Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

Here’s What I Look for When I First Look at a 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

From time to time, Fred Jacobs pops into my office and asks me to take a quick look at a radio station’s website to see what I think. When I’m doing a five-minute diagnosis of a website, here’s what I look for:

1. Is it built in WordPress?
I always start by pulling up the station’s website and taking a look under the hood. In my Google Chrome browser, I go to View > Developer > View Source. This allows me to see the HTML code for the website. I search the page for “wp-.” If the site is built in WordPress, there will be multiple instances of “wp-.”

A radio station website doesn’t need to be built in the WordPress platform to succeed, but it does need to be built in a Content Management System (CMS) platform. A CMS makes it easy for radio stations to consistently publish new content. WordPress just happens to be the most popular CMS platform.

2. Does it have Google Analytics installed?
While I’m poking around the HTML, I also search the page for “ua-.” If I come across some code that looks like this…

<!– Global site tag (gtag.js) – Google Analytics –>
<script async src=”https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-XXXXXXX-X”></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag(‘js’, new Date());

gtag(‘config’, ‘UA-XXXXXXX-X’);
</script>

… then I know that the site has Google Analytics installed on it. This is a good sign — it means that the station has the ability to collect data about how visitors are using the website. Of course, whether anybody is actually looking at that data or not is a separate question.

3. Do they publish original content on a regular basis?
Next, is the radio station creating original content on a regular basis? Sometimes, the homepage will have a blog or news section on it; sometimes, I’ll have to search through the main menu to find it. If I find a blog or news section, I check to see whether they are creating original content on a local level or simply importing it from a national service. I also check to see how often new posts are published. And I take a quick look to see how good the content is: Are the headlines well written? Is there just an embedded video or audio file with no text description?

4. Is it obvious where this radio station is and what they play?
One of the best ways to see how good your station’s website performs is to run a usability test on it. At this point, I’ve run usability tests on enough radio station websites that I know some common issues to look out for.

One common issue is that the website does not make it clear where the radio station is, what type of programming the station airs, or even that it’s a radio station at all. When somebody tunes in to your station on the radio, of course they know what city it’s in — they’re in the same city!

But website visitors can come to your website from anywhere in the world. Often, they come by clicking on a link found on social media or in search engine results. So don’t assume that people who come to your website know what the radio station is all about. The homepage — especially the header — needs to make it very clear.

5. Is the language in the menu clear?
Another common issue that shows up in website usability tests is vague or confusing language in the main menu. For example, some stations will use the term “On Air” when they should use “DJs” (after all, aren’t the commercials and the music also “on air”?). Others will have a link for “Concerts” and another link for “Events” (aren’t concerts also events?).

Here are some common menu mistakes that I look for.

6. Are there clear calls to action?
The most important question you can ask when it comes to your radio station’s digital strategy is this: “When people come to our website, what do we want them to do?” I can usually tell if a station has asked this question just by looking at the site. Sometimes, they will be driving me to clear call to action, such as a big red “Listen Now” button or an email newsletter registration form.

Unfortunately, most radio station websites don’t steer me towards a few clear actions. Instead, they are cluttered with too much content, too many links, and too many choices. This is a sign that even if a radio station’s website is good at attracting visitors, it’s not very good at converting them. The station needs to set clear website goals.

By asking these questions, I can usually get a good sense of how a radio station’s website is performing. Yes, I always want to spend more time diving deeper into analytics before making a complete diagnosis, but this will do in a pinch.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

How to Create Square Videos for Social Media

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 your radio station posts short videos to social media, it’s often a good idea to make those videos square, not the typical widescreen resolution of 1280×720. Not only does Instagram use square videos, but they’re also better for Facebook because the ratio allows the video to appear larger on the screen of a mobile phone.

