Radio is over a hundred-year-old media and through that century of growth and development we’ve gotten really good at doing one thing well, providing professional, high quality audio entertainment to the masses. So, it’s not surprising that its taking our industry a while to transition to balancing doing additional things like creating content for all of our digital assets without taking away from delivering that professional audio 24/7. If it feels like your group hasn’t made much progress on that front, don’t worry, you’re not alone and its never too late to start. Here are some steps any group can take to get the digital content ball rolling in the right direction.
Step 1: Assess the group’s current digital status to set a baseline for growth. Look at the top line numbers like fans, followers, website homepage views, total app downloads, total podcast subscriptions/downloads and online streaming sessions. Then drill down further with the engagement numbers like weekly posts, shares, likes, interior website pageviews, unique pageviews, podcast episode downloads weekly/monthly subscriptions, unique streaming sessions, etc.
Step 2: Set some goals. Start with engagement goals since those drive the top line stats, setting a weekly goal for how many posts across each platform, target for total shares/likes (Or just reach) of those posts, podcast episode downloads/subscriptions as well as interior pageview goals, uniques, etc.
Step 3: Determine how much original content will be needed to reach those goals and how much of that content you can realistically create in house on a weekly basis. (Remember that digital content creation is a team sport, it shouldn’t be left solely to the on-air staff or a web/social person). Then set aside a budget to outsource the rest to freelancers and/or a company like ours.
Step 4: Give the staff the tools necessary to regularly create digital content, including computers from the past ten years, video editing software, cameras, a separate podcast studio (Or supplement their home studios), graphic design resources (Canva/Creatopy), creative writing classes, etc.
Step 4: Begin the carrot and stick approach. Hold staff accountable for creating the content they agreed to regularly do (It’s simply part of all of our jobs at this point.) But, also come up with some incentive prizes or, if possible, cash bonuses to award the employee with the most shared/liked/viewed/downloaded content for that week or month on the target platform.
Step 5: Do quarterly digital content strategy sessions. I’m always preaching to on air talent to incorporate digital into their prep process because it makes it far more manageable. The same thing applies to managers on a big picture level. We’ve all sat in promotions/programming strategy sessions to lay out all of the quarterly (Bi-yearly or yearly) promotions and events to see what we’re going to keep, dump, revise, add and get sponsored. I suggest following those with a separate digital content strategy session to brainstorm and come up with a game plan for capturing content at/on all of the things the stations have already agreed to do for that time period. Then add it to the calendar/schedule and create a strategy for how to use that content to pre-promote, promote during and post-promote (Taking credit). Dole out the responsibilities across existing staff and use the allotted budget for freelancers or a company like ours to supplement it. When stations begin to capitalize on creating content around all of their existing promotions, events and programming features, the ball starts rolling downhill very quickly and everyone gets excited about the direction its going.
Being overwhelmed by how and what digital content to create isn’t a problem unique to radio. Every artist or general business person I talk to says the same things, ‘What do we do, should we blog, should we create videos, should we do a podcast, where do we even start?” I tell them all the same thing, it starts with creating a digital content strategy, determining what kind of content you can create on your own, how often you can realistically do it, how much of a budget you have to outsource getting digital content from others and utilizing the tools you already have while slowly adding additional tools within your budget as you progress.
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