Category Archives: Editorial

Editorial: The Most Important Question You Can Ask People Who Come to Your Website

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

One of my favorite ways to evaluate radio station websites is a usability test. The goal is to get a feel for how real people use the website, and to figure out if there are any aspects of the site that present difficulties.

Usability tests are fairly simple to run. I recruit three people to evaluate the site. This test is not an exact science, so I am not concerned with their age, gender, or any other demographic characteristics; I just want people who know how to use the internet. (The only exception is for sports radio stations, where I want testers to have at least a casual interest in sports.)

I prefer to use testers who come from outside the radio station’s market because I want them to react to the website, not any prior knowledge they may have from listening to a station. If the site performs well with people who don’t know the brand, then it’s sure to do well with people who do.

One at a time, we bring these people in, sit them in front of a computer, and ask them to think out loud while they perform specific tasks on the website. For example, we may ask:

  • “You want to know more about the morning show. What can you tell me?”
  • “You’ve won a prize from the station. How do you get it?”
  • “You want to advertise on this station. How can you learn more about that?”

As we watch what they do, we learn a lot about what’s working on the website and what’s not. Inevitably, the first question I always ask in a usability test is this:

“What does this organization do?”

I have never seen a website pass the question on the first try. Not even websites that I’ve built myself, knowing that this would be the first question. Don’t take this for granted. In one test I performed, it took the tester ten minutes to figure out that they were looking at a radio station’s website.

The Tagline

I am in the process of developing a new website for Jacobs Media. We’ve already performed two usability tests on the forthcoming site. Sure enough, people struggled to answer that first question.

On an early version of the site, we used the tagline “Over 30 Years of Media Expertise and Innovation.” When asked what we do, one tester replied, “This company coaches people who are about to go out on a publicity tour, like an author of a new book.”

Fail.

So we learned that we needed to tell people that we worked with media companies, not individuals. We also felt that we needed to describe the specific problem that we solve for our clients. In the coming weeks, you’ll see what we came up with.

By the same token, the main text on a radio station’s website needs to clearly state what they do. If your station logo includes a dial position and frequency (“103.7 FM”), people will usually figure out that you’re a radio station. But if your station has a name that isn’t as obvious (“The Falcon,” “92X,” or “Harry FM”), you may need to reinforce the radio station message with an appropriate image, such as a tuner or sound waves.

Your station’s tagline is equally important. If your station uses a tagline like “Today’s Hottest Country” or “The Best Hip Hop and R&B,” people will have an easy time figuring out what type of music your station plays. But while a tagline like “Today’s Best Variety” or “Mix Music” may make sense sandwiched between songs on the air, it can lose that context on your website.

The Image

We struggled with the homepage image on the forthcoming Jacobs Media site. We provide “strategy and research for media companies.” Unfortunately, none of those words are particularly visual. (Quick: Close your eyes and think of “strategy.” What picture popped into your head?) This challenge prompted a lot of back and forth with our graphic designer. You’ll see what we settled on in the coming weeks. For now, here’s one of the images we rejected:
SethArticle-031416_400Fortunately, for radio stations it is much easier to come up with an image that illustrates what they do. The simplest way is to offer up an image featuring a handful of recognizable core artists. If you play the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Foo Fighters, and Coldplay, stick them in a montage and make it the central image on the website.

Too often, radio stations use a slideshow on their homepage. As a result, the first image people see when they come to a station’s homepage is a coffee sponsor logo or a photo of the C-level band playing in town this weekend. These images do not help visitors answer the question, “What does this organization do?”

Don’t take this question for granted. It’s not as straight-forward as you might think. We’ve been giving it a lot of thought here at Jacobs Media, in no small part because what we do for clients has evolved as technology has evolved. Soon, you’ll see how we chose to express it on our new website.

If you have any questions about website performance and usability testing, please reach out to me.

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

Editorial: 7 Places Forms Should Appear on Your Radio Station’s Website

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

In my time at Jacobs Media, I’ve talked about how to use a Content Marketing Strategy to bring all of your digital tools together into a single coherent strategy. The first step in that strategy is to create content (translation: a blog) to attract people to your website from social media, search engines, and your airwaves.

But getting them to your website is just half the battle. Once they’re there, you want them to do something. Maybe multiple somethings. The somethings are called Goals.