Some apps, especially those designed for smartphones, allow you to easily produce videos as a square. However, sometimes you’ll find yourself in a situation where your app doesn’t allow this. For example, I created this short Jacobs Media video in iMovie on an iMac:

I created this video by automating a slideshow in Keynote with a couple of fancy transitions, exporting it as a video file, then importing it into iMovie and adding sound effects. Unfortunately, my version of iMovie only allows to change the dimensions of a video to widescreen (16:9) or standard (4:3), not square (1:1). I could search for a piece of software specifically designed to crop videos, but it turns out that I already have some on my computer. You can use either Apple’s Keynote or Microsoft’s Powerpoint to resize the video.

Both of these programs allow you to set a custom size for your slides. Set up a square slide, then drag and drop your video into the presentation. Center it, and export the file as a new video. Ta-da! Now you have a cropped square video!

Of course, when you create your original video, you’ll want to keep in mind that everything on the sides is going to get cropped out, so don’t put anything important there. In this case, I had to resize my original video to make it work:

Sometimes, the export from Keynote or Powerpoint doesn’t start or end exactly where I want. Fortunately, I can use Quicktime to trim off the ends.

Now I have a square video perfect for social sharing!

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Four Questions to Ask Before Your Radio Station’s Next Digital Campaign

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

Your radio station will probably execute a digital campaign of some sort in the coming months. Perhaps you’ll run Facebook ads to promote a station event, create an email campaign to drive membership donations, or launch a new podcast. No matter what the particular campaign is, ask your staff these questions before it begins:

1. What is our goal?
What are you trying to accomplish with this particular campaign? Are you looking to increase website traffic, drive online listening, or build your email database? Whenever possible, the goal should be directly linked to the station’s ultimate goal — the bottom line. Avoid vague goals like “engagement,” “branding,” or “increasing awareness.” Choose something that you can quantify.

2. How are we going to measure that goal?
It’s tempting to think that just because we can measure something, it’s important. That isn’t always the case. Decide in advance which data points you are going to use to measure the accomplishment of your goal and, just as crucial, which ones you’re not going to use. For example, if your goal is to grow your station’s email database, then you will want to measure the number of new subscribers. If your campaign also results in a lot of retweets, that’s a bonus, but this has no bearing on the success of your campaign. Stay focused on the numbers that really matter.

3. How are we defining success and failure?
Once you’ve decided what to measure, set some parameters for that datapoint. How many new email subscribers will it take for you to declare your digital campaign a success? One hundred? One thousand? Ten thousand? Make sure that everybody on your staff agrees on what qualifies as success. By the same token, make sure there is a consensus on what constitutes failure.

If you don’t know these numbers because you have nothing to benchmark them against, that’s okay — as long as everybody understands this. It is perfectly acceptable to say, “We’ve never run a campaign to build our email database before, let’s see what happens.” In this case, your aim is to find a number that you can use as a benchmark for future campaigns.

4. How will we review our campaign when it’s over?
Before your digital campaign begins, make plans to review it when it’s complete. Decide on an end date and set aside some time to gather together everybody who is involved with the campaign to review the metrics. With digital campaigns, it is important not only that everybody involved see the performance data, but also that they reach a consensus on what that data means. The last thing you want is a Digital Director thinking, “We got 100 new email subscribers, that’s terrific!,” while the General Manager is thinking, “We only got 100 new email subscribers, that’s terrible!” Make sure that everybody in your station is on the same page.

Every radio station staff is overworked these days, but don’t skip these questions when launching your next digital campaign. A little preparation can go a long way.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] 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 [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

How to Run Paid Ads for Your Radio Station’s Mobile App

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

Our sister company, jācapps, has built over 1200 mobile apps, many of them for radio stations around the country. Over the years, they’ve learned one undeniable truth: the radio stations that get the most app downloads are the ones who promote their apps the most. I’ve written about free ways to promote your station’s app, but if you’re ready to put your money where your app is, you can run ads for it in the Apple App Store and through Google. Here’s how:

On iOS (Apple):

Apple offers “Search Ads” in its app store, which target people based on the keywords that they type in when looking for a mobile app. They offer two different advertising options: Basic and Advanced. Because Basic ads only allow you to limit the location in which ads run by country, most radio stations should choose the Advanced option:

