Hall of Fame: Storm Guide

App spotlight: Storm Guide

Here @shoutem we spoke with Carl Lewis, digital media manager at Savannah Morning News about its mobile strategy. Carl gave us insights about the most popular features in the Storm Guide app, the importance of SoLoMo combination and advantages of mobile for publishers.

1. What are the most popular features in your mobile app? 

One of the most useful features of the app so far has been the social network powered by ShoutEm. We decided to brand the network as our “Eye-Report Wall,” encouraging users to share current weather conditions in their area via status updates, check-ins and photo uploads – all of which we’ve branded as “Eye-Reports.” If this week’s minor brush with Tropical Storm Andrea is any indication, users loved the feature and readily shared their own content.

App Spotlight: Storm Guide

Other popular features we’ve noticed during this week’s trial-run include our weather-radar, which allows users to track a storm’s progress in real-time, our “Live Cams,” which display live conditions across the region via on-location cameras, and our stream of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) official weather radio, which we pulled in using ShoutEm’s radio streaming module via a Winamp (.pls) playlist.

2. Why is the combination of mobile, social and local a win-win combination these days? 

The combination of mobile, social and local is an obvious and strategic content and business plan. As we move from an era of one-to-many publishing to an era of many-to-many publishing, building quality, localized platforms for niche issues such as severe weather conditions allows us both to promote our own content as publishers as well as give users an avenue to share their own content.

App spotlight: Storm Guide

3. Could you name a few advantages of mobile as communication channel and platform?

Briefly: geolocation, push notifications and increased audience engagement via simple sharing of traditional and multimedia content. Also, ease of social integration.

4. Where did the decision to use mobile as a communication channel come from?

The decision to use mobile as the primary platform for our Storm Guide app was a natural and obvious choice; in an emergency situation such as a hurricane or tropical storm, our users/readers/audience members need access to vital, real-time information, and probably won’t have the luxury of desktop or traditional print resources. For years now we’ve partnered with Georgia Power to produce our annual print Hurricane Guide at the start of the annual Atlantic hurricane season (our region is highly susceptible to deadly hurricanes and storm surges, but has luckily evaded big storms for the past four decades).

This year, we decided to add the mobile component to extend the reach and usefulness of the content we produce, particularly our multimedia content such as storm preparedness videos and photo galleries. We promoted the mobile apps and HTML5 site via the print edition of the Hurricane Guide, including QR codes and search terms to locate the apps in the respective app stores.

Marija Matesic