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Social Media Marketing World Highlights How to Win at Social Media

“I went to Social Media Marketing World 2019 to gain information that is critical to our business from people who understand and use it better than radio does.”

Jason Barrett

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At the end of each year I take time to reflect on the year that was and the one that lies ahead. I spend most of my time listening to radio stations, talking to people, and creating content, but gaining knowledge of new technology and business opportunities, developing trends, and areas where the radio business should further invest its energy is equally important to me. I read a ton each day to stay sharp, but there’s no substitute for on-site education. It helps me grow personally, relationships increase, and it serves as a benefit to my clients who can’t always leave their office for industry shows.

One goal I had entering 2019 was to change up where I was spending my time. I’ve been a steady presence at a number of industry conferences over the past few years, many of which are excellent. But I began to find myself more focused on networking and supporting friends because the subject matter wasn’t stuff I hadn’t heard before. That doesn’t mean the content wasn’t good, just that I was probably at too many similar events.

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As a result, I decided this year to go to CES instead of NAB Las Vegas. I also decided to trade my attendance at the Podcast Movement conference to see what Social Media Marketing World 2019 was all about. I discovered that CES was interesting, but not vital for me to be at each year. On the other hand, SMMW was tremendous, and an event I will go to again. The fact that it takes place in a gorgeous city like San Diego and provides an opportunity to connect with friends from all three local sports stations is an added bonus.

Unlike past conferences though I didn’t want to rush my recap of the event. There was so much to absorb, and rather than trying to rush out the content, I wanted to step back, process the information, and share what I felt was most valuable from the sessions I attended.

At the 2019 BSM Summit, I hosted a session looking at opportunities for sports radio to grow its business. I talked about the industry needing to take advantage of new categories because the reality is that advertising dollars are projected over the next few years to grow in digital and not much else. We can bitch and moan about it all we want, but this is where dollars are shifting. I urged format folks to get more serious about merchandising and education because there are revenue opportunities in both. Maybe I’ll tackle that further in an upcoming column.

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That’s a big part of why I went to Social Media Marketing World 2019. I saw it as an opportunity to gain information in an area that is critical to our business from people who understand and use it better than radio does. Over the course of three days I took a ton of notes and captured nearly two hundred photos from Powerpoint presentations on stage. It was a productive use of my time, but there was one thing missing.

More than five thousand marketers, influencers, social strategists, and business people were present at the event, but guess how many were there from the sports radio industry?

ZERO!

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Even worse, I went thru SMMW’s Whova app (which is fantastic) which shows you the profiles of every person attending and allows you to search for people by job title, company, industry, etc.. I looked for people by the name of their radio companies, and with the key words ‘radio, podcast, host, sports, media’, etc. hoping to find others from our industry there. All of that searching resulted in locating 5-6 radio people at the conference, all from other formats and smaller radio groups.

I didn’t expect a room full of hosts and programmers at this show, but I was stunned by the lack of attendance from radio’s digital, marketing, and sales members. We are operating in a digital world. The audience starts and ends their day on social media, and the last time I looked radio wasn’t king of the financial jungle on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google. If an event is offering information and access to people who can help you further grow your audience and revenue in the spaces you need help in, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

Though we all realize that digital is key to the present and future, it changes rapidly. Look at these images below which show the top global brands over an 8 year period. The same thing happens in media. It’s why you constantly have to educate yourself because what exists now, may not tomorrow.

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What I loved about this conference is that whether you were a host, programmer, seller, GM, marketing/digital director, there was something for everyone. It was impossible to attend every session since there were 5-6 happening at once, but there were a few that stood out which I want to relay some details from.

For content people, the sessions with Alex Khan and Chris Strub were excellent. Khan shared tips of how to improve content with the apps BIGVU, Shakr and Belive.TV. He also showed how to schedule and promote your live streams on Facebook and Instagram, create split screen conversations, and circumvent algorithms to reach more of your audience using Facebook Live. One particular trick he shared involving the Like button drew a lot of laughs and was very clever.

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Strub meanwhile dedicated his focus to Twitter and introduced the room to Twitonomy. The app gives users a deeper dive into their Twitter data which helps with identifying your Alpha’s (Radio’s P1’s), what days and times they talk to you, and the topics they’re most interested in. Strub recommended using Hashtracking to find others who are similar to your most passionate fans. He also cautioned to keep an eye on who’s interacting with you and not be afraid to unfollow those who aren’t adding value to your Twitter experience.

