Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

5 Ways to Help Radio DJs Avoid Writer’s Block When Blogging

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

When I talk to radio stations about their overall digital strategy, I use the framework of Content Marketing. Content Marketing begins, of course, with content. While videos and podcasts are wonderful forms of content for radio stations to produce, for most stations who are strapped for time and resources, launching a radio station blog is usually the easiest and most effective way to grow your website traffic.

Of course, somebody needs to write these blogposts, and most stations don’t have a cadre of journalists on staff, which means blogging duties are going to be doled out to folks — usually DJs — who already have a lot on their plate. In my experience, there are two types of on-air talent: those who are hungry to be multimedia personalities and are willing to write, create videos, host podcasts, and put their creative talents to any use they can in their efforts to become a star; and those who got into radio because they prefer talking to writing. For this latter group, blogging can seem like an unbearable chore, and it can be difficult to get them to produce the content your station needs to grow its web traffic.

I sympathize with this latter group. I made several attempts at launching a blog over the past fifteen years, and none of them stuck until I stared writing about digital strategies for radio stations. Just as it takes a while — often years — for a DJ to find their voice on the microphone, it can take a long time for a DJ to find their voice as a blogger. In fact, their on-air voice and their written voice may be very different. They certainly are for me. When I’m on the radio, I deadpan short, snarky breaks laced with pop culture references; when I write, I strive to be instructional and helpful.

Nonetheless, we now live in a multimedia age, and our most successful on-air talents are the ones who find ways to be kings and queens of all media. You don’t need to look any farther than iHeart Radio’s Bobby Bones, who just published a book and has made a slew of television appearances, including an upcoming stint on Dancing With the Stars.

But you’ve got to crawl before you dance, so let’s start with blogging. Every week, I have to write a blogpost, and the process inevitably consists of three hours of me banging my head against the wall, screaming, “What am I going to write about?!” Then, an idea pops into my head, and I sit down and knock out a blogpost in 20 minutes. The 20 minutes is not difficult. The three hours are excruciating. The worst part of blogging for me — and I suspect many others — is thinking of something to say.

So here are five ways that you can help your airstaff overcome writer’s block:

1. Brainstorm a list of blog topic formulas.
Blog topics formulas are simple turnkey topic ideas that can be used over and over again but produce a different blogpost each time. An easy example is, “5 Things to Do Around Town This Weekend.” You could use this formula 52 times a year and each time you would produce a compelling piece of content for your listeners.

Gather all of your blog contributors in a room and brainstorm a list of blog topic formulas. Here are some ideas to help you start. When you’re done compiling this list, publish it in a place where all of your writers can access it.

2. Let DJs write about the things they are passionate about.
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to write about things that you care about it. Find out what your on-air personalities are passionate about and allow them to blog about those topics. They often enjoy this outlet because these are topics that may be of interest to the audience, but don’t warrant a lot of on-air time. For example, you might have a morning show host who is really passionate about wrestling, or an afternoon jock who loves sharing recipes for healthy meals. If these topics fit with your station brand but are second or third tier subjects, let the jocks blog about them.

3. Crowdsource blogposts.
You may require your on-air talent to produce blogposts, but that doesn’t mean they actually have to do the writing. Allow your jocks to invite influencers in your market, such as local bands, chefs, or athletes, to contribute to the blog. This can be through written interviews, guest posts (see these examples), or by having multiple people contribute different answers to a question (here’s an example).

4. Share the website analytics with blog authors.
Employees like to see how their contributions are impacting the overall success of their organization. That’s why, when I was a program director, I believed in sharing the ratings with my airstaff. In fact, I always appreciated the jocks who came into my office to learn more about the ratings.

The same holds true for website analytics. Share them with your blog contributors. In particular, show them which blogposts are attracting the most website traffic. This information can be found in your website’s Google Analytics data. (Here’s a guide to Google Analytics for Radio Programmers.) The more they see that their efforts are having an impact, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about contributing. Moreover, when they see which blog topics are reacting with the audience — and which are not — it will give them guidance on selecting future topics.

