The Two-Step Online Strategy That Will Increase The Size Of Your Radio Station Audience
March 31, 2015
I believe that the key to success is fundamentally the same for radio stations as it is for every other company that's using online marketing: create compelling content and people will seek you out.
In the online world, this strategy is called Content Marketing. Content Marketing has two basic steps:
Step One: Attract People to Your Website
You begin by creating original, interesting content that is (1) easy to share on social media, and (2) easy to find in search engines. This content doesn't have to rise to the level of Shakespeare, but you need to produce a lot of it. It's usually better to have lots of good content than a little great content.
This content -- whether it's videos, blog articles, podcasts, webinars, etc. -- should live on your website. As people discover the links on social networks and in search engines, they will click through to your site. The more people that come to your site, the better.
Radio stations have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to Step One of Content Marketing. On the one hand, they have something that most other companies engaged in content marketing don't: their own media outlet to drive people to their online content. Radio stations should use their airwaves to drive people to their website at every turn.
On the other hand, the type of content that radio stations specialize in -- audio content -- is less likely to go viral over social media and less likely to be discovered through search engines. To compensate for this disadvantage, radio stations need to create lots of written, video, and photographic content as well, as these forms are more likely to spread quickly over the internet.
Step Two: Convert
But it's not enough to just get people back to your website. Once you get them there, you want them to do something. This something is called a Goal. Every time somebody completes a goal, it is called a Conversion. The more conversions, the better.
Of course, there are many types of goals that you could have for your website. For a radio station, goals could include when people:
- Stream the station
- Sign up for the email list
- Enter a contest
- Click on an ad
- Buy tickets
- Buy merchandise
- Fill out a form requesting information about advertising
Of course, not all goals are created equally. A single ticket sale might be worth a little to a station, while a single sales lead could be worth a lot. So you'll want to assign a value to each conversion. For example, if 30% of all website sales leads become closed deals, and the average advertising spend on the deals is $50,000, then each sales lead is worth $15,000.
Of course, you can follow this trail back even farther. If one out of every 100,000 visitors to your website fills out a sales lead form, then you can expect $15,000 in leads for 100,000 visitors. Need to hit a goal of $500,000 in online sales leads? Then you'll need 3,333,333 website visitors. You'll need to create enough compelling content to attract that much traffic.
I like to think of content marketing as a hose. A large amount of traffic enters the hose -- seeing your content on social media and in search engines -- but a much smaller amount comes out the other end of the hose and converts. Your job is to figure out how to unkink the hose so that more water flows through.
To do this, you'll want to measure what's happening at every step in the process. Then run controlled experiments to see what improves results. It could be any number of things: Changing the type of content you publish, changing the format of the content, tweaking headlines, changing your website design, running more sweepers to promote your website, etc. Over time, you'll start to figure out what works and what doesn't.
This degree of measurement and controlled experimentation is new for most radio programmers, primarily because the radio ratings system doesn't provide data that's accurate enough to be actionable. Did the ratings go up last quarter because you ran a billboard campaign, because your crosstown competitor lost their heritage afternoon jock, or just because the new music in your format was unusually strong? Or was it just a fluke? With Nielsen, you never really know. But on the web, you can. Radio stations should learn how to take advantage of this fact.
Content marketing is a powerful strategy that more and more companies are adopting to attract customers. Radio stations, which have decades of experience in content creation, are well-poised to take advantage of this new strategy. Unfortunately, many radio stations are doing the opposite and producing less original content than ever before. To succeed, they will need to move in the opposite direction.