  1. Go to https://searchads.apple.com/ and, in the upper right corner, click “Sign In” and select “Advanced.”
  2. You will need to log in using your Apple ID. (You should already have an Apple ID if your app is listed in Apple’s app store.)
  3. If you do not already have an account, Apple will ask you to create one. Fill out all of the fields and click “Sign Up.” You will also have to agree to Apple’s Terms of Service.
  4. On Create a Campaign page, select your app. (Can’t find your app? Read this.)
  5. Enter a name for your campaign, an overall budget, and a daily budget.
  6. You have the option to enter campaign-wide negative keywords. This allows you to tell Apple not to run ads when people enter certain keywords. For example, let’s say your radio station is named “108.8 The Hawk” and your app is called “Hawk Radio.” You probably don’t want people who are searching for the game “Mama Hawk” to see your ad, so you could use “Mama” as a negative keyword. This way, we can set the ad to be seen by people who type in “Hawk” unless they also type in “Mama” when conducting a search.
  7. Enter your monthly budget.
  8. Enter the maximum amount you are willing to spend per person who installs your app on their phone (Apple will make a suggestion).
  9. In the Ad Groups Settings, you can select which devices you want the ads to appear on (iPhone, iPad, or both), when you want the ad to run, and the maximum amount you are willing to pay per person who taps on your ad (Apple will make a suggestion).
  10. If you want, you can use Apple’s Search Match feature to automatically match your app with the appropriate searches. If you do, make sure your app’s metadata is correct — that’s what Apple uses when deciding where to show the ad.
  11. You can set a group of keywords for each Ad Group. For example, let’s say your radio station is in New York City. You might want to run one group of ads that targets searches based on geographic words like “Brooklyn,” “Manhattan,” and “The Bronx.” You might want to create a separate ads group that targets musical keywords, and another that targets searches for competitors’ apps. Apple will recommend keywords and show you how popular they are. It will also allow you to set negative keywords at the group level.
  12. In the Audience section, Apple allows you to select your preferred Customer Types (All Users, Returning Users, or Users of My Other Apps), Demographics (Gender and Ages), and Locations.
  13. In the Creative Sets section, Apple shows you what the ad will look like on the iPhone and iPad. You can add additional images if you like.
  14. Click the “Start Campaign” button and you will be taken to the Campaigns screen. From now on, when you log in, this is the screen you will be taken to first. Here, you can monitor the performance of your campaigns at a glance, as well as edit, add or pause campaigns.

I recommend running one campaign per mobile app. If you want to test different groups of keywords to target (geography, music style, competitors, etc.), click into a campaign and then click the “Create Ad Group” campaign. A campaign can contain multiple ad groups. Within a campaign, you can also click “All Keywords” to see which are generating the most searches and clicks, or click “Charts” to see various visual representations of what’s happening with your ads. I recommend setting up a simple ad campaign and then playing in the Search Ads backend to familiarize yourself with how it works.

If you need additional help, here is more information on Apple’s Search Ads.

On Google:

Unlike Apple’s ads, Google’s do not target people based on the keywords that they type in when searching for apps in the app store. Instead, you are running ads that appear on Google Search Results, on Google’s Display Network, and on YouTube, with the goal of driving mobile app installations. For this reason, Google ads can be run for both the Android and iOS version of your app.