Your website can have multiple goals. For example, you may want people to stream the station or click on an ad or request information about advertising. On your list of website goals, encouraging listeners to give you their email address should rank near the top.

Visitors give you their email address by filling out a form on your website. A form can be long — asking for information like name, gender, and zip code — or short, asking for as little as just a person’s email address. The length of the form and the information requested will depend upon the context in which it appears.

For example, on smartphones, people are unlikely to fill out long forms, so the mobile version of your site should only ask for an email address. On the other hand, people are more likely to give more information to gain access to engaging content, like an archive of morning show interviews.

Where should these forms appear? Here are seven suggestions:

1. When Listeners Want to Stream the Station

According to our Techsurvey11 results, two-thirds of those who regularly stream your station are willing to register in order to continue doing so. So feel free to require (or simply request) contact information before allowing people to listen online. But don’t make the registration process cumbersome. After all, you don’t want to deter people from listening.

Consider allowing people to register without having to double opt-in (in other words, don’t require them to click on a registration link in an email). Require just an email address. Once you have that, you can always encourage them to give you more information later — and allow people to opt-in with a single click using their social media accounts. Be sure to run a usability test on your website to make sure that the streaming process isn’t frustrating listeners.

2. On Contest Pages

When doing a web giveaway, you’re offering a bigger incentive, so you can ask people to give you more information. Be sure to explain why you are asking for each piece of information. For example, many people are reluctant to give their phone numbers because they don’t want to receive unexpected calls. The form should reassure people by explaining, “We will call you if you win; we will not share your information with anyone else.”

People don’t read websites; they skim them. So make sure the call to action is clear. Instead of small text that says “Log in to enter” with a button that says, “Log in,” create a button that reads, “Enter to Win” or “Log in to Enter.” Again, run a website usability test to make sure people have an easy time entering your station’s contests.

3. Accompanying Each Blog Post

Gathering contact information is one of the most important functions of your website. As your station blogs regularly, increasingly people will enter the site through blog posts instead of the homepage. So you’ll want to encourage them to fill out a form on every blog post, either by inviting them to receive the blog by email in the sidebar or at the end of the post (or both).

4. In Pop-Up Windows

Pop-up windows can be very effective if used properly, and horrendously annoying if used incorrectly. Never ever ever let your sales staff sell pop-up ads on your station’s website. People did not come to your site to see pop-ups hocking mattresses or Horny Goat Weed.

However, if the pop-up is related to the content it is hovering over, it can be very effective. The simplest pop-up window will simply say, “Like what you’re reading? Sign up to get our blog by email!” and include a form that asks only for an email address. I have seen pop-up windows like this boost email signups by over 500%.

A more sophisticated strategy will draw a tighter correlation between the pop-up window and the content beneath it. For example, on blog posts about the Foo Fighters, the pop-up window would invite people to enter to win Foo Fighters tickets or their new album. Start simply, and slowly refine your pop-up strategy over time.

5. Before Freemium Content

While the content on your blog is free and open for everybody to see, be sure to create some premium content that, while still free, people must fill out a form to access. For example, take some of your best artist interviews and put them behind a form.

6. On the ‘Advertise With Us’ Page

The ‘Advertise With Us’ page could be the most valuable page on the entire website because it holds the power and potential to generate more revenue than all of the other pages combined. Too often, radio stations simply list an email address or phone number on this page. This is a huge missed opportunity. You want to capture the contact information of as many potential leads as possible and put them into a lead nurturing email campaign. So put a form on this page.

Even better: Give potential advertisers an incentive to fill out that form by putting some freemium content behind it. For example, offer a “Guide to Creating a Winning Radio Campaign,” or a “Guide to Understanding Radio Ratings.”

7. On the 404 Error Page

The 404 Error Page is the “Oops! We can’t find what you’re looking for!” page that people see when they go to a broken link on your site. Add some extra text to this page – “But don’t leave empty-handed! Sign up for our email list!” – followed by a signup form.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of all the places you could put a form to capture contact information on your website. Gathering data from your listeners is so important that I encourage you to look for as many places as possible for these forms. If you’d like help, feel free to reach out to me.

