Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

A Broadcaster’s Guide to Website Terminology

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

Stations Can Drive Email Registrations With Content, Not Just Contests

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

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

The problem?

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

Content That Converts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

iTunes
Google Play
Stitcher
RSS

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

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

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

But these emails should be short.

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

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

Here are five reasons why:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rethinking the Radio Station Promotions Kit for the Digital Age

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Many radio stations’ street teams have a standard kit that they take to promotional appearances which includes everything they might need on site. When I was a Program Director, we packed gray rubber tubs with everything from clipboards and entry forms to banners and prize wheels.

The purpose of these Promo Kits was simple: To provide the street team with ways to entertain listeners at events. But now that we’re in the digital age, the goals of our promotional appearances have changed, and our Promo Kits should evolve to reflect these new goals.

Here are the new goals of our street team appearances:

1. Create Compelling Content
In addition to entertaining people on-site, we now have the ability to use promotional appearances to create content that entertains people online. We can do this in a number of ways, but two of the most effective are by sharing photos or live-streaming video of the event. For this content to get a reaction online, it’s going to need to be visually compelling. We need toys and games that look good on camera.

When we reevaluate the promo kit through this lens, it becomes apparent that some of our old standbys are no longer up to the task (“Goodbye, prize wheel!”), while others still make the cut (“Great job, banner roll!”).

Moreover, we may need to add some new weapons to our arsenal. While the tiny thumb-wrestling ring may no longer meet our needs, large sumo wrestling suits, Chinese dragon costumes and oversized gongs may fit the bill. Additionally, you may need support equipment to create visual content, such as camera tripods or selfie sticks. At your next Promotions Department meeting, brainstorm a list of things you’ll need to produce compelling visual content at every on-site appearance.

2. Collecting Contact Info
On-site appearances are also a great place to collect contact info — either phone numbers or email addresses — from your listeners. Don’t use pen and paper to collect email address; somebody on your team will be stuck with the thankless job of entering all of that data into the computer, which is time-consuming and prone to errors. Collecting business cards has the same problem.

Instead, get a tablet with an iPad and install an app on it which allows people to type in their email addresses. The app should upload these email addresses directly to your database. Many email service providers offer an app for collecting data this way. You’ll also want a stand that allows you to lock the iPad to your table so nobody walks off with it. Some models cover the buttons on the tablet, preventing people from exiting the email collection app.

Text messages can be a great way to collect contact info because listeners usually have their phones on them. You can set up a service that allows them to sign up for your email newsletter by text message. When they send a keyword to a specific number (such as “WKRP” to 55555), they will receive a reply asking for their email address. When people respond to the opt-in message, they will be added to the database.

To enact a text messaging opt-in program like this, you’ll want to include a short explanatory phrase (e.g., “Get our email newsletter! Text WKRP to 55555.”) on your table skirt, your banners, your hand stamps, the back of your bumper stickers, etc. The more you promote it, the more you’ll grow your database.

Text messaging has presented issues for some broadcasting companies because trolls wait for broadcasters to run afoul of the law and then pounce. Always check with your legal team before adopting any course of action involving text messaging.

The Promo Kit has been a staple at radio stations for years, but it may be time to overhaul yours. For more digital strategies that you can incorporate into your radio station’s events, check out our recent webinar on the topic.  Watch the webinar here.

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

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

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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