  1. Sign into the Google Play Console at https://developer.android.com/distribute/console. (If your app is in the Android App Store, you should have a login.
    In the Google Play Console, you will be taken to the “All Applications” screen, where you will see your app(s). Click on the app you want to promote.
  2. You will be taken to the Dashboard for that particular app, where you will see a menu on the left side. Click “User Acquisition,” then click on “Google Ads Campaigns” in the submenu.
  3. On the Google Ads Campaign page, click the blue “New Campaign” campaign.
  4. In the “Select the Goal…” box, click “App Promotion. For “Campaign Type, click “App” if it is not already selected. Select your app’s platform (yes, you can run ads for both Apple and Android apps here), then type in the name of your app and select it when in appears. Click the “Continue” button.
  5. You will be taken to the Campaign Settings page, where you can name your campaign.
  6. In the “Ad Assests” section, you can add “Ad text ideas.” Keep in mind, Google will randomly combine these lines of text and will not use all of them in every ad, so don’t expect them to appear in the same order that you type them in. You can also include a YouTube link if you have a video that you want to include, and up to 20 images (see the specs), or HTML5 assets.
  7. In the Ad Preview, you can see how your ad will look in Google Search Results, on the Google Display Network.
  8. In the Locations section, select “Enter Another Location,” and type in the name of the cities that your radio station reaches. Click “Location Options” to expand this section. For “Target,” select “People in your targeted locations,” and for “Exclude,” stay with the recommend option.
  9. Set your Language and daily Budget.
  10. In the Campaign Optimization section, decide who you want to focus on and what you want them to do. Most radio stations will want to focus on app installs, but some may wish to focus on an in-app action such as streaming the radio station. Talk to your mobile app developer for help setting this up so you can track it here.
  11. In the Bidding section, decide how much you’re willing to pay per app install.
  12. Set the Start and End (optional) Dates for your campaign. Note that Google does not let you set a maximum budget for your entire campaign. Instead, take the daily budget and multiply it be the number of days in your campaign.
  13. Click the “Save and Continue” button.

(If your campaign target is an iOS installation, you’ll need to take a couple of extra steps to track the app installations — follow the instructions or ask your app developer for assistance. If you are unable to complete this step, you will only be able to track installs of your Android app.)

Now your campaign is up and running! Over time, you can monitor it and Google will make suggestions for increasing performance.

I am a big believer that when radio broadcasters spend money on online advertising, they should do so with specific digital goals, not in the hopes of seeing a ratings bump from Nielsen. Driving mobile app installations is a great example of a quantifiable digital goal, and smart advertising can help you achieve it.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Take These Steps Before Launching Your Next Big Radio Station Promotion

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

Every now and then, a radio station asks me for a digital strategy for a major radio station promotion after they’ve already started it. If you’re giving away a significant prize or investing a lot of airtime into a contest, don’t let the online strategy for your promotional effort be an afterthought. Do these things as you plan your contest:

1. Set a digital goal.
In all likelihood, you probably view a ratings bump as the primary goal of a big promotion. But let’s be honest: Nielsen is fickle. Maybe you get that bump, maybe you don’t; and if you don’t, it may have nothing to do with the quality of your promotion. So in addition to higher ratings, set a digital goal as well. For example, use your promotion to build your email database, drive mobile app downloads or increase web traffic. Avoid vague goals like “increase engagement” or “raise awareness” or “branding.” Come up with a specific goal that you can quantify. This way, your station can make gains even if you don’t manage to capture that elusive ratings bump.

2. Set your station up to measure that goal.
There’s no point in setting a quantifiable goal if you can’t measure it. Make sure that you have the ability to track your success and you are reviewing the data. For example, if you decide that the digital goal of your six-week Million Dollar Turkey Drop promotion is to grow your email database, make sure you know how many email addresses you have in your database before it starts, and check the numbers each week to see if it’s working. Compare the rate of your database’s growth during the promotion to the normal rate of growth. If you see twice as many email registrations during the promotion, you’re doing well.

3. Run a website usability test.
I am a big advocate of usability tests — tests that show you how real people interact with your website to see if there are specific tasks that give them trouble. Before your radio station launches any major promotion, it should run a usability test to make sure the digital components of that campaign work properly. For example, let’s say you are running a contest where you ask people to fill out a form on your website to enter. You’ll want to run a website usability test to answer basic questions, such as:

  • Can they figure out how to get to the form?
  • Does the contest webpage make it clear how to enter?
  • Does it explain what you win?
  • Are the rules clear?
  • Does the form work?

Too often, people view website usability tests as something that you only need to perform once. I highly recommend running one before any significant station promotion. Here are more details on how to run a website usability test.

