Where I live is currently in the grip of a heatwave – and so my mind turns to the weather.
It’s one of those days when too hot the eye of heaven shines – so I’ve found the coolest spot in the house, poured a cool drink (the ice clinking like rigging against a mast) and I write…
One of the best ways to attract and connect with your broadcast audience is through strong weather coverage that really connects with your audience. I’m not just talking numbers – I’m talking weather words and description (the poetry) and showing you relate to how the weather affects different people’s lives (the problems).
Shakespeare was so eloquent and effective in describing the weather. When I was fortunate to run writing classes for The Weather Channel in Sydney, I’d encourage writers to add ‘problems’ and ‘poetic devices’ to help their weather updates connect with their audience.
During a recent stint with Channel Seven News in Brisbane I’d also encourage well timed weather reports. (I’ll write about good timing in part 3)
Just think about it – how often is weather a popular topic of conversation? How many songs are written about the weather? Why are we so interested in knowing what’s happening with the weather?
The reason is – we are bodies and our bodies are affected by the weather – we feel heat, cold, rain….all sort of variations in temperature and different types of precipitation.
We look out our window we see weather.
We wonder how to dress for the day, we think about weather.
We plan an event, we worry about the weather.
I encourage weather writers and reporters who have to report on weather to be aware of how the weather affects different people’s lives – the problems it can cause.
I encourage writers to be aware of what they experience as they move around their city.
Look around. Talk to people in different jobs about how the weather affects their lives.
Look at the parched lawns thirsting for rain
Look at the potholes in the road made worse by extremes in weather.
Think of problems the weather causes you.
For example,this time of year I hang out clothes to dry and they DO dry but get drenched again in an afternoon storm.
It’s often the little things that connect with your audience.
One of the best radio weather reports I’ve heard was so accurate in describing a particular problem for the target audience – parents of school kids. It was about a time of year when it was cool in the morning (when kids need to dress warmly) but then as the day warmed up kids would take off their warm clothes. The kids would often leave their jackets and jumpers at school and then be cold the next morning. Parents were frustrated. I remember listening to this report as I drove my kids to school thinking ‘this show really knows my problems’.
So I encourage you to go beyond the numbers of temperatures etc. and add specific problems the weather may cause – and even better add solutions (in the case of kids leaving jackets at school tips to have clothes clearly labelled and to encourage kids to put their jackets in their bags and remember to bring them home.) Simple stuff. Obvious to some but showing an understanding of the problems of your audience.
The weather is also a great topic for connecting and engaging on social media – with the audience contributing photos of weather events (storm clouds/lightning) and for audience involvement is adding to tips on how to keep cool/keep warm etc.
In closing, I encourage you to add your audience problems (and suggested solutions) to your weather numbers because so long as men can breathe or eyes can see, the weather connects us all.
Hi, if you are interesting in writing – you’ll probably enjoy this blog. I’m a self-confessed and proud word nerd and big fan of Shakespeare – and other writers such as Hemingway.
One of the most satisfying parts of my recent job as a Deputy News Director at a major commercial TV network in Australia was helping younger writers.
I understand that the name Bard of Breaking News can seem outrageously arrogant – yet I strategically use it for ‘memorable branding’ and for the comic effect of the outrageous link and contrast between the lasting and deep grandeur or Shakespeare’s writing and the disposable speed of modern breaking news.
I do firmly believe that we can all learn from Shakespeare’s techniques to improve our writing – whether it’s for business or political speeches or even writing breaking news.