Category Archives: Digital/Social/Web

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.

How to Send Your Fans Only the Most Relevant Mobile App Push Notifications

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, I suggested five instances in which radio stations might want to send a push notification to listeners who have downloaded their mobile app. I issued a warning, however: if you send more than one push notification per week, you nearly quadruple the chances that listeners will stop using your app. So what should your radio station do during those hectic summer weeks when Foo Fighters tickets go on sale, Green Day is doing a live in-studio interview and you’re giving away $10,000 in cash? Each of these events warrants a push notification individually, but do you really want to risk a backlash by sending them all out?

Of course, you could decide to only send a push notification for one of these things and ignore the other two. But a better option is to give your listeners the option of selecting which types of push notifications they want to receive. One listener may love your station’s contests but never pay to go to concerts, while another might love your morning show but not care about local bands. By allowing these listeners to choose which types of notifications they want to receive, you can decrease the chances that they will get annoyed and stop using your station’s app.

Here’s what it looks like from the listeners’ point of view:

1. Listeners go to the mobile app’s settings:
2. They select the types of notifications they wish to receive:

3. With the settings above, the listener would receive the notification on the left, but not the one on the right:

Our sister company, jācapps, specializes in building mobile apps for radio stations. When you’ve set up your station’s mobile app to send targeted push notifications like this, here’s what it looks like in the back end:

1. Log into the mobile app’s web-based backend and head to the Push Notifications section:

2. The types or groups of push notifications are called “Topics.” In this case, WKRP has a group called “Contests.” Note that you have the option of having listeners opt into a topic by default or not.

3. We’ll create a new message to send to both our iOS and Android mobile app users.

4. We’ll schedule this push notification to send before our contest, which we know will happen in the first break of the 6:00pm hour.

5. We’ll write our message.

6. We’ll review it one last time before scheduling it to go out.

7. After the message is sent, we can see how it performed by reviewing the analytics.

Whether your station’s mobile app is built by jācapps or not, using these types of groups to send the most relevant messages is key to engaging with your listeners without driving them to delete your app.

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

5 Times When Your Radio Station Should Use Mobile App Push Notifications

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

Mobile app push notifications — automated messages that appear on the smartphones of listeners who have downloaded your station’s mobile app even when the app is not open — can be a powerful tool. According to Localytics, push notification can boost mobile app engagement by an average of 88% and up to 177% for music-related apps.

Of course, if you send too many push notifications, you run the risk of annoying listeners. Sending more than one push notification a week and you could nearly quadruple the percentage of listeners who will stop using your app.

In short, your radio station can increase mobile app engagement if it can walk the fine line between sending too few and too many push notifications. So what warrants a push notification? Here are five times when your radio station may want to use this feature:

1. Big Contests
You’re not going to want to use push notifications for every pair of movie passes you give away, but when you’ve got a huge prize, like a car or cold hard cash, push notifications may be in order. You could use the contest as an extra incentive for people to opt into these notifications. For example, if you are giving away front row Red Hot Chili Peppers tickets to the 95th caller every time the station plays three Chili Peppers songs in a row, you could use a push notification to give listeners a heads up: “We’re going to give away RHCP tickets in ten minutes.” Promote this ‘heads up’ on your airwaves, in your email blasts, and on social media, and you could drive mobile app downloads.

2. Big Concert Announcements
When core artist like Beyoncé has a concert in your market, you can use this to engage with listeners using push notifications. There are multiple opportunities to use these push notifications: when the concert is announced or when the tickets go on sale. Better yet, arrange to get an exclusive pre-sale link from the concert promoter, and use the push notifications to give your listeners the opportunity to buy tickets before everybody else. Promote these pre-sales and you could increase mobile app downloads.

3. Core Artist Interviews
If you’ve landed an interview with a major artist, use push notifications to promote it. There are two options here: You can use the push notification to let people know that the interview is about to happen on the air in an attempt to drive people to tune in, or you can use the push notification to let people know that a recording of an on-air interview has been posted online and drive people to listen there.

4. Specialty Programming
Every once in a while, radio stations like to toss out the regular music log and go wall-to-wall with specialty programming, like an A-to-Z weekend. Use push notifications to let listeners know about these special events.

5. Artist Deaths
In recent years, we’ve seen too many major artists pass away, from Prince to Chris Cornell to Aretha Franklin. “Breaking news” is not a primary function for most most music radio stations, but the death of a legend is an exception, and a push notification may be warranted.

Ideally, you want to offer your mobile app users the ability to not only turn push notifications on or off, but to specify the type of push notifications they would like to receive. By giving them the choice of opting into concert announcements or contests, for example, you can increase the relevance of the messages you send and decrease the chance that you’ll annoy your listeners.

Our sister company, jācapps, has built over 1200 mobile apps, including hundreds for radio stations throughout the U.S. If your radio station’s mobile app doesn’t currently allow you to take advantage of push messaging, feel free to reach out to them.