5. Set the bar low and raise it slowly.
The fastest way to discourage reluctant writers is to set unrealistically aggressive goals. It takes time for on-air talent to make the transition to blogging, and they may not all adopt the practice at the same speed. Requiring your air talent to start writing daily blogposts tomorrow is only going to frustrate you and them. Instead, set a modest goal: one blogpost each week. When they’re able to hit that goal on a regular basis, gradually raise the bar: two blogposts per week, then two good blogposts per week, then three per week, etc. Most of all, be patient and supportive. This isn’t easy, and you won’t see success overnight.

Reducing writers block is one of the most important steps to take when launching or ramping up your radio station’s blog output. For more information on how your radio station can launch a blog, check out this guide.

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

Where is Your Radio Station’s Website Traffic Coming From?

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

Radio programmers should regularly review their website stats to gauge their performance. I encourage broadcasters to do this as part of a weekly web meeting. One of the most important source of stats to review is your Google Analytics data. Among other things, it will show you where people who visit your website are coming from.

Website traffic sources will be broadly grouped into these categories:

    • Direct Traffic: People who are typing your website’s URL directly into their browser. This is a bigger source of traffic for radio stations than companies in other industries because listeners hear the URL over the station’s airwaves so often. Radio stations that use a Content Marketing strategy to grow their website traffic will probably see direct traffic shrink as a percentage as other sources grow.
    • Organic Search: If people type something into a search engine like Google and your website comes back as a result, that is called an “organic search result.” When visitors come to your website after clicking one of these organic search results, Google labels the traffic as “Organic Search.” As you optimize your website for search engines and publish more content, you should see the amount of traffic from Organic Search increase. You may see a few pieces of content on your website that regularly produce organic search traffic. For example, this post by morning show personality Sheri Lynch regularly produces Organic Search traffic on our website.
    • Paid Search: Organic Search traffic is different than Paid Search traffic. If you are paying to advertise your website in search engines (such as through Google AdWords), you may get traffic when people click on one of these paid advertisements. Most radio stations don’t run paid search ad campaigns on a regular basis.
    • Social Media: People who come to your website through a link on a social network like Facebook or Twitter are lumped under the “Social Media” heading. You’ll want to drill down and see which networks are providing the most traffic. In all likelihood, Facebook will be the biggest source of traffic by far, but you may be surprised to see Twitter outperform Instagram. Are LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, or other social networks a significant source of website traffic for your station?
    • Referral: People who come to your website through a link on another website, such as a blog or news site, are called “Referral Traffic.” If your station has a link on a highly trafficked website — for example, if the local newspaper publishes an article about your station and includes a link to your website — than you may see a significant source of referral traffic.
    • Email: If you capture the email addresses of website visitors and regularly send out email campaigns that drive people back to your site, email may be a significant source of traffic.

Google Analytics can show you your website traffic sources as a percentage in a pie graph, but these can shift over time. If your overall website traffic is increasing, the percentage of one traffic source might go down simply because another source is growing at a faster rate. So it’s a good idea to look at the raw visitor numbers, not just the percentages.

If you haven’t looked at your Google Analytics data in a while, take a peek and see how people are getting to your radio station’s website.

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

10 Things to Include in Your Radio Station’s Electronic Press Kit

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

If your radio station would like to get press coverage — and what station wouldn’t? — it’s a good idea to put together an electronic press kit (EPK). An EPK is a collection of digital resources that make it easy for journalists and others in the media to publish a story on a particular subject. We often associate EPKs with musical artists, but it’s a good idea for radio stations to create them as well.

Here’s what to include in your radio station’s electronic press kit:

    1. Logos: Include color and black and white logos, both high resolution (300 dots per inch) for print and low resolution (72 dots per inch) for the web.
    2. Station Description: Include a boilerplate paragraph about the radio station. This is probably the same paragraph that you include at the end of your station’s press releases. You may want to create different paragraphs for different audiences. For example, the local arts and entertainment paper may require a different description than the local business journal.
    3. Bios and Headshots of Key Staff Members: If a journalist wants to write about one of your airstaff members, make it easy for them. Include photos of your morning show personalities separately and together as a team. Remember to make both high and low resolution photos available.
    4. Descriptions of Key Shows: Include short descriptions of key shows, including the morning show and any specialty shows that you air.
    5. Descriptions and Photos of Signature Events: Include photos and short descriptions of signature events, such as annual concerts or fundraisers.
    6. Publicity Photos: Include a few general radio station photos, including promotional appearances, famous artist interviews and in-studio action shots.
    7. Fact Sheet: Compile a list of key facts about the radio station, including its ratings, revenue numbers and years in business.
    8. Important Links: Make it easy for journalists to link to appropriate webpages by including a list of important links, such as your station’s homepage, social media pages and webpages for key shows, on-air personalities and events.
    9. Highlight Video and Aircheck Reels: Many outlets like to take advantage of multimedia, so if you have a short video that shows off the radio station or audio files of DJ airchecks, make them available.
    10. Press Clippings and Testimonials: If people are saying good things about your radio station, let the world know. Include links to any press about the station, as well as testimonials from clients, artists, local community leaders and important figures in the music industry.

Once you’ve assembled all of the above onto a single webpage, include a link to this page in your website footer. It’s up to you whether you want to require a password to access the EPK. Be sure to include a link to your station’s EPK in all press releases that you send out, and periodically review it to see if it needs to be updated. By compiling all of these materials together, you’ll make it much easier for journalists to cover your radio station.

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

Where to Use Technology-Based Redirects on Your Radio Station’s Website

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

When listeners come to your radio station’s website, you want to steer them toward specific goals, such as signing up for an email list or streaming the station. Often, the most effective way to steer them towards a goal is by removing less important options. Of course, sometimes the path you want to steer a person down may depend upon the device they are using to access your website. For example, you may want people on desktop computers to go somewhere different than people on mobile devices; or, you may want to send Apple and Android users to different destinations.

Fortunately, it’s possible to create technology-based redirects. These are links that send different people to different places depending on the technology that they are using to access your website. This can declutter your website by combining multiple links into a single call to action. Technology-based redirects can be set up through programming code, a WordPress plugin like Pretty Links Pro, or a website like App.url.

Here are some places on your radio station’s website where you might want to use technology-based redirects:

1. The Mobile App
When you create a link to download your radio station’s mobile app, it’s a good idea to send visitors to the appropriate app store on their phones. This means you’ll need one link for people who are on iOS, one link for people who are on Android, links for people who are on Windows or Blackberry phones (if you have a mobile app that supports them), and a link for people who are on none of the above (such as visitors on a desktop computer). A technology-based redirect allows you to create one “Download Our App” button instead of multiple “Download our App for _____ Phones” links.

2. Podcasts
Now that Google has followed Apple’s lead and introduced a (mostly) native Podcasts app, you can create direct links to your radio station’s podcasts in a podcast player on both iOS and Android phones. This means it’s possible to create a simple “Listen Now” button instead of a laundry list of links to the podcast in different apps. Here are instructions for doing so.

3. Contest Forms
Sometimes, you don’t want to send people to different destinations based on their operating system, but rather on the type of device that they’re using — a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. For example, when you are asking people to fill out a form, the type of device they are on makes a big difference. People who are using their phone while waiting in line for a latte at Starbucks are far less likely to fill out a long form that people sitting at a desktop computer at work. You could redirect people to two different versions on an entry form for the same contest — one long and one short — depending on the type of device they are using to maximize the number of people who will enter.

We do this on our website. For example, if you go to one of our webinar recordings, you will be asked to fill out a form before watching it. The length of that form depends on the type of device you use. Technology-based redirects are one way to direct people to different forms depending on their device.

By using technology-based redirects to combine multiple links into a single call to action, you radio station can increase the number of website visitors that take the actions that matter to you most.

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

Using Interviews to Create Content for Your Radio Station’s Blog

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

At the heart of any successful online strategy is content. But most radio stations find themselves with staffs that don’t have an abundance of time to blog. Fortunately, there are a few shortcuts for generating quality blog content. One of them is to publish written interviews. Here’s how:

1. Make a list of appropriate topic areas for your radio station.
What are your listeners interested in? Make a list. For example, if you have a rock station that targets 28-to-34-year-old men, those topics might include:

  • Beer
  • Cars
  • Movies
  • Sports
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Etc.

