by Tracy Johnson
Good news! Radio stations are doing a better job of engaging listeners online and in social media. And there’s more and more content available to consume online. This is fantastic. But at the same time, many programmers worry that digital strategies are eating my ratings.
If the show is readily available on-demand, could it be cannibalizing the on-air product?
There’s no definitive study that examines this question. But there’s evidence to support the idea that the more content is exposed on all platforms the more popular it becomes on each.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but it makes sense. As content is made available online, it’s exposed to a broader audience. As a result, the brand becomes more important, increasing the urgency to listen to the live show.
That’s why television networks offer segments in bite-size chunks on YouTube. Viewers who miss SNL can still catch the best moments on Sunday morning with a couple of clicks. No DVR, no commercials. Easy!
That convenience may not help the live Saturday night ratings, but there’s a marketing value. The more people that watch and talk about it, the greater the brand value. And that lifts the top of mind awareness. It builds momentum for live viewing over time.
But that doesn’t mean everything should be made available.
Many radio shows upload everything online. But that’s too much. Here are some tips to find the proper amount to offer on-demand.
The next consideration is making on-demand audio easy to access. Some stations bury the audio segments. If I have to click on the menu for Shows, Then for Morning Show, then Today’s Show, and then find the segment, it’s too many clicks. Even if a listener seeks it, they’ll probably give up before finding it.
Since it’s the best content, promote it online. Make it stand out with a direct link from the home page to a landing page for “Best Moment” audio. It’s not enough just to put it out there and hope listeners find it. And be sure to include sharing tools so listeners can spread the word to friends and social networks.
Then, promote it with every tactic available, including social media, notifications, and email alerts. This exposes the show to a new audience and could lead to a new tune-in occasion.
If it’s truly great content, boost a social media post. It will enhance traffic and, with proper targeting, steal a few listeners from a close competitor. It only costs a few dollars to drive sampling to the show. And, if using encoded audio (PPM markets), on-demand listening adds to ratings!
Add a short promo at the end of the segment to drive tune in to the on-air show. If the audio is part of a feature, promote specific tune-in times. This helps build the mini-brand and could convert new listeners into fans.
Still not convinced making audio available on demand is a good idea? No problem. Take baby steps.
Of course, the most loyal fans can’t get enough! They want to hear everything. So make that content available forever. But get value in return.
If the content is strong and the listener base is large, consider making the most recent show available for free. But the archives can be accessed behind a paywall.
This is similar to a VIP club created by personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Free Beer & Hot Wings and Phil Hendrie. They have developed a successful revenue stream from previous audio archives.
This can be a great strategy for shows with a big fan base. If you fit this description and would like to discuss the potential, contact me. I can hook you up with the folks that will make it happen for no out-of-pocket costs.
Offering audio-on-demand builds momentum for content, key features, and the show’s brand. We’ve found that online content is often a leading indicator of increased over-the-air listening.
If managed well and promoted aggressively, there is much to gain. If you’re worried about digital eating my ratings, stop. Be proactive and turn it into an advantage.
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