There’s an old saying that you have to win in the halls before you can win on the air. The halls aren’t as crowded as they once were, and everyone is busier than ever. That’s why personalities should focus more time and attention on internal marketing. Building momentum internally will quickly translate into momentum externally. And that means higher ratings, more fans, and extra money in your pocket via endorsements, appearances, and other opportunities.
At most stations, the local team is responsible for more station brands and initiatives (digital, social, podcasts, events) than ever before. At the same time, more is expected (demanded) of talent. It’s easy to withdraw into a cocoon, but this is the wrong time to be invisible.
Attention isn’t going to find you! Go get it!
Internal marketing is hard to get started but once you start, it’s like a snowball rolling downhill.
Here’s how to get started:
Morning shows are finishing their show when most employees are starting their second (or first) cup of coffee. Co-workers are not going to adapt to your schedule. Make time every day to schedule meetings with someone in sales, promotions, programming, management, digital, and engineering. Many times, they don’t ask for your time because they don’t think you’re interested in being involved. Change that dynamic.
Make friends in each department and spend a few minutes just being available. It goes a long way.
Everyone is busy. Slipping out the door is tempting and easy. But that makes it easy to forget about you. And that’s a bad thing!
Walk the halls every day and make the rounds just to say hi and spread some happiness. Pop into accounting and traffic to say hello. Bring some donuts once in a while. Ask how it’s going. Be nice, interested, and charming. Invite them to be part of a brainstorming session for the show. You could end up with some valuable insight and ideas.
Take the receptionist a gift that came in the mail that you don’t really want. It only takes a few minutes a day. It’s easy to win friends just by being nice.
Be A Sales Advocate
Account executives hold the key that unlocks the money vault. Want to make more money with endorsements and appearances? Start a relationship with the sales team. They probably don’t know you well enough to represent you properly.
A market manager told me the only complaint with the host of the morning show is:
I never see him. The sales team doesn’t feel like they know anything about him. He gets off the air at 10, then leaves as soon as he can to go home and prepare his show. I like him, but our budgets are tight. Why should I keep him? The sales people aren’t that interested in selling the show.
Wow. That’s heavy. It doesn’t take much time or effort to be available (and noticed).
Get involved. Offer to attend sales meetings when possible to find out what they’re up against. Help them understand the show, why it works, and how clients benefit from advertising in your time slot. And if you really want to be a hero, offer to go on a sales call from time to time.
Stop complaining. Everyone has problems. And everyone is tired of hearing about problems.
Be a problem solver. For example:
- Go to lunch with a key client that’s close to making a buy. Help the AE close the deal.
- Ask the promotions team if you can help with public appearances, especially when they’re in a bind and nobody else wants to. And especially when there’s no talent fee! This solves a problem, and you get to meet listeners!
- Work with the digital team to help them reach the goals for engagement. Ask them to explain what is important and how you can help. Then brainstorm ways to promote the show’s main appointment tune-in times for a win/win.
Most of all, maintain a positive attitude, even if that’s not how you feel. You can’t control things that happen in the building. But you can control how you respond to it. And an upbeat problem-solver gets everyone on their side.
Is there a strong feature that remains unsponsored or underpromoted on social media? Chances are the sales department doesn’t realize the value because nobody has shown them! And the digital team may not even know the feature exists.
That can be frustrating, but don’t get upset. Treat it as an internal marketing challenge. How can you create materials and a campaign to educate the team on how popular this feature has become? Start a campaign to make everyone want to promote the show’s key segments.
This can be more difficult than convincing listeners to love it. But it’s important. It can help build momentum that spreads to listeners and advertisers. Focus on the most important aspects of your show and find ways to get the staff involved!
Ask For Help
This is counter-intuitive but it works like a charm. We naturally think that busy people want to get help more than giving it. That’s not really true. Asking for help makes others feel important and valued.
Asking for input, ideas, feedback, and advice creates a collaborative team. The rest of the staff will begin to feel invested in the show’s success. And there may be times they have a breakthrough idea you haven’t considered.
Important: Never put down their contribution or input…even bad ideas (as many of them will be). It’s amazing how often a bad idea has a nugget that can turn into something special.
Also important: Follow up. If you use an idea, give credit! Even if you don’t use the idea, tell them how important it was to inspire the creative process. Bring as many people as possible to your team.
This business is full of people who want to avoid criticism. They point fingers and shift blame for anything that goes wrong. Don’t be that guy.
If it happens on your show, it’s your responsibility even if it’s not your fault. Step up and take responsibility. Then figure out how to correct problems. It will earn respect and inspire others to stand up and defend you.
Legendary football coach Bear Bryant once said he earned his team’s respect with this philosophy:
If it goes well, you did it.
If it could have gone better, we did it.
If it went poorly, I did it.
Nobody is an island. Everyone is stronger with support. In most cases, a radio station is willing to follow a leader if there is something to get behind, but you have to win momentum. It won’t come and find you.
Start an internal marketing campaign by building relationships. It can make a huge difference in your personal success.