By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — “In this multi-tasking radio world, who in the station should be responsible for online content?” That’s a question I got from a smart guy I used to work with. It’s a great question.
You need only two particularly strong people with this plan I’m going to give you. You may be surprised about who they are.
Set it Up
Who should handle your online content? Here are the staffing requirements for this focused plan:
- First, you need station management that supports this. The online target for site and social is your heavy listeners. That means that what goes up there should be about making them happy and feeling special, not just filling up space. Your website is valuable real estate. If the market manager won’t make this clear over and over, just forget about this.
- Because adding online content should be a limited, focused, manageable function if it’s done right, identify one person to handle it. That person should have good knowledge about what happens on the air, understands who the listeners are, and can write well. Notice that being a techie or an active tweeter isn’t necessarily part of the deal. Generally, this ends up being someone on the air staff, although it doesn’t have to be.
When it comes to online content, it’s easy to think you have a staffing problem or a time management problem or a resources problem, when what you really have is a crap problem. There’s stuff on your site that is irrelevant to your station and is keeping people from finding what they DO want to find there. Your social media is probably influenced more by what everyone else is doing in social media, rather than what will cause your biggest fans to love you all the more.
Let me help you get crap-free and focused on results for 2014.
Here are the elements of your successful plan: The right target … the right content … and the right execution.
Your target is simple. It’s whatever your station target is, narrowed down to your heaviest users. So, it’s “25-49-year-old women who like country and listen to us at least an hour a day.” Or, “Men 25-54 who are classic rock fans and listen to us more than any other station.”
Here’s the key to your content. Don’t worry about the stuff that everyone else posts. You’re not a friend; you’re their favorite radio station. No matter your format, I would identify three things you can give them each day based on what you are already doing. Those are the posts you make on Facebook. That’s all you need. Too much social media activity is worse than not enough.
If you run a contest “in the 3:00 pm hour,” tell them on Facebook exactly when it’ll happen. If you carry Rush, let them know what he’ll be talking about that day. If you add a current by a hot artist, post the video. If your morning show has a big topic planned, post it on Facebook the day before, and start fishing for responses. If you’re stuck for a topic, ask them for feedback on something you’re already doing.
If you’re tight on time, Facebook is the only social network you really need to be on. Twitter is great, if you have the time, but I find it’s more labor-intensive than Facebook, with questionable results. Here are some all-purpose Facebook execution tips: Create those three posts a day by scheduling them in advance, at times when your followers are likely to be online. Strive to include a photo and a link with everything you post (remember, a lot of those links can go back to your own website). Ask questions when it makes sense to. Write as little as possible, avoid jock-ese and marketing jargon.
What you write should be short and punchy enough so that they read your post before they read their best friend’s post. Their best friend is your competition on Facebook.
Stick with this narrow approach, and just see what happens. It may feel uncomfortable at first to not share all the stuff you used to share. Over time, your big fans will learn that you are committed to being special. What other radio station has a Facebook feed with valuable, exclusive information? You will be a trail blazer.
You will sometimes need the PD, GSM or promotion director to step in at times and say “NO” to off-message ideas. You may also have corporate-created crap that you need to move out of the way when you can. Still, this plan should keep web duties down under an hour a day for all concerned.
Finally, remember you’re not doing this just to get lots of followers and clicks. You’re doing this to find the right people and give them a special experience. You want to create an unbreakable bond with your biggest fans. Yeah, the numbers are small. This is your loyal customer base. This is your frequent flyer program. So don’t get caught up on how many people follow you, or click “Like” on your posts. Those Likes and clicks are important only to the extent that they get you to your goal of listeners for life.
Comments and questions are welcome, and my contact info is below.
Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.