Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

7 Common Mistakes Radio Stations Make With Their Email Marketing

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 can be an incredibly powerful tool for radio stations when executed correctly. Unfortunately, we see many radio stations making these mistakes with their email databases. Does yours?

1. Radio Stations Don’t Set and Meet Expectations
When you ask your listeners to subscribe to your email list, be sure to tell them what you’re going to send them and how often they should expect to receive it. Too many radio stations ask people to “Join our email list” without explaining what will happen when listeners sign up. Instead, use specific calls to action:

  • “Get our weekly concert calendar”
  • “Subscribe for daily morning show recaps”
  • “Sign up to receive the weekly playlist”

Once you set those expectations, make sure you deliver on your promise. Some radio stations seem to forget that they’re collecting email addresses. They don’t send anything out for months and only send out a blast when they are selling tickets to a station event. This is like your annoying friend who only calls when he needs something.

Be consistent with your email marketing. When you go long periods of time without emailing your database and then send an email seemingly out of nowhere, it confuses and annoys listeners.

2. Radio Stations Overload Them With Ads
The primary purpose of email marketing is to serve the recipients of the email. When you prioritize clients above listeners by crowding out compelling content with ads in your email blasts, you aren’t doing anybody any favors: It annoys your listeners and it doesn’t help your clients. When you email listeners, make sure you’re doing it because you have something to say that they want to hear. That goes for the advertisers in the email as well; make sure that the ads are relevant to the recipients so your emails don’t feel spammy.

3. Radio Stations Spend Time Writing Emails Instead of Web Content
Every radio station staff has too much to do and not enough time to do it. It’s important to allocate your staff’s time well. If your staff has to make hard choices about how much time they can spend writing, make sure they are writing content that lives on the station’s website, not email copy. Website content will attract more visitors to your site; it is indexed by search engines and it’s easier to share on social media than emails, so it should be the higher priority.

Instead, automate your email campaigns by using RSS-to-Email and Drip campaigns. This webinar will show you how. Doing this can save your staff a lot of time.

4. Radio Stations Don’t Send Emails to Targeted Segments
Only send people emails that are relevant to them. If a listeners lives in the South Bay don’t send them an email about a weekend street team appearance in the North Bay. They’re not going to come, and you’re clogging up their inbox. Collect data in your email database that allows you to send people only relevant information. For example, you may want to collect data about:

  • Residence Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Times They Listen

Use this data to tailor your email marketing campaigns.

Also, don’t assume that every listener wants to receive every email that you send. Some may want concert announcements, while others may wants the local music show playlist and others will want daily morning show recaps. Set up multiple email campaigns and allow listeners to opt into the ones that they want.

5. The Emails Are Too Long
Many radio stations produce email newsletters that contain a huge laundry list of content. The avalanche of information often buries the main call to action and if there even is one. Just as we tell our disc jockeys that there should be one idea per break, we should strive for emails that focus on a single concept. Each email should contain a single, obvious call to action: an obvious link that you want the recipient to click.

If you are automating your email marketing using RSS-to-Email campaigns, don’t include the text of your entire post in your email campaigns. Instead, include only an excerpt. Require people to click a link back to your website if they want to read the entire post. This will give you better data — email clicks are a better gauge of engagement than email opens — and increase your website traffic.

6. Radio Stations Don’t Review Their Metrics on a Regular Basis
Having an email service provider but never reviewing the data reports that it can provide is like having a radio station and never looking at the ratings to see if what you’re doing is working. Don’t allow the review of email metrics to be relegated to hallway conversations. Carve out time on a regular basis to review your email metrics. (I recommend that you set up a weekly web meeting.)

7. Radio Stations Focus Too Much on Making the Email Look Pretty
These days, email service providers make it easier than ever to make your email look good. The problem? It may not look that way in the recipient’s email client. Email programs are notorious for displaying the same HTML email differently. What looks good on Outlook may not look good in Gmail, Yahoo!, or Apple’s Mail. Instead of spending time putting every colorful pixel in its proper place, create an email template that’s simple and elegant and hard for an email client to screw up.

