Your Change, Wimpy Words and Social Graphics

Here’s your weekly newsletter from me … this time, about small but powerful changes, wimpy web words, kicking butt with graphics in social media, and more.


I’ve been lucky to be involved in a lot of interesting, exciting changes in my career, and there’s one thing I’ve learned from it: the most important changes are the ones that start small, and keep creating more change.

Kaizen, which was first used by Japanese businesses, is a daily process of constant improvement. Basically, you always look for ways to change what you’re doing for the better. There are a handful of steps involved in doing it so you’re not impulsively just trying stuff. I love the attitude, and it’s something that I think the best radio stations do all the time. When you get to go home every day after making something better, you’ve done a good day’s work.

Almost all of us work with a structure where there are things that we don’t have the power to change, and we do have the power to change other things. How we look at these is important. Often, the things we don’t have the power to change cause us frustration, and the things we do have the power to change are things we do by rote without giving them much thought.

If you think about it, the things you CAN change are the things that give you power. What can you do that you can systematically alter, and then evaluate how the change you made worked? This is a way that you can “be the change” for yourself and your co-workers. One person trying new things with a positive attitude can be much more inspirational than anything that top management says from on high.

A great place to start is when something doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. Stop, and don’t start judging others; instead, think, “What could I do right now that might change this situation?”

Here’s how this relates to your digital tools: we’re all still writing the book on how best to integrate our content across our broadcast, stream(s), website, social media, database email, texting, on-site appearances, and so forth. Consciously try stuff, measure it (does it get you closer to your goals?), and discuss it. If it helps you, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else.


Don’t let your website be the dude on the left!

Podcast. On Demand. Download.

You see these words at lots of radio websites, and I’m convinced they’re weak words. The features they represent aren’t weak … but the words are.

First of all, podcasting, on demand features and downloads are all completely mainstream. There’s nothing about them, per se, that make YOU special. What’s special is what you do with them. So, let’s promote these special things we do with words that have some power … words that mean something to our fans.


Let’s say you take your entertaining morning show and offer it as a podcast (or a set of podcasts). That’s a good thing to do. But don’t call it a podcast. What are you really offering?

  • A chance to enjoy what you missed or re-enjoy what you heard
  • A chance to share with others what you liked
  • A chance to save for later what you think you might like

Some broadcasters don’t offer already-broadcast content as a podcast, because they want to force listening to the radio. What I observe, instead, is that offering this content builds greater loyalty among your P1s. Listeners don’t seem to distinguish that much between different ways to hear the things they like. They’ll use what works. It’s a world where content is offered different ways for their convenience, and if you choose not to do it that way, they may see you as backwards and unhelpful.


“On demand” is like saying, “our trucks regularly bring our product to the store.” It’s not really a reason to buy that product. What’s the benefit to your fans in you having content on demand? You could call the On Demand section of your website “Special Extras” or “Bonus Listening” or something that shines a light on the specialness of the content, not the means of delivery.


If you offer a special download from your website, don’t call it a download. Call it a song, or an interview, or video, or whatever it is. It’s 2012, and downloading is not the hot new thing. “Have you heard the new download from Radio 108?” is something that no listener has ever said.

By the way, don’t ever use the word “content” with your listening fans, either. Sure, content is what you crank out all the time, but no one is going in search of general, undifferentiated content. Using the word “content” to describe to your listeners anything you do is as clueless as those commercials that still use the phrase, “for all your (business category) needs.”


I thought I’d have a glance at what some of the big digital providers of audio entertainment were doing in social media … folks like Pandora, Stitcher, iTunes, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Spotify … you know, those people!  I started looking and was, frankly, not impressed by a lot that I saw.  Then, when I got to the iTunes Facebook page … wow.  They are leading with great, eye-catching graphics.  Their content is very noticeable and visually compelling, whether you look at it on their timeline, or as it comes up, piece by piece, in your news feed.  It’s not that any one post is particularly beautiful; it’s that their baseline standard is a lot higher than what’s posted by most other brands, in any category.  See for yourself:It’s all clean, consistent, colorful … a pretty powerful combination.  What could you do to set yourself graphically apart from your competitors?


John Dickey of Cumulus says that one of his big missions is getting rates up at his stations.  Did you know that there are some ways that digital revenue can help radio’s perceived value?  For one, your clicks are real, while your ratings are just … estimates.  Furthermore, with multiple platforms, you can move people from one to another, creating more “time spent enjoying content” among your fans.  Read my latest piece for Radio Ink:  How Digital Helps Get the Rate.


When you follow me on Facebook, I help make you even smarter and more self-reliant, by keeping you updated on digital developments that could affect your job.  Also, when I write something, I brag about it there.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Investing in radio for content |

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