All posts by Seth Resler

Always Embed YouTube Videos on Your Radio Station’s Blog First

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Always Embed YouTube Videos on Your Radio Station’s Blog Before Sharing Them on Social Media.

When describing the role of social media in a radio station’s digital strategy, I often use the analogy of the station itself: Your website is the radio station. Just as you put songs, DJ breaks and other content on your airwaves, you put blogposts, videos, podcasts and other content on your website.

Once you’ve got content on your radio station’s airwaves, you go out and promote the station with advertising. For example, you might put a billboard up by the side of the main highway that runs through town because you know lots of people will see it and (hopefully) tune in.

Think of social networks like Facebook and Twitter as busy highways. You want your website to be seen there because its desirable for lots of people to click a link and visit your site.

Unfortunately, many radio stations use their social media posts to send visitors to other websites: YouTube, TMZ, Rolling Stone, etc. This doesn’t hurt your website’s traffic, but it doesn’t help it either. It’s like putting a billboard alongside a very busy highway encouraging people to watch YouTube.

(Want more info on the right mix of content to share on social media? Here’s an explanation.)

I encourage radio stations to avoid sharing links to YouTube videos directly on their social media accounts. Instead, take an extra 60 seconds to embed the YouTube video on your radio station’s blog and then share a link to that blogpost on social media.

This short video shows you how:


Website Goals
Why is this so important? Because your radio station should have specific goals as part of its overall digital strategy, such as encouraging people to stream the station, sign up for the email list, or enter a contest. You can only accomplish these goals if you can get them back to your station’s website. Listeners can’t stream the station from YouTube or sign up for your emails on TMZ.

Additionally, by adding a couple of paragraphs of extra text to introduce and comment on the video, you can add your brand’s personality and your radio station’s perspective to the mix. Now, the video appears in the larger context of the radio station.

Always take the extra time to embed a YouTube video on your own website before sharing it on social media. This small step will help your radio station achieve its larger digital strategy.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Can Your Radio Station Generate Revenue with a Membership Website?

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

As commercial radio broadcasters, we think of advertising dollars first and foremost when it comes to revenue. Even as radio stations grow their digital revenue streams, the majority of “digital revenue” comes from digital advertising. In fact, there are other potential sources of online revenue that radio stations ought to consider.

In public radio, stations are increasingly exploring the idea of replacing pledge drives, where they ask for one-time annual donations, with a sustaining subscription model: asking listeners to make a small, recurring donation. The latter model mimics what many people are already doing with services like Netflix, Hulu, satellite radio, or even cable and internet providers. In our latest Public Radio Techsurvey, 50% of all public radio station donors are now sustaining members. Moreover, younger members are more likely to opt for this model.

 prts8-sustaining-members-768x852

Is there a way commercial radio stations can take advantage of the “sustaining membership” model?

Yes.

Radio stations can create membership websites which, for a small monthly fee, allow listeners to log in and access premium features or content. There are considerations here because radio has always been a totally free medium. But as consumers become accustomed to paying more for VIP access or so-called “gold” memberships that provide extra perks, this type of model could become plausible if stations provided true value.

What could commercial stations offer to members? There’s a long list of possibilities:

  • An archive of past interviews
  • An archive of past podcast episodes
  • Exclusive contests
  • Special concert discounts
  • Advance concert ticket sales
  • Station merchandise

From a technical perspective, membership websites are more work to maintain, but there are a number of existing tools, such as Wishlist Member, aMember, or MemberPress, which are making this easier.

Best of all, because membership revenue is recurring, it is easy to forecast and anticipate issues. Perhaps it’s time for radio to borrow and adapt a digital idea from public radio.

All of these models can be easily and inexpensively researched by tapping into station email databases to ascertain their viability. If you’d like to explore this path for your station and/or a personality show, contact us.

 

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Using Webinars to Generate Sales Leads for Your Radio Station

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

I often listen to radio stations talk about pulling all of their digital tools together into a single coherent plan using a Content Marketing strategy. But Content Marketing can be effective on the sales side of the building, too, and can be a catalyst for generating new business.

For example, Content Marketing can be a powerful tool for generating sales leads and building your station’s marketing credibility. By publishing content that interests potential advertisers, radio stations can attract more business. This short video explains how the concept works:


Content Marketing with Webinars

One of the best ways to employ Content Marketing for lead generation is through the use of webinars. The concept is simple: When advertisers, marketers and clients register for a webinar, you capture their email address. You can then engage them in a lead nurturing email campaign, periodically sending them other useful and relevant content. This keeps your radio station top of mind, so when they are ready to advertise, they are more likely to seek you out.

