Boston, a city rich in history, culture, and culinary taste, is about to be showcased in a light never seen before. Thanks to the innovative sponsorship by Meet Boston, the New England Sports Network (NESN) has rolled out a groundbreaking lifestyle program, “Meet Boston with Billy & Jenny.” This new show, which debuted in January, takes viewers on journeys through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, guided by Emmy Award-winning television personalities Billy Costa and Jenny Johnson.
Airing on weekends, with slots on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, and accessible on the NESN 360 app, the program examines Boston through the lens of 20 local content creators, or “Hubsters,” who bring a fresh, authentic perspective to Beantown’s story.
“Greater Boston is made up of 23 Boston neighborhoods and 45 cities and towns, each with its own unique story featuring diverse culture, arts, cuisine, outdoors activities, and more,” said Martha J. Sheridan, President & CEO of Meet Boston. “This new show is a fantastic platform to tell those stories through the lens of local content creators who will introduce viewers to people, places, and things they never knew about before.”
We talked to co-host Jenny Johnson about the show and new ways to market well-known destinations.
How important is influencer marketing to destinations? What makes it such an attractive option?
Influencer marketing is hugely valuable for introducing travelers to new destinations. Social media is the platform most used to educate people about a city, state or country. Local influencers have built trust both in the community they live in but also among their followers. Viewers know they will have an authentic experience. Today’s influencers guide helps us make decisions on everything, from what we wear, to where to eat, to where we stay! People feel more comfortable choosing their recommendations.
Additionally, influencer marketing offers destinations to show what they offer to diverse audiences. Each influencer has their own niche and style. The reach amplifies exposure, which leads to new visitors.
How do you maintain a sense of realism with influencer campaigns, given they are typically going to have access to the best of a destination?
“Meet Boston with Billy and Jenny” was created to showcase the dynamic offerings of our amazing city and to show the real life, transparent experiences through our influencers! These are not meant to be critical reviews, rather they are promotional pieces aimed to support the many creative, hard working small businesses that make up Boston. We want our viewers to get to know their neighbors because we believe this is the way to create a supportive, compassionate and connected community! We also encourage all outtakes and bloopers that you don’t typically see on social media!
A lot of talk these days is centered around short-form video, but this is a traditional format. Can you discuss the decision for a full show and keeping viewers hooked in an era of so much distraction?
There is certainly a place for these short clips on social media where you will see a lot of our coverage live but there is also still an appetite for a more detailed, well rounded picture. So we are doing both!
Boston has so many distinctive neighborhoods and cultures. How does that play to the region’s advantage when luring visitors?
Boston has something for everyone and each of Boston’s neighborhoods has unique and distinct characteristics with diverse cultures that play a big role in what makes Boston such a desirable place to live and visit. Its walkability and accessibility make it approachable for visitors. Plus, as leaders in healthcare and education, we bring international visitors which end up bringing unique flavors and trends our way. It also means there’s plenty of reasons to come back to Boston again and again.
Finding new things about cities is always great, but how do you balance that while not ignoring some of the classic draws, such as historic sites, sports, and more?
We assign different themes and neighborhoods to each of our show’s episodes, helping us narrow down the spots we highlight. This helps intertwine the classic draws and some of the newer experiences in our city. We aim to balance the old with the new in each episode.
How do you measure if the show is a true success?
We measure the show using a range of metrics. The beauty of using different platforms allows us to connect with people in many different ways. Success to us is when viewers visit the places we’ve covered and connect to the business owners just like we have. Success is when they come back to visit Boston again and again and share these niche experiences with their friends too!
However, our goal is to attract visitors to this great city and uncover all that Boston is to New Englanders. If we do that, get people talking about the show and the featured locations we visit, and contribute to the prosperity of Boston, then we’ll know it’s a success.
Photo Credit: Bigstock
Have a tip or would like to be featured, email Matt Swenson at [email protected].