(By Ryan Wrecker) When discussing digital strategies with your team, the first and foremost concern is always the amount of time it takes to achieve the end result. Whether it’s creating a video, a blog, a podcast, or anything for the website, everyone involved needs to know it’s worth their time. So what is the most effective content to produce for your station or personal brands, and where is the best place to distribute that content so it has a lasting effect?
“My personal rule for my brands is to just to try to be different and stand out. There’s millions of people taking pictures of their food and coffee. I try to put myself in the mind of the person scrolling through their feed, just as I would put myself in the mind of the listener. What’s going to be different? What’s going to be compelling? What’s going to be interesting to them?”
Those are the words of Randy Williams, who’s one of those overachievers in radio. During the day, he’s the director of programming for XHRN and XHTZ, plus afternoon host for XHRN. In case you’re wondering, XHRN is a 100,000-watt station licensed in Tijuana, Mexico, that operates in and serves the San Diego region. He’s also the host, producer, and creator of Slow Jams, a Sunday-night show, plus a weeknight show syndicated through Benztown, with about 145 affiliates total between the two. But you may recognize him as the man who went on the ABC television show Shark Tank and sold the power of radio.
On the surface, it appeared Williams’ objective was to make an investment pitch for his growing radio program. But the main purpose for his appearance was to market Slow Jams, to push listeners to his show, and maybe even find more stations to syndicate the program. But he had to be careful; he says, “If the ‘sharks’ find out you’re going on just for the marketing, they will totally set you on fire and clown you and make you leave with your tail between your legs.”
Thanks to the heavy syndication of Shark Tank on CNBC, his episode seems to air about every three weeks. That’s a successful mission, in my book. It even came with a bonus.
“I received a deal from a private company the Monday after Shark Tank ran,” Williams says. “They gave me what I asked for, $75,000. The awesome thing is they didn’t want any equity. They sponsored my digital assets and my request line for a year, and I was able to invest that in the business.”
Just as Williams focused his attention on Shark Tank, direction and purpose are critical for your digital strategy. If you don’t have a reason for posting a particular piece of content, the lack of direction can make it harder for you to be objective about whether you’re reaching your goals.
Think of it from the listeners’ perspective. With an endless number of options on the digital buffet, listeners are selective with their time. They usually fill up on the good stuff — the personal indulgences and the things their friends tell them to try. That’s why you need to consider the content you’re creating, where you can be most effective in placing it, and how to package it so it’s worth the listeners’ time and yours.
Think of this this way: what are you doing to make surethe listener or casual web browser is interested enough to want to check out more of what you’re doing? “When our Shark Tank episode aired, we were at 65 stations or so,” Williams says. “We’re about to break the 150 mark now, five years later. I honestly attribute it to the success of being able to invest more money into product and hire some other people to solely concentrate on selling the show.”
My takeaway from his experience is that the struggles of finding the right platforms and content is a universal one. “The one challenge that I have, and every program director has, is, ‘How do we come up with something new?’ And I was guessing that the producers of Shark Tank probably had the same challenge.” They did.