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

10 Pieces of Sales-Related Content That Should Be 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 I speak to radio broadcasters about pulling all of their different digital tools together into a coherent Content Market Strategy, I am usually talking to people in the programming department who want to reach more listeners. But Content Marketing is also an effective strategy for the radio sales team looking to generate more leads. This short video explains:

To generate leads, your radio station needs to create content. This content can take many forms: white papers, webinars, videos, blogposts, even events such as luncheons. In fact, once you create a piece of content, it’s easy to repurpose it in a number of different forms.

When conceptualizing content to generate sales leads, divide it into three categories:

    1. Early Stage Content: This is content aimed at potential clients who are just beginning to think about advertising, and haven’t even decided what mediums to use yet. They may not have a budget established at this point, so they may be doing their initial research.
    2. Mid-Stage Content: This content is created for potential clients who have decided that they are ready to advertise, and are now deciding what mediums to use and how much to spend on each. They’re still comparing radio, print, television, outdoor, and digital.
    3. Late Stage Content: This is content for advertisers that are close to signing on the dotted line. At this point, they’ve decided that they’re going to advertise on the radio and they’re just trying to figure out which stations to use. They may be evaluating different programs from different stations.

By watching which types of content people access, you can get a sense of where they are in the buying cycle. This lets you know how to best follow up with them.

But what should that content actually be? Here are ten ideas to get you started…

Early Stage:
1) Checklist: Is Your Business Ready to Advertise on the Radio?

2) Finding the Right Marketing Mix: Comparing the Advantages and Disadvantages at Different Advertising Mediums

Mid-Stage:
3) Radio Advertising 101: A Guide for Local Businesses

4) A Guide to Understanding the Nielsen Ratings

5) Beyond the Commercials: How to Create Effective Marketing Campaigns Using All the Tools That Radio Stations Have to Offer

6) How to Determine an Effective Budget for Radio Advertising

Late Stage:
7) Target Demographics: How to Choose the Right Radio Station to Reach Your Customers

8) 10 Questions to Ask Your Radio Salesperson

9) How to Write an Effective Radio Commercial

10) Common Mistakes Radio Advertisers Make (And How to Avoid Them)

Lead Generation Guide
For more information on how to create content to generate sales leads for your radio station, download our guide, How to Create Content That Generates Sales Leads.

Download the Guide

You may also want to watch our webinar on the topic.

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

5 Things to Remember When Repurposing Your Radio Station’s On-Air Content as Podcasts

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

For most commercial radio stations, the first step into the world of podcasting is to take their on-air content and publish it online as a podcast. Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s not just simply a matter of uploading a straight recording of a five-hour show. Here are some things to consider as you repackage your radio shows as podcasts:

1. Remove the Music
I’m not a lawyer, and you should always check with your own legal team, but I’m willing to bet that they’ll tell you that you have to strip out all of the songs you played on the air before posting your show online. At this point, there’s isn’t a license that easily allows for music by big artists to be included in podcasts. From time to time a podcaster finds a way around this problem, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.

2. Remove the Commercials
When it comes to podcasting, the expectations around commercials are different. Podcasts don’t have six-minute blocks of produced 60-second spots. Instead, they usually incorporate host-read sponsorships at the beginning and in the middle of the podcast. If you don’t adhere to the convention, you’re likely to turn off podcast listeners. If you want to monetize your podcasts, insert separate host-read spots that meet listener expectations.

3. Chunk it Up
Public radio is much farther ahead of commercial radio when it comes to podcasting in part because there’s less work involved in adapting their content for on-demand consumption. By and large, you can take an episode of Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! or Fresh Air and publish it as a podcast in its original state. Unfortunately, the same is not usually true of commercial radio. Even if you’ve got an all-talk morning show, simply publishing over four hours of audio on a daily basis isn’t a sufficient strategy. Yes, you should publish your morning show (sans music and commercials) in its entirety for die-hard fans, but you should also take the station’s interviews and benchmark features and edit them into specific podcasts.