We use this technique at Jacobs Media all the time. In fact, webinars have become our top method of capturing email addresses. Just last week, I hosted a webinar on How to Use Webinars to Generate Sales leads (“How meta!”). You can watch the recording here.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

A Broadcaster’s Guide to Website Terminology

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

You’re a radio professional. You speak the language fluently, casually throwing around terms like “TSL,” “Cume,” and “PPM.” But when you talk to your radio station’s webmaster, you feel like she’s speaking an entirely different language.

Don’t worry. I’ve assembled some of the key terms you need to know:

  • Autoresponder – An email that is automatically sent out in response to an action taken by a website visitor. (This action is called a “trigger.”) For example, when somebody signs up for your station’s email list, an automatic Thank You for Signing Up email might be sent to them. Autoresponders do not need to be sent immediately; you could set up an autoresponder to be sent weeks or even months after the trigger action. You can also set up a series of autoresponders in an orchestrated “marketing automation” campaign.
  • Bounce Rate – A “bounce” is when somebody comes to a page on your website and then leaves your site without visiting any other pages. The bounce rate is the percentage of your incoming visitors who bounce. You want visitors to explore multiple pages on your website, so the lower your bounce rate, the better. High bounce rates can hurt your ranking in search engine results. In particular, pay attention to your bounce rate across different types of devices (desktop computers, tablets, and mobile devices). If you see that your bounce rate is much higher on one type of device, such as mobile devices, it may mean that your website design for that device is driving people away.
  • Content Marketing – An online strategy to drive traffic, generate leads, and increase revenue. It works like this: Create a lot of compelling online content (blog articles, webinars, videos, etc.). Make those articles easy to share on social media and easy to find with search engines (see “Search Engine Optimization” below). Then, when people find your content, they will click through to your website where you can convert them (see “Goal Conversion” below). Here’s a video that shows how content marketing works for radio stations.
  • Direct Traffic – The people who come to your station’s website by typing the site’s URL directly into the address bar of their web browser. In other words, they do not come to your site by clicking on a link found elsewhere (social media, search engine results, ads, or other sites).
  • Goal – When you use Google Analytics to track your website statistics, you can track goals, which are the actions that you want your website visitors to take. For example, you may want to set up email signups, ad clicks, and concert ticket sales as goals.
  • Goal Conversion – Each time a person completes a goal, it is called a “conversion.” You want to track the number of conversions for each goal over time. For example, you might say “Yesterday, we had ten email signup conversions and five ticket sale conversions.”
  • Landing Page – The first page a person comes to when they come to your website. It’s important to remember that quite often, the first page people see on your website is not your homepage. For example, they may click on a link to a blogpost on your site that was shared over social media. It is important to know which of your pages are your most frequent landing pages. Often, websites will have designated landing pages that are used in advertising campaigns. These pages are specifically designed to drive conversion (see above).
  • Mobile Site – Many websites have a separate site that is designed to look good on mobile devices. Other sites are “mobile-responsive,” which means the website layout changes to look better on a mobile device. In both cases, the site detects what type of web browser the visitor is using (a desktop browser or mobile browser) and responds accordingly. It is important to have a mobile or mobile-responsive site to decrease your bounce rate (see above).
  • Organic Search Results – When people search for something in a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, two types of results show up: Paid advertisements based on the terms that were entered and unpaid results. The unpaid results are called “organic.” You can increase your website’s ranking in these organic search results through “search engine optimization” (see below).
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) – Online advertising programs, such as Google’s AdWords or Facebook ads, can be set so that you only pay when somebody clicks on the ad, not when they see the ad. These are called PPC campaigns. Ad campaigns where you pay when somebody sees an ad are called “Pay Per Impressions.”
  • Referral Traffic – When somebody comes to your website by clicking on a link that they find on another website, such as a blog or news site. When people use this term they usually do not include social networks, organic search engine results, or paid search engine results, because those are considered their own type of traffic. You want to keep track of which sites are referring the most traffic to your website.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing return two types of results: paid advertisements and unpaid “organic” results (see above). Search Engine Optimization is the art of increasing your site’s rankings in the organic results. This is done through techniques like including keywords in the text and page titles or adding links to the pages. Because the algorithms search engines use are secret and can change, there are people who specialize in figuring out how to optimize a site to appear in search results. SEO is important because search engines can drive huge amounts of traffic to a website.

