Jacobs Media's Keith Cunningham provides insight on the importance of connecting with our listening audience.
Yes, we can. Yes, we did. Yes, we will.
I’m sure you recognize those words. And while there are a number of reasons Barack Obama has been catapulted into the political and popularity stratospheres, there’s one key element deserving of more attention – the inclusive nature of his campaign. This has direct applications for radio and just about every business category.
Throughout his campaign, Obama made it about “we” not “me;” it was about “us” not “him.” That’s an important distinction.
When someone tunes in a radio station or morning show, they choose the personality or brand that best represents his or her ideals or tastes. But the sheer strength of the connection from brand to consumer will largely be predicated on how included they feel.
Think about this:
- For morning shows and personalities: While your personality and humor are of course important, your focus should be more about the audience and less about your life (more “you,” less “I”). Listen to an aircheck and count the “I’s” vs. “You’s.”
- For programmers: The tastes of cumers are what is key. Is the station doing music research, whether traditional or online? Are there forums on the website or systems in place to generate ongoing feedback? Are promos and sweepers focused on an audience benefit and less about over zealous station messages? Is the product available on multiple platforms, with some on-demand components?
- For sales: Working with clients to find new, non-cookie cutter ways of delivering the message now trumps the standard 60-second spot that may not be as effective as it once was. In the same way that a politician like Obama uses real-life people to connect on a larger scale, the success stories you generate for clients are the most persuasive tools at your disposal.
- For webmasters: Is there a sense of community on the website? Forums and message boards, polls, etc.? Is navigation easy? Do you know what information the audience seeks most? Are you making it easy for listeners to find what they need?
It’s about making the total experience about the listener, the client, the web user. They will all participate, given the opportunity. The old push-out, top-down, non-flexible “old school” way of doing radio is rapidly becoming outmoded. Give the audience a seat at the table, some control, and make the experience about them.