Last week, I wrote about the Content Marketing strategy that broadcasters can use to weave all their different digital elements —websites, email marketing, social media, analytics, — into one coherent game plan. As I noted, this is not a strategy that’s exclusive to the radio industry. In fact, thousands of companies in a variety of industries use Content Marketing.
And we’re going to, too.
Over the next several weeks, Jacobs Media is going to implement its own Content Marketing strategy as an example of how it works. You’ll see the challenges we face as we try to get it off the ground and hopefully, (1) you’ll take solace in the fact that you’re not the only one dealing with these issues, and (2) you’ll see how we navigate them.
As I explained last week, the first step in a Content Marketing strategy is to create online content that is easy to share on social media, easy to find in search engines, and — in the case of broadcasters — easy to talk about on the air. To do this, we’re going to need a website. But not just any website will do. We’ll need a website that is specifically designed to be an effective Content Management System (CMS).
Use a Content Management System (CMS)
There are several website platforms designed to be used as a CMS, but the world’s leader is WordPress. It’s free and it’s open-source, which means that anybody can see the code and write new code to add functionality to it. In short, anything you want to do with your website, somebody has probably already done — all you have to do is find the code that they’ve already written.
WordPress is a particularly good choice for small businesses and companies who — let’s face it — don’t pay their webmasters as much as they could make in Silicon Valley. Why? Because about a quarter of the world’s websites are built in WordPress, which means that if you lose your current web developer to a better-paying job, it’s easy to find another one.
Your radio station doesn’t need to have a WordPress website to implement a successful Content Management strategy, but it needs to have a website that is set up as an effective Content Management System. Talk to your webmaster about this.
Fortunately, Jacobs Media has already built its blog in WordPress. This is good for me, because it means that I don’t have to persuade Fred and Paul that WordPress is the way to go. (Quite often, getting your bosses on board takes more work than actually implementing the technology!) Not only that, but Fred has been creating daily content for the Jacobs Media blog for years, which means we already have a lot of great content to work with. This is great news!
Consolidate Your Accounts
The bad news? While the Jacobs Media blog (http://jacobsmedia.com) is built in WordPress, the Jacobs Media website (http://jacobsmedia.com) is not. In fact, the two live at different domains. It’s important that we combine these sites onto a single domain because while Fred’s abundance of content is helping the blog get discovered through search engines, the main website isn’t benefitting from it. By putting the blog on the same domain as the rest of the site, we’ll be able to fully take advantage of the blog’s “search engine juice.”
You will also want to make sure that your station’s blog lives on the same domain as the main website. If you’re hosting your blog on a site like Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress.com (which is different from a self-hosted WordPress site), your station will not get the full search engine benefit of content marketing.
Add to the mix the fact that we have two more domains: one that we use as a development site. We never make major changes to the live site just in case we break something. Instead, we make changes to the development site and then, once we’re confident it works, we push the changes to the live site), and one that we use to send our mass emails from.
Here’s where we get into the rub: Each of these domains is registered with a different company. We’ve used Hostway, Hostgator, A2, and Superb.net. And then there’s the hosting companies. The registrar is where we purchased the name, and the hosting company is where the websites’ files actually reside. (It’s possible to register a domain and host the files with the same company, but you don’t have to.) Sure enough, we’re using a different hosting company for each site, and in most cases, the registrar and the hosting company for each site are not the same.
In other words, we’ve got accounts all over the place, and it’s time to consolidate.
Create a Master Password List
I am going to start by creating a master password list for all of the different accounts. This list will include not just the registrars and hosting accounts, but all of the online accounts that Jacobs Media uses, including our email service provider, social media accounts, survey tools, etc.
Like many companies, most of the online accounts here at Jacobs Media were set up using an employee’s work email address. That employee is no longer here — he departed over a year ago — so I have set up his email address to forward to me so that i can retrieve any lost passwords. Fortunately, we do have a fairly complete list of accounts and passwords already.
Instead of using an employee’s email address, we want to set up a master email address — firstname.lastname@example.org, for example. This email address should forward to multiple employees so that if one leaves, the others can still retrieve any lost passwords. You should do the same.
I am currently in the process of changing all of our accounts over to this master email address. As I do this, I am creating a master password list as a Google Spreadsheet. It’s a cumbersome process, but it’s a very important one if you don’t want to lose any ground during personnel transitions.
Make sure your station has a master password list for all of its online accounts. I’ve posted instructions to help you here.
As you’ll see over the next few months, content marketing is not just a strategy for radio stations, but a strategy for any company looking to build a loyal base of fans, followers, or customers. You can use it to build your station’s audience, just as we can use it to build our client base. Stay tuned for more.
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