Adjusting the Mindset About Your Station Website

Today we want to talk about your mindset regarding your radio station website.  Why do you have a website for your radio station?  Is it simply to have a place to direct people to listen online?  Is it because you know every business should have one, and so you do as well?  Or is it to make more money?  Hopefully, your priority is “making more money.”

Whether it’s better connecting with prospective customers, selling merchandise, or informing an audience so you can attach advertisers to those messages, making more money is the purpose of nearly every website on the internet.  Is your station website profitable?

Most people who answer “no” to this question more than likely perceive the station website as a side project and not an integral part of your business.  We recommend switching this mindset.  You’ve likely seen the trade headlines where major market group CEOs who flip to a digital-first mindset (or at least with more emphasis on digital) add more revenue to their bottom line.

Have a Digital-First Mindset

If you’re starting new, avoid jumping on the bandwagon of offering clients websites, SEO, PPC, and many other unfamiliar terms.  You’re going to get frustrated with the learning curve, and your sales team will be so bombarded with new things to sell that they will not sell anything.  Starting this digital-first journey can look as simple as consistently adding new fresh content to your website and promoting it well.  That’s it.

Suppose you have trouble emphasizing a website because you have the mindset that it’s technically not the radio business.  We advocate thinking of your station website as another radio station that simulcasts, in text and images, everything you do on-air.  Think about it this way.  Radios do not have rewind and search buttons to find something a listener missed.  Listeners can find that information on your website – not in audio form, but my searchable text and images.

By the way, college students and other future broadcasters are learning a “digital-first” approach to all media now.

Program Your Website Like a Radio Station

We recommend programming your website just as you would your radio station.  A Program Director’s job is to adjust things on-air to keep the station fresh and engaging, so listeners return daily.  Think the same way about your website.  What can we do to keep visitors returning tomorrow and the next day?

The most important thing you can do for your website is to add new content consistently and then promote it to bring visitors back.  This is the recipe for success across the internet.

What makes listeners return to your radio station each day or more often during a season?  Is it great music?  Artist information?  Local news?  Contests?  Events?  Weather insight?  Local sports coverage?  Everything you can voice on-air can and should be online.  And since we’re thinking of your website as another radio station, when you offer any of this information online, you can sell adjacent advertising, just as we do on-air.

Pick any website that you visit often.  Chances are there was something new there.  How often do you visit a website that isn’t updated?  If you did solid research and found that only a handful of listeners liked the type of music on your station, you’d likely change formats to something that more people would tune in for.  If your website isn’t getting return visitors, then it’s time for a format change there.  Transform it into something that informs your audience and keeps them coming back.

Choose Content that Works for Your Audience

The right content can be different for every station and every market, so don’t let other station websites with lots of content and crowded homepages discourage you.  In a small mid-west town, simply putting daily cattle and grain prices on a website homepage may be the great start of a website that sees consistent traffic.  In other parts of the country, the biggest draw may be obituaries, surf reports, traffic information, or news about the local music scene.  We’ve seen it all.

Start with something that resonates with your station audience, measure engagement by seeing if it generates clicks, shares, and repeat visitors, and then add more content that might resonate with them.  You’ll find that adding new features will bring more visitors over time.

RSS Feeds are not a Content Strategy

Please think again if you want to import RSS feeds to start your content journey.  Starting with content that your visitors can find in many other places online is not a content strategy.  Outside news should only spice the main reason people visit your website – your content.

Never fill a page with RSS links offsite.  We view these as reasons to leave your website; only paying advertisers should have that ability.

Wrap Up

Think of your website as another radio station and program it so visitors will want to return often.  Your road to digital success starts with content.  Without it, it’s like having a radio station without a format.

We want to help with your station website.  Please reach out to us.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.