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Engaging Listeners On New Platforms? Bring Advertisers With You

You create content for the good of the listener. Right now though, everything you do at work has to be done through the prism of “how can this work for the client?”.

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I’ll be the one to say it. I don’t care who I piss off! This quarantine thing sucks.

Americans aren’t built for isolation. Think about everything you miss being able to do right now. It all involves hanging out or being amongst other people with a shared goal or interest. All this time alone or with the same circle of family or roommates has us craving ways to connect with those we have been cut off from.

How social distancing could ultimately teach us how to be less ...

Look, we’ve all seen Tiger King. Those of us with kids have already burned through Frozen 2 and Onward on Disney+. We’re looking for new things to engage us, and sharp, creative programmers and talent need to step up.

You create content for the good of the listener. Right now though, everything you do at work has to be done through the prism of “how can this work for the client?”.

Do you look around, see layoffs at Entercom, Beasley, Alpha, and other broadcast groups and wonder how you can avoid ending up on that same list at your company? The answer is find ways to benefit the clients sticking with your station in everything you do.

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can connect station sponsors to the digital content you’re churning out to engage the people that have stopped listening because they have no reason to be in their car. Here are four ideas to use as you see fit.

1. Long-Form Content

You have time to be creative and try out some video and audio projects that would have required too much time in the past. Start working on that podcast serial you have an idea for. Roll out the video project you think could turn some heads on social media.

These sort of things are easy to slide commercials into. You’ve heard plenty of ESPN podcasts that feature the same commercials you hear on ESPN Radio. You can do the same. You can also add the same ads to your videos with a company logo in front.

The need to make the most of every dollar the station has coming in right now should give you the green light to get creative. All you have to do is create inventory for the sales staff to use and you’ve infinitely become more valuable to your employer.

2. AMAs

For those not fluent in reddit, that stands for Ask Me Anything. There are so many ways to do these. I think the very best one on the internet right now is Banner Society’s “Insta for Olds,” where Steven Godfrey takes questions about college football and parenting and responds in an Instagram story.

These can also be done on Twitter or Facebook. The video element creates a more fun and immediate place to give an advertiser some presence.

Lawyers and insurance agents are staying on the air in a lot of markets right now. That makes sense because those businesses exist to answer customer questions. Brand your AMA with a tag line regarding the sponsor’s ability to answer their clients questions any time.

If you’re going to use the video element, ask the sponsor to give you a .png file of their logo. Even a video editing program as simple as iMovie has an ability to put a bug on the screen. If you’re doing the video in Instagram, use this guide to help you learn how to build stickers to put on all of your answer videos.

3. VIDEO GAMES

If you haven’t picked up a video game in a while, the days of playing NHL 94 alone in your room on the Genesis are over. Video games have surpassed movies as the most profitable communal entertainment experience. Whether you’re playing on the Playstation Network or Xbox Live or streaming on Twitch, there are all kinds of ways to play video games in front of an audience.

Treat the casts of your gaming just like a radio show or game broadcast. Give commentary and work in sponsors. There’s probably a ton of grocery stores on air right now, right? Tell the people watching you what you picked up from the sponsoring store last time you went out. Tell them how much toilet paper you saw on hand.

Watching other people play video games sounds boring as hell to those of us in our 30s and 40s, but as anyone with kids can tell you, people do it for hours on end. Check out what 680 the Fan in Atlanta and WDAE in Tampa are doing with their virtual baseball seasons. They are already making the most of video game content on their social platforms.

4. NETFLIX PARTY

Everyone is looking for a show to stream and something to talk about right now. Netflix Party is an awesome platform that allows you to synchronize Netflix viewings with friends and create your own private chatroom. Think of it as a sort of show/station book club.

This is the perfect thing to tie a restaurant sponsor into. It may even be an item that becomes added value for a long time advertiser that can’t afford to stay on but is important to future business. Offer a coupon for their take out or delivery service exclusively inside the Netflix Party chat room.

There’s also so much to watch and draw people into. We’re all jonesing for some kind of competition, right? Nailed It just came back. The CW’s high school football drama, All-American, is gaining popularity. This is what many are doing right now. We might as well do it together.

Karimah Westbrook - Catch ALL AMERICAN on NETFLIX! | Facebook

As you look to create content to stay in front of your regular audience, the only way to win right now is by bringing sponsors with you. The world is in “all hands on deck” mode. The radio industry is trying to slow the bleeding.

You can’t afford to think the same way you always have, and just do the same things you’ve always done. Keep finding ways to engage your audience on multiple platforms. That should always be part of your plan. But if you are not thinking of ways to bring advertisers with you on to those platforms, you aren’t doing enough.

BSM Writers

Asking The Right Questions Helps Create Interesting Content

Asking questions that can get a subject to talk about their feelings is a much better way to get an interesting answer.

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USA Today

When ESPN’s Mike Greenberg interviewed Paolo Banchero in the lead-up to the NBA lottery on Tuesday, he asked what I’ve concluded is the single most maddening question that can be asked of any athlete preparing for any draft.

“Why do you believe you should be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?” Greenberg said.

Before I point out exactly why I have such a visceral reaction to such a harmless question, I want to point out the positives because Greenberg’s question avoids some of the most common pitfalls:

1) It is an actual question. That’s not as automatic as you think given the number of poor souls who are handed a microphone and say to their subject, “Talk about (whatever issue they want a quote or a sound bite on).” This is the mark of an amateur, creating the opening for an uncooperative subject to slam the door by saying, “What do you want me to say?”