The session with Strub also included strategic tips on how to best utilize Twitter lists and three ways to improve your authority on the platform: Leveling Up Your Circle, The Thank You Economy, and Becoming a ‘Prosumer’ (a person or individual that both consumes and produces media, content, or even goods). Strub gave six tips to improve ‘prosumer’ status and shared a personal story along with examples of how it’s helped him gain business opportunities.

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On the business end, Neal Schaffer of Maximize Your Social was excellent. His points on brands being built to advertise not socialize was right on the money. I wrote about this subject two years ago and highlighted how many sports radio brands weren’t actively engaging with their fans. We tend to do the same thing on social media that we do on the radio, push content at people. Except we don’t control the outcome on social channels like we do on our airwaves – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do. There’s nothing ‘social’ about pushing articles and advertiser discounts at the audience.

Schaffer showed some case studies to support his stance on why brands are wiser to build social businesses around influencers rather than thru brand pages. He highlighted the advantage influencers have of forming a personal bond with the audience, engaging more, and being able to tell stories that a brand can’t. The costs are more affordable and clients are made to feel part of something special and intimate rather than lost in the noise. The ROI is also greater over the long-term.

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For those interested in data and how to perform better on the web, Dan Shure and Andy Crestodina did a fantastic job. Each of their sessions covered a range of topics including campaign tracking for email and ads, how to rank higher in Google Search, how to improve your click thru optimization, tricks to improving conversions, and how to better use and understand Google Analytics. Crestodina supplied a video link which is worth your time if you’re interested in learning more.

As far as key takeaways are concerned, Shure mentioned that 95% of SEO Success for blogs involves planning topics around ranking gaps. That was very interesting. I was surprised by Crestodina’s comments on 1 in 3 marketers not knowing which tactics have the biggest impact on the success of their campaigns. He also made a great point when he said “it’s not always the best content that wins, it’s the best promoted content that wins.”

There was plenty of big picture analysis provided as well. I specifically enjoyed Michael Stelzner and Mari Smith‘s presentations. Stelzner’s session stressed the importance of making a big difference with a small group of people rather than creating a small impact on a large group. Michael went over why Facebook has been less successful with video than YouTube, reminding the audience that Facebook is a platform that thrives on people connecting, NOT on content. The opposite is true of YouTube.

It was interesting to learn that YouTube has 1.9 BILLION users per month, and 1 billion hours of content watched daily. Instagram Stories has also grown from 100 million to 500 million daily users in less than 3 years. Stats like that further supported Michael’s position that marketers need to make both a bigger part of their business strategy. According to Stelzner, 43% of marketers don’t use YouTube and 62% aren’t using Instagram Stories. Sports radio brands should be thinking about this as well.

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Mari’s time on stage covered a ton of ground too starting with the evolution of Facebook. Smith said you can learn and understand the platform’s future direction best by simply paying attention and reading thru the lines. She gave some great examples to support that position.

Like Stelzner, Mari has great confidence in Instagram Stories being a valuable and cost friendly space for marketers. She took time to draw attention to the expected rise of chatbots and messenger marketing and relayed some great information on apps delivering big audiences overseas such as WeChat, which she says Facebook could look to create their own version of in the states. The app TikTok was another one she highlighted which I’ve since been getting familiar with.

The highlight though of her session involved her strategic approach to helping businesses create successful marketing campaigns on Facebook. She shared her ‘Mari Method’ which stresses 70% of content on Facebook being video, 20% images, and 10% a combination of links and text. She explained why it’s best to keep video content between 7-20 minutes, build custom audiences, and necessary to put ad budget against your content. I was stunned to hear how little of our content is seen by those who follow us on Facebook.

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Trying to capture all that transpired over the span of 3 days is impossible. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d suggest going on to Twitter and typing in the hashtag #SMMW19. You will have a sea of tweets to navigate but there’s no shortage of great stuff in there.

If there was an overlying message from the event, it was that social media requires human interaction, constant adjusting, and the opportunities for business are endless. This was my first experience at SMMW and I felt they provided a strong group of speakers who covered a ton of subjects that relate to our industry. I walked out of the door smarter than I did when I walked in.

I would encourage my friends in radio to get out there next year. There’s an abundance of information available to help your brand make a bigger impact in the social space, and if digital is where the money is moving, then that should be incentive enough for you to be in San Diego. The sunshine and scenery aren’t bad either!

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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