Every year at this time it’s customary to look back on the previous year and examine things you could be doing better. Let’s focus on your online visitors window to your station – your website. Hopefully you have some goals in mind for 2018 but here are several website resolutions that we think are worth considering.
Devote More Resources to Your Station Website
Our station clients that excel with the most visitors have at least one person who’s primary or secondary job function is to keep the website updated with relevant listener content. A few stations have two or three people tasked with adding at least one thing daily. Most of the time, this content is local news or opinion that can’t be found anywhere else online. Stations excel with this kind of unique content and then charge advertisers accordingly to be in front of those visitor eyes.
When your station website is being updated with consistently fresh content, your sales team needs to be aware of the importance in selling it. Each seller should be ready to offer the station website in addition to or separately from the on-air buy. A client with only $20/month to spend may be open to trying online rather than not advertising with your station at all.
The importance on your station website across all departments should be equal to the importance of programming your radio station. There are still small market stations that think simply having a website shows that they are “modern and relevant”. Unfortunately, they are mistaken. Your website should entertain and generate its own revenue. It won’t do that if it’s not being consistently maintained.
Add New/Different Content
Remember the old adage, “if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward”? While it’s great to have a familiar website that your audience knows what they can expect, it’s also good to expand your offerings each year. Take a look at your market and find areas that are not being addressed online. This could be high school sports news, garage sales, restaurant reviews, etc. Each market is different. Your station website has unlimited potential for new features and new opportunities for sponsorships.
Adding video to your site is a great example of new content. Video is the most consumed online medium and it’s become extremely easy to produce and post with cellphones. Consider adding Youtube/Facebook videos to important news stories. Rather than a written blog, have your morning show or news person upload a daily “what’s happening in our town” video. This doesn’t have to be professional in order to be shared online.
Try a Different Color/Layout
Evolution is change. As with content, the same thing year after year can become mundane and complacent. This year, we suggest adding a subtle design change to your website. This can be a font or layout change that complements your existing brand. We have added several layout options to our news posts. If you have not seen them, check out our “Bigtown” demos.
Examine Your Stats and Adjust Accordingly
If you have a personal resolution to lose weight in 2018, you’ll likely look at a scale to judge your progress. You might even adjust your habits if you’re not happy with the results each time. So, take a look back at your website analytics from 2017 use that as a base for improvement. See what content worked best. Try beating your monthly goals from last year by adding more of what worked during that month, or overall.
If you are finding that you’re “too busy” to check your website stats, then you’re missing out on valuable information to push your site forward. Google Analytics has valuable information that will help your website perform better year after year.
Be More Social
Whether we like it or not, social media is a huge part of our daily routine. Without thinking, we check our Facebook, post pictures on Instagram, send messages on Snapchat and Tweet and Retweet without hesitation.
With more than 2 billion monthly active users only on Facebook, it’s a no-brainer that every station owner should invest some time and effort in these platforms. We advocate that all station members should actively participate in the station’s social media channels. Link back to the website as much as possible, but engage listeners when it’s appropriate.
The key to a good social media strategy is just that: strategy. It is absolutely mind-blowing how many stations spend time and money on social media without determining at any point what their goals are. Getting lots of likes and comments on your page is great, but if it is not converting people into listeners or advertisers, it’s time to change strategies. Identify meaningful, measurable goals for your social media campaign, and make a plan for how you are going to achieve these goals.
Build a Local Photo Library
It seems that more money was paid out in 2017 by radio stations being sued for photo copyright claims than in any other year prior. As technologies for catching illegal image posting advances, this will only get worse. So, it’s extremely important that any website have the proper copyrights in place when posting images online.
We suggest that each station capture important images around your town and state. Since you own them, they cannot be used in any copyright claim. These include photos of a local police car, police lights, fire truck/station, state flag flying, court house, intersections, street names, etc. Inventory these so that they can be found and posted easily when news stories break.
Write a Station Blog for Advertisers
As I write this one, I have to remind myself to do better at blogging in 2018. We’ve had several clients reach out to us to handle their station website simply because of the free information we’ve posted here in our blog. We simply cannot tell you how knowledgeable we are and then expect you to trust us with your station website. We want stations to feel comfortable in our knowledge. When you offer free insight to your clients, no matter where they choose to buy, you instill a trust in them that simply cannot be replaced. You have now become the expert they need.
Do you follow any industry leaders? If so, would you trust them with your money?
We created our “Market” website product so that station owners have a place for advertisers to learn about your station(s), discover advertising trends, etc. This allows you to build trust 24/7 as a market leader.
Take Inventory of Your Web Properties
I do mean everything. Domains, websites, review site entries, social media pages, and anything else with a URL or a login. It’s not unusual for these types of accounts to be disorganized. This recently came up with a new station client where one employee created an account for the company. The account was needed again after their leaving and nobody at the company knew how to access it.
Put a list together of everything you can find, complete with usernames and passwords, so that you know what’s out there and how to get to it. It’s also a good idea to put together a company policy regarding account creation so that you’ll always know where to find the information for any online account.
Be open and actively searching for everything your station can do to grow your online audience, separate your station from any competition you have, make a bigger difference in your community and generate more income. Unlike your radio signal with only 24 hours of possible content per day, your station website has unlimited content and sponsorship potential that can last many years.
We hope you have a wonderful and prosperous new year online. If you’re looking into a new website experience for your station, please reach out to us.