4. Record Intros and Outros for the Podcast Versions
I have heard some radio stations “chunk up” features as podcast series, but neglect to properly set up these features for a podcast format at the beginning of each episode. The first 60 seconds of a podcast episode are crucial, as listeners will abandon the episode if they don’t understand what’s going on. Record a specific introduction for the podcast that tells people what the show is about, who you are and what happens in this episode. For example: “Hi, this is Johnny Fever from WKRP in Cincinnati. Every morning at 6:15, 7:15 and 8:15, we do our Morning Prank Call, where we call up a listener and, well … lie to them. Here are our prank calls from June 2nd, 2017…”

By the same token, record an outro for the end of each podcast episode: “Thanks for listening, I’m Johnny Fever. Remember, you can hear more prank calls every morning on WKRP at 6:15, 7:15 and 8:15. Or you can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you find podcasts. You can also find them in the WKRP mobile app. Catch you next time!”

5. Get Credit
If you want Nielsen to count any time-shifted radio listening towards your station’s PPM ratings, you’ll need to do two things: (1) Use audio that’s encoded for PPM and (2) Publish it online quickly — Nielsen only counts audio that is listened to within 24 hours of the original broadcast.

Guide to Podcasting
For more help with podcasting, check out our Guide to Podcasting for Radio Stations.

Get the Guide here.

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

Review These 8 Digital Places Where Listeners Interact With Your Station

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

Twelve years ago, when I was a radio station program director, my staff would huddle once a week for our “Music Meeting,” where we would decide what songs to add to, move up in or drop from rotation. We would compile a ton of data for this meeting, including airplay charts, callout research and concert calendars. But this data-driven approach bears little resemblance to how the average listener experienced music on our station.

So one day, I decided to take the staff out of the station. We piled into the car and drove to three different music stores to see what our listeners were experiencing when they went shopping for the songs they heard on the radio. Could they find the baby bands we were playing? How were the biggest artists represented in the shops? Was there a difference between the shopping experience at indie stores and big box chains?

The results were eye-opening. Often, we were championing artists on the air, only to find out that our efforts were being hindered on the ground. Sometimes, it’s useful to step out of the confines of our radio station offices and experience things the same way that our listeners do.

Today, technological changes mean that our listeners may experience our radio stations in any one of many different ways. When is the last time you examined the paths to your radio station with a fresh pair of eyes? If it’s been a while, take a moment to put yourself in a listener’s shoes and try approaching your radio station through each of these channels:

1. Website
Take a look at your radio station’s website on three different types of devices: a desktop computer, a tablet and a smartphone. Based on what you see, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Where is this station?
  2. What type of music does this station play?
  3. Who are the core artists on this station?

To fully understand how listeners are interacting with your radio station’s website, you’ll want to run a usability test.

2. Social Media
Take a look at your social media feeds with fresh eyes, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But don’t focus on your station’s page for each of these social networks. Instead, examine individual posts in isolation. After all, most people see these posts in their feeds, not on your page. Based on what you see, ask yourself:

  1. Does this post make sense without the context of the station’s website or social media page surrounding it?
  2. How does this post compare to others that might come up in a listener’s feed? How does it compare to other posts in your own feed? Is it as compelling as the other posts from your friends?

3. Search Engines
Listeners may come to your website after conducting a search in a search engine like Google. What will they see in the search engine results? To find out, you may first want to use a VPN to ensure that your search results are not colored by your browsing history. Then, conduct searches for popular terms that revolve around your website, such as:

  • Call letters
  • Morning show name
  • DJ names
  • Specialty show names
  • Names of signature concerts or events
  • Names of benchmark bits
  • “[Format] radio station in [City]”

Are the results that come up accurate? Do they link to the correct pages on your station’s website? Do the pages’ titles and descriptions support your branding? If not, you may need to optimize your website for search engines.

4. Mobile Apps
Before opening your radio station’s mobile apps, see how they appear in the Apple and Google app stores. Ask yourself:

  1. Are they easy to find when searching the app store by call letters, station name and morning show name?
  2. Is the description of the app compelling?
  3. How are the reviews for the app?
  4. Is the logo on the icon current? Is it clear and readable on the phone?