On the other hand, if your station targets 25-to-54-year-old women, you might be looking at a list that includes parenting, clothing, wine and cocktails, etc.

2. Brainstorm a list of influencers in the market related to these topics.
An influencer is somebody who has a following of their own. This following could be a television audience, a readership, a social media following or an email list. The hope is that if you interview them on your station’s website, they will share a link to the post with their following, and drive traffic to it. Keep in mind, influencers can be individuals or organizations.

For example, your list of influencers might include:

  • The local paper’s restaurant critic
  • The singer of a popular local band
  • The local food and arts festival
  • A local brewery
  • The quarterback for the college football team

3. Using an email template, send them an invitation to be interviewed.
Reach out to these people and organizations and ask them if they would like to be interviewed for your radio station’s website. You can speed up this process by creating email templates. Depending on the email program you use, you may be able to save email templates (or install an extension that allows you to save email templates) so they can be easily used over and over again. Or, simply save the email copy in a document and copy and paste it into your emails.

I find it best to use two email templates. The first is a very short introduction. For example, it might say:

“Hello, my name is Johnny Fever from 108.8 WKRP. We love the work that you do and we’d like to highlight it in a written Q&A on our website. You can see a past example of this type of interview at wkrp.com/past-interview. If you’d be interested, please let me know and I’ll send you more details.”

If people respond to this email (not all of them will), follow up with a second email that contains five to ten questions. For example:

“Great, we’d love to feature you! Please answer the questions below. Also, please send us a headshot, a logo from your organization, a two-sentence bio, and any links you’d like us to include. Here are the questions…”

I often “overwrite” the questions and then shorten them before publishing the interview. This way, I avoid short boring answers. For example, I might email, “Tell us how you got started. Who were your early influences? When did you first know that this was what you wanted to do?” But in the published interview, I’ll shorten it to, “Tell us how you got started.”

4. Publish the interview.
When the interviewee sends answers back, paste them into a blogpost, format it correctly and publish it. Share it on social media — not just on your station’s social media accounts, but also in any relevant discussion groups. For example, if you interview the lead singer of a Detroit band, share a link in the “Detroit Musicians” Facebook group. Be sure to tag the person or organization in these posts.

Finally, email a link to the post to the interviewee and encourage them to share it on social media. (Use a third saved email template to make this easier.) Hopefully, they will share it with their following and the post will go viral.

Interviews are an easy way to generate content for your radio station’s blog. If you’d like more content ideas, check out this list of sure-fire blog topics.

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

9 Places Radio Stations Should Display Their Social Media Handles

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

We’ve known for years that social media can be a powerful channel for radio stations looking to connect with their audiences. One key to growing your social media fanbase is to simply ask your listeners to follow you. Most stations are adept at doing this on their airwaves with a combination of live solicits and production elements. But are you also asking your listeners to follow you on social media in print? Here’s an checklist of places where your station can display its social media handles:

1. Station Vehicle: Next time you wrap the van, be sure to include your social media handles on both sides and the rear.

2. Banners: Include your station’s social media handles on the standard banners that you bring to every run-of-the-mill street team appearance as well as specialized banners, such as stage backdrops for your station’s big concert.

3. Pop-Up Tents.

4. Wristbands, Tickets, and Hand Stamps: If your station hosts events such as concerts, use entry as opportunity to promote your social media presence.

5. Clothing: Got merch? Include a small “@WKRP” on the shirt sleeves or the back of the hats.

6. Stickers: Include your station’s social media handles on the sticker itself or on the peel-off backing.

7. Email Signature: Create a standardized email signature for everybody in your station to use. Include links to all of your station’s social media accounts.

8. Business Cards.

9. Station Letterhead.

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

Humblebrags: The Key to Getting Shared and Retweeted

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

When it comes to social media, there are lots of data points that we can measure: likes, comments, clicks, shares, retweets, etc. There’s a tendency to lump all of these stats together under the heading of “engagement,” and say, “more engagement is good.” But this oversimplifies the role of social media in our radio stations’ digital strategies.