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

Editorial: How Radio Can Use the Web to Take Advantage of Past Interviews

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

Recently, the rock community has seen an unfortunate spate of deaths: David Bowie, Scott Weiland, Glenn Frey, and others. How should radio stations respond online?

In our conversations with listeners, they’ve told us their first instinct when they hear news like this is to turn to Google. After a quick search, they will usually click on a trusted news source like CNN or NPR. In other words, (music) radio’s role is not necessarily to suddenly transform into a journalistic outlet.

So what role does a radio station’s website play?

One key role is to help listeners reminisce. While listeners may not be turning to your station’s website for the date, time, and cause of death, they are looking to your station to help them celebrate the life of the artist and perhaps even learn more about his/her career and achievements.

A great way to do this is to resurface older content. If you have recordings of past interviews or performances* that you can post online, do so. Create a page dedicated to the artist with a designated vanity URL, such as yourstationnamehere.com/david-bowie. Promote that page on the air with both live mentions and production elements.

But there’s no reason to wait until a core artist dies to recycle your old content. As radio programmers, we constantly focus on finding new content to put on the air. It rarely crosses our mind to pull older material out of the vault. But websites are an ideal tool for showcasing past bits. You have listeners who are interested in hearing your station’s 1985 interview with Sammy Hagar or your 1991 interview with Kurt Cobain. Make them available online and promote them on the air.

In the Techsurvey that we’re wrapping up this week, we have a question about website visits by listeners like yours. I’ve been looking over Fred’s shoulder at the data as it’s been coming in, and I can tell you that more people stop by radio station websites every week than you might think.

If you’re programming a station with a long history, develop a proactive plan to use the web to capitalize on your heritage. Take inventory of your archive. Once a week, aim to add a new piece of old content to your website and promote it on the air. Finally, make sure your website has a robust search feature so listeners can find what they’re looking for. Before long, you’ll find that your website hosts a treasure trove of material for passionate music fans.

As always, email me with your questions or comments.

(*Check with your legal team first.)

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

Editorial: Improve Station Awareness

By: Lund Management

There’s a factor in all ratings, even PPM metered markets, which goes beyond actual listening. The stations that are better branded and own a market image produce better ratings. The truth is that brand awareness brings about business. It’s true for Nike and Starbucks, two of the best brands around. Scott Bedbury counts those two brands on his marketing resume and offers this advice: “A great brand is in it for the long haul. It taps into emotions and becomes a powerful connecting experience.”

In broadcasting, a well-branded station has tremendous top-of-mind awareness, and that translates into bigger cume. In diary and telephone ratings, that alone becomes a ratings halo that can transcend actual listening. It’s the first station people think of when asked for a station name. As with Starbucks and Nike, it’s the “experience.” Our challenge as programmers is about sharing experiences with listeners and making them feel good about themselves and about the time they spend with the station. It’s being an essential ingredient in their routine because you give them what they need. In branding, it’s an emotional response that connects.

Begin the branding process by identifying your unique offerings in addition to your music product.

  • What is it about your station that your listeners and viewers cannot live without?
  • What do you do to drive audience passion?
  • What does your morning show do that is different from other stations, and why is it better?  Avoid being too similar, and don’t do a midday request show because everyone else does.  Make your offering unique.
  • Personalize your weather to your market activities and listener needs.
  • Are your website and social media truly interactive?
  • Are your promotions super-serving the listener?

A brand is the trip, not the destination.  Make your station a strong brand that is top-of-mind and on the “most respected, most listened to” list in one’s brain.  We have assembled the best branding tips for stations in one easy to use guide.  To better brand your station and its key benefits to listeners, get the Lund Branding and Marketing Guide in the Radio Resource Center.

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

Editorial: How to Plan an Automated Email Drip Campaign for Your Radio Station

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

There are two types of automated email campaigns that radio stations can use to engage their listeners. The first is a campaign to send out their latest content. For example, at Jacobs Media, you can sign up to receive our blog on a daily basis. This is done using an RSS-to-Email feature.

I want to talk about the other type of automated email campaign.

This type of automated email campaign sends outs evergreen content. It is often called a “drip” campaign because we are dripping out content over time.

These Drip Campaigns have a “trigger,” or an event that causes the campaign to start. Usually that trigger is simply that a person signs up for the email list. Once they do this, the emails start to drip out. The first one might go out a day after the sign up, followed by another email two weeks later, and a third a month after that. Note that everybody gets an email at a different time depending on when they triggered the campaign.

