Social media can be a powerful tool for radio stations if it's used as part of a Content Marketing strategy. Think of your website as a radio station. Just as you are continually airing content on your radio station — songs, DJs, contests, etc. — to attract an audience, you need to continually add content to your station's website: blogposts, photos, videos, podcasts, etc.
Of course, you want people to know that you are broadcasting this great content on your radio station, so you might put a billboard up by the highway to promote your station. After all, a lot of people drive along that route every day. By the same token, when you post great content to your website, you want to let people know by sharing that content on social media. That's the “highway” they're on every day.
If your website is like a radio station, Facebook is like a billboard by the highway. Posting to social media without continually creating content on your website is like putting up a billboard to advertise a radio station that isn't broadcasting anything. Without content, social media loses most of its value.
What Content to Post to Social Media
Of course, if all you post on social media is links to your own station's content, your social media presence can appear self-serving. Moreover, it can limit the scope of your social media presence. Some of your listeners may be passionate foodies, but if you don't have anyone on staff who can create content around food, you won't be able to engage them on this topic.
Joe Pulizzi, the founder of The Content Marketing Institute, popularized what's known as the 4-1-1 Rule for sharing content on social media. (He credits Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, with the rule's creation.) The 4-1-1 Rule says:
For every six pieces of content shared via social media (think Twitter for example):
- Four should be pieces of content from your influencer target that are also relevant to your audience. This means that two-thirds of the time you are sharing content that is not yours, and calling attention to content from your influencer group.
- One piece should be original, educational content that you have created.
- One piece should be sales-related — like a coupon, product notice, press release, or some other piece of content that no one will likely pay attention to.
Jacobs Media Strategies Example
What does that look like in real life? At Jacobs Media, we practice the Content Marketing strategy that we preach. Every weekday, Fred Jacobs publishes a blogpost. But we share much more than just Fred's posts on social media. Here's a closer look:
4 Pieces of Influencer Content: The target audience for Jacobs Media is radio broadcasters. I follow the blogs of several other content creators that are also of interest to broadcasters. These include:
- Industry news sites
- Major companies, such as Nielsen
- Thought leaders in specific niches, such as broadcast law, streaming, or podcasting
I have also set up Google Alerts, both to call my attention to stories on specific subjects, such as “connected cars,” and to alert me to general topics like “radio” in mainstream publications such as Forbes, the Huffington Post, and Business Insider.
Every morning, I spend 20 minutes scanning through all of this content and share out the stuff I think would be most interesting to our followers. I try to tag the author of the content in the social media post so they see we are sharing their content. This is particularly important when sharing content created by an influencer that we do not already have a personal relationship with. For example, if I see a great article written by a technology reporter for The Guardian, I will tweet it out and include the reporter's Twitter handle in the hopes they will want to learn more about Jacobs Media.
I don't adhere strictly to the 4-1-1 ratio; I simply share more content created by other people than I do content created by us.
1 Piece of Original, Educational Content: I always share our latest blogpost on social media. We also use a WordPress Plugin called Revive Old Post to share older blogposts, spread out throughout the day.
1 Piece of Sales-Related Content: I think of this as “Content that Converts“: While you don't have to jump through any hoops to read our blogposts, we also have some “freemium” content on our website, including webinar recordings, guides, and research results. To access this content, you must fill out a form to sign up for our email database. So for Jacobs Media, the 4-1-1 Social Media Rule looks like this:
- 4 pieces of content written by other radio broadcasting influencers
- 1 post from our blog
- 1 piece of “freemium” content
Remember, 4-1-1 is a ratio, not a hard a fast rule. We often post more than six social media posts per day, but they tend to loosely follow this ratio.
Radio Station Example
So how would the 4-1-1 Rule apply to radio stations? In much the same way:
4 Pieces of Influencer Content: A radio station's list of influencers will include anybody in the local market creating content aimed at the same audience. This could include local:
- Journalists, columnists, and TV stations
- Sports teams
- Schools and universities
- Bands, musicians and venues
- Comedians and comedy clubs
- Festivals and events
Create a list of local influencers who are creating content and share their content when it is appropriate.
1 Piece of Original Content: These are your blogposts, videos, photos, etc. Anything that does not require people to fill out a form to access.
1 Piece of Content that Converts: It doesn't make a lot of sense for radio stations to regularly post sales-related content (“Advertise with us!”) on their social media channels, because your followers are mostly listeners, not clients. Instead, this last type of social media post is a Call to Action; in other words, it encourages people to complete one of the goals of your digital strategy. Those goals may include (among other things):
- Streaming the station
- Signing up for the email database
- Entering a contest
- Purchasing tickets to a station event
Here are some examples:
- “DJ Dan will interview Drake at 5:00pm. Listen: [LINK TO AUDIO STREAM]”
- “Get the details on all the hottest shows in the area. Sign up for our Concert Calendar Email: [LINK]”
- “Want to see Muse at the Palladium? Enter To win tickets here: [LINK]”
- “Olivia Rodrigo is headlining our Big Picnic concert this summer! Get tickets here: [LINK]”
- “Did you miss the Zoo Crew's interview with Nick Cannon? Listen to it here: [LINK TO THE RECORDING, WHICH IS BEHIND A FORM]”
When your radio station shares content on social media, keep the 4-1-1 Rule in mind. It's a helpful rule of thumb.
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Marc Hoag says
Hey Seth, great article. I thought you’d be interested to know that we work with lots of large tv/radio broadcasting companies to help them publish their social media content to Twitter and Facebook including the oldest/largest of Belgium and Sweden; as well as several NBC and Fox affiliates here in the States; and large organizations and journals like Voice of America and Mother Jones. I’d love to get your thoughts and answer any questions you might have.