The best way to take a fresh look at your radio station’s mobile app is to run a usability test on it, just as you would for the station’s website. Be sure to test both the Apple and Android versions of your app.

5. TuneIn
Some listeners will access your radio station through the TuneIn mobile app. When’s the last time your opened up TuneIn to see how your station is represented there? Take a look.

6. Car Dashboards
How do listeners see your radio station when they’re in the car? That often depends on the type of car stereo they have. Try tuning in to your radio station in a car with a radio equipped with RDS, a dashboard running the Android Auto operating system and a dashboard running the Apple CarPlay operating system. Ask yourself:

  1. Is it easy to get to your station?
  2. How well is any additional data displayed in the dashboard?

7. Smart Speakers
As we’ve seen in our most recent Techsurvey, 11 percent of radio listeners now own smart speakers and the number is growing quickly. Have you tried to access your radio station on the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple Homepod? Test it out and ask yourself:

  1. What words can be used to pull up the radio station?
  2. Are there phrases that don’t work?

If you have developed special skills for your radio station, do all the commands work as they should?

8. Podcatchers
If your radio station produces podcasts, people may be accessing them in iTunes, Apple’s Podcasts app or other podcatchers (podcast listening apps). Try searching for your radio station in popular podcatchers, including:

  • iTunes (on a desktop computer)
  • Apple Podcasts app
  • Stitcher
  • Google Play Music
  • iHeartRadio

As broadcasters, it’s easy for us to get mentally stuck inside the confines of our own building. Every once and a while, it’s a good idea to step back and reevaluate how listeners are accessing our stations, and see if there are opportunities for improvement.

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

How to Reduce the Bounce Rate on Your 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

A website “bounce” happens when somebody comes to your station’s site and then leaves without navigating to another page on your site. Like radio tune-outs, bounces can happen for any number of reasons: people may have gotten what they needed from the webpage, they may not like what they see on the page or there may be an external factor that has nothing to do with the site. For example, they may have been viewing your site on their phone when they arrived at their bus stop, so they left.

Like radio tune-outs, the fewer bounces your website has, the better. You can track your bounce rate (the number of single page view visits divided by the total number of visits) in Google Analytics. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for a bounce rate of less than 50%. Lower is always better.

Here are six ways to reduce the bounce rate on your radio station’s website:

1. Include inline links to related content.

When people are reading one piece of content on your website, encourage them to visit related content. While many websites do this by including links to related content at the end of a blogpost, inserting them directly into the body of the post can improve your bounce rate even more. Politico does this very effectively:

Seth0324-1
2. Make sure your social media posts accurately reflect your content.

When people click a link to your content on social media, they have expectations about what they are going to see. If you violate those expectations, they will leave.

For example, if I see a post about Metallica’s upcoming tour in my Facebook feed, but clicking on the link takes me to a gluten-free cheesecake recipe, I am going to bounce. This is an extreme example, but sometimes we accidentally give people the wrong impression when we post to social media.

For example, if the blogpost was about all of the concert tours happening this summer, but didn’t mention Metallica until the seventh paragraph, people may be confused if the Facebook post implies that the content is all about Metallica.

Make sure that your content — especially the headline — is clearly related to the social media post used to share it.

3. Optimize content for search engines.

Likewise, when people click on links in the results in search engines like Google, they have expectations about what they will see. Be sure to optimize your blogpost correctly. Start by including keywords in the title, the URL and the body of your text. For example, if your blogpost is about Kanye West, include Kanye’s name in the post’s title. Avoid titles that are too vague.

4. Conduct a website usability test.

If your website is not easy to use, people will leave. Run a Website Usability Test to see how people interact with your site. In this test, you sit people down in front of your website and ask them to perform certain tasks while thinking out loud.

For example, you might ask them to enter a contest they heard about on the radio, find more information on the morning show or sign up for the station’s email list. This test will show you what people have trouble doing when they come to your website. Making changes based on the results can have a positive impact on your website’s bounce rate.