There are at least two places your radio stations should use Drip Campaigns:

1. On the Programming Side

Drip Campaigns are a great way to get more life out of your station’s best content. We have a habit of constantly moving on to the next thing in radio, but there are a lot of listeners who would love to hear the interview with Linkin Park from last spring, or the hilarious stunt your morning show pulled last year. You can use a Drip Campaign to resurface some of this older material.

2. On the Sales Side

When a prospective client fills out a form on the website requesting information about advertising, that can trigger a Drip Campaign. We’re going to use this campaign for “lead nurturing.” In other words, we’re going to periodically send the leads an email containing helpful content to build a relationship with them as they move through the ad-buying process.

For example, a week after the campaign is triggered, we may send them an email with a link to a white paper on “Understanding the Nielsen Ratings.” A month after the campaign is triggered, we may send them an email with a link to a webinar recording titled, “How to Figure Out Which Radio Station Reaches Your Customers.” If the content you send to customers is helpful and relevant, they are more likely to reach out to you when they are ready to advertise.

Planning Your Drip Campaign

You can plan out a Drip Campaign using a simple spreadsheet. Label the columns with these headers:

  • Trigger (What caused this email to be sent?)
  • Delay (How long after the trigger is this email going out?)
  • Audience (Which groups is the email going to?)
  • Subject Line (What is the email about?)
  • Call to Action (What is the email asking people to do?)
  • Link (What does the call to action link to?)

Sample Drip Campaign for Programming

Trigger
Delay
Audience
Subject Line
Call to Action
Email Club Sign up 1 day Programming Follow us on social media Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram
Email Club Sign up 1 week Programming Have you checked our mobile app? Mobile App Download
Email Club Sign up 1 month Programming Hear DJ No Name’s infamous Dave Grohl interview Dave Grohl interview
Email Club Sign up 2 months Programming Hear the Morning Zoo prank the Mayor Mayor prank phone call
Email Club Sign up 3 months Programming Subscribe to our podcast Podcast in iTunes, Stitcher, App

Sample Drip Campaign for Sales

Trigger
Delay
Audience
Subject Line
Call to Action
Advertising Info Request Form 1 day Sales – Leads Guide: How to Understand Radio Ratings Nielsen Ratings White Paper
Advertising Info Request Form 1 week Sales – Leads How to Write a Great Radio Spot Copywriting Video
Advertising Info Request Form 1 month Sales – Leads How to Choose the Right Radio Station to Target Your Customers Webinar Recording on Demographics
Advertising Info Request Form 2 months Sales – Leads How to Budget for a Radio Ad Campaign Ad Budgeting White Paper
Advertising Info Request Form 3 months Sales – Leads 10 Questions to Ask Your Radio Salesperson 10 Questions Worksheet


A spreadsheet like this makes it easy to plan out your Drip Campaigns. If you would like a Drip Campaign template, please email me and I’ll send one to you.

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

Editorial: Create Support Documents to Get Your Blog Off the Ground

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

As I’ve discussed before, the way to pull all of your different digital tools together is to use a content marketing strategy. To do this, of course, you’re going to need to implement a system to consistently create online content. When I say “online content,” what I’m talking about is called a blog. But unlike the blog that we write here at Jacobs Media, this is a stream of stories on your website that can be the engine for your content marketing strategy.

As I work with stations across the country to get their blogs up and off the ground, the biggest challenge they run into is usually not technical; it’s human. Let’s face it, many on-air talent didn’t get into the broadcasting business because they wanted to write. Often, we’re asking them to learn a new skill set.

Blogging is not a one-shot deal. It’s something that you have to work at week in and week out. You must develop new habits. This requires patience and discipline. Too often, we show our on-air talent how to write a blog post once and then expect them to be experts at it. Inevitably, they grow frustrated and the blog suffers.

One of the ways you can help your staff become better bloggers is to create support documents that show them what they need to do. I recommend two types:

1. Written Instructions

Create a document with clear, step-by-step instructions for creating a blog post. When you write these, make no assumptions about what people already know. You should be able to hand this document to a stranger off the street and they should be able to create a blog post.