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

10 Ways to Promote 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 been building mobile apps for radio stations for over ten years. After working with hundreds of radio stations on their mobile app strategies, one thing has become abundantly clear: the radio stations with the most mobile app downloads are the ones who promote their apps the most. It’s not enough to simply build an app and hope that your listeners will find it in the app store; you have to tell them it’s there. The mantra, “If you build it, they will come,” may work in baseball, but it doesn’t work with apps.

With that in mind, here are ten ways your station can promote its mobile app.

1. Create a Vanity URL: Create an easy-to-remember URL that redirects people to your station’s mobile app, such as wkrp.com/app. You will want to create this as a “technology redirect,” meaning a link that detects what operating system the visitor is using and redirects them to the iOS or Android app store accordingly. You will use this vanity URL in both your online and offline promotion of the app.

2. On  Your Airwaves: Your DJs should frequently plug the station’s mobile app in live on-air mentions. Also, create production elements, such as promos or sweepers, that promote the app. These should all direct people to the app’s vanity URL: “W-K-R-P-dot-com-slash-app.”

2. Email Database: Send an email blast out to your database with the link.

3. Mobile Version of the Website: When people come to your website on a mobile browser, you know they’re on their phones. This is an ideal time to serve them up a link to your station’s mobile app. Use ads that only appear on the mobile version of the site.

4. Street Team Appearance Contests: When your street team members are out and about, have them require people install the station’s app and show their phones before allowing listeners to enter contests or play games.

5. Station Vehicle: The words, “Download our app!” should appear on the exterior of your station vehicle…

6. Banners: …and on the banners that your street team hangs at station events…

7. Pop-Up Tents: …and on the tent.

8. Wristbands, Tickets and Hand Stamps: If your station hosts events such as concerts, use entry as opportunity to promote your mobile app.

9. Stickers: Promote your station’s mobile app on the sticker itself or on the peel-off backing.

10. Email Signature: Create a standardized email signature for everybody in your station to use. Include the vanity URL to your station’s mobile app.

The success of your radio station’s mobile app will depend on how much you promote it. Take advantage of every opportunity that you can find.

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

How to Level Up Your Radio Station’s Digital Strategy in 2019

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 digital strategy for your radio station, it can be overwhelming. There are so many things that your station can be doing, from search engine optimization to podcasting, that sometimes it’s tough to know where to start. It can feel like boiling an ocean or eating an elephant or [insert cliché here]. Instead of getting discouraged, it’s best to break it down into small steps. Let’s begin 2019 by doing just that.

I recognize that every radio station is in a different situation. As you review the list below, you may find things on it that you’re already doing exceptionally well, while there are others that you haven’t given any thought to. My goal is to give you some semblance of order: What should you focus on next to move your station’s digital strategy forward?

Start here:

Website

  1. If you haven’t already done so, explicitly identify the goals of your radio station’s website. Get buy-in on these goals from everybody in the building — from the GM to the sales staff to the DJs.
  2. Once you’ve identified the goals, look for ways to drive website visitors towards those goals. For example, if you’ve designated “collecting email addresses” as a goal of the website, identify all of the places where you might be able to do this on the site. Modify the website accordingly.
  3. Next, run a usability test to see how real people interact with your station’s website. Address any issues that this test reveals.
  4. Once you’ve run a usability test, install Google Analytics on your website so you can track how people use it. But don’t just install Google Analytics; put in place a system for reviewing and discussing the analytics on a regular basis, such as a weekly website meeting.
  5. Now that you’re tracking the website’s performance, focus on increasing traffic. To do this, you will need to regularly publish new website content. Launch a website blog. Start with modest goals for the blog: one new blogpost a week. Here are some ideas for topics.
  6. As you hit your blogging goals, gradually raise the bar: two blogposts per week, then three, then one every day. Once your station is producing the desired quantity of blogposts, turn your attention to the quality. Continue to monitor your Google Analytics as you publish more content; you should see the website traffic grow.

Email Marketing

  1. Once your website is driving “conversions” by steering people towards the goals you’ve identified, and you’re regularly publishing new website content, it’s time to turn your attention to email marketing. It may not be as sexy as social media, but it’s tried and true and not subject to the whims of Mark Zuckerberg, so it takes priority. If you don’t have an email database, set one up with an email service provider.
  2. Assuming that “collecting email addresses” was one of the website goals that you identified above (spoiler alert: it should be), then you should have already identified all of the places on your website where you can ask visitors for the email addresses. If you haven’t done that already, do it now. Make sure that you clearly tell people (a) what you will be sending them in these emails and (b) how often you will be sending these emails.
  3. Your staff doesn’t have time to compose every email by hand, so set up an automatic email campaign that sends a blast out when you publish new content to your website. You can do this using your email service provider’s RSS-to-email campaign.
  4. Once you’re set up to email regularly, monitor your email marketing performance. Here are the key numbers that you want to track.
  5. Got the automatic email campaign under control? Great! The next step is to set up targeted automatic email campaigns so you’re only sending people the most relevant information. After all, one listener may want the concert list while another may be more interested in the playlist for the local music show.

