those who participated in the event, along with anyone supporting them.

If I know that one page of is going to be viewed by thousands of runners in the Atlanta area, it creates a great opportunity for a sporting goods retailer to connect with potential customers seeking out these photographs. Upon entry to this page on, runners can see a message sharing a promotional offer catered to them that drives web and foot traffic to a local business.

Programmatic buying of banner ads and pre-roll allows advertisers to reach consumers in more places than ever before. These ads are effective digital billboards that can be integral for reminding consumers about your products/services, introducing your brand when a viewer seeks out contextually relevant subject matter, and even following around users who have already expressed interest in your business (remarketing or retargeting).

The Importance of Brand Safety & The News Trust Halo

There are some obstacles to buying all your media programmatically, including brand safety. It is almost impossible to tell when and where your ads will be seen during these campaigns. It is not until ads are run on questionable sites or alongside questionable content that a marketer will ever even know there is a brand safety issue.

These programmatic campaigns can be supplemented with a direct buy from a local TEGNA news site, which offers a unique value proposition to marketers: reach people who are community-minded in a brand-safe environment that provides a halo of exposure from a trusted news source.

TEGNA journalists have long-standing reputations in the community built on trust, consistency and value. There are groups devoted to identifying the newsgatherers who do it better than most and Newsguard is a great resource. If you live in an area where a local news team is recognized nationally for their accuracy of information, that is a direct relationship worth establishing.

The equity built from hard-earned values can be transferred to your business by simply purchasing some real estate on their website. The direct relationship with your local TEGNA station will be the only way to see which days are available for home page take overs, which site sections are available for sponsorship, and how other best practices have contributed to past success advertising online.

Building a Relationship with Your Account Executive
My advice is to build a strong relationship with a local TEGNA account executive with experience launching digital campaigns. Let them know you would be interested in high-visibility sponsorships when they become available. Often these sponsorships are exclusive and snatched up long before the market knows they are available.

Since every seller has a digital budget to hit, account executives will work diligently on identifying opportunities that match your current marketing initiatives. Be sure to:

  • Ask your contact to share success stories from other advertisers, including results and lessons learned.
  • Share your annual marketing calendar with your representative so they can identify days for high-impact initiatives on the site that line up with sales or promotions at your place of business.
  • Take advantage of creative libraries for examples of high-performing campaigns.
  • Have the station’s creative team produce the banner ads for you if needed, and incorporate video, rich imagery, and consistent branding across all platforms.
  • Match your reporting up to website analytics to ensure you are seeing the traffic from these ads and analyze how these viewers are interacting with your site online: how much time are they spending on the site? What is the bounce rate?
  • Take the campaign cost and divide it by the number of web responses to get a cost per website visitor.

Now you have a foundation upon which to build a hard-hitting, high-frequency, and engaging campaign to the very people upon which the future of your business relies: those who think local.

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