4. Only spend money on online advertising once you’ve completed the steps above.
If you haven’t done the first three steps, spending money on Facebook ads or other online marketing could be a waste. You don’t want to get to the end of your campaign and have nothing to show for it, so only spend money if you’ve taken care of everything else first.

You’re going to invest a lot of resources into your radio station’s next big promotion. Take a little extra time to follow these steps, and you’ll get digital mileage out of the promotion as well.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

8 Different Revenue Streams Provided by 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

There’s no doubt, podcasting’s hot right now. Conan O’Brien has a new podcast! Maria Shriver has a new podcast! Ron Burgundy has a podcast, and he’s not even a real person! It feels like everybody has a podcast and soon, everybody will have a podcast network, too. Hubbard invested in PodcastOne while Entercom put money into Cadence13. iHeartRadio bought How Stuff Works for $50 million and Spotify, not to be outdone, bought Gimlet for a rumored $230 million.

With so many radio companies looking to put cash in to podcasting, it’s a good time to look at how a radio company can get money back out of podcasting. There are a number of different revenue channels at the moment, but they’re not all equal. And their relative importance may shift over time.

Let’s take a look:

1. Advertising / Sponsorship
The vast majority of money revenue generated in the podcasting space right now is made through advertisements. While podcast ads differ in format from radio ads, the concept is basically the same: interrupt audio that people do want to hear with promotional messages that they probably don’t. That’s why Seth Godin calls this traditional method of advertising “interruption marketing.”

While the advertising model is working at the moment, I have reservations about it in the long run. For starters, I can fast-forward through ads with my podcatcher — that’s fancy lingo for a “podcast listening app” — in a way that I can’t with my radio.

Moreover, for a podcast to see serious advertising dollars, it needs to get enough downloads. Some say the magic number is 5,000 downloads per episode, while other advertisers insist on 50,000. Only a small percentage of the 600,000+ podcasts in existence hit these numbers.

There’s also a question of whether programmatic ads will eventually become the norm in podcasts and what effect that will have on CPMs. I suspect that it will, and that this will drive CPMs down, meaning that a podcast will soon need more listeners or more ads — or both! — to generate the same amount of revenue.

The advertising model might work better for radio companies with large enough footprints to launch national podcasts, such as iHeartRadio, NPR or Westwood One. For smaller, regional broadcasters, alternative revenue models may make more sense.

2. Subscriptions
Podcasters can put some of their content behind a paywall. There are various different ways to do this. Some podcasters make their recent episodes available for free but require a subscription to access their back catalog. Others offer ad-free versions of their podcast with a paid subscription. And others offer bonus content to paying customers. There is no one-size-fits-all model for podcast subscriptions, and in a world where everybody from Netflix to Audible to The New York Times is charging a small monthly fee, there are legitimate questions about how many subscriptions the average consumer is willing to pay for.

3. Intellectual Property
Writing Guide for StudentsIncreasingly, podcasts are getting turned into properties for other mediums. 2 Dope Queens, StartUp, Lore, Dirty John, Homecoming, Serial, Crimetown, Atlanta Monster and more have all spawned television shows. At CES this year, a panelist in one podcasting session predicted that in the coming years, we will see a quarter of all television shows and movies being developed out of podcasts. (I guess there’s a limit to how many times you can relaunch the Spider-man and Batman franchises.) As a result, this panelist predicted a boom in scripted podcasts, with the hope that the hits would find a profit in the licensing of intellectual property rights.

It’s not just TV, though. Grammar Girl‘s Mignon Fogarty has parlayed her hit podcast into a podcast network which in turn produced a number of books.

4. Events
Increasingly, podcasters are touring behind their shows. My Favorite Murder, Pod Save America and Smodcast are just a few of the shows that generate revenue from ticket sales. Of course, not all podcasts lend themselves to live events. It’s hard to see how a podcast in the mold of This American Life-style storytelling journalism could be recorded in front of an audience; it simply requires a level of research, storyboarding and pre- and post-production that isn’t compatible with a live studio audience.

Moreover, as anybody who’s ever produced a radio station concert knows, events are hard work and take a lot of time. This is not a revenue option for the faint of heart.

