Tagboard’s Election Coverage Guide for Media Teams of All Sizes

The polls may not be open quite yet, but the local and U.S. presidential elections buzz, along with preparation for election coverage, is well underway. With just about every media outlet in the nation covering the election simultaneously from different angles, how can you make your programming stand out of the crowd?

How can you make the same story more engaging and insightful? Most importantly this year, how can you make this all happen remotely with limited personnel?

We hear these questions frequently, and that’s exactly why we put this guide together. We broke down election coverage concepts based on the complexity and resources needed to implement them. Whether you are a team of one or many, Tagboard’s cloud-based production platform enables producers to execute any idea from anywhere in the world.


One-Person Band Election Coverage Integrations

The KISS principle (short for Keep It Simple, Stupid), when breaking it down past its blunt phrasing, really means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do something effectively. Maximize the resources you have by implementing low-lift concepts that have high return.

When it comes to election coverage, low-lift concepts can take several different forms, but those with the highest return typically stem from the use of on-air social content. Social media content can oftentimes tell most of the story for you, and it provides a medium to connect with your viewers.

Let’s dive into a few specific use cases.

Pre-planned Q&A Segment: Bring the voice of your viewers and followers directly into the broadcast by putting out a call to action social post posing a certain question to garner replies like, “What do you think of Joe Biden’s VP selection?” Ahead of the show, choose a few responses and queue them up in the order you want within your Tagboard Producer timeline. Simply advance through them one by one on air.

Q&A Election Segment


Viewer “I Voted” Bump Out Content:  Something you can also pre-populate ahead of your show are photos of viewers dropping off their ballots (even if it’s at their mailbox) to give bump-outs a new interactive feel. To narrow in on direct viewers, we recommend promoting a station specific hashtag like #King5IVoted.

"I Voted" Bump-out Content


Use Social in Place of Standard B-Roll: While the standard 15 seconds of President Trump walking around can work in some scenarios, pulling up the actual tweet that you’re talking about provides more context and substance to the storyline. All it takes is one click on the Tagboard curate button and a drag into the Producer timeline to bring it live.


Team Election Coverage Concepts

These team election practices still take minimal effort to build out within the Tagboard platform, but they could require a bit more coordination within your production team to execute effectively. Ultimately though, this extra bit of coordination is what can take your coverage to the next level.

Visualize the Conversation Geographically & Over Time: The Tagboard Heatmap is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal this election season for multidimensional, visual storytelling in local and national elections. Set up a Heatmap to track candidates’ campaign hashtags, and compare them head to head or track the change in conversation over time.

From a production standpoint, you can easily build a head-to-head comparison by creating two separate Heatmap Smart Panels tracking either hashtag, then leverage two monitors on set to show each visualization or have an operator advance to the next Heatmap remotely through Tagboard Producer. 

U.S. Presidential Election Social Heatmap

A comparison over time, perhaps showing conversation before and after the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC), would require one Heatmap panel set to show before/after results from a certain time. The before and after control can happen directly on a touchscreen monitor, or remotely from a producer behind the scenes.

Election Social Heatmap Comparison over time


Utilize Audience Polls to Drive Your Rundown: Getting your audience involved in the show is an essential aspect of creating loyal viewers and making your coverage stand out. Interactive polls provide a low barrier to entry for viewers to get involved, and it can help you drive the actual rundown of your show.

For example, you could set up a Twitter or Hashtag Poll asking your followers to vote for the topic they care most about. Use the results of that poll to break down that particular topic for each candidate, catering the rundown to the preference of your viewers. Just one poll per week to dictate your Friday night special coverage can make all the difference.

Election Topic Twitter Poll


Create a Digital Election Hub on Your Website: Outside of live broadcasts, media publishers have an opportunity to drive traffic to their website by providing an online hub with the most relevant content on elections that matter most to their audience. Once set up within the website,  media outlets can constantly update content remotely and collaboratively, surfacing differing opinions, posts from candidates, or owned articles using Tagboard digital experiences

Election Digital Hub

Tagboard digital experiences drive 3-5x more time on website


Wall-to-Wall Election Coverage Activations

Don’t let the “wall-to-wall” scope of this section scare you away. These activations simply call for coordination within the production team and more on-the-fly updates vs. pre-made segments. Leveraging cloud-based technologies like Tagboard Producer, you can make quick adjustments remotely within structured templates and eliminate unnecessary steps in the production process.

Host a Special Election Coverage Livestream Produced with Cloud-Based Graphics: While the linear channels for most local news stations will house a national broadcast on election night, viewers still crave local election updates and want a more personalized experience. Livestream platforms like Facebook Live and Twitter provide that interactive second-screen medium for local stations to reach their audience.

Make use of your local experts and open conversation with viewers on your owned platforms. Invite live comments and questions for Q&A or a “Fact or Fiction” segment, and be prepared for real-time election results using Tagboard Graphics.

In a world where resources are stretched thin and access to the studio remains limited, eliminate the need for hundreds of exports from the graphics department, and simply update pre-made templates with results wherever you are.


Create a “Trending Topic” Leaderboard Recap: Large-scale election events like a presidential debate tend to generate a wide range of commentary on social media. Use a Leaderboard to populate the most common phrases used during the event as a summary, and then dive into specific content on the top trending topic(s).

For example, you could set up a Leaderboard tracking all posts using #Debate2020 ahead of time, and then adjust keyword entries with relevant topics based on the debate itself. Within Tagboard Producer, queue up the Leaderboard to start the segment, and then advance into a few specific posts mentioning the top trending topic.

Election Debate Trending Topic Leaderboard


Whether you’re running a one-person production, or you have a whole team behind you, there are simple ways to make your election coverage stand out this year.

Maximize your resources by harnessing the power of social media and cloud-based production technology. Make sure your viewers keep coming back by involving them in the show with interactive segments like a real-time poll or Q&A.

Want to learn more or get started on these ideas today? Reach out to your dedicated success manager or email our team at success@tagboard.com. Also, be sure to check out our guide on How to Tell Meaningful Real-Time Stories During the Presidential Debates.