Former WIS-TV evening news anchorman Ben Hoover has resurfaced in Columbia public life leading his own home-based marketing and advertising business, BenHooverMedia.
The NBC Columbia affiliate created a firestorm among local viewers in July when it opted not to renew Hoover’s one-year contract with the station. After Hoover revealed on his Facebook page that he wouldn’t be coming back to the station, fans of the anchor for weeks protested in front of the station, took their fury to social media and even mounted a “Honk 4 Hoover” campaign which involved laying on their car horns whenever they passed the station’s studios at Bull and Gervais streets.
With his new business, Hoover is looking to capitalize on his popularity while continuing to tell stories.
“Consumers nowadays – and it doesn’t matter if it’s news or advertising consumers – they all want to be told a story – an emotional story,” Hoover said. “And I think it would be a waste for me not to use my 15 years of journalism experience and storytelling experience to do that.
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“I feel like I can do what I did in the newsroom for hospitals, and for, you name it – nonprofits, or even private businesses and that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m not working for one particular company, and that company only. I’m looking to be a complement to their existing marketing people.”
Just a couple months old, Hoover’s business concentrates on what is known as content marketing – the concept of giving businesses, non-profits – any entity with a target audience – the ability to reach and influence that market by telling their own experiential stories, on their own websites and social media.
Hoover is content director for his company of one, but he notes that most content directors have a journalism background, and an eye, a gut or an ear for a good story. Businesses, meanwhile, are so busy doing their business every day, they’re unaware of how many good stories they have to tell, Hoover said.
Hoover, who had worked at the station since 2008, said at the time his contract was not renewed he was surprised by the outpouring of fans. He took some time to evaluate options after his departure from the station, which he said proved valuable.
While Hoover said he received offers from TV stations in other states, he and his wife had been buying a home at the time of his WIS-TV departure so they never left the Capital City. Hoover said he has been doing some fill-in anchor spots in Charlotte and will continue to do so.
Content marketing, meanwhile, seeks to build relationships with consumers often through newly emerged platforms to encourage loyalty, experts say.
“It’s not always a shouting from the rooftops of, ‘Come buy (our products),’” Hoover said. “It’s name recognition and message, and just constantly having some sort of presence” within the target market.