5. Optimize your site for mobile devices.

When you look at your Google Analytics, pay attention to the bounce rate across different types of devices: desktops, tablets and mobile. The bounce rate will almost always be higher on mobile devices because we are less likely to leisurely browse on our smartphones, but if it’s dramatically higher this could be a cause for concern.

If your website is not designed to look good on smartphone browsers (you’ve seen those sites — the ones that you have to pinch and zoom in on to read on a phone), then you’re probably driving visitors away. It’s also a good idea to run a usability test on the mobile version of your website in addition to the desktop version to make sure that it is just as easy to use.

6. Increase readability.

Another good way to decrease your website’s bounce rate is to make your content more readable. For many sites, this means reducing the grade level of the content by removing big vocabulary words and shortening sentences.

With radio station websites, however, it is often helpful to raise the grade level of the content. Make sure that the blog uses complete sentences that are grammatically correct. Avoid emoticons, excessive use of exclamation points and all caps. You can measure the grade level of a blogpost with this tool.

7. Tune up your site’s speed.

If it takes too long for your webpage to load, people will bail out. If you find that your site takes a long time to load and you have a high bounce rate, there could be a correlation. There are a number of ways to boost your site speed, from using a CDN to reducing plugins to cleaning up code; your webmaster can investigate these.

Do you know what the bounce rate is on your radio station’s website? If not, find out and decide whether or not it’s an issue that you need to address.

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

How to Use Twitter to Engage with Influencers in Your Radio Market

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 stations often think about using social media as a tool to reach listeners, but it’s also a great way to reach other leaders in your market who can in turn reach your listeners. We call these people “influencers” — the folks who have a large following of their own that overlaps with your station’s fanbase. They can help your radio station amplify its message and reach more people.

I’ve written about engaging with influencers before, especially as part of the launch of a new radio morning show. But I want to take a closer look at how you can use Twitter in particular to engage with these leaders in your community. While Facebook is a fantastic tool for engaging with your station’s audience at large, I find Twitter to be more effective with influencers.

Here’s a step-by-step process for doing so:

1. Identify key topic areas for your radio station.
Make a list of all the subjects that your listeners are interested in. This will vary based on your target demographic — Alternative music fans might like craft beer while Hot AC listeners may care about parenting — but here are some possibilities to jumpstart your thinking:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Beer
  • Cars
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Movies
  • Parenting
  • Pets
  • Restaurants
  • Science Fiction
  • Superheroes
  • Television
  • Video Games
  • Wine

2. Brainstorm a list of related influencers in your market.
Now that you’ve got a list of hot topics, it’s time to make a list of the people and organizations in your market who have a following related to those topics. Are there local automotive bloggers, parenting magazines, or restaurant associations? Here’s another list of possibilities to get you thinking:

  • Bands
  • Bloggers
  • Breweries
  • Chefs
  • Colleges and universities
  • Concert venues
  • Festivals and events
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Reporters and columnists
  • Television personalities
  • Theaters and performing art spaces
  • Trade organizations

3. Start a shared spreadsheet.
Okay, let’s get organized. Enter this list into a spreadsheet — preferably a shared file such as a GoogleDoc so that multiple staff members can access it. Add columns for all of the information you want to collect about these influencers, including:

  • Organization
  • Category (I like to quickly sort my influencer by the topic areas from step one, such as ‘Food’ or ‘Music’ or ‘Sports.’)
  • Website URL
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Job Title
  • Email Address
  • City (in case you want to target influencers by geography)
  • Contact Page URL (some websites ask you to fill out a contact form instead of providing an email address)
  • Facebook Page URL
  • Twitter URL
  • Instagram URL
  • YouTube Channel URL

You may want to install an extension for your web browser that allows you to quickly open multiple links. For example, I use the Bulk URL Opener extension on my Chrome browser. When I want to open the Twitter page of every ‘Sports’ influencer on my list, I sort it by category, select and copy the Twitter URLs, click the Bulk URL Opener button, and paste the URLs in. Boom! I have each influencer’s Twitter page open in a different browser tab.