Here are some tips:

  • Write in outline form. Number each step individually to make it easy for people to follow. Be sure not to combine two steps into a single number in your outline.
  • Use the exact same words that are on the site. Don’t write “Click the button;” write “Click the ‘Publish’ button.”
  • Include screenshots. A picture speaks a thousand words. Sometimes, it’s best to show people what they need to do. When I create support docs, I use Skitch to take screenshots and annotate them.
  • Be careful about the sequence. Don’t write “Click the ‘Activation’ link at the bottom of the page.” This sentence is out of order. After all, people have to scroll to the bottom of the page before they can click the link. It will be easier for people to follow if you write, “At the bottom of the page, click the ‘Activation’ link.”
  • Make this document easy to find. Upload it to a shared server. Leave a printed copy in the air studio and the jock lounge. Post a note in the air studio and jock lounge telling people where they can find this guide.

Here are some of the instructions I wrote for configuring the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin on the Jacobs Media site:

    1. In the Yoast SEO window:
      1. Main Window (3 Dots):
        1. In the Snippet Editor, enter your focus keyword to see how well optimized your post is.
        2. Enter a post title to appear in search engines; the same title as the blog post should work if you have included keywords.
        3. Enter a post description that will appear in search engine results. Include keywords.
        4. Look at the Content Analysis. Try to fix any issues marked with red or orange dots.
      2. In the left corner of the Yoast SEO window, click the Share icon (3 dots connected by two lines):
        1. On the Facebook tab:
          1. Enter the title of this post that should appear when it is shared on Facebook; usually the blog post title will work.
          2. Enter the Facebook description; usually the same description that you used for search engines will work.
          3. Select a Facebook image.
        2. Click on the Twitter bird to bring you to the Twitter tab:
          1. Enter the Twitter title; usually the blog post title will work.
          2. Enter the Twitter description; usually the same description that you used for search engines will work.
          3. Select a Twitter image.

yoast-plugin-image-jacobsmedia

2. Video Tutorial

Some people are visual learners, so it’s also helpful to create a screenshot video with narration to explain how to create a blog post. There are a number of programs that will enable you to record a video of your computer screen. (I use Telestream’s ScreenFlow or QuickTime.) Use a mic to record yourself as you explain the process.

Once you have created the video, you will need to put it in a place where your staff can find it. If you save it on a shared server, post notes in the air studio and jock lounge so people know where to find it. You can also upload it to YouTube and set the video to ‘Unlisted’ (only people with the link can watch it) or ‘Private’ (you can share it with specific individuals who will need to log into see it; make sure you share it with people using their Gmail addresses, not their company email address, as their YouTube account is likely to use their Google email address).

For example, here is a sample video I created that shows people how to share their podcast episode on social media.

Creating the proper support documentation for your blog can remove a lot of frustration from the process and solve problems before they begin. With these tools, you dramatically increase the chance of your station’s blog becoming successful.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me.

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

Editorial: A Core Artist Just Died. Here’s How Your Station Should Handle it Online.

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

Sadly, we’ve seen way too many rock stars pass away in the past few weeks: Scott Weiland, David Bowie, Glenn Frey. So what should your station’s digital response be when these tragedies occur? Here are some things you can do:

1. Do No Harm on Social Media.

First and foremost, make sure that every public-facing member of your staff knows better than to make light of the situation on social media. A poorly worded tweet can do a lot of damage, and a person’s death is not a good time to go for laughs. If you have doubt about whether or not something might be misinterpreted, skip it.

2. Create Online Content.

Even if you’re not going to drastically change your on-air programming in response to a death, you can use your website to pay homage to the departed. Create a blog post or page on your website celebrating the life of the deceased artist. Here are some ideas:

  • Have each DJ write a short paragraph about their favorite song by the artist and embed YouTube videos to accompany each paragraph.
  • Create a short listicle celebrating the artist. For example, “The Top 5 David Bowie Personas.”
  • If you have recordings of old interviews or performances, post them along with a remembrance.

Remember, if you include images in your content, make sure that you have paid for the rights to use them. Violating copyright can result in hefty fines.

3. Invite Listeners to Comment, but Police the Comments Carefully.

At the end of your content, invite listeners to participate by sharing their memories in the comments section of the page. Just make sure that somebody is keeping a watchful eye on what’s posted. Immediately delete any distasteful comments.

