Radio: Tuning in to the Digital Era
February 17, 2021
Top five tips for radio producers to adapt to a digital, multi-platform audience.
The way in which we consume media is constantly changing. Terrestrial Radio and TV were once the go-to medium for entertainment, news and community engagement, but with content on demand and on the go, across multiple devices, consumers are constantly bombarded with a huge choice of content. Radio stations and producers are having to adapt to survive – stand out from the crowd, produce captivating content and utilise cloud-based tools and social media platforms to create more touchpoints and extend reach to a wider audience.
James Ross, our Business Development Exec, has experience hosting and producing community radio, with a background in social media and digital marketing. He looks at how the “core triad” – radio, digital and social – can complement each other to make radio a force to be reckoned with:
60% of radio is digital, and with FM broadcast already set for a funeral date, digital is set to rise. Let’s look at how to evolve your radio output into the digital age by combining platforms and continuing to spotlight your audience.
One: Own your space
It goes without saying, but make sure you know who your audience is. Put yourself in their shoes and meet them in their space. Radio isn’t going anywhere, so find your niche that evokes the interests of your audience and use that as your brand across all platforms. Once you and your audience are in-tune, utilise tools and social platforms to maximise engagement through a range of interactive campaigns. Build an omnichannel interactive brand with the audience, and expand beyond the single output of your radio station.
If your audience doesn’t align to your original target, don’t drastically change to fulfil it, it will make your established audience tune out and you’ll struggle to grow your audience. Know your audience and cater to them, don’t try and appeal to everyone.
Two: Be unique and bold
When you read a book, you visualise everything about it, and it’s the same with audio, so if your visual branding and presence isn’t strong enough, you can’t tell the audience who you are. Don’t run the risk of leaving it up to the audience’s imagination, instead build a strong, unique and accurate brand which reflects your sound and content. Ensure you keep all platforms up to date regularly.
It’s important to be authentic. The station and sound will develop naturally, you can evolve the rest of the brand from there. Stand out from the crowd. Right now, you could enter fifteen radio competitions within the next half an hour, with a chance to win £20,000. Why not give people a reason to create a conversation and talk about your content. Trial something different to get people talking – feature a special guest, host a new game, create a debate. This will drive engagement and improve the ethos of inclusive radio.
Three: Create multiple touchpoints
The audience is no longer sat around the wireless ready for the programme. Be everywhere, utilise every suitable space, and make each platform your own – it’s vital to be found easily. You might be loud on FM, but you can certainly be louder across multiple platforms.
Ensure your brand and your content is available on your website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, the list goes on. Don’t just stick to SMS (1992) and email (1971). Welcome interaction with open arms to create more touchpoints and be accessible.
Four: Establish a community
It might feel like you’re playing to an arena with thousands, but the success of radio relies on your inclusivity. Each listener wants to feel part of an exclusive circle – friends sat around the campfire. Everyone around a campfire has a voice, their own airtime. If you can replicate this as a station, then success is on the cards. The audience will love leading the direction and influencing the narrative as it’s guaranteed to appeal to them. This pull will encourage them to listen on, listen again and engage.
There are various ways to build on this inclusive feel. Create calls to action within your shows and ask the audience to get involved with polls and competitions, and share experiences via videos, images, and comments on your social platforms. Responding to, and sharing incoming audience generated content can make the audience feel really valued. This will trigger organic engagement and create conversation with your audience’s community – extending the reach of your brand.
Five: Be Relevant
Stay in your lane. Whether you’re a music-based station or chat show, don’t fill social media with irrelevant content just to populate your platform – your audience will switch off. The more relevant and focused you are, the more value is attributed to your brand. Your online presence is a visual showcase of your audio feed, fill it with questions, opinions, and share exclusive content just as you would do on your show.
It’s key to stay up to date. News and trends are only relevant for a short time so keep an eye on those hot topics. React and engage with trends in a timely manner, play it right and you’ll ride the wave to boost engagement with your content. Add your own unique perspective on the hot story of the day and give your listeners a reason to stay tuned.