4. Divide your influencers into Twitter lists.
Create a Twitter list for each category of influencers. To do this, first follow the influencer by clicking the ‘Follow’ button. Then, click the three small dots next to the ‘Follow’ button and select “Add or remove from lists” from the dropdown menu. You can add the influencer to an existing Twitter list or create a new one.

5. Follow these lists in a social media management app.
I recommend using a social media management app like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. These make it much easier to use social networks — especially Twitter.

I use Hootsuite to manage my social media. I create a tab for “Twitter Lists” and on that tab, I create a stream (column) for each of my lists. This allows me to quickly and easily scan the stream and see what all of my influencers are tweeting about.

For example, I am launching a new podcast about Detroit this fall. To get ready for that, I am following Detroit influencers on Twitter and dividing them into lists. Here is what those Twitter lists look like in Hootsuite:

 

 

 


6. Retweet the best tweets from these influencers.

On a daily basis, spend a few minutes perusing the lists in your social media management app. Look for the best tweets from your influencers and retweet them. These influencers will notice that you shared their tweets and it will build goodwill with them.

The advantage of dividing your influencers into lists by category is that this allows you to make sure that you are tweeting about the right topics in the right ratios. You don’t want to go overboard on ‘Science Fiction,’ or ignore ‘Sports.’ Having the lists in different columns can help you avoid these issues.

7. Use #FollowFriday to give your influencers a shoutout.
Follow Friday is a popular meme on Twitter. Every Friday, Twitter users show appreciation for other Twitter users by listing them in a tweet with the hashtag ‘#FollowFriday’ or ‘#FF.’ It’s a nice way to give a shoutout to others. Acknowledge your influencers with this hashtag and they’ll appreciate it.

8. Share your influencers’ content and tag them in the tweets.
If your influencers create content, such as columns, blogposts, videos or podcast episodes, share a link to that content over Twitter. Be sure to tag the influencer in your tweet by including their Twitter handle so they notice.

At Jacobs Media, I frequently share posts from Alan Cross’ wonderful blog, A Journal of Musical Things! When I do, I always include ‘@alancross‘ in the tweet because I want him to know that we’re giving him some love.

9. Share your radio station’s content and tag the relevant influencers in the tweets.
When sharing your radio station’s website content on Twitter, include the Twitter handle of the appropriate influencers in the tweet. Be careful not to tag influencers who aren’t relevant. When sharing your blogpost about last night’s Cage the Elephant show, you should tag the concert venue but not the quarterback of the college football team. Hopefully, they will retweet the station, passing your content along to their followers and increasing your website traffic.

When it comes to social media, don’t think of it as just a way to reach listeners. It’s also a great tool for connecting with other leaders in the community — especially on Twitter.

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

Submit Your Radio Station’s Podcast to These 6 Directories

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 spent this week surrounded by thousands of podcasters at the Podcast Movement conference in Anaheim. This year, Jacobs Media hosted a day full of sessions geared towards radio broadcasters: “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters.” It was great to see so many of our brethren show interest in the medium; two years ago I complained that hardly any radio broadcasters were present at the conference.

For radio stations looking to launch their first podcast, I’ve put together a guide. And if you’re still trying to come up with a concept for a show, here are some ideas.

But if you’ve recorded your first episode, you’re now ready to upload the audio file to a hosting company and submit your to directories around the web to ensure that listeners can find it.

Here’s how it works:

Hosts and Directories
You create create your episode as an MP3 audio file. Just as the files for your website live on a hosting platform like GoDaddy, your audio files will live on a podcast hosting platform like AudioBoom, Art19, Blubrry, Libsyn, Omny Studio, Spreaker, etc. (I don’t recommend SoundCloud.) Of course, people don’t go to GoDaddy to access your website files; they use a browser like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. By the same token, people don’t go to your hosting company to access your audio file; they use an app like Apple Podcasts, iTunes, PocketCasts, Overcast, etc. How do you get your audio file from your host into the thse apps? Through directories.