5. Merchandise
While t-shirts, hats and keychains might make some ancillary cash, it’s hard to see how this becomes a major stream of revenue for most podcasters.

6. Content Marketing
Many podcasters are actually podcasters second; they use podcasting a means of promoting their primary good or service. For example, a lawyer might produce a legal podcast as a means of attracting new clients.

More and more, you are starting to see movies and television shows come with an accompanying podcast as a way to further engage with fans. I love NBC’s The Good Place, which has led me to listen to the accompanying podcast hosted by recurring guest star Marc Evan Jackson. This is solid content marketing.

7. Branded Podcasts
Because podcasts can be such an effective content marketing tool, some podcasters are producing podcasts for companies or other paying clients. McAfee’s Hackable, Tinder’s DTR, and Inside Trader Joe’s are examples of branded podcasts. I believe that for many radio companies, producing branded podcasts for local businesses may eventually prove to be a more reliable revenue stream than trying to consistently produce a parade of hit podcasts.

8. Individual Listener Donations
A number of podcasters make money by appealing directly to their listeners. Patreon, a service that allows podcasters and other artists to accept donations from fans, is a commonly used tool for this. In the radio industry, the closest thing we have to this is the pledge drives held by public radio stations.

9. Technology and Other Services
A number of people in the podcasting space provide services for other podcasters. Panoply, the podcasting network that spawned from Slate.com, decided to pivot away from producing content last year and transform itself into a tech company by offering a hosting platform for other enterprise podcasters. In the long run, this move may prove lucrative, as it is much easier to scale technology solutions than it is to scale hit content. Meanwhile, there’s an entire Facebook group full of podcast editors offering up their services to new podcasters. We’re also seeing podcast studios that can be rented by the hour, such as Podcast Detroit’s recording spaces or PRX’s Podcast Garage outside of Boston. For some radio companies, revenue dollars may be found in supporting podcasters, not becoming podcasters.

Most of us have spent so long working in an industry that generates revenue by selling ads that it’s tempting to focus on advertising as the only way to make money from podcasts. But it’s not the only way, and whether it’s the best way may have a lot to do with the nature of your company. The revenue models that make sense for larger broadcasters may be different than the models for smaller companies. Broadcasters that specialize in talk-based formats may have different opportunities than companies which rely heavily on music. And we all might benefit from a broader mix of streams than we rely on with our radio stations. Podcasting is still a new medium. Question any assumptions you may be carrying with you.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

Use Exclusive Bonus Content to Promote Your Radio Station’s App

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

Today’s tip is incredibly simple but it’s also very effective: To encourage the people who listen to your radio station to download your station’s mobile app, make content available exclusively in the app. Then use your airwaves to promote that content.

Interviews offer a great opportunity to do this. In a PPM world, radio stations have shortened or eliminated the interviews they conduct with artists and celebrities. But now we’ve got a great use for them! Let’s say your night jock conducts an interview with Ariana Grande, then edits it down to just the juiciest eight minutes to broadcast on the station’s airwaves. Don’t throw away the rest of the interview; make it available in your radio station’s mobile app for hardcore fans. Then, create a production element to play into or out of Arianna Grande songs that promotes the interview in your mobile app.

You could use this with other station content as well, from recordings of past morning show bits to photos from concerts. You could also include exclusive hints to help people win contests in the mobile app. For example, let’s say your radio station is running a listen-for-two-U2-songs-in-a-row-to-win-concert-tickets contest. In the app, tell people exactly when you’ll be playing back-to-back U2 songs.

Sit down with your staff and decide which content you want to put on the station’s website and which you want to reserve exclusively for the mobile app. You’ll also want to create a promotional gameplan that involves a mix of produced elements and live reads. Try it for a month and see if it increases your station’s mobile app downloads!

