When I was a radio Program Director (a job title that's increasing been discarded in favor of “Brand Manager”), I held a weekly Programming Meeting. This meeting centered around a single question: “What are we doing on the air this week to engage our audience?” All the key players on my staff were in the room for that meeting: the Music Director, the Promotions Director, the morning show hosts, etc. We would draw up a gameplan for the week, figuring out what contests to run, what pop culture topics to discuss on the air, what local events to promote, etc.
In this day and age, it's just as important to host a meeting that answers a similar question: “What are we doing online this week to engage the audience?” Too often, radio stations relegate their online strategy to hallway conversations. Now that many of us are no longer able to pass each other in the hallways because of the pandemic, these discussions have been relegated to email threads or worse, they've slipped through the cracks entirely. At the risk of stating the obvious, the internet is too important for this. Radio stations need to carve out a time on a regular, ongoing basis to discuss and evaluate their digital content strategy: a weekly web meeting.
Divide your weekly web meeting into two sections: Old Business and New Business. During the “Old Business” half of the meeting, ask, “How well did the stuff we published last week perform?” This is the very similar evaluating the current rotations of your playlist in a music meeting, except that instead of looking over call-out research, airplay and sales charts, and Shazam data, you'll be looking at Google Analytics reports, social media metrics, email analytics, podcast download numbers, video views, etc. Either way, you're looking for “hits” — pieces of content that react well with your audience. Maybe those pieces of content are songs by Kendrick Lamar, maybe those pieces of content are blogposts about craft beer. Once you've identified your hits, put more on the air and more online.
This brings us to the second half of the meeting: New Business, or “What are we putting on the internet this week to engage with our audience?” Your answer to this question will be informed by the data you've just reviewed. I recommend using a spreadsheet to keep track of the content you're going to produce, including blogposts, podcast episodes, and videos. Think of this spreadsheet as music scheduling software, but for your website. Here's a template to help you create that spreadsheet.
While I refer to this discussion as the “weekly web meeting,” there's no reason it needs to be an additional meeting above and beyond what you're already doing. If you're already gathering your key personnel together for a weekly Zoom call to discuss your on-air programming, simply allocate time in this meeting to discussing your digital strategy as well. The point is to ensure that you are devoting the time to your station's digital strategy that it needs.
It's too important to let it fall by the wayside.
Fred Jacobs shows radio personalities how to take their game to the next level in this webinar recording.
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