Need help deciphering other web buzzwords? They don’t call me the Digital Dot Connector for nothing. Drop me a note at seth@jacobsmedia.com.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Stations Can Drive Email Registrations With Content, Not Just Contests

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Over the years, contests have become an integral part of radio stations’ modus operandi. When I was the Program Director of WBRU in Providence, we had a major giveaway every week, usually revolving around concert tickets. Yet no other medium — with the possible exception of bloggers — embraces contesting the way radio does. Television broadcasters, newspaper and magazine publishers, and even streaming music services rarely, if ever, use contests as a way to engage their audiences.

So when radio broadcasters look for an incentive to get people to fill out forms on their website and provide data to the stations, they naturally turn to contests. Getting listeners to enter a contest is often one of the main goals of a radio station’s website.

The problem?

In my experience, social media posts about contests rarely perform as well as posts that feature more compelling content. When radio stations post a status update to Facebook that says “Want to win tickets to this weekend’s concert? Enter here!,” they usually underperform social media posts that simply share an interesting blogpost or video.

Content That Converts

Yet, despite their inferior performance, many radio stations use contests to entice listeners to fill out online forms when they could be using content more effectively. There’s nothing wrong with using giveaways to gather data from listeners, but most stations would benefit from also looking for “freemium” content that can be put behind a form.

For example, on our website, we have our blogposts which are open for all to see, but we also have our guides, webinars and research results which require people to fill out a form to access.

Radio stations might consider putting more content behind forms as a way to increase the size of their listener database. Careful thought should be given to determining which content pieces warrant a form. Key factors include:

  • Format: Interviews go behind a form; blogposts don’t.
  • Age: Anything over 6 months old goes behind a form.
  • Features: Recordings of the daily phone scam go behind a form.

Take a moment to review your website content pieces to decide which are enticing enough to persuade listeners to fill out a form to access them. It will help you grow your database.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Check Out All 12 Episodes of Our Podcast Series About Radio and the Connected Car

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Last week, we published the final episode in our podcast series about the connected car. This series of interviews with experts from the radio and automotive worlds, was recorded backstage at the 2015 DASH Conference in Detroit.

dash-podcast-artwork-150x150The 12 episodes covered topics ranging from Apple and Google’s dashboard operating systems to designing mobile apps for radio to podcasting. They’re essential listening for any radio broadcaster that wants to gain a deeper understanding of how the connected car will impact radio.

If you haven’t listened yet, here are the interviews:

Paul Jacobs: Intro to Radio and the Connected Car
John Ellis: Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto
Eric Nuzum: Podcasting and On-Demand Audio
Erica Farber: The Evolution of Radio Advertising
Fred Sattler: How Car Companies Think About Radio Advertising
Joel Sucherman: Building a Radio Mobile App for the Connected Car
Andreas Mai: Audio Entertainment in Self-Driving Cars
Erik Diehn: How Podcasts Are Monetized
Chris Andrews: Infotainment Innovations in Car Dashboards
Dave Sargent: What Consumers Want in Connected Cars
Chris Carlton: Radio’s Role in Auto Advertising in the Digital Age
Michael Kasparian: How Online Music Services Think About the Connected Car

If your radio station is looking to launch a podcast or develop a podcasting strategy, we’d love to help.

And, if you’d like to subscribe to this podcast, you can do so here:

iTunes
Google Play
Stitcher
RSS

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 800.968.7622.

Why You Should Fill Your Website With Text, Not Your Emails

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Email marketing is a crucial component of your digital strategy. When used effectively, an email newsletter can get people to return to your website, tune in to your radio station, or show up to station events. You should use email to engage with your audience on a regular basis.

But these emails should be short.

I sometimes see radio stations send out emails that contain large amounts of text — paragraph after paragraph detailing every event, every promotion, every contest, every upcoming morning show guest, etc.

If you’re going to take the time to write text, write text that lives on your website, not in your emails. Instead, your emails should contain little text and then encourage people to click a link to read more on your website.

Here are five reasons why:

1. People Don’t Like to Read Long Emails.
Do you?

2. You Can’t Measure the Effectiveness of Text-Heavy Emails.
With email, the two most important metrics to track are the percentage of people on the mailing list who open the email, and the percentage of people who click on a link in the email. Unfortunately, using only the first metric, you won’t be able to tell the difference between somebody who opens up the email and reads every word carefully, and somebody who opens up the email and gives up after the first sentence. They’ll both register as ‘Opens.’

mailchimp-email-screengrab_350To get a better idea of whether people are reading — and what they’re reading — you want to require them to click a link in order to read more. This way, you’re interpreting ‘Clicks’ as ‘Reads’ instead of interpreting ‘Opens’ as ‘Reads.’ This is much more accurate.