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

How to Use Email Templates to Book Guests for Your Radio Show or Podcast

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 hear new radio morning show producers or new podcasters ask for advice on reaching out to guests. Over the last eight years of podcasting, I have found that using email templates and a shared spreadsheet can dramatically streamline the process. Here’s how it works:

1. Create a shared spreadsheet for guest bookings.
If you have multiple people working on your show, it’s helpful to create a Google spreadsheet so that everyone on your team can easily log in and see which guests are booked on which dates. For my podcast, The D Brief, we use a Google spreadsheet so that my co-host, Becky, and I don’t have to worry about double-booking guests. We have one tab on the spreadsheet that serves as a calendar for upcoming shows and another that serves as a running list of potential guests that we want to reach out to.

2. Find software that allows you to create email templates.
Writing the same email over and over to solicit guests gets tedious, so I use software that allows me to insert a pre-written email template with a click of the mouse. Because I use Gmail on the Chrome browser, I use the Gorgias Templates browser extension. Outlook has templates functionality already built into its software. If you’re using Yahoo! or another email client, you’ll need to find a solution that works for you. Worst case, you could always save your templates in a text document so that you can cut and past them into your emails, but they are more elegant solutions available if you’re willing to do some research.

3. Brainstorm a list of potential guests.
Who would make a good guest for your show? For my my podcast, The D Brief, it’s anybody involved in the Detroit arts and entertainment scene. When you’re brainstorming, include people that you know you can get on the show, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon. Our moonshots include famous Detroiters like Jeff Daniels, Jemele Hill and Kristen Bell. Yours might include Brad Pitt, Kim Kardashian or Tom Brady. Don’t be afraid to put them on the list.

4. Find their email addresses.
Sometimes, finding an email address is as easy as looking up a website or checking the end of a press release. For bigger names, you may need to subscribe to IMDB Pro or reach out to records labels or talent agencies. When you do find email addresses, add them to your spreadsheet.

5. Send a short introductory email.
I like to keep the initial outreach very short. People may receive it on their phone, so I don’t want to intimidate them with too many details. The basic gist is this:

“We’ve got a show. It’s about _____. You can listen here: [link]. We’d love to have you on as a guest. If you’re interested, please let us know and we’ll send you more details.”

Of course, I clean it up a little bit:

“My name is Seth Resler. I am the co-host of The D Brief, a new podcast about the arts and entertainment scene in metro Detroit. You can hear recent episodes at http://thedbriefdetroit.com.

We’d love to conduct an interview with somebody from your organization for an upcoming episode. If you’d be interested, please let me know and I can provide more details.”

6. If they respond, send a more detailed invitation.
People rarely say no to my interview requests. They either express interest or simply ignore my emails. Don’t take it personally if they ignore yours; it happens. Over time, you’ll get a feel for how many requests you need to send out to fill your guest slots. If you’re only shooting for A-list celebrities, you may get a 30% response rate, whereas if you’re soliciting local chefs, you may get an 80% response rate.

When somebody does respond asking for more information, give them more details:

  • What dates and times are you looking at?
  • Is it an in-person or over-the-phone interview?
  • How long will the interview last?
  • What topics will you cover?

While this email template isn’t as short as the initial outreach, I still try to keep it pretty concise while answering any question that they might have. I close by asking them to pick a date and time that works for them.

Once you’ve sent this email, make a note in your spreadsheet so you don’t forget to follow up if they don’t respond.

7. If they say yes, send an email with specific instructions.
Once the guest picks a date, send them an email (using a template) with all of the details they could possibly need, including:

  • For a phone interview, how to call in.
  • For an in-person interview, where to go.
  • How to prepare for the interview (especially if it is a guest that doesn’t do many).
  • If you will take photos, tell them (some guests like to make sure they look good).
  • If you need a headshot, bio or press kit, ask for one.
  • A backup phone number in case of any issues.

Again, make a note in your spreadsheet indicating that you sent them instructions.

8. Send a reminder email.
Either the day before or the day of the interview, send an email (with another template) reminding them of the interview. This can be short, but repeat key details from the previous email, including the time, phone number or address.