4. Create a Vanity URL that Redirects to Your Content.

A vanity URL is an easy-to-remember URL, such as “yourstationname.com/glennfrey.” Encourage your air talent to give out the URL when they talk about the artist. Create imaging production directing people to the URL. Create additional vanity URLs for common misspellings, such as “yourstationname.com/glennfry.”

5. Send an Email Campaign.

Send an email campaign to your listeners inviting them to click through to your content and share their memories in the comments section.

6. Invite Your Listeners to Contribute Audio.

Your station can invite listeners to share their memories in audio form so that you can use them on the air. Use Speakpipe to allow listeners to leave voicemail messages on your website. If your station’s mobile app was built by jacapps, this is a good time to take advantage of the Open Mic feature, which allows people to contribute audio from their smartphones.

While you may be limited in your on-air response when a major artist dies, you are not limited on the web. Your listeners have strong emotional connections to these musicians. Use your website to help them celebrate the lives of the artists who have left us.

As always, if you need help, please feel free to reach out to me.

Please contact me with questions, comments, and thoughts.

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

Editorial: Here’s Your Most Important Digital New Year’s Resolution

Seth ReslerBy: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

It’s that time of year when we step back to look at the big picture. What do we hope our stations will accomplish in 2016?

I’d like to suggest one digital New Year’s resolution above all the others: Set up a weekly web meeting.

As I spoke to station after station last year, it became obvious that just about every staff member, from the on-air talent to promotions coordinators to program directors, had thoughts about how they could improve their online efforts. Unfortunately, they often have no arena in which to voice these thoughts. At best, these ideas are mentioned in passing in the hallways. At worst, they are never voiced at all.

Your online content deserves as much attention as your on-air programming. So carve out some time on a weekly basis to gather everybody to review, discuss, and plan your digital strategy.

Who Should Attend

Bring together every staff member who has a stake in the website: your webmaster, anybody who blogs, the promotions department, the appropriate salespeople, etc. If it’s inconvenient for the necessary air staff to physically be in the room, allow them to phone into the meeting or make other arrangements to get the information they need.

Old Business

Start the meeting by reviewing the performance of your website over the last week. Think of this like a music meeting at a radio station that plays songs in current rotation. Just as you would spend time reviewing callout research, sales figures, airplay charts, Shazam, etc., do the same with your online analytics. Compile Google Analytics, email reports, social media metrics, etc., and put them together in a packet so everybody can review them together.

As you look over the data, ask yourself some questions:

  • How many people came to our website?
  • Where did they come from (social media, search engines, etc.)?
  • Which social networks drove the most traffic?
  • Which keywords drove the most traffic from search engines?
  • What content brought them to the site?
  • Which device types (desktop, tablet, mobile) did they use to come to the site?
  • What percentage of visitors “bounced” from the site (left without looking at a second page)?
  • How many people completed a goal on the site (signed up for the email list, entered a contest, etc.)?

After a few weeks, you will start to discover patterns and trends. Perhaps certain topics, such as food, sports, or video games, will perform better than others. Over time, you can use this information to guide your online strategy.

New Business

A Content Marketing strategy will enable you to attract listeners to your website. (This short video explains.) At the heart of this strategy, of course, is content. Use the second half of the weekly meeting to plan the specific content you’ll post to the site in the coming week. Again, this is similar to a music meeting, except instead of adding songs, you’ll be adding blogposts, podcasts, or videos – in short, digital content.

Decide who’s responsible for specific content creation to the site. Is there a promotion that needs to be added to the homepage? Are there concert photos that need to be uploaded? Is there a sporting event that somebody should blog about?

There are two tools that will help you here:

1. A Content Calendar

A Content Calendar is a spreadsheet that helps you dole out web assignments to the staff. Don’t try to keep track of all the blog assignments by email; you’ll waste a lot of time digging through your inbox. Instead, create a Content Calendar as a Google spreadsheet, and share it with all of your online content creators. This way they can log in anytime and quickly see what’s going on with the website.

I have created a Content Calendar template that you can use for your station. If you would like a copy, please email me.

2. A List of Blog Topic Formulas

There’s nothing worse than being told you have to write a blogpost and not knowing what to write about. You can help your staff avoid writer’s block by having a list of sure-fire topics to fall back on, from album reviews to interviews with local celebrities to a list of things to do this weekend.

