Be More Creative Than The Other Guys
May 14, 2013
This week I'd like to re-count a few of the thoughts I discussed on the recent International Radio Panel at the World Wide Radio Summit in LA.
I want to talk about two radio trends thatÂ have really taken hold in the past 12 months in markets around the world as diverse as England,Â Romania,Â Canada, NZ, Ireland,Â Greece, Austria, Africa ........and Australia.
Australia has long seen itself as the ''creative'' home for radio..... well since in the 1980's anyway. It has developed Â concepts like the Lie Detector, 2 Strangers and a Wedding, The Naked Bus, The Fugitive, 15 Days of Fame, Bug'd and the like.
In the past 12 months this creative, across platformÂ approach has gone to an even higher level in the form of ''story arc'' radio driven out of morning shows.
Australian Radio is vibrant and creative.....and more competitive than ever before. For the first time we really have 3 major FM radio groups slugging it out for ratings and revenue.......
Unlike a market like say Dublin, where historically it's the station with the biggest marketing budget that wins (I refer to the great battles between 98FM and FM 104 inÂ particular), Australian radio's approach is to be more creative than the other guys.
In Australia we tryÂ a lot of new stuff.Â We don't do prank calls anymore however.
In the past 12 months alone we have seen:
- The Battle of the Apps
- The man made wedding
- The Search for Mr. Right .
.............just to name a few examples ofÂ two new important innovations that I will discuss below which have really changed the landscape from a content perspective.....
We recently alsoÂ took a close look at over a dozen markets across the radioÂ world. The results were pretty clear. It really comes down to the ''have'' and ''have not's''.
Embrace this stuff, and you get instance heritage and fast growth.
If you don't, you will struggle to maximize.....Oh....and this creativity very often drives revenue too.
InÂ the competitive markets, thus kind of Story Arc radio is by far the biggest content development or innovation and area of competition. It drives ratings big time....We are talking up to 20% growthÂ year on year in some instances.
What we are talking about here is helping listeners form quicker bonds with Radio and Morning Shows in particular. Fast tracking compelling and engaging content that demands talk and recall - creating soap operas with cliffhangers that listeners become addicted to. What usually takes 18 months to achieve, I like to think you can do it in 6.
This is critical in Australia as an audience decides pretty quickly if a product/program is going to work or not so the stations are pretty ruthless.
In TV you may have Â a season...... in radio you may have 4-6Â months.
There is absolute evidence that stations and morning shows in particular that embrace ''story arc radio'' and the "art of disruption" have a far greater chance of creating multiplatform, integrated content that connects & engages on an emotional level........stuff that demands you listen and tell your friends.
''Topical content that no one can compete with."
Innovation #1 - STORY ARCS
''Story arc radio'' ..........is an extended or continuing storyline like a soap opera that may run daily for a period of 4-6 weeks..... giving listeners enough to significantly change listening habits. This process is, of course, driven by all forms of social media.
The goal of story arc radio is to drive cume/reach into the morning show.....then additional tune ins across the day....and back into mornings.
These campaigns can be driven out of topicality, community and listener needs or perhaps just via a great concept. They force opinion and they cannot be ignored.
They are multiplatform integrated content that connects & engages on an emotional level........
Common traits for great story arc radio
- A strong premise that evokes emotion
- A great cast including a hero and villain
- Primal themes like anger and lust
- A critical path with various twists and turns
- A false climax
- A compelling conclusion
- A moral to the story
Cinderella is in fact the ultimate soap opera. Think about her life. It fluctuated enormously on the misery to ecstasy scale.
- Awful life with the evil sisters
- Gets invite to the Ball
- Makes new clothes
- Goes to the ball
- Dances with the Prince of her dreams
- Oh No...its midnight
- Has to go home
- Back to the same old life.....but, it's not quite as bad because there is hope
- ...and she's had a great experience
- Prince Finds her
- They live happily ever after
Almost immediate Reach build
Huge impact on Social. Facebook, Twitter, Website activity goes crazy.
Impact on Hours
Create an earlier Morning Show listenership peak
and....Impact on the workday
Innovation #2 - THE ART OF DISRUPTION
Twisting topicality..........adding an element of controversy or disruption that is specifically designed to force divided opinion.
Here are a few great Story Arc's I've heard and seen being really maximized via social media in recent times:
Man Made Wedding
Best Home cooked meal (in your region)
The Search for Mr Right
Face Your Fears
15 Days of fame
Win a baby
The Bizarre Love Triangle
The Search to find Jesus
Giving away a life.....and a death
The Rules of Life
One last dream
The search for the ''Hottest Asylum Seeker''
DNA TestingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
2 Boobs and a bag of cash
Homeless to hero
Hide and Seek
Lost in a Box
Man up........males experiencing the pains of child birth
Next Week we will delve into one of these in detail.
But this week a final example of a story arc that may work for you............
INHERIT A LISTENER'S ESTATEÂ Â
This is a great campaign as it delivers cume or reach as the concept is unusual and creates talk fast.....plus time spent listening ............
Here is the premise:
Create a 'fictitious' local personality and/or Â loyal listener who only has a few days to live.
His (or her) dying wish is to leave all their worldly possessions to your radio station.
They say.....(on air in their final radio interview) ''I love you guys, and I want your listeners to have a reminder of your ultimate fan”.
Â Â Â
On air and via FB and Twitter listeners get to win a piece of the estate. It could be anything you want it to be from houses to cars, guitars, CD’s and even some of the weird, funny stuff.
You need to build the story though. .............the backstory is a big part of the campaign.....you talk to his family etc......Build the scenario of his life so listeners relate to this character.
What about an old flame?
Outstanding debts? Old school-buddies?
The idea here is to create a soap opera, and in that spirit, be sure to come back next week for the details on a particularly successful example of great story arc radio.