Your Podcast’s RSS Feed
When you first set up your podcast hosting company, you will be provided with an RSS feed. Think of this feed as a pipe. When you upload a new audio file to your host, it will be pushed down the pipe. Now you need to hook your pipe up to the directories so it goes to the right places.

When submitting your RSS feed to the different directories, it’s best to already have at least one audio file uploaded to your hosting service. Because it can take several days for a directory to approve the submission of your RSS feed, I recommend creating a short (less than 60 seconds) teaser instead of sing your first episode.

Once the feed has been approved by all of the directories, then you can publish your first episode and it will appear everywhere almost immediately. Using a teaser for the RSS submissions makes it much easier to coordinate the timing of your marketing efforts around the first episode of your podcast.

There are more podcast directories than just those listed below, but here are the major ones that you will want to submit to:

1. iTunes
Approximately two thirds of all podcast listening happens on iOS devices. This is primarily because Apple began shipping iPhones with a pre-installed Podcasts app with the introduction of iOS8 in 2014. If you only submit your podcast to one directory, it should be iTunes.

Here are instructions.

2. Google Play Music
According to this year’s Techsurvey13, 28% of North Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, while 48% have never listened to a podcast. Many of us in the podcasting space believe that podcast listening will see a huge jump when Google fully embraces the medium and starts shipping Android phones with a pre-installed podcasts app like Apple does. Unfortunately, there’s no telling when that may happen.

There was a glimmer of hope last year when Google incorporated podcasts into their Google Play Music app. While this app isn’t responsible for anywhere near the amount of listening as the Apple Podcasts app, you’ll want your podcast in it just in case Google suddenly decides to embrace podcasting.

Submit your podcast here.

3. Stitcher
When the Stitcher mobile app was acquired by Scripps in 2016, it was the second largest source of podcast listening behind Apple — though it was a very very very distant second. Take a few minutes to submit your RSS feed to the Stitcher directory.

Get more info here.

4. TuneIn
TuneIn’s bread and butter is streaming radio, not podcasts. But it’s the default app for the audio on the Amazon Echo, so if your listeners say “Alexa, play the WKRP podcast,” you’ll increase the chances of it being found if you’ve submitted your RSS feed to the TuneIn directory.

Submit your podcast here.

5. iHeartRadio
iHeartMedia got serious about podcasting when they hired Chris Peterson, a smart guy with experience at The Blaze, TuneIn, and in terrestrial radio. Chris, who was on our Executive Roundtable panel at this year’s Podcast Movement conference, is leading an effort to turn iHeartRadio into a directory that provides podcasters with analytics.

Submit your podcast here.

6. Spotify
Spotify has quietly been making moves that suggest it wants to become a player in the podcasting space. At the moment, submission to the Spotify directory doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get into the app, but it’s worth a try. Plus, you’ll want to be there if and when they do fully embrace podcasting.

Ask Spotify to consider your podcast here.

Also: Post a Direct Link to Your RSS Feed
It’s also wise to include a direct link to your podcast’s RSS feed on your website. This allows experienced podcast listeners to manually subscribe in the podcast app of their choice or in any other manner they choose.

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

This One WordPress Plugin Is Responsible for 16% of Our Website Pageviews

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 radio broadcasters, we don’t give much thought to recycling our content. The medium is fleeting; we do an on-air break, and then it disappears into the ether. Once we wrap up a show, we’re looking ahead to the next one.

But the internet gives us an opportunity to recycle evergreen content. People may still want to hear last year’s interview with Beyonce, Jim Gaffigan, or the local quarterback. By resurfacing that content — putting it back in front of our listeners — we can get more life out of it.

I’ve written about using automated email campaigns to recycle evergreen content, and how search engines like Google can also send people to your website content long after it’s been published. But social media can also be used for this purpose. We’ve seen that with our own blog.

When we relaunched the Jacobs Media website last year, I installed a WordPress plugin called “Revive Old Post.” It takes older blogposts that meet certain criteria and randomly reshares them on our social media accounts a few times a day. It recycles our content on autopilot; we don’t have to lift a finger.

