Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

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

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

With the holiday season upon us, we’re taking the opportunity to present some articles by Seth Resler that you may have missed. This one was originally published in the January 24, 2016 issue of MAB News Briefs.

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

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

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

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

Who Should Attend

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

Old Business

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

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

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

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

New Business

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

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

There are two tools that will help you here:

1. A Content Calendar

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

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

2. A List of Blog Topic Formulas

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use Pinterest and Thanksgiving Recipes to Drive Traffic to Your Radio Station’s Website

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

When it comes to social media, we encourage radio stations to focus the bulk of their time on Facebook, as it is far and away the most frequently used social network. While concerts and promotional appearances can offer great opportunities for radio stations to post photos with Instagram, we don’t spend much time talking about the photo-sharing site Pinterest.

However, Pinterest is a favorite tool among food bloggers, and as we approach Thanksgiving — a holiday that revolves around food — it’s a good opportunity for radio stations to find out why. Food bloggers who share recipes on their sites like to post mouth-watering photos of finished dishes to Pinterest. Along with the photo, they encourage people to visit their site for the recipe, and provide a clickable link.

jacobs1_110716

Pinterest is typically a better tool for driving people back to your website with photos than Instagram, because with Pinterest you can include a unique, clickable link with each photo; on Instagram, the only clickable link to your site is in the account profile, which few people read. Because of this difference, Pinterest is a much better way for “how to” bloggers to drive traffic back to their sites. Whether it’s a recipe, an outfit, or a DIY project, simply post a photo of the finished project on Pinterest and include a link back to a webpage with instructions.

jacobs2_110716
How Your Radio Station Can Use This Technique

Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for your airstaff to share their favorite holiday recipes with listeners. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Create a blogpost or webpage with the DJ’s recipe on it. For example, you might post DJ No Name’s Green Bean Casserole at wkrp.com/green-bean-casserole.
  2. Post a photo of the finished dish and post it to the radio station’s Pinterest account. Include a link to the recipe post with your pinned photo.
  3. You can also share the recipe on other social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter.
  4. If you compile recipes from every DJ on your staff, create a vanity URL for the recipe archive, such as wkrp.com/thanksgiving-recipes.
  5. Run a recorded promo or sweeper on the air encouraging listeners to visit that URL.

Keep an eye on your site’s Google Analytics data to see where the web traffic to your recipe page is coming from. If it’s “direct traffic” (meaning that people type the “wkrp.com/thanksgiving-recipes” URL directly into their browser), people are visiting the recipes because they heard about them on the air. Compare this to the number of people who visit these pages by way of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other channels. This will tell you where to focus your social media efforts. Does Pinterest perform better for food recipes that other content on your site? If so, are there other similar types of DIY content that your radio station can post on your site and promote using Pinterest?

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

Can Your Radio Station Generate Revenue with a Membership Website?

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

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

 prts8-sustaining-members-768x852

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

Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Using Webinars to Generate Sales Leads for Your Radio Station

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

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

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


Content Marketing with Webinars

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

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

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

More Lawsuits for Unauthorized Use of Photos – Even on Social Media Sites

David Oxenford - ColorBy: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
www.broadcastlawblog.com

In recent weeks, we have continued to see copyright lawsuits against broadcasters filed by photographers who allege that their photos have been used without permission. This spate of lawsuits has not been confined to filings against broadcast companies – even the Donald Trump campaign has reportedly been sued recently for his son’s tweet of a picture of a bowl of Skittles in his now-famous tweet comparing Syrian refugees to the candy treats. We have written about this issue before (see for instance our posts here and here), but what makes these issues worth writing about again is that several of the recent suits involve not just the unauthorized use of a photograph on a station’s website, but the use of photos in social media posts including tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook. Is this really an issue?

It certainly is a concern, especially for commercial businesses. As we have written before, just because someone posts a picture on the Internet, even on a social media or photo sharing site, does not give others the right to exploit that photo, especially on a digital site of a commercial business. Posting on a social media site may give the social media site owner the right to exploit posted content consistent with their terms of use, but the person who created the content does not give up their underlying copyright in any creative work to third parties. The Skittles suit represents an instance of a photographer using copyright law to enforce these rights, apparently as he did not agree with the political sentiment expressed by the tweet in which the photo was used. But not too long ago, there was significant publicity about a lawsuit, now reportedly settled, about a New Jersey newspaper suing a cable news network because one of its personalities used a well-known 9-11 photo from the paper as the profile picture on that personality’s Facebook page – without first securing permission. But, isn’t that what these social media sites are for – sharing content?

Yes – content can be shared, but it is usually content to which the person sharing it owns the rights (e.g. vacation photos) or arguably material that is used with some degree of commentary or criticism where a fair use defense is possible (see our post here on fair use). Generally, merely posting a link to another site (which may pull in a picture used on that other site as part of the display of the link) has been seen as permissible, but note that in Europe that may be changing especially on sites that post links to other’s sites as part of a business venture, such as a search site. Even here in the US, there have been cases where there has been a problem because one site posted too much of the content from another site in connection with the posting of the link to that site, as if you post all of the important points of someone else’s article on your site, it may eliminate the need for the viewer to click on the link to go to the other site where the content creator can get credit (with advertisers or others) for the viewer’s visit to their site. Given these sensitivities, it is clear that taking a picture and posting it on a business social media feed without permission is likely to raise the hackles of a copyright owner who discovers it – as it uses their creative work for no compensation whatsoever.

So what do you do? Take your own photos and use them on your sites and in your social media is one easy answer – and many broadcasters, including radio broadcasters, have tasked their employees with taking photos of station and community events that can build up a library of images for the station to use. Plus, there are many stock photo services where, for a reasonable monthly subscription fee, you can get the rights to a whole catalog of photographs to use on your business sites. A few dollars now to subscribe to one of these services can save lots of headache (and even more dollars) later on.

David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline.  Access information here. (Members only access).

There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your membership.

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.