Feel free to email me for a list of blog topic formulas. Adapt this list to suit your station’s audience and use it as you fill out the Content Calendar. This will make it easier for your station to produce content on a regular basis.

You can’t pull together a successful online strategy overnight. It takes a lot of work over an extended period of time. But every journey starts with a single first step. Your first step is to set up weekly website meetings.

I’m excited about the year ahead for digital, and I hope you are too.

Please reach out to me with questions, comments, and thoughts.

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

Editorial: Back to Basics

Back to Basics: Start the New Year off with a review of your most important elements – the basics.

BerkowitzBy: Gary Berkowitz, Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, Inc.

First and foremost, air check your jocks. PD’s are busier and multi-tasking more than ever, and this art seems to be falling in-between the cracks. There is no better way to build relationships and help jocks sound better than to close your door, turn off devices, listen to their show, and offer constructive feedback.

Sell the product. Many radio stations sell everything but their number one product: the music. Promote the quantity, quality, benefits, and DIFFERENCE of listening to your station. Remember the power of titles and artists. Listeners always rate this very high. If you think they know all the titles and artists, please re-think this.

Do not worry about liners burning out. Let them “BURN IN.” They need to be updated and freshened, but make sure you do not lose the focus in the process.

Be involved with the daily editing of the music log. Since music is #1, there is nobody more qualified than the PD to make sure that the music on target. Constantly look at songs to make sure they are rotating properly. Not only through the dayparts, but the hours as well. Lookout for “vertical rotation” problems. Delegating music editing to a less qualified person could cost valuable rating points. Remember with the music, safe, familiar, and smooth always wins in AC.

Make sure your station is not dull and boring. Jocks, jingles, sweepers, and promotions give you a great opportunity to keep your station alive and vibrant. Make this week the week to invent some new imaging.

Remember, personality is all about the way you sound, not in the amount of words you use. Take a tip from the PPM markets. Keep talk elements to the point, and always make sure they are delivered with sincerity in the jocks voice.

Review and improve your website. Is there a reason for listeners to visit you more than once? With marketing budgets at a premium, do all you can to maximize this free marketing tool.

Work on technical improvements now. Do not wait for the start of the spring book to work on your audio processing or any other technical issues. Check with the jocks and production people to see what needs repair.

Plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to plan research, promotions, or marketing programs. We all know the upcoming sweep dates. If you are planning music testing for the spring book, plan to have it on the air between 3-4 weeks prior to the books start.

Review Christmas now. While it’s still fresh, look back at how this Christmas season went. Take notes on improvements for next year. Make lists of songs you’ll need, and believe it or not, start working now on clock grids so they are ready next year.

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

Editorial: Reinventing Your Problem

Reinventing Your Problem: Change Your Attitude, Change Your Results

Jim MathisBy: Jim Mathis, Reinvention Nation™

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
– Charles R. Swindoll

As a new year begins, we often reflect on the choices we’ve made and vow not to repeat the bad ones. We spend years filled with regret about the bad decisions we have made. I’ve made some very bad decisions in my life. I tell myself that if I had some of those moments to live over again, believe me, I wouldn’t repeat them!

But those choices made me what I am today…

I am something of a control freak about certain situations. But I have learned that I cannot control everything. I can’t control my circumstances, but I can control my reactions to them. Brian Tracy says, “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”

We want to master change rather than have it master us. The best way to do this is to control our attitudes when we are involved in situations we have no control over.

I might have made some bad decisions, but even those choices brought me to the place I am today. For instance, transferring from one college to another in 1976 caused me to have different mentors and friends. Shortly thereafter I thought I had made a dumb choice. But the people I met in the new college influenced me to go in a different direction. I wondered if I had made a good or bad decision by not sticking to the plans I had prior to then.

I met some great people in the graduate school I selected, one of whom is still my best friend today. He helped me edit my first bestselling book, Reinvention Made Easy. Without him, the book wouldn’t have been a bestseller. So did I make a mistake by transferring schools over 40 years ago? Was it a dumb choice? Definitely not!

Every choice you have made has led you to where you are right now.

Let this thought sink in: Where you are right now is a direct result of… [PDF]

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