Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

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.