2) Greenberg’s question can not be answered with a yes or a no. Questions that start with the word “Can you …” or “Did you …” may sound like they’re tough questions for the subject, but they’re actually fairly easy if the subject wants to offer an answer. Now, most interview subjects won’t take that one-word exit, but some will in a touchy situation.

The problem with Greenberg’s question has to do with the result. Why do we ask questions of the athletes we cover? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. What’s the goal? It’s to get interesting answers. At least that’s the hope whether it’s for a quote that will be included in a story, a sound bite to be replayed later or — like in this situation — during an interview that is airing live. The question should be engineered to elicit interesting content, and there was very little chance that the question Greenberg asked Banchero was going to produce anything close to that.

I know that because I have heard some version of this question asked hundreds of times. That’s not an exaggeration. I attended the NFL scouting combine annually for a number of years, and if a player wasn’t asked why he should be the first overall pick, he’d get asked why he should be a first-round pick or why he should be one of the first players chosen at his position. Never — in all that time — have I ever heard what would be considered an interesting or informative answer. In my experience, players tend to talk in incredibly general terms about their own abilities and then seek to compliment their peers in an effort to avoid coming off as cocky.

Here’s how Banchero answered Greenberg’s question: “Yeah, thank you all for having me, first off., I feel like I’m the number one pick in the draft because I’m the best overall player. I feel like I check all the boxes whether it’s being a great teammate, being the star player or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been a winner my whole life. Won everywhere I’ve went, and when I get to the NBA, that’s going to be the same goal for me. So just combining all those things, and knowing what I have to work on to be better is a formula for me.”

There’s nothing wrong with answer just as there was nothing wrong with the question. It’s just that both are really, really forgettable. ESPN did put a clip on YouTube with the headline “Paolo Banchero: I’m the best overall player in the NBA Draft | NBA Countdown” but I think I’m the only who will remember it and that’s only because I’m flapping my arms and squawking not because there was anything bad per se, but because there was nothing really good, either.

First of all, I’m not sure why it matters if Banchero thinks he should be the number one overall pick. He’s not going to be making that decision. The team that holds the top draft pick — in this case Orlando — is. Here’s a much better question: “How important is it for you to be the number one overall pick?” This would actually give an idea of the stakes for Banchero. What does this actually mean to him? Asking him why he should go number one is asking Banchero to tell us how others should see him. Asking Banchero how important it would be go number one is asking him to tell us about his feelings, something that’s much more likely to produce an interesting answer.

The point here isn’t to question Greenberg’s overall competence because I don’t. He’s as versatile a host as there is in the game, and anyone else in the industry has something to learn from the way he teases ahead to content. What I want to point out not just how we fail to maximize opportunities to generate interesting content, but why. Interviews are a staple of the sports-media industry. We rely on these interviews as both primary content that will be consumed directly, and as the genesis for our own opinions and reaction yet for all that importance we spend very little time thinking about the kind of answer this question is likely to produce.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 74

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This week, Demetri is joined by Ian Casselberry and Ryan Brown. Demetri talks about the NBA Draft getting an ABC simulcast, Ian talks about Patrick Beverley’s breakout week on TV, and Ryan reminds us that Tom Brady may be the star, but Kevin Burkhardt is the story we shouldn’t forget.

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BSM Writers

The Client Just Said YES, Now What?

We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES.

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One of the most significant moments in radio sales is when the client agrees to your proposal and says YES. But, when they do say YES, do you know what’s next? We better have an answer!

We spend a lot of time getting ready for clients with research, spec spots (thank you, radio sales trainer Chris Lytle-go to 22:30), proposals, and meetings. All of our focus is on getting the client to say YES. We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES. For example, getting newer sales reps to sell annual advertising contracts would be ideal for building a list. They would have less pressure, more job security, and could spend more time making the advertising work for their clients. But, since most newer reps don’t know the business yet, they don’t bite off more than they can chew and sell a package of the month.

When a client says yes to the weight loss promotion, it’s pretty clear how to write the ads, what the promos will say, etc. BUT, if a newer sales rep starts selling annual contracts to a direct local client who needs a resource, how will that work? Let’s make sure we paint the picture right upfront. More experienced reps know that they need to assume the client will say YES to the weight loss promo and have a plan accordingly.

They have the next steps to building copy and promos, a credit app or credit card payment form, and any other detail the client must provide. But, when we ask a direct local client for an annual advertising contract, watch out! You have just made a partnership. Why not lay out, upfront, what that will look like. And I understand not every local client needs the same level of service.

A car dealer has the factories pushing quarterly promotions, agencies producing ads, and in-house marketing directors pulling it all together sometimes. Other clients need your help in promotions, copywriting, or idea generation. Make a plan upfront with your client about when you will meet to discuss the next quarter’s ad program. Include your station’s promotions or inventory for football and basketball season, a summer NTR event, digital testimonials with on-air talent, etc., in your annual proposal. Go out as far as you can and show what you have to offer to the client and how you can execute it. This exercise is good for you and, once mastered, guides the client on how you will take care of them after the sale. It also opens your eyes to what it takes to have a successful client partnership inside and outside the station.

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