Accurate email statistics are important because they help you refine your digital strategy. If you can’t tell which content people are interested in, you’re losing out on valuable insight.

3. Emails are Less Likely to Be Shared on Social Media.
People are much more inclined to click a button to share your webpage on social media than your email. People are simply more accustomed to sharing webpages than emails. They tend to share emails by forwarding them, not posting them on Facebook or Twitter. Email forwarding is personal, as opposed to sharing, which can be seen by other people. So email doesn’t present the opportunity for a piece of content go viral the way a page on your website might.

4. Email Text Doesn’t Boost Your Search Engine Rankings.
When you send out an email through your email service provider (ESP), there will be an archived version kept as a webpage that could be crawled by search engines like Google, but that webpage will live on the ESP’s website, not your own. As a result, it won’t help increase your website’s ranking in Google’s search results. By keeping as much text on your website as possible, you’ll improve your website’s search engine rankings and attract more visitors.

5. You Can’t Convert People Unless They Click Through to Your Website.
At the end of the day, the goal of your digital strategy is to get people to do something: stream the station, enter a contest, buy tickets to a station event, etc. It is much easier to get them to do that from your website than your email. While you can include links to all of those actions in your emails, people are less likely to take those actions from an email. You have to coax them towards your digital goals with multiple steps. Your website gives you the opportunity to provide multiple steps (“See the full list of bands on our website, then buy tickets…”), while an email only allows you to provide one step (“Hey buddy, d’ya wanna listen to the station or not?”).

If you’re going to invest time in writing content, make sure that content lives on your website, not in your emails. Instead, create short emails that encourage people to click back to your website. It will benefit your station in the long run.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Resler: A Checklist for Your Radio Station’s Big Event Webpage

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Events can contribute significantly to a radio station’s bottom line. Many stations host marquee concert festivals and other signature events to generate revenue from both tickets sales and sponsorships.

An event’s digital presence can make or break it. When a radio station announces an event on the air, listeners and potential sponsors frequently turn to the web to get more details. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, it could mean the station loses out on ticket sales or event sponsorship dollars.

Pay special attention to the webpage that you create for your radio station’s event. Here’s a list of features to consider:

1. Easy To Navigate
It should be easy for your listeners to get to the page about your event from the radio station’s homepage. Let’s say, for example, that WKRP is hosting its annual Big Field Day Festival. Many people will hear about the concert on the air and type “wkrp.com” directly into their browser to get more info. They will then try to navigate to the festival page.

If you put the event in a rotating slider, but not the main navigation, they may not be able to find it. Most people look at a site’s navigation first (particularly on radio station websites, which tend to be very crowded below the menu). If you have an heading like “Concerts” or “Events” in the menu, with a “Big Field Day Festival” link as a submenu item, people are more likely to find it.

Don’t be afraid to put the event as a sub-menu item under two different headings in your main navigation. Different people may expect to find it in different places. For example, on our website, we have “Webinars” listed under the heading “Events,” but “Webinar Recordings” under the heading “Resources.” Both links take you to the same Webinars page (it contains both upcoming webinar listing and past recordings), because we’ve discovered in our usability tests that people look under both headings for our webinars.

Also, it’s better to use the phrase “Big Field Day Concert” or “Big Field Day Festival” than just “Big Field Day.” Believe it or not, not everybody knows what Coachella and Lollapalooza are, and adding that extra descriptive word can make it much easier for people to find what they’re looking for.

2. The Basic Info
Of course, you’ll need to include all of the basic info about the event on its webpage:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Price
  • Performers
  • Etc.

It’s better to use bullet points for these than a big block of text. For the most part, people don’t read the internet — they scan it for the information they are looking for. Make it easy for them.

3. Vanity URL
You’ll want a unique URL for the event’s webpage so that it can be shared on social media and indexed by search engines as an independent page. Give that page a vanity URL — that is, an URL that’s easy to say and easy to remember, like “wkrp.com/bigfieldday.” This way, you can encourage listeners to go directly to the event page on the air in live jock reads, sweepers and recorded promos.

4. Clear Call to Action
What do you want people to do when they come to the event’s webpage? Whether you want them to buy tickets, register, or simply add the event to their calendar, make it obvious. I’m a big fan of Big Red Buttons — links that stand apart from the rest of the page by using color, whitespace and direct language.

