I had a most refreshing conversation with a personality about her unique ability to get the most out of every opportunity. She told me that it’s her responsibility to find a way to pour herself into the show every time the mic is on, even if limited to a six-second song intro. She has learned the importance of ize-ing content.
For some, it seems to come naturally. Others have to work at it. But every personality can fill segments with more color by mastering this simple concept. It’s a fundamental characteristic of legendary air personalities like JoJo Kincaid and Broadway Bill Lee. And it can be a cornerstone of your personality that will accelerate growth through Stages 1 (Introduction) and 2 (Familiarity) on your Personality Success Path.
Ize-ing content falls into four categories:
What is IZE-ing Content?
Personalities often jam too much information into too little time. They gather facts and cram them into teases, promos, station liners, and contests. It happens with open-talk breaks, too, but let’s not worry about that for now. Instead, let’s focus on how to make a personality impact in a short window of opportunity.
Ize-ing content is the art of using fewer facts to tell short stories that make emotional connections by painting a word picture.
This concept is like a steroid that helps you sound more relatable immediately.
Here’s how to start ize-ing content.
Energy is not about how fast or loud you speak. It’s about momentum, which is driven by the choice of words.
Here are two examples of personalities using generic language in a short talk break with a simple adjustment to fix it.
Hey, are you having fun on your weekend? At least you have some time off. Me? I’m stuck at work. But at least we have the jams in the Throwback Weekend on WXXX.
Critique: This attempt to relate to the weekend is a total waste of time. It’s generic and self-absorbed. To listeners, being on the radio is not work. It’s fun. They’d love to be “stuck” in a studio playing their favorite songs. Let’s put some energy into it:
It’s a Throwback Weekend and there’s no place I’d rather be than kicking back, windows down, music up, and Justin Timberlake singing Suit and Tie on WXXX. Are you feeling it?
Isn’t that more colorful? The words are full of energy that can be felt.
Here’s another generic, ineffective segment:
It was a big weekend at the box office for (hot new movie). I didn’t see it yet, but the reviews this morning are terrific
Critique: Yawn. Who cares? This is just an excuse to say the name of a movie to try and sound relevant. But why sound out of touch with the world? At least leave the impression that you saw it. And why even call attention to reviews? Here’s a fix:
Everyone’s talking about (hot new movie) this morning. I’m still trying to figure out how to rank it: (Main Actor’s) Great performance or (Main Actor’s) greatest performance. What did you think?
The most valuable personality skill is being uniquely personal. With a little time and effort, anyone can tell a short story about a listener, even if you’re making it up!
Here are a few examples:
Thanks for turning us on this morning, including Paula and Shannon. They carpool with their kids to school at Springfield Elementary, and Paula says her 6th grader has her hooked on WXXX. Awww, thanks so much. You made my day! And to her daughter Chelsea: Good luck on that history test today. Here’s (song) to get you ready!
Another new listener is checking in this morning. Brenda found us on her way HOME from the late shift at the hospital and she can’t get enough of that new Maroon 5 song. And she’s standing by for (contest coming up in 10 minutes). Brenda, your chance to win is coming up at 8, if you can stay awake that long.
Maggie just called – she’s fighting the traffic on her first day of work at (local office park) this morning and she’s afraid her new boss won’t understand that she’s late because traffic is a nightmare. You’re not alone, Maggie! Hang in there. Hey, if you have an idea for excuses for being late to work, call now and we’ll help her out this morning.
None of these examples are world-class breaks that will go on an audition aircheck. That’s not the point. Ize-ing content is simply turning something ordinary into something more compelling and interesting.
Side note: Using a listener’s name (even if it’s made up) is a simple technique that helps personalities sound approachable. Plus, it sounds like everyone is listening.
Find out more about personalizing talk segments here.
Another method of ize-ing content is supersizing with colorful word pictures.
- Turn every day contests, promos, and liner cards into content that stands out. There’s a great example from Sarah Taylor at Spirit 105.3/Seattle here.
- Word pictures help listeners connect to ordinary music in extraordinary ways. Here’s an example from Jagger & Kristi from Magic 92.5/San Diego.
- Even ordinary weather forecasts don’t have to be ordinary. Here’s an example from Dave & Candice on Life 102.5/Madison.
Turn up the volume! Sure, it’s hard to get excited about routine, repetitive content. The greatest artistic and creative challenge is often finding new ways to discuss the same things.
Being local is more than just saying Live and Local. It’s a commitment to sound like the community.
Localizing a station isn’t hard. It just takes homework.
Here are a couple of ways:
- Reference local landmarks, streets, neighborhoods, and businesses as often as possible.
- Add in schools, shopping areas, parks, playgrounds, hiking trails, golf courses, and biking trails.
- Don’t forget about local celebrities and well-known institutions.
Then turn non-local stories into local appeal with a colorful angle. It may have happened in Louisville, but it’s so easy to connect it to your city with minimal effort.
Imagine being a teacher at Springfield Elementary and a student came into your sixth grade class to take a geometry test with her pet….goat.
This is a super-easy technique. Localization is a strength of Jack-FM/Calgary’s Matt and Sarah. Check out this example. are
For more examples, get a detailed guide on how to be more local with this seminar on-demand.
Ize-ing content is quite easy. Just add color. Soon it will become a habit.
Sean Ross says:
Can we not bond with listeners over anything better than “more music, better variety”? Perhaps it’s because of voice tracking. But this often leads to a lot of “breaks from nowhere.” There are live promos for ongoing station promotions that don’t sound any different from the one heard a few months ago. Or it’s the litany of jock-isms inserted between songs in a way that stops the momentum and makes the bit sound canned.
Ize-ing content won’t win a Marconi award. And it’s not a substitute for compelling content. But it will make you sound more connected.
This may seem small, but little things mean a lot. Opportunities are everywhere. Start making your show more colorful tomorrow!