Key Social Media Stat #1: Incoming Traffic
When it comes to social media, the single most important statistic to track won’t be found in your Facebook or Twitter dashboards; it’s found in your Google Analytics: How many unique visitors came to your website from each social network?

Why is this the most important stat? Because once people are on your website, only then can you encourage them to take an action — such as sign up for the email list or stream the station — that will impact your bottom line. Don’t get me wrong; it’s great if people like, favorite, comment or reply to your posts, but that’s not going to bring more revenue in, so it’s not the top priority.

How do you use social media to drive traffic back to your website? You create original content, such as blogposts or photos, and share them on social media. It’s fine to also share other people’s content on social media, but if your station is only sharing other people’s content, your digital strategy will not bear much fruit in the long run. (Here’s a guide to finding the right mix of station content and other people’s content to share.)

In other words, the key to driving traffic back to your site is to publish Facebook posts and tweets with links back to your compelling content.

Key Social Media Stat #2: Shares & Retweets
But what really moves the needle is when other people or organizations pass the link to your content on their followers. We want them to share your post on Facebook or retweet your tweet. This is what we mean when we say something goes “viral.” In other words, the next important data point to look at when it comes to social media is shares and retweets — not likes, comments or favorites.

(Note that Instagram does not provide an equivalent way to share or retweet a posting. In fact, Instagram is not a particularly good channel for driving traffic back to your website, which is why I think it deserves less attention in your station’s overall digital strategy.)

So, how do you get people to share or retweet your station’s posts?

It’s all in the writing.

Socially Acceptable Humblebragging
A “humblebrag” is the act of trying “to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a phony show of humility.” Here are some examples:


Retweeting or sharing a post is essentially a socially acceptable way to humblebrag. If I were to tweet, “Seth Resler is soooooo awesome!” I would appear conceited. But if I were to retweet John Doe saying, “Seth Resler is the coolest guy on the planet!” it would be socially acceptable; it’s perceived as me offering thanks for the compliment rather than bragging about myself.

If you want people to reshare/retweet your posts, the key is to say something complimentary about them that they would be reluctant to say about themselves. Then tag them in the post and include a link back to your website:

  • “We raved about the fantastic donuts at @DetroitCoffee on our show this morning! Here’s the recording: [LINK]”
  • “@StLouisLocalBand has a killer new album out this week! We reviewed it here: [LINK]”
  • “The party was off the chain at @AtlantaNightclub last night! We’ve got photos here: [LINK]”

Two important details to pay attention to:

  • The verbs you use in your social media posts have a big impact. It’s much stronger to “rave” about something thanit is to “mention” it. Passionate verbs increase the chances that your posts will be shared. It’s helpful to brainstorm a list of powerful verbs to use when posting on social media.
  • When looking for people or organizations to tag in your social media posts, pay attention to the number of followers that they have. If somebody who only has 100 followers retweets your station, it’s not going to drive a lot of traffic back to your website, whereas somebody with 100,000 followers probably will.

There’s an art to writing social media posts that get shared. Take the time to craft well-written posts, and you should see a noticeable impact on your station’s website traffic.

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

Are You Squandering Your Radio Station Website’s Potential to Build Cume?

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

In radio, there are two ways to grow your ratings: Attract new listeners, or get your existing listeners to listen to the station longer. In industry jargon, you can build the cumulative audience (cume) or increase the time spent listening (TSL).

The conventional wisdom is that it is easier and less expensive to focus on getting existing listeners to listen longer. You can entice listeners to stick around to hear their favorite song, a clever morning show bit, or a compelling contest without breaking the bank. Attracting new listeners, on the other hand, is more difficult. You have to go get listeners that you don’t already reach through your airwaves and convince them to tune in. Historically, this has required paid advertising through billboards, television ads, etc. — things that few stations have large budgets for these days. It is also possible to build cume through unpaid earned media — such as the press coverage a station might get for a morning show stunt or a charity event — but this can be unpredictable.