Keep in mind, you may have two calls to action on the page: one for listeners (“Buy Tickets”) and one for potential sponsors (“Learn About Sponsorships”). Make sure that both groups of people know exactly what to do when they come to your site or you could lose out on revenue.

5. Squeeze Page Format
To further encourage visitors to take the action you want, remove all of the other options. In other words, if you want people to click the Buy Tickets button, create a “squeeze page” removing all of the other links. Remove the main navigation, the sidebar, and the footer. (For an example, look at one of our webinar recording pages and notice that you only have two options — fill out the form or hit your browser’s Back button.)

6. Social Sharing Buttons
Making it easy for people to spread the word about your event on social media. Include buttons that allow people to instantly share the link on their favorite social networks. You don’t need to include every social network under the sun, but it’s a good idea to include buttons that share the link on Facebook, on Twitter, by email and by printing the page. If it’s a business-oriented event, you may want to include LinkedIn as well. These buttons will increase the chances that your listeners will share your radio station’s event on social media.

7. Search Engine Optimization
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a very important step that radio stations often overlook because, well, it just sounds intimidating. SEO is just the art of making sure that when people look for things in search engines like Google and Yahoo!, your things are the things that they find.

SEO is very important for big radio station events because when people hear about the event on the radio, many will immediately search for it on Google. I’ve seen radio stations have massive website traffic spikes on the day that they announced their concert lineup. Sure enough, this traffic came from people who searched for the name of the concert (not the name of the radio station) on Google. For example, they would hear about “Big Field Day” on WKRP, and then search for “Big Field Day” on Google to get more details.

Make sure that you know what people will see in their Google results when they conduct that search — optimize your webpage for search engines. If you use a tool like the Yoast SEO plugin (for WordPress websites), you can easily tailor the Google search results snippet.

By making sure you’ve done these things, you can help ensure the success of your radio station’s next big event. I recently hosted a webinar that offers more “Digital Strategies for Radio Station Events.” You’ll find more tips like this in it:  view here.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Resler: Twelve Ways to Promote the Hashtag for Your Radio Station’s Next Event

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Hashtags are a great way for people to organize their social media posts. A hashtag, which is a keyword or acronym preceded by a number or pound sign, lets everybody know what your post refers to. Hashtags are particularly useful at events, where people are often tweeting or sharing photos of the activities.

For example, last week I spoke at Morning Show Boot Camp in Atlanta and I could easily follow everything that the other attendees were saying on social media by searching Twitter for the hashtag #MSBC28.

When your radio station hosts a big event, such as a concert or festival, you’ll want to designate a hashtag for it. It’s always a good idea to do a quick search on social media first to make sure that the hashtag isn’t already in use. For example, this year’s Podcast Movement conference used the hashtag #PM16, but some Brits were also using that hashtag to tweet about the election for Prime Minister.

Once you’ve settled on a hashtag, you’ll want to let all of the attendees know that it exists. For example, let’s say your station has its Fall Ball concert coming up, and you’ve decided to use the hashtag #FallBall16. Here’s a list of opportunities to promote this hashtag:

  1. On-Air Production Elements: Use sweepers to promote your hashtag. For example, you can create sweepers to play before songs by the artists performing at the concert with a read that says, “Guess who’s going to be at hashtag-fall-ball-16…”
  2. Promotional Spots: When you run recorded promos for your event, include a mention of the hashtag.
  3. Live Reads: When you write live read copy for your DJs to promote the event, including giveaways, always add a bullet point mentioning the hashtag.
  4. Station Website: On all the pages and blogposts on your station’s site about the event, include the hashtag. One way to do this is to create a special sidebar that appears on all of the event-related pages with key information, such as the date, time, hashtag, and a link to purchase tickets or get more information.
  5. Social Media Posts: As you post status updates, tweets, photos, and other social media posts leading up to and during the event, be sure to include the hashtag. Your listeners will follow your example.
  6. Posters: If your station creates posters or other promotional materials for the event, include the hashtag on them.
  7. Press Releases: When you send out press releases about the event, include a mention of the hashtag. For example, you could say, “Fans can follow the event on social media using the hashtag #FallBall16.”
  8. Tickets, Wristbands and Hand Stamps: Include the hashtag on whatever piece of collateral people use to gain entry to the event.
  9. Signs: Post signs or banners around the event that include the hashtag. Venue entrances, merchandise tables and bathrooms are great places to display these.
  10. On-Stage Announcements: If your air talent introduces bands onstage or makes other announcements during the event, make sure they mention the hashtag.
  11. Stage Backdrops: If you create a custom backdrop for your event with the station logo, be sure to include the hashtag. If you don’t want to create a new backdrop each year, you can use a gobo projector to display the hashtag on the backdrop.
  12. Live Broadcasts: If your station broadcasts live from the event, make sure the air talent mentions the hashtag every break. For example, “We’re broadcasting live from the Acme Pavilion for the Fall Ball. You can follow all the action on social media by using the hashtag ‘FallBall16.’”
  • Extra Credit: Airplanes: Hire a skywriter or a plane with an aerial banner for your next outdoor event to put your hashtag in the air.

