(By Loyd Ford) This isn’t about only morning show talent. Sometimes other talent feels overlooked. If you are on the air today, this article can apply to your ambition. This is about any talent who wants to build valuable equity in their home market. Sure, air personalities are often voice tracking many stations at once. That’s fine. But building true value in a home market is an anchor that will pay dividends. Here are five tips to help you stand out and build profile locally.
- Look for ways to insert yourself in the local community. Your station or company isn’t likely to make this a priority today, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Getting involved with a significant civic club, and engaging people who are influential, to become a more visible part of the active local community is a great way to show your commitment to the market. It’s also a way to become better known. Being engaged with actual influential movers and shakers in your market will do so much more than saying “live and local” can ever accomplish. Build real value in what listeners value instead of a slogan that won’t fool anyone.
- Identify and support a local cause that reflects your personality. I recommend that you stay close to things that work well with the audience your station is working hard to attract and grow. Tell your programmer and your market manager what you want to accomplish and ask for their guidance. This will make you stand out positively to them (making you identifiably more valuable in the process). Putting yourself at the forefront of a local cause will also raise your value to that tribe within the market and all it influences.
- Your appearance should be memorable. I get it. You’re on the radio. But think about the musical artists who appear mostly in audio form to their fans. Sure, they are visible at concerts and on video, but the majority of the time they are represented by the audio of their music. Yet they have stylists. In 2019, artist managers, label handlers, and others make sure that their “stars” have a look. Separate yourself as a local radio personality by making sure you have a specific look that stands out but works for the format and station where you are connected with. Being memorable will help you become “sticky” and that will help you grow your profile and brand. After all, isn’t your goal to NOT be like all the others?
- Volunteer for opportunity. It’s easy to do what everyone else is doing. If you want to stand out in today’s busy world and truly build a brand, you should think about how to grow profile through appearances, writing pieces in the local business journal, and engaging local TV news anchors or even bloggers. If you have the competency, seek ways to speak in front of local groups and make sure you have stories directly related to the audience you are addressing. Local influence is grown through local activity. Get busy face to face and you will stand out.
- Be creative about being more visible. This is more than finding out who the TV anchors are and engaging them. Look for opportunities to join TV personalities on their shows and engage them on yours. Work with your team to see if you can develop your own local TV show. This isn’t impossible to do today. Always look for profile and a way to grow your personal brand. Remember: This isn’t about the company. It’s about your career. If your company allows it and you have this side to your personality, maybe you can get with a local entrepreneur and launch a restaurant with your name. Nothing is impossible if you are careful, creative, and think about your long-term positive image.
I learned a long time ago from some really creative people that once you have a radio station you can get anything else you want. This has been complicated by consolidation, twisted around in a variety of ways, but it is still basically true. If your ambition is to grow your value beyond what you see around you, you can do it. No company is focused on your career. You have to manage it. If you want to appear so valuable that no one would ever think about the station, the cluster, the company without you, elevate your personal brand. You can do this and you’ll enjoy the results no matter what happens around you.
Loyd Ford has worked as a programmer in markets across the U.S. and spent over a decade working as a ratings strategist for Americalist Direct Marketing. He runs his own pure play digital platform and has a podcast. Reach him at Rainmaker Pathway; 864.448.4169 or [email protected]