(By Loyd Ford) You can call it what you want. How should YOUR radio station position itself to serve the local community as it relates to the coronavirus (or how should you look at contagion-oriented public focus when it happens)?
Here are some basic ideas that can be helpful to make your station the center of what’s next.
1. How is Coronavirus impacting local listeners? You have to ask yourself this and think about the fact that this isn’t likely truly impacting locally physically, but listeners live in their minds first. What is the impact to what they are thinking? Their worries? What do they think about related to this? There is a brain-trust inside your cluster. Bring them together and brainstorm this now. Develop a plan if you don’t have one now. Make sure to include all the ways you can have a positive impact for your audience and the ways you can be in front of what listeners are thinking related to this important and potentially fast moving development.
2. If you were in the target demo for your radio station, what would you want to know about Coronavirus and how to protect yourself, your family, your money and investments? This isn’t rocket science. You are likely the member of a family yourself. You already (should) know your core target demo and overall audience. What do you think would be immediate information that could help anyone in your target quickly understand the current situation with Coronavirus and how they can protect themselves, their family and investments, or net worth? Something like this can negatively impact each of these. Even if that wasn’t true, listeners will surely think about this. Make a list and get input from others so you have a complete and actionable list. Use the amazing and vast resources you have (Google) to find relevant answers to these questions.
3. Where is the right place to make information available about Coronavirus? Depending on your format, you will have different answers to this question over the air. However, there is no reason you cannot rapidly develop a section or sections of your existing website to have available information about the Coronavirus with the above points in mind: What does your target audience want to know about this virus and the potential impact on themselves? You should also think about creating a special listener email that listeners can also share that has the basic information in the email and immediate encouragement to go to your website for more 24/7. This isn’t just about placing something on your website. It is about taking actions that place your brand in front of your audience and gives them powerful access to the information they crave the most for the safety of their family, lifestyle, and local life.
4. Make sure to use the official sites that focus on relevant and responsible information, like cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html. Be sure to check local healthcare systems to see if they have significant information and check in to make sure you can utilize it on your website.
5. Of course, promote on the air that you have updates at your website. Local radio is the best at connecting with local audience immediately. No matter what format you are in, this shouldn’t only be true about your format. It should be true when real worries or concerns hit your audience. Remember: That doesn’t have to mean that contagion is in your actual market.
When your listeners are concerned, you should be concerned. More than this, radio has a responsibility that aligns perfectly with our own selfish desire to be at the center of listener attention, to engage listeners with the information they want, and give them 24/7 access to answers in the 21st Century. Get your listeners trained to believe that you are at the center of what is happening right now. The thing that often separates you from your competitors and all other media is when you react in front of what your listeners crave now. No matter if it is the Coronavirus, a local/regional hurricane, or anything that impacts your local listener targets, radio can use our amazing connection with listeners to build trust. Yes, even in 2020.
Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral programming with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].