Managing Radio Brands in PPM Markets

Coleman Insights shared a great piece recently … “The Top Ten Things to Do as a New PD in a PPM Market.”  Now, I’ve been a fan of Jon Coleman’s operation for a while.  I’ve used their research and their insights, and think they’re the best thing going in the media research biz.

When I read their ten tips for folks programming in PPM markets, I immediately saw some of the social media and digital implications.  I suggest you click on the link above to get that piece and read through it … and here’s what I can add to their wisdom (the numbers below relate to their 10 points):

1.  Root all of your thinking first and foremost in the strategy of the station. Boy, are they ever right about that.  PPM measurement and digital tools mean you have to think about your brand … what niche you uniquely and valuably fill in the media marketplace.  There are lots of PPM “tricks,” but nothing succeeds in PPM-land like a great brand.  That means that your website and social media should reflect that brand, too, and fit seamlessly with what you put on your own air.

2.  Regularly do a complete brand and content audit of the station. You should do this with your website and social media, too.  How much of your website is given over to things that don’t fit your brand?  Is it easy to find what people automatically go there for (like this, this, this and this)?  Does your social media exist to help give your biggest fans more access and more engagement with what they love about you?

5.  Don’t be afraid to put on content that will impact the audience emotionally even if it causes some tune out in the moment. Repeat after me:  “My website and social media help my biggest fans bond with me even more strongly.”  So, YEAH, while you’re putting a deep focus on what people love about you, you can look for stuff that touches them in a meaningful way.  Make sure it fits your brand, however.  PPM measurement has shown that no one has much time to listen to us in one sitting … the goal is to get them back again and again and again.

8.  Learn how to manage weekly ratings and expectations. Both PPM and diary-based ratings have their own fluctuations; you have to watch them over time to learn what they’re telling you.  Web analytics have their own weird twists and turns; the big numbers hold up over time, but you’ll sometimes see weeks where, say, your streaming occasions cave in and then come back again.  Also …. don’t just look at how many people join your Facebook page; look to see that you’re bringing people back to your website with them … and what they do at your site when they get there.  There’s a whole different world of tracking numbers out there online.  Take some time to learn them.  If you’re not getting decent web numbers to see now, check into Google Analytics.

9.  Understand causation versus simple correlation. In the same way that your Arbitron numbers can ebb and flow in ways unrelated to what you did on the air, your digital stats can do the same.  Create, execute, and track … and do so again, again, and again.

10.  Experiment. Yes!  This great piece from Coleman is right about how now is the time to learn what radio can really do under PPM measurement in real, nuts-and-bolts ways.  This is also why I’m so excited about an established medium like radio learning and growing with new digital tools.  We can learn to engage with and bond with our biggest fans … in ways that web-only brands can’t do.  But it takes a whole new way of looking at things … like a 21st century Brand Manager!

Here’s today’s sales pitch, such as it is:  when you’re ready to talk through how to use your social media and other digital tools to really enhance and build your brand, get in touch with me.  Conversations are free; ongoing strategic and tactical help is reasonably priced.

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