(By Ryan Wrecker) Have you noticed how national websites can display local banner ads? It’s called geotargeting, and it’s become one of the fastest-growing ways to cheaply promote your station to a wider local audience. Websites are able to gather location information from each visitor and, based on that information, can place localized ads that are relevant to that individual.
Facebook has relied on geotargeted ads as a major driver of revenue, as it promises to promote local businesses — like your station or website — to local users. Beyond social media sites, some companies, including Federated Media (my employer), make geotargeted campaigns an option for clients. Clients use our graphics department to craft the artwork and place it on specialized websites that appeal to their customers. We even use geotargeting to promote our stations and for special promotions. The cost is much lower than you might expect.
At some point the strategy for reaching your audience will need to expand further than it does today. On the talk radio side, USA Radio Networks SVP/Programming Rusty Humphries says, “We’ve all been listening to these same shows, and I loved them, and I was a part of it. But I had to stop and say, ‘I need to shake it up for me, too.’ We’re on over 800 stations in the country.” Humphries notes that it’s not just about the power of traditional broadcast anymore; it’s about incorporating the power of all the digital resources at your disposal.
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is a great example of a crossplatform- minded company. It incorporates streaming video clips, fully produced television shows, and even live entertainment events into the website and The Glenn Beck Program. As of December of 2015, www.theblaze.com was one of the most popular websites in the country and in the top 10 among political websites, according to Alexa traffic rankings.
USA Radio Network is owned by Liftable Media, which manages websites like ConservativeTribune.com and brings in around 27.2 million views a month across its entire network. With the launch of Rusty’s new program, he’s about to offer something never done by any other syndicated show.
“We’re going to, based on your market size, give you up to $75,000 worth of online geotargeted advertising,” Humphries says. “We’ll tell affiliates, ‘If you subscribe to the show, we’re going to give you a complete site takeover and you’ll get geotargeted ads that will be on our listeners’ computer screens.’” That means that, instead of your spending money on TV or billboards to promote the new show, the show will draw new listeners to your station digitally. It’s a great idea.
But you don’t need to reinvent yourself to take advantage of all the resources at your station’s disposal. Sometimes you just need to do a better job of promoting yourself. “It’s a different world,” Humphries says. “Most people don’t think about why they need your opinion. They’ve got their own — they’re a big star, just ask them. Radio has changed. We just want to bring radio back to where it belongs. We love radio, and the audience loves it too. Sometimes we forget because there’s so much stuff out there.”
Whether it’s experimenting with geotargeted campaigns the next time your station has a big event, or just wanting to promote something like a podcast or other digital content to your existing market, think of it as a way to reach people who are looking for the type of content you’re creating. Make it easy for them to find you. Once they find what they were looking for, if the content is good, they’ll keep coming back for more. As Humphries points out, it could be the moment where the listener says, “This is what I’ve been needing.”
Ryan Wrecker is the program director for Marconi Award-winning WOWO in Fort Wayne, IN. Reach him at [email protected]