With the rise of social media and the multitude of digital platforms competing for our attention throughout our daily lives, we’ve officially entered the era of the content creator. That segmenting of where people get their content, and the kinds of people creating it, has disrupted the business model for all traditional forms of media and will continue to do so over the coming years. This disruption has put many hard-working, experienced, print, TV and radio people out of work and pushed some of them out of their industries all-together. But, at the same time it’s created vast new opportunities for anyone capable of creating any kind of content on their own that connects with people. That’s because media companies are no longer the only people realizing the value of paying people that have that unique skill to create content on their behalf. But, what does all of that mean for radio and how can we thrive in this era of the content creator? Here are a few steps we can take as an industry to do just that.
1) Identify our own content creators, empower, reward and encourage them to create original content on our radio groups’ behalf on a daily basis across all of our digital platforms. Overall, there are fewer and fewer positions available for live and local on-air talent. So, it’s incredibly important that those positions go to people capable of creating multi-platform content. But because we’re competing with tons of other industries now for those original content creators ,we’re going to have to pay them more going forward and give them better tools. Additionally, the window for talent who can only rip and read from a show prep site or hit the station liners is closing rapidly. But, there’s still a place for them within the operation.
2) Transition our content curators and readers (liner jocks) to stay on board as support staff for those originators while training them on how to become content creators themselves. But, remember to play to their strengths and not push them to do things they don’t have an aptitude for just to check a box.
3) Identify train and encourage other staff outside of the on-air personalities who have an aptitude for creating content to do so on the company’s behalf. After all, digital content creation is a team sport and shouldn’t be left up to the few remaining on-air talent within any operation.
4) Turn all of our on-air studios, some prod rooms and even offices into content creation studios. The easier and more front of mind we can make it for our talent to crank out multi-platform content the more likely they are to do it regularly. If it takes and hour and someone on staff who’s technically inclined to setup everything, it will rarely happen.
5) Stop making digital an afterthought that only happens once everything else is done. Time spent creating digital content isn’t a trade-off that cancels out or hinders the execution of on-air responsibilities because it all works together. Most of the digital content our on-air talent create will build on (extend or pre-promote) the on air content they’re creating because in radio it all starts on air. Plus, any additional content they create outside of that simply serves to build their brand, driving more attention to their airshifts.
6) Stop bonusing digital and charge accordingly. Any digital asset a station has, their stream, their website, videos, app, podcast episodes and even their social feeds (Yes there are ways to include sponsors in those as well) have a hard and justifiable value to them. That value is actually much easier to explain to most savvy media buyers now than it has ever been and, in many ways, it’s simpler to explain than the value of a :30 terrestrial radio ad.
What do you think about how radio can stay competitive in this era of the content creator? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.
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