9. After the interview, send a follow-up email.
After the interview, send your guest a final email thanking them for coming on the show. If there is a recording or a podcast episode with the interview, include a link and encourage them to share it. Make sure that your social media handles are in the email so they can include them in their posts.

As you can see, there’s a lot of emailing back and forth involved in booking guests. Using email templates can cut down on the workload dramatically, while a spreadsheet in the cloud can keep you organized.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.

5 Rules for Twitter from The Atlantic’s David Frum

Seth Resler

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

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

In this week’s column, Seth provides insights from a political strategist who knows a thing or two about the best – and worst – uses of Twitter for messaging and communication. 


David Frum, well-known author and political pundit, former George W. Bush speechwriter and Senior Editor of The Atlantic was a guest of Preet Bharara on a recent episode of the podcast Stay Tuned with Preet (starting at 18:45). In it, Frum talks about his use of Twitter, saying “Twitter is a dangerous tool; it is an opportunity to end your career in a second.”

Most of us have participated in a heated discussion on social media before, and we’ve certainly seen colleagues in the industry find themselves in trouble because of the way they used social media. So when Frum offers up his ground rules for using Twitter responsibly, I thought I’d share them here:

1. “No arguments about arguments.”

David Frum

While Frum doesn’t shy away from disagreeing with people on Twitter, he’s careful to stay on topic. He warns against getting drawn into side arguments: “You’ll say something and somebody will say, ‘Well, you didn’t say a different thing about a different topic.’” Discussions can easily spiral out of control if you allow the conversation to chase tangents. Be conscious of this and stay focused.

2. “Always keep your cool.”
Frum doesn’t let friends drink and tweet. Also, he says, “Never do it when you’re in a situation of emotional distress of any kind.” If you find yourself playing on tilt, it’s best to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

3. “Follow institutions…and then follow people who really know what they’re talking about.”
There’s an ancient Silicon Valley proverb: “Garbage in, garbage out.” If you are following people on Twitter who routinely post uninformed or misinformed tweets, you are likely to do the same. Don’t confuse fame with expertise. Make sure that the people you are following are knowledgeable. Also, recognize that nobody is knowledgeable about every single topic, so pay attention to which topics the people you are following are knowledgeable about.

4. “Never try and get the last word.”
Frum says he thinks of his conversations on Twitter like his conversations as a guest on television shows: You’re talking to the people who watch. “You’re not talking to the host, you’re not really talking to the other guests; you’re talking to the people on the other side of the camera.”

The same is true with the Twitter. Because the conversation is public, be aware of the people who are reading the conversation but not participating in it. You may have a strong urge to land one last witty blow against somebody you disagree with, but onlookers may not view this in a flattering light.

5. “Just as our parents didn’t understand that TV wasn’t real, we often have a hard time understanding that social media isn’t real.”
When television first emerged, audiences didn’t yet understand how it could be manipulated. Video footage influences how people interpret an event. A classic example is the televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960. While the consensus of those who watched the debate on television was that Kennedy won, most people who listened to it on the radio thought that it was a draw or that Nixon came out on top. We understand today that there’s much more to television than just the finished product we see on the screen. For example, we know that reality TV shows are often scripted and heavily edited to manipulate the emotions of viewers.

While we are often on guard against this type of manipulation on television because we grew up with the medium, we may be more vulnerable to it on social media because we haven’t been using it as long. “We’re victims of made-for-social-media moments that are very manipulative,” says Frum.

He points to the recent example of a confrontation between a high school student and a Native American protester at a march in Washington, D.C. In the days following the incident, more and more information emerged that the initial video didn’t capture, adding additional context. In recent years, we’ve seen more and more examples of this. What social media posts can capture is, at best, incomplete, fragmentary, and at worst, intentionally manipulated.

Social media can be a powerful tool, but with great power comes great responsibility. Even Frum admits that he doesn’t always adhere to these rules. Bharara asked him, “Have you ever tweeted in anger?”

Frum replied, “I have a few times, and I’ve always regretted it.”

Hopefully, Frum’s rules can help you use Twitter wisely.

And stay out of trouble in the Tweetsphere.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.