When I first installed the plugin, Fred noticed right away. “Why is this post getting a bunch of views? I wrote it weeks ago!” he would say. Sure enough, some of our blogposts would see more traffic after getting reshared by the plugin than they did when they were initially published.

Earlier this week, I was reviewing our Google Analytics data and crunched some numbers. Since the launch of the new site, the Revive Old Post plugin has been responsible for about 16% of all of our pageviews. Simply installing a plugin that recycles older content has given our website a noticeable boost in traffic!

Your station should also develop a strategy to recycle content on social media. It could provide an easy traffic increase.

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

How to Add a Cover Video to Your Radio Station’s Facebook Page

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

This Spring, Facebook began experimenting with allowing users to add a cover video to their Facebook business pages. The feature is now available to all pages. To see an example, check out the Jacobs Media Facebook page.

Adding a video is simple: Navigate to your Facebook page, click the “Change Cover” link in the upper left corner of your cover photo and choose one of the video options. (You can find more detailed instructions here.)

The optimal dimensions for the video are 820 by 456 pixels and the video must be at least 820 by 312 pixels. If you are using a video editing program that doesn’t allow you to create a video with custom dimensions — my version of iMovie didn’t — don’t worry, you can drag an oversized video to the optimal position; it just takes some trial and error. (That’s actually the seventh incarnation of our cover video that you see on our page.)

The video must be between 20 and 90 seconds long. For our video, I looped a 9-second video to make it 27 seconds long, then uploaded it.

If you don’t have an experienced video producer on staff, you can always cheat the way I do: Create a Powerpoint slideshow with fancy transitions, export it as a movie file, import it into video editing program and add music and sound effects. You’d be surprised how far a couple of swooshes and a “Ken Burns Effect” can go!

As always, make sure you have the rights to any music or images you use in your cover video. You don’t want to run into any legal issues.

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

Social Media Is for Traffic Spurts; Google Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

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 ways to increase incoming traffic to their website content, they inevitably focus on social media. While social media is an important channel for driving people to your website, it’s only one of the channels available. Another equally (if not more) important channel is search engines — especially Google. Yet all too often radio stations overlook the importance of search engines.

There is a difference between the web traffic that comes from social media and the traffic that comes from search engines. In my experience, social media can result in erratic spikes when a blog post goes viral, but it’s difficult to predict or recreate. Search engine traffic, on the other hand, is steady and, over time, predictable.

On our website, Fred Jacobs writes a daily radio industry blog. From time to time, we invite guest authors to write a “Top 5” list for us. The feature, called “The Guest List,” has proven to be very popular. In fact, several of these guest posts have gone viral on social media immediately after being published.

But the Guest List post from morning DJ Sheri Lynch (WLNK/Charlotte) — one half the Bob & Sheri show — is different. In January, we published a column by Sheri titled, “The Top 5 Radio Topics That Get the Phones Ringing.” On the day it went live, it performed well. But then something unusual happened…

Several months later, Fred pointed out that the column was continuing to show up in our list of top posts. Every day, Sheri’s list would get several dozen pageviews. And to this day, while other posts come and go, Sheri’s shows remarkable consistency.

I dug a little deeper and discovered that the incoming web traffic for the post is coming from Google. People are searching for variations on “good phone topics for radio,” and Google is sending them to Sheri’s column.

While nobody knows exactly what Google’s search results algorithm is, we know it looks for signs that people like what they see when they click on a particular result (for example, a low bounce rate). Once Google determines that a particular piece of content does, in fact, do a good job of addressing people’s search queries, it continually sends people there. This is what is happening with Sheri’s post. Every day, Google sends more people to it.

Source: Google Analytics (Jan 1 – Aug 3, 2017)

Over time, that incoming traffic adds up. Sheri’s guest post is now our most popular blogpost for 2017 and our second most popular webpage behind our homepage. That trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

There’s a lesson in Sheri’s post: When you sit down to think about how you can drive more people to your radio station’s website, don’t focus solely on social media while forgetting about search engines. Social media can deliver a nice one-time boost, but for reliable traffic day in and day out, search engines are key.

You can find our Search Engine Optimization resources here.

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