As soon as it started to dawn on everyone that radio is going to have to get on board with embracing the emerging digital side of our business, radio groups across the country started dabbling in digital and calling themselves a “Media” company instead of a “Radio” company. But if we want to truly drive meaningful results and revenue from digital we have to commit to fully transitioning into an actual multi-media company instead of just branding ourselves as that. Here are the five steps required to do that.
1) Build content creation studios and capture content at on-site events. I plan on going more in depth on this topic in an upcoming blog/podcast episode. But, basically I believe that eventually every radio studio (on-air and production) will become content creation studios where it’s simple to record an audio/video podcast, film a high quality hosted video and take a wide range of pics for web/social in the studio during/before/after a shift. The key phrase there is “simple”. Many groups have been able to do most of those things for years now by hauling a bunch of equipment into the studio, but few are setup to do them at any and all times. The conversion isn’t as complicated as it sounds, I recently did it with my office as a test study. Depending on what’s already in place, most radio studios can be converted for between $1k to $3k plus labor. I can bring some of the equipment I use and recommend what to buy/how to do it on one of my market visits. There's also a remote version of the setup that enables stations to capture the same types of content when they are at any event (On-sites are one of the biggest missed opportunities for content creation at most radio stations.)
2) Hire content creators. Put job applicants who have already demonstrated their ability to create original multi-platform content on the top of the list for any open position. The days of just doing an on-air shift and nothing else ended several years ago, although not everyone got the message. But beware, virtually all on-air personalities say they are great at social media/web content. Look for actual examples of original digital content they’ve created (Blogs, videos, podcasts, viral social posts, etc). They don’t have to be great at all of them, but they should at least be great at one or more of those. We should also look for potential content creators in any other open position, despite their job description. There’s nothing wrong with utilizing someone’s creative skillset and most creatives tend to be happier when they’re regularly tapping into those skills. Remember, digital content creation is a team sport.
3) Train and empower existing staff to be self-sufficient content creators. Utilize outside voices like myself or others to help train all existing staff on what kinds of digital content we’re looking for and how to consistently create it. Work with them to marry their passions and interests with the kind of content we’re looking for. In other words don’t make non-writers write long-form blogs or camera shy people host videos, instead find the thing(s) they will excel at and train/encourage them. NOTE: On radio station blogs/articles we aren’t typically looking for journalist-style long-form blogs anyway, typically we want a paragraph or so of copy interspersed with video/pics/audio. It’s also important that we empower our content creators to become more self-sufficient by giving them the equipment they need (including computers from this century) and the software, or web-based services, that help enable the creative process (video/photo editing, design, etc). ANOTHER NOTE: We should always start with taking our existing on-air content and finding ways to extend it to digital content and then add additional original digital content that compliments what we’re doing or directly ties into on air content/features.
4) Install a system of rewards and repercussions. We can talk about creating multi-platform original content until we’re blue in the face, but we’ll never see meaningful changes unless we reward the creation of that content and hand out repercussions for those who don’t consistently deliver the agreed upon content. The rewards should be monthly or quarterly bonuses/prizes for content that got the most likes/shares/impressions and the repercussions are simply the normal disciplinary actions used whenever an employee isn’t delivering.
5) Monetize all of the new content. The thing that closes the circle and keeps this machine running is of course, driving revenue from that new content we’ve worked so hard to create. There are several ways to approach this, but in my experience, the best way to do so is to price everything (Including all on-air and digital assets) off of impressions and bundle them together into integrated solutions so its simple for account reps and advertisers to understand.
Let me know what you think even if you vehemently disagree with me. Comment below or email me at Andy@radiostationconsultant.com.