Which is why a radio station’s website can be so valuable. If people who are not current listeners find your station’s online content on social media or in search engine results, they can click through to the station’s website, and discover the radio station. This is how a Content Marketing strategy works:

As a cume-building tool, Content Marketing can be far more cost-effective than traditional advertising…if your station’s website is set up for it.

Unfortunately, many radio station websites are geared towards existing listeners to the exclusion of newbies. This happens because we’re so familiar with the details of our own station, when we sit down to create our websites, we tend to forget that other people may not have the same level of familiarity. But if we’re not conscious of the fact that non-listeners may come to our sites, we could miss out on the opportunity to build cume.

The most common example of this is radio stations that use proper nouns in their website menus. For example, a radio station website menu may include a link labeled, “Fidget and Kim.” Fans of your station may know that Fidget and Kim are the morning show hosts, but others will not. Re-labeling the link “The Fidget and Kim Morning Show” will give these people more context. This issue can pop up all over a radio station’s website: with the names of contests, concerts, specialty shows, benchmark features, and e-mail clubs. Often, adding an extra word or two will make your website far more accessible to the masses.

This issue can crop up again when it comes to the order in which items are presented on the menu of a radio station website. To a P1 listener, it may make perfect sense why the DJs are listed in this order:

  • Johnny Fever
  • Les Nessman
  • Venus Flytra

After all, this is the order of their airshifts on the station. But to the uninitiated, this order makes little sense. It would be helpful to point this order in the menu so it makes sense:

  • Mornings: Johnny Fever
  • Middays: Les Nessman
  • Nights: Venus Flytrap

Sometimes, a radio station’s website can alienate potential listeners not because of what it says, but because of what it omits. For example, does the homepage make it clear what kind of music the station plays? Or is this crowded out by a slideshow? When you go to the morning show’s page, is there a blurb or introductory video explaining what the show is all about? Or does the page assume that visitors already know?

Take some time to review your radio station’s website with a fresh pair of eyes. Pretend you’re somebody who just moved to town, happened to click on a link on Facebook, and you’ve stumbled onto the site for the first time. Is this website welcoming to somebody who’s not already acquainted with the station, or does it presume a certain level of familiarity? (If you want to take this exercise a step further, a Website Usability Test is an excellent way to see how people interact with your site.)

Make sure that you’re not squandering the opportunity to use your website to grow the radio station’s ratings.

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

How to Fix Radio Station Blogposts That Don’t Look Right When You Share Them on Facebook

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

When describing the role that social networks like Facebook play in a radio station’s digital strategy, I often compare them to billboards by the side of the highway. Your station advertises on billboards in the hope that people will see those billboards and tune in. By the same token, your radio station should share content on Facebook in the hopes that people will click on it and come back to the station website. (For more explanation, watch this short video on Content Marketing strategy.)

Of course, it takes an eye-catching billboard to convince people to tune in. And it takes eye-catching content to convince people to click through to your website. That’s why, if you’re going through all the trouble of creating great content, it’s useful to use a tool like the Yoast WordPress plugin to control what people see when your content is shared on social media. In addition to controlling your content’s presence in Google’s search results, the Yoast plugin also allows you to determine the headline, description, and image used when your content is shared on Facebook or Twitter.

Of course, every once and a while I blow it with this plugin. Sometimes, I forget to configure the Yoast settings before publishing a blogpost. Other times, I configure them but misspell a word or make another mistake. I usually don’t realize this until I’m proactively sharing our content on social media. I’ll often notice my mistake as I’m drafting a post on Facebook.

What do you do when you want to share your content on social media, but the content doesn’t look right in the post preview?

Fortunately, Facebook has a tool designed for situations like these. It’s called the Facebook Sharing Debugger tool. Here’s how it works: Enter a URL, and Facebook will show you what it saw when it scraped that link. If you don’t like what Facebook sees, you can manually force Facebook to re-scrape the URL.

For example, let’s say I wrote a blogpost called “10 Things You Should Know About Katy Perry’s “Roar,” but when I configured the Yoast plugin settings, I accidentally mistyped and told Facebook that the title of the blogpost was, “10 Things You Should Know About Katy Perry’s “Rear.” This could be extremely embarrassing! Fortunately, as I try to share the link on Facebook, I notice the mistake in the post preview. So I go back to my WordPress post and correct the Yoast settings.

