Over the last couple of weeks, we attended the 2017 NAB Show and Worldwide Radio Summit. Once again, both made for excellent conferences. This year, there was a lot of excitement about digital. Broadcasters are no longer looking at digital as a separate silo, but view digital as an opportunity to extend their brand and build relationships, in a fashion that is integrated with their terrestrial efforts.What were the hottest topics at this year’s conferences? We’ve distilled the insights from both the NAB Show and Worldwide Radio Summit into three key areas that you should be focusing on as a broadcaster. Those are: social, podcasting and video. Voice-activated devices was another key trend discussed, which we have covered in this blog post here.
1. Increase your brand’s reach and engagement with social
Social is a wonderful way to get more value out of your content. Radio already produces a ton of great content and leveraging social channels can do a lot to amplify its reach.
There are two main reasons why social is effective. First, it is another outlet for your content and increases audience awareness for your events, content, promotions, etc. Second, it fosters engagement which allows you to build a stronger relationship with your audience.
However, it is also important for broadcasters to understand how to use their social media platforms to get the best value from each. We’ve outlined some general tactical guidelines for the most popular social media platforms for radio here:
- Facebook - best for interactions with engaging content such as videos
- Twitter - best for headlines, letting people know about events and short, punchy pieces of content
- Instagram - best for quick images such as behind the scene images with guests and photos at events while on-air to connect with your audience
It is also important to know how much time to allocate to each social media network. Facebook should be done multiple times per day, while Twitter and Instagram posts should be used "in the moment" when you have something exciting to post about such as photos from events or contest winners. A channel like Snapchat however, is still maturing for radio and its exact potential has not been realized. For channels like these, it is important to do prudent testing before making a large investment.
Need more guidance on how to manage social media for your radio brand? Check out Social Media - a Handbook for Journalists from Anders Held at Swedish Radio.
2. Use podcasts as a way to connect with your audience
As expected, this was a huge topic at NAB as well as Worldwide. Podcasting provides a huge opportunity for broadcasters to engage with their audience, gain new revenue opportunities and allows listeners to access content on demand.
At the conferences, we gained additional insights on how broadcasters can use podcasts to better connect with their audiences. These insights include:
- Convert your on-air content into digestible podcasts to allow your listeners to access it at their convenience
- Do additional content such as wrap-up shows with your morning team
- The length of your podcasts is not nearly important as the quality of their content. In fact, we would argue for shorter, more engaging podcast episodes that keep your audience hooked
Podcasting is still a nascent channel for broadcasters and the industry is still determining how to best leverage podcasts for engagement and revenue. For this reason, we urge approaching the channel with caution. Fortunately, podcasts can be created with a relatively low investment, allowing you to test the channel before jumping into it headfirst.
If you’re curious to learn more about the subject, we actually already covered how radio can use podcasts to grow digital revenue and engagement in this blog post as well as part 1 of our 2017 RadioDays Europe wrap-up. Read on for more about how you can create excellent podcast content to further engage with your audience and gain new revenue opportunities.
3. Leverage video to increase engagement
As we know, video is more engaging than photos or text, so your brand should be leveraging video in its content strategy. It enables your audience to visualize what is going on in your stations, provides new ways for you to express your brand and allows you to forge a stronger connection with your fans.
Here are some specific types of video content that radio stations can create to take advantage of this medium:
- Behind the scenes and commercial break content
- Contests and events
- Interview extras with guests
- Live streams from the studio (particularly through Facebook Live)
Need more inspiration on how your radio brand can leverage video content to increase audience engagement? Take a look at this example from JUMP Ottawa, a Corus radio station, where they put a humorous spin on a trending topic and saw a huge spike in audience interaction.
In sum, the three biggest topics from NAB and Worldwide were social, podcasts and video. Another big theme was how these channels are integrated with radio’s traditional terrestrial efforts and how broadcasters can no longer think about these efforts in their own silos. You don’t have to take our word for it, just listen to what our friends at Worldwide had to say.
"Radio people are highly adaptive. They will figure out how to solve the problems. Clearly, digital is a pathway..."
Stan Mak - VP/GM at Crista Broadcasting
"There's also the importance of podcasting and a social media presence and what you have to do as a radio station to be successful other than play music and talk about things that people want to hear."
Priscilla Mulrooney - Station Manager at WIXQ 91.7 FM
"More time can be spent on video and how to actually do it. A lot of great conversations on the importance of content, the importance of video, the importance of podcasting, but the how to do, isn't there. The education of it is an area of opportunity where we can be better."
Phil Becker - VP of Programming at Alpha Media
As you can see, there are a plethora of opportunities for radio to grow audience engagement and revenue in digital. However, it is important to be intelligent about where you are directing your investments and not simply chase every new opportunity that presents itself. Need help determining how you can best invest your efforts and take advantage of these new trends? Speak with a SoCast specialist today to learn how easy it is to amplify your content with a digital platform built for radio.