There’s an old saying that you must win in the halls before winning on the air. That’s more difficult than ever because the halls are a ghost town at many stations. Plus, everyone is busier than ever. That’s why it’s more important than ever for personalities to invest more time and attention in internal marketing.
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.
Building momentum internally translates into momentum externally, often resulting in higher ratings, more fans, and extra money in your pocket via endorsements, appearances, and other opportunities.
Attention isn’t going to find you! You have to create it!
Internal marketing is hard to start, but it’s like a snowball rolling downhill when it gains momentum.
Here’s how to get started:
Be Accessible: Morning shows finish their show when the rest of the staff is starting their second (or first) cup of coffee. Coworkers will not adapt to your schedule. Set aside time each day to schedule meetings to meet with sales, promotions, programming, management, digital, and engineering. At the same time, don’t do this in a vacuum, but make sure your program director is in the loop. Making friends in each department for even a few minutes goes a long way.
Be Active: It’s not enough to just be available. be proactive in the halls every day to be visible. Bring some donuts to other departments. Ask how things are going from their perspective. Invite them to be part of a brainstorming session for the show. Take the receptionist a gift. It only takes a few minutes a day. It’s easy to win friends just by being nice.
Working With Sales
Account executives hold the key that unlocks the money vault. Do you want to make more money from endorsements and appearances?
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 understand their challenges and if you really want to be a hero, offer to go on a sales call occasionally.
Solve Problems. Don’t Create Them: People with positive attitudes are well-liked. Those with negative attitudes are not. So stop complaining. Everyone has problems but nobody wants to hear about it.
So be a problem solver. This applies to all departments. 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, even when there’s no talent fee! This solves a problem, and you get to meet listeners!
- Work with the digital team to reach the goals for engagement. Ask them how you can help. Then brainstorm ways to promote the show’s main appointment tune-in times to create a win/win.
Is there a strong feature that remains unsponsored or underpromoted? There’s a good chance other departments don’t realize the value because nobody has shown them!
That can be frustrating but don’t get upset. Treat it as an internal marketing challenge. How can you create materials and an internal marketing campaign to educate the team?
This can be more difficult than promoting to listeners but it’s important.
Ask For Help: This works like a charm. Asking for help makes others feel important and valued, even if you don’t really need help. Asking for feedback creates a collaborative team. The rest of the staff will feel invested in the show’s success and they may have a breakthrough idea you haven’t considered.
By the way, this is important: Never put down an idea, even if it’s a historically bad idea. 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.
Finally, 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 person.
Take responsibility, then figure out how to correct problems. It will inspire others to 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.
Everyone is stronger with support. The staff will follow a leader if there is something to get behind, but you must 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.