But how can I make sure that Facebook notices my corrections? All I have to do is go to the Facebook Sharing Debugger, enter the URL to the blogpost and click the ‘Debug’ button. Then, when the preview comes up, click the ‘Scrape Again’ button. Ta-da! Facebook picks up on my changes, and Katy Perry and I have been spared from an awkward moment at our next meet-and-greet.

If you are prone to make mistakes with your website content as often as I am, the Facebook Sharing Debugger tool can be a lifesaver. Bookmark it in your browser, use it when you make mistakes, and you could see an uptick in your website traffic.

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

How to Subscribe to Podcasts on Your Android Phone

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

The podcasting world is abuzz over a five-part interview with Zack Reneau-Weeden, Google’s Podcasts Product Manager, that was published recently. For years, podcasts have primarily been an iOS medium, with around five times as many downloads happening on Apple devices as Android devices. This is largely attributed to the fact that when you buy an iOS device, there is already a Podcasts app pre-installed. On Android devices, you have to go to the app store and download an app to play podcasts. That extra step results in a huge disparity between Android and iOS podcast listening.

According to our just released 2018 Techsurvey results, only 24% of radio listeners listen to podcasts weekly or more often. In fact, 45% never listen to podcasts at all. Many in the podcasting space, including me, believe that the key to unlocking podcasting’s growth will not be content — a hit podcast like Serial, for example — but rather a technological development. Namely, that Google will start shipping Android devices with a podcast app already installed on it.

Google came a little closer to this goal when they started including podcasts in their native Google Play Music app in 2016. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to an explosion of podcast listening on Android devices because not many people knew podcasts were available in the app. In reality, this step only caught Google up to Apple circa early 2012, back when Apple was still including podcasts in iTunes. Podcasting didn’t see a significant lift until 2014 when, with the introduction of iOS8, Apple started pre-installing its stand-alone Podcasts app on all of its devices.

The excitement around the recent interview with Reneau-Weeden comes from Google’s first public recognition that it could have a significant impact on podcast listening. “Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years,” he declared. Many of us have been saying that for a long time, so it’s encouraging to finally hear it from the mouth of a Google representative. Reneau-Weeden then lays out Google’s vision for podcasting. What’s interesting about this vision is that it will not merely copy what Apple has done — which would probably be enough to double podcast listening by itself — but rather, it will attempt to marry podcasting to the company’s core strength: Search.

Many of the pieces of this vision are already in place. So let’s take a closer look at how you can now discover podcasts on an Android phone:

1. Open up the Chrome mobile browser and search for a podcast in Google.
Here, I have searched for my podcast, The D Brief, on my Samsung Galaxy S8. You can see that the results are formatted specifically for a podcast: It offers a description, the ability to play the three most recent episodes, and a link to “More episodes.”

2. Click on “More episodes” to get to the podcast page.
By clicking on “More episodes,” I am taken to a new page that includes podcast artwork and, more importantly, a button that allows me to “Subscribe” to the podcast.

3. Click “Subscribe” and the Podcasts app will open with the podcast in it.
By clicking the “Subscribe” button, I am now taken to the Podcasts app, where I can find all of the podcasts that I have subscribed to. Interestingly, there is also a “Top Podcasts” section in the app (here featuring Joe Rogan and NPR). This may eventually rival Apple’s “New and Noteworthy” section in terms of importance in podcast discovery.


4. A Podcasts app has now been added to my Android home screen.
I did not have to go to the Android app store to install this app. It was there as soon as I subscribed to my first podcast from the search results in Chrome.


What is less clear at this point is whether or not, in the future, Google will make this app visible on all home screens from the start. In other words, will it appear as a pre-installed app in the same way that the Podcasts app does on iOS devices? Doing so may be the key to truly doubling the number of podcast listeners out there. However, the fact that Google has a dedicated team embracing podcasts is taken by everybody in the community as a positive sign that we could see more growth in the medium soon.

You can read the interview with Google’s Zach Reneau-Weeden here:  Part 1 · Part 2 · Part 3 · Part 4 · Part 5

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