Radio Needs To Stop Looking Down on Content Creators By Andy Meadows

The creator economy is here to stay and growing exponentially. It’s currently a $250 billion industry worldwide and that number is expected to grow to $480 billion a year by 2027. Yet, most radio people fluctuate between mild interest and full rejection. I read a social post from a former radio colleague recently that joked ‘When you list Content Creator as your job title is that code for unemployed’. This attitude is part of the reason our industry is struggling to get it's fair share of the creator economy. Money that would more than offset any losses on the terrestrial side. But, to do that radio has to stop looking down on content creators and start learning from them. Here are five simple steps for doing that.

1) Don’t be afraid to fail

When I really probe any radio personality about why they’re reluctant to blog, post on social more, do a podcast, or create video content it generally boils down to the fear that they’ll look silly and ‘it probably won’t work anyway’. But, with any new venture we run that risk, flipping to a new format, cracking the mic for the first time live on the air, doing our first stage intro in front of thousands, none of us are strangers to taking risks. In truth virtually everything we do digitally seems a little bit like a failure in the beginning. All podcasts start with essentially no listeners, every social feed starts with no followers and despite the fact that a whopping 75% of people who stick with blogging regularly say they’ve found success in it, 80% of bloggers quit blogging completely within 6 months. The key to success is finding something we have an aptitude for and sticking with it long enough for it to work. 

2) Learn from the successes and failures of others

The first thing I did before sitting down to write From Broadcast To Podcast: Applying Radio Rules to Podcasting is spend hours upon hours listening to and watching all the top podcasts at the time. That’s something I would advise anyone who wants to get into podcasting to do. When doing that it quickly becomes clear what’s working and to some extent why it’s working. Especially if we also review a handful of audio/video podcasts that aren’t getting traction to try and pinpoint why they’re not connecting with an audience. Early on in my career I learned something that I’ve put to use consistently throughout the years, experiences do not have to be my own for me to learn from them.

3) Strategically spend money on upgrades

One upside of the booming creator economy is that it’s drastically increased the volume of units companies can sell of equipment and software related to creating content. That’s something my brother Chris, who’s a broadcast engineer, and I discussed on Episode 7 of the Radio Influencers podcast. The massive increase in demand for all of this equipment and software has created somewhat of a hybrid between consumer-grade and professional-grade products and services. Which means it’s significantly more affordable than it used to be to build what I call content creation centers within our offices and homes that make it possible for us to easily create a wide-variety of digital content on a daily basis. 

4) Embrace AI

The other big game changer in the past few years is the acceleration of Artificial Intelligence. At this point AI is touching every step of the process. Need a header image for a blog that’s incredibly specific to a topic, grab an AI generated image. Out of ideas on what to talk about, use an AI powered prep service like Radio Content Pro to help (by the way it’ll also write your blog and social copy as well). Plus, AI-powered software can help any of us record, edit and produce an audio/video podcast and turn it into reels for social in easily a third the time (if not more). Everyone should be using AI now, people who are refusing to are falling behind more with each passing day.

5) Ask for help

Finally, no one figures out how to do all of this stuff on their own. We all need a little help along the way, whether that’s getting friends and family to review content before it’s posted, asking a colleague what they’re using to create something that’s working or reaching out to consultants like myself to pay for a little help so you can learn from our experience and our access to experts in multiple fields.

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