Are Your Local Radio Employees In The PR Business?


(By Loyd Ford) A lot of people in the radio business (not everyone) think they are in the PR business. This isn’t exactly true, but radio surely could use modern PR to help shape how we are seen in local markets.

As a radio company, you don’t only tell your story on the air. You should study PR and work to leverage this kind of work to give your local radio brands fresh advantage against your competitors. Doing so is like playing chess when your competition continues to play checkers.

We all know that companies rise and fall on Wall Street depending on how investors feel about them. In your local market how the public feels about you impacts how your market views your brand or brands. Having a PR strategy your cluster can follow to higher success can be beneficial in bringing your business more revenue. In the end, isn’t that what the business is about?

So, this week I thought we would take a look at a few key components of public relations ‘unwritten rules’ for you to consider if you are thinking of airing up you PR strategy for 2021.

  • Just because you get press, that doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to be good press (carefully watching your images and those of your personalities is critical in 2021). Controlling the message in your story is powerful. Whenever possible don’t let someone else control your story.
  • Perception is reality (especially in a diary market). It’s important to carefully craft the perceptions you want to have so you continue to grow. This should be part of your strategic review of your brands and assets. Perceptions are important in PPM markets, too. Don’t take this for granted.
  • Create a brand. It’s amazing the differences different companies put into the strategic development and detailing of individual brands – and it shows. How much effort have you really spent to map out your brand details for every brand you have in your cluster?
  • Your real goal should be to effectively tell your story. Don’t get distracted from this by ‘the noise.’ It’s tempting to try to tell more than is necessary or to reach too far. You must tell a compelling story and it must be really focused today.
  • Water seeks its own level (this means the truth will always come out). PR should always be truthful. If there is a problem, it will come to light. You should have a contingency plan for a variety of things that can develop with your employees and the moving parts of your business. When bad things do occur (and good things and bad things happen to everyone), a calm and deliberate review with a planned Crisis Strategy Team you’ve designed in advance should meet as quickly as possible to get in front of the story. No one wins letting a story develop before they get in front of it.
  • Energize a base. You’ve seen examples of this in politics, business and community.  Brands that can fire up their base can accomplish much more than a brand by itself. Firing up your base should always play a role in your PR mission.
  • Your social media is Don’t make the mistake of thinking you shouldn’t have a social media content strategy that takes into consideration the PR goals for your brands.
  • The media doesn’t care about you. People are busy and selfish. Media is worse. You must develop your PR strategy to compel media to pay attention to your story. If you don’t do this well, it is unlikely you will gain attention in today’s busy world.
  • There is no wall between public and private (privacy is over everywhere – for your brands, it’s worse). Consider this most carefully. If you put it out there, it’s OUT THERE. Having a strategy and process for how information is shared is critical.
  • You must use attention-getting visuals in telling your story. If you don’t use visuals effectively today, you will lose ground or lose the battle of PR completely. In radio today, your team – including sellers – should be knowledgeable about Facebook Live, Zoom, Skype, Clubhouse and other important ways people communicate socially. And, yes, we would recommend you have a sales social media content strategy for your cluster. Remember: If you don’t tell your story, someone else might.
  • Managing the American cycle. In this country, Americans love to build things up so they can tear them down. It’s important to manage your brand and renew its priorities from time to time and how you craft and tell your story to audience and to media. Doing this well will keep you out of the cross hairs for tearing your brand down.

If you work in a business that touches the public today, you should be thinking about how PR can help you achieve more of your goals. This is an important time to think deeper and fully develop your strategies that will elevate your brands and help grow your revenue. Use these points in thinking about your PR and get ready to grow, grow, grow.

Loyd Ford is a brand builder as consultant for radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides strategic programming and sales encouragement to radio that propel ratings (and revenue) with RPC. He helps with brand building where brands build market presence and improvements leverage stronger brands into more revenue dollars. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].


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