The more your radio station promotes the event’s hashtag to attendees, the easier it will be for the station to find people talking about it on social media. Don’t miss any of these opportunities.

This week, I will be hosting a free webinar on digital strategies for radio station events. If you’d like more tips like the ones above, please join me for it.  Register here.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Resler: How To Conduct A Usability Test For Your Station’s Website

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

I am a huge fan of website usability tests. They show you how real people actually interact with your website. I have conducted dozens of usability tests, and every time, we discover very simple tweaks that can make a huge difference in how a website performs. Best of all, usability tests are easy to perform and very inexpensive.

In a website usability test, you sit people down in front of your website, ask them to perform some basic tasks and to think out loud while they do it. If you want to learn how to conduct your own website usability test, I highly recommend reading Steve Krug’s book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems. It’s a quick read and he offers clear step-by-step instructions.

Sample Usability Test
Steve recorded a video demo of a usability test so you can see how it works.

One of the things you will need to prepare for a website usability test is the list of questions to ask the participants. Based on my experience, I have compiled a sample list for you to use as a starting point.

Before the Test
When a respondent sits in front of the computer, the browser should have a tab open to Google to prevent her from getting distracted. Start with a few general questions:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • How much time do you spend on the internet?
  • What sort of things do you do on the internet?
  • Do you have any favorite websites?
  • Do you surf the web on a desktop laptop, tablet or smartphone?

On Your Homepage
Ask the participant to click on the browser tab with your homepage open. Tell her that she may scroll up and down the homepage, but ask her not not click on any links yet. Here are the key questions:

  • What does the organization that runs this website do?
  • What is your overall impression of this website?
  • Are you familiar with this radio station?
  • Where is this radio station located?
  • What would you expect to hear if you tuned in this station?
  • Are there any specific artists that you would expect to hear?
  • Without clicking on any of the links, please go through each item in the main menu, and tell me what you would expect to happen by clicking on them.

Free Exploration
Now invite the participant to freely explore the site. Tell her that she may click on anything, but remind her to think out loud as she does so.

Tasks
After a few minutes of exploration, ask her to return to the homepage and perform some basic tasks, thinking aloud as she does.

  • You’d like to listen to the radio station online. Can you do that and where would you go to do so?
  • You heard about a contest for [insert current contest name]. Can you tell me more about it.
  • You want to know the name of the afternoon drive personality. How would you find out?
  • You are a big fan of the morning show and want to know more about them. What can you find out about them?
  • You won a prize and want to pick it up at the radio station. Can you find the address?
  • You’ve heard that [insert artist title] is performing in town soon. Can you tell me where?
  • You’d like to see photos from the station’s [insert station concert name]. Can you find them?
  • You are thinking about advertising on the radio station and would like more information. Using the website, what would you do?
    Tell me about the perks of signing up for the station’s email newsletter.
  • Based on what you see, are you likely to sign up for the email newsletter? Why or why not?

Competitors
At the end of the test, ask the participant to spend a few minutes looking at the website of a key competitor or two in your market (and/or other stations with the same format in other markets, Pandora, etc.) Have these websites already open in other tabs to save time.

  • Are you familiar with this station/company? How are they the same or different from the station you were just looking at?
  • Is there anything on this website that you like more or less than the previous website?
    [Repeat any of the tasks above]

Final Thoughts
Once again, direct the participant back to your website. Ask her for any final thoughts.

  • Now that you’ve looked at some other websites, what do you think about the [your call letters] website?
  • Now that you’ve spent some time with this site, what do you like about it? What do you think could be improved?
  • Any final thoughts?

After they’ve given you all of their feedback, thank them for coming in, compensate them, and send them on their way. Compile the useful feedback from all of your subjects and create an actionable list of changes to make to your website. Congratulations on a great test!

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.