Don't Just Report The News, MAKE The News
July 17, 2012
TODAY WE COUNTED - TODAY WE MADE A DIFFERENCE - BECAUSE WE COULD - AND IT'S THE WAY TO WIN
We talk a lot in radio about hitting emotional hot buttons and reaching our audience within their own 'care factor' arena.....it's the way to win.
We talk a lot about being local....being part of the community ....it's the way to win.
But, do we really hit the big emotional buttons that count - do we truly make an impact as a broadcast medium - as a public informer? After all, making an impact is the way to win.
Ask yourself right now - when, if ever, has my station really made a difference? When have I truly impacted locally??
And in this era of networking and syndication - what is local anyhow?
Many radio stations claim this position but can't possibly deliver upon that claim.
The questions to ask yourselves:
- How can I achieve and make a difference by being truly local?
- What is the issue/cause behind the audience' emotional hot button?
- How can I really help the cause AND my station?
- If the issue/cause is important enough to my listeners, is increasing their numbers more important than delivering upon the cause anyhow?
- What is the real win?
All interesting questions.....
In an ideal world, YES it is great to be local but.....
....having a strong local radio brand is no longer the end game. Up against a far stronger networked product, it is an essential requirement to simply get in the game.
Let's move our thinking from 'local' to 'hyper local.
Hyper-localism (thanks Mike Henry of Paragon Media) means having an unyielding focus on local content, promotions and community engagement. The opportunity for hyper-localism is growing quickly across many markets, as radio, TV and newspapers increasingly rely on more syndicated and national content.
Many 'local' media outlets are not truly local at all anymore, particularly with respect to their community actions - their very structure is prohibitive to their becoming involved at a grass roots level with the community they speak to.
I'd like to suggest that this is where the opportunity exists.
Rather than just expose the audience to a local issue and create awareness, challenge yourselves to take the big step from REPORTING the (local) news to MAKING the news.
Hit those listener primal hot buttons that a networked product simply cannot do.
By primal, the themes we are referencing include;
Let's take a look at how Jacaranda FM in South Africa addressed an issue very close to the heart of its listeners.
We spoke to Marketing Manager Jenny Griesel.
- In South Africa, rhino poaching escalated out of proportion in 2010.
- Every day, slaughtered rhinos were splashed across the front of newspapers following this sudden increase in poaching in local reserves.
- Our listeners cried out to Jacaranda FM to help & asked the station to lead the way so that they could get involved in making a difference.
- They needed to feel that something was being done.
Why did Jacaranda FM take it on?
- Caring is one of our key brand values, and it was critical that we responded to this issue that was affecting our listeners so deeply.
- A lot of the poaching was happening locally - it was within our region of the country.
- It was also important to us to be actively involved in protecting South Africa's wildlife heritage, again something very close to our listener's hearts and our own.
What was /is the goal?
- The goals were to make a difference and help stop the slaughter, while keeping our listeners informed about the issue and to lead the way with this struggle.
- We arranged fundraisers where listeners could contribute.
- We started the Rhino Files on air & an online feature which gives them weekly updates. It was also key to remain credible, which is why we formed the rhino committee made up of a team of rhino / wildlife experts that help make all decisions about the project to ensure that the funds we raise are invested wisely.
- The committee also scrutinizes all our projects to ensure that they are at the highest level with participation and buy-in from all key stakeholders (such as the parks).
- Our focus is on protecting large rhino populations, so our thinking is always where can we make the biggest difference.
How did it benefit?
- Since 2010, we have invested over R1 million of cash and equipment to help protect rhinos.
- We have trained & equipped 30 field rangers from 7 reserves across 3 provinces, and provided them all the necessary equipment they need.
- We have arranged the usage of sponsored vehicles, tracking equipment, computers, GPS's and more. The station has also done various on-the-ground interventions in the bush such as darting, ear-notching & micro-chipping rhinos in the Pilanesberg reserve, spent time with orphaned rhinos and provided volunteer groups with support.
- Our dog project aims to train and deploy 10 trained tracker dogs to work with the anti-poaching units in the parks this year.
- The first 2 dogs have just graduated. The combination of a skilled ranger and trained dog is very powerful.
How did it work for the radio station Jacaranda FM?
- This project has generated more PR for the station that all of our other community projects put together - we've not only made a huge impact locally but have generated national and even international news.
- We have been recognized at local and national government level for our work in this area.
- We are consistently listed in the top 3 most credible organisations to support in this regard.
- From a radio point of view, we have claimed this issue, led the way and become famous for it.
- Our listeners have been touched, feel they have made an impact, and helped a cause they care deeply about.
- Importantly, they did it with us - loyalty has been created - emotionally they have become part of our team.
For me some key points here are;
- The station really understood the issue.
- It was a hot button for the audience. Together they became ambassadors .
- They had clear goals.
- The campaign included clear must listen appointments.
- There was a win which everyone could celebrate.
- The campaign impacted on a huge local issue. This was the aim.
- A side issue was that ratings and revenue were impacted.
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