(By Loyd Ford) Audio is meaningful and powerful. It is critical and important for every advertiser and marketer. I don’t even give a scintilla of legitimacy to articles I see about how radio is underappreciated, or the percentage of people listening to radio now vs. 1995 or 1983. I don’t care. That’s because I am a passionate believer in the viability and power of radio now and tomorrow — if we use that power of audio, creativity, and strategy that favors radio. Technology always moves along and we must appropriately position ourselves with great strategy and execution for how listeners connect and respond to audio today. How can we look at audio today to continue to create a vibrant future for radio, listeners, and advertisers? Here are five ways to begin brainstorming about improving the advantage radio holds.
1. No matter what brand an advertiser has, they should consider sound communication and marketing as a critical component of their overall strategy. Perhaps radio should consider a broader local approach to be the authority on audio marketing. This is different to only considering ourselves as “radio.” This would be elevating our sales strategies to include training our salespeople as audio consultative experts for advertisers related to our core products, along with in-store audio, social media, and digital opportunities for everyone’s brands and on-site audio at events for those brands. Maybe we should consistently think about adding revenue opportunities — our audio base and expertise makes us well-armed to assume this role in our local markets.
2. We have the opportunity to consistently think about sound-craft in every arena we play in. For some, this may represent taking a step back and including consideration of true quality in individual audio decisions we make in producing radio stations — and even producing audio related to social media and events at a premium.
3. Radio is perfectly positioned to support the growth of podcasting for ourselves and our clients for profit. Radio gets its power from being local. What is your cluster doing to enter and grow your podcast opportunities, including owning important local images that can have a positive impact on your local audio brands? Are you growing a podcast business that helps local clients grow their brands (while adding revenue to your cluster)?
4. How is your audio expertise apparent when a client calls your AEs, your front desk, your on-air? Clients are listeners, too. Every part of your business that audio impacts speaks to your expertise in audio and being influential today. Think about applying consistent strategy to all of your audio so that you appear consistent from beginning to end of listener and advertiser experiences.
5. Participate in local digital beyond traditional avenues. I’m sure you may be aware of TedEx or other visual opportunities in your market where you or someone on your team can speak about audio. Does radio see this as an important element in growing our images as audio experts into the future? We shouldn’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to audio. Radio should actively be telling our story in all avenues, emphasizing our role as authentic experts in audio influence.
We are audio champions. Of course, that means our on-air audio, but if we are not seen as THE experts in audio marketing and influence in our individual markets, we may be MISSING it completely. If you are passionate about radio like I am, you don’t put limits on owning the ground of audio and influence. I’m excited about the future because we can own it just like now and just like the past — if we take care to grow our image as local audio experts with the power to influence real local customers.
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 Ford@RainmakerPathway.com.