Be SOMETHING, Hockey in July, and Old School Talking

Here’s your new weekly newsletter from me.  Below you’ll learn about how to avoid the trap that Yahoo fell into;  keeping your brand fresh on Facebook when there’s nothing going on; and how old school communicating and collaborating is a key to figuring out the new digital world.


Yahoo!, the internet search-and-more giant, was in the news recently when they hired away one of Google’s executives as their new CEO.  Now, Yahoo has been through seven other CEOs in five years, so she’s got her work cut out for her.

One of Yahoo’s big problems is that no one really knows what it’s there for.  Think of companies that Yahoo competes with, like Facebook or Google or others, and a clearer image comes to mind.

If you work in radio or TV, your brand probably has a couple of really crystal-clear images in your fans’ minds.  You don’t have to have a lot of clear images to be successful.  When you have just a couple of mass-appeal images that make you unique, you’re in good shape.

However, if you look at lots of broadcast properties’ websites (especially radio), you see the Yahoo-ification of the brand.  There’s all sorts of content that people don’t come there looking for.  For example, you can have up-to-date news feeds on your website, but if you don’t carry news on your own air, there is no one coming to your site looking for news.  So that’s the equivalent of a convenience store stocking the shelves with stuff no one wants to buy.  It wastes time, effort, space and cuts down on the number of visits you get.

Try this simple test.  Take a “man from Mars” attitude, that you’ve never heard of your broadcast station, and don’t know anything about it.  Go to your brand’s Facebook page or Twitter feed, and just read through the last several posts.  Too often, we have a crystal-clear focus on the air … but on our websites and social media, we have a mish-mosh of marginally-related content.  By marginally-related, I mean both content pieces that are marginally related to each other … and marginally related to your brand.

By the way, here’s one way that you CAN be Yahoo:  Yahoo may have their fingers in a lot of different things, but when it comes to their Facebook page, it’s clear they know that the big way people use them is as a news source.  The Yahoo Facebook page looks like they want to take on USA Today as a national general-interest information source.


Sure, during the season, professional sports teams have plenty to talk about.  But how about in the off-season?  Just because you’re not selling tickets to tonight’s game is no reason to let your social media go silent … or unfocused.

It’s two months until the first pre-season game for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.  However, they know that their passionate fans care about hockey all year long.  So, they make something happen in social media when there’s nothing happening for them to take advantage of.

Furthermore, they do a daily “Fan of the Day” contest showing people in different locales wearing Red Wings gear.  They sold in a title sponsor who gets a mention and a link from the daily Facebook post announcing the winner!  The Red Wings know that the proper use of social media helps put butts in the seats at their home games.  They don’t talk to their fans about anything but hockey, but they’re good at finding regular content that fits the narrow scope of their brand!


Here’s one way that digital is different from broadcast:  there’s a lot about radio and television (and print, too) that once you know it, you know it forever.  You can be a real expert and possessor of knowledge.  When you step into the digital world, however, all bets are off!

I was reminded of this talking with Rebekah Hudson, Digital Sales Manager for Cox Media Group in Atlanta.  I interviewed her for this piece for the Radio Ink folks about what Digital Sales Managers’ jobs are like.  Rebekah was talking about the steep learning curve that exists when you step onto the digital side.  It moves so fast and there is so much to know that, literally, no one can know everything they need to know in their job.  This is one reason why people don’t embrace it; it’s scary!

So there are good, old-fashioned ways to deal with this.  First, being able to play nice with others is really a key element to being successful with digital media.  Every single day, there may be things you don’t know the answer to, and you want to know where you can go for the information you need.  Secondly, as Rebekah told me, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.  For a lot of us who got into broadcasting … in part … because it makes us feel good to be broadcasters, it’s not a natural move to take on a job that makes us feel uncomfortable.

It turns out that being uncomfortable and not knowing everything are not barriers to doing a good job.  Even though digital media is high tech on the surface, at its core it’s about communication and relationships.  Even among the people who are creating it.

Heck, if I can ever answer a question for you, email or call me.


I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from this piece I wrote for Radio Ink.  Radio is not radio because it comes out of a radio speaker; it’s audio entertainment that’s the best value for the consumer, but we can’t be hung up on how it’s delivered.  Also, new media is changing people’s expectations of media in general … very, very rapidly.  So how does that affect getting people to listen?  I’d be interested in your thoughts after you read it.


Let me filter through the crap for you.  Every day, I post a few digital news developments that might actually affect how you do your media job!  Click here to follow Chris Miller Digital on Facebook.


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