Social Media

  1. Once your email marketing game is top-notch, it’s time to turn your attention to social media. First things first, if your station doesn’t have a social media policy, write one to keep your staff out of trouble. If you already have one, review it with everybody. Update it if necessary.
  2. The primary goal of social media should be to drive people back to your station’s website where they can accomplish the goals you identified above. This means that while likes and comments are nice, the most important number to track is the number of people who click on a link to the content that you’re publishing. Track this in Google Analytics, not your social network dashboards. If you’ve carved out time to review your Google analytics regularly as discussed above, you should already be tracking this.
  3. To drive traffic to your website from social media, you will want to proactively share your website content on social networks. While automatic email campaigns can save a lot of time, I’m not a big fan of auto-posting website content to social media. A defter human touch goes a long way here. Develop a plan for pro-actively sharing your website content after its published.
  4. If your station only shares its own content, it can appear promotional and self-serving. Share a mix of content from your own website and other sources in your market. The 4-1-1 Rule is a good rule of thumb for this. Identify influencers (journalists, bloggers, etc.) in your market who produce content and start sharing that as well.
  5. Once you’ve gotten in the habit of sharing content from these influencers, begin to interact with them in other ways on social media. Follow them, retweet them, comment on their posts and just generally engage with them.
  6. You may want to focus on the above steps with one social network at a time. Start with Facebook. When you’ve mastered that, move to Twitter. Next, focus on Instagram or YouTube. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by taking on too much at once; break everything down into manageable, bite-sized chunks and you won’t get discouraged.

Of course, there are a lot of places to go from here, including streaming, mobile apps and smart speaker skills. But before you ski down the black diamond digital paths, make sure that you’ve got the basics above in order. Hopefully, this will provide your station with a good road map for the new year.

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

Digital Gifts for the Radio Broadcaster Who Has Everything

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

Looking for a last-minute stocking-stuffer for your Secret Santa? Here are some gift ideas for every colleague in your radio station. Best of all, they’re free!

For DJs

For the Program Director

For the Digital Team

For the Promotions Director

For the Sales Team

For Management

I hope you find these tips useful. Happy holidays!

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

Use These Digital Calls to Action at Your Radio Station’s On-Site Promotions

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

Street teams have been a crucial component of radio stations’ marketing strategies for decades. On the programming side, we frequently deploy them to engage with listeners at concerts and festivals. On the sales side, promotional appearances are often an important part of closing deals companies like car dealerships and beer distributors.

When the street team rolls out to these events, they invite listeners to play games, from spinning the age-old prize wheel to more modern fare like Dropmix. In that moment before our promo staffer allows a listener to partake, we have an opportunity to ask them to do something: “You wanna win a t-shirt? To play, you first have to ________.”

Years ago, we might ask people to fill out a slip of paper with a golf pencil and stuff it into a cardboard ballot box. But then some poor intern has to decipher the handwriting on those slips of paper and enter them into a database. In the digital age, there are more effective uses of your promo staffers’ time. So what should you be asking listeners to do at on-site promotions? Here are some possibilities:

1. Download the station’s mobile app.
“Wanna play our game? Download the WKRP mobile app and then show me your phone.” This doesn’t require a lot of explanation, making it a great call to action in loud, crowded environments like concerts. Plus, every time people look at their phones, they’ll be reminded of your station. Sure, some percentage of them might uninstall your station’s app later, but not all of them, so you’ll move the needle over time.

2. Sign up for the station’s email list.
The worst way to collect email addresses is to have people write them down by hand. The best way is to have people type them directly into your email database program. To do this, you’ll want a tablet, such as an iPad, and a hard case that allows you to lock that tablet down to prevent it from getting stolen. Many email service providers have a tablet app that serves as a dedicated registration form for on-site appearances. For example, Mailchimp, which we use here at Jacobs Media, has an app called “Mailchimp Subscribe.” Set your locked iPad out on a table and require people to sign up before playing a game.

3. Text in a keyword.
Just about everybody has the ability to send a text message on their phone — even if they don’t own a smartphone! Yet text messaging has been perilous for radio broadcasters, who have sometimes run afoul of text message spamming laws and been ordered to pay hefty fines. That’s why I like to use text messaging strictly as a registration tool. (Of course, you should always check with your station’s legal team to make sure that they agree.)

Set up a keyword with a service like Textiful or Join By Text. When people text that word into a dedicated number, they will receive an automatic reply asking them for an email address. For example, texting “WKRP” to 55555 would generate a response that says, “Reply with your email address to join our email list. You could win cool stuff.”

When people respond with an email address, it will automatically be sent to your email marketing platform. Once people join your email list by text, don’t send them any more messages to avoid violating spam laws.

4. Dial **Keyword.
Although they’ve been around for a while, StarStar Mobile phone numbers haven’t yet penetrated the mainstream. They work in a manner that’s similar to a text message keyword, except they’re easier because they use your phone as a phone. For example, somebody might dial **WKRP. This will connect them to a customized voicemail greeting where they can use voice commands, and will also send them an SMS message with links to various destinations that you set. At the moment, only a handful of radio stations are beginning to experiment with this technology, but it offers a lot of potential for broadcasters.

By employing clear, concise calls to action at on-site promotions, your street team can offer a big boost to the station’s digital strategy. Gather your team and figure out which of these calls to action make the most sense under different circumstances.

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