Probably the most common mistake made by community broadcasters is that we see the online platform as an extension of the on-air platform.
In an ever-changing media landscape, radio is no longer solely about audio content. New generations of listeners increasingly expect a more visual experience to sit alongside their daily radio show. This is not about making videos which duplicate television- this is about radio with pictures- where the visualisation extends the audio content.
Visualising radio at its most basic could mean photos of a guest or an event. It could be a live stream through a webcam of some special event in the on air studio. It could be a photo or link to a musician’s website. Whatever the content the visualisation adds to the listener experience if they chose to dig deeper.
Remember the times you have listened to the radio and wondered what song was playing on the radio? Well now radio stations are able to distribute details of their playlists through digital broadcasts but also online. These playlists can include photos of album covers or artists. Once again this extends the content of your radio program.
Planning Your Content
All good online content comes from a good plan. Like, your radio program, if you don’t plan and give some structure to your online content, you will not last the distance and your online presence will become outdated and irrelevant.
What am I going to do with this online presence?
Are you going to promote the station or your program? Will you have playlists and/or reviews, local news? You could also provide links to other cool websites for your audience and updates on local events. You might want to communicate with your audience. You need to decide this now, keeping in mind that you want the content to change regularly.
Who is going to read this?
Many radio presenters who establish an online presence are thinking about providing more contact opportunities with their radio audience. In this case the website is seen as an opportunity to hear the program again or checking out a program a listener has missed. So your current radio audience is definitely a target audience for your web pages.
However, there are also the people who have never heard your show or even your radio station. They may live in your broadcast area or they may live overseas. If your station is streaming, they may have listened online but some people will never have heard you on air. If this second (and much larger group) is also part of your audience, you will have to keep these people in mind when it comes to content.
What kinds of information will I be posting?
As most of us are strapped for time these days having to maintain online content, as well as making radio programs can be a bit overwhelming. It is important to think about having some pages which can be updated easily such as a playlist, a short review of your favourite CD of the week or even RSS feeds, twitter etc. Think small at first and test your own ability to keep up with an increased workload.
How often am I going to be posting and adding information?
This follows on from the last question, and involves determining how much time you will be committing to your online content. Be reasonable here and think about the updates that flow from the work you are already doing for radio. In fact, this may actually make you think about changing the way you prepare your program so that the workflow is maximized. For example, you may decide to prerecord some interviews so they are ready to be uploaded for articles or podcasting.
Your station and social media.
As a content creator, you don't need to be Insta-famous or have thousands of followers on Facebook but you do need to be aware of all forms of social media and be present across them. Being present on social media is a really good step in making people aware of your content. If you haven't at least got an Instagram, Facebook and Twitter page, get them before you keep reading.
This doesn't mean you have to take reels of selfies and upload memes all the time but it does mean that you need to have social media pages and accounts that act as platforms for your content. Although people dedicate their entire careers to social media marketing and analytics, understanding the essential ideologies and methods they use will help you as a content creator.
Social media marketing tips
There are some rules that do apply to all forms of social media. A really important one is the visual element. Keep your profile up to date and try to make it visually appealing. Dont put up blurry, misshapen or badly cropped photos up on any social media platform. If you need some guidance, there are websites out there that offer templates for your images on social media.
Another tip to make yourself more present across social media is to try to have the same username for each account. People want to be able to find you so the simpler and more original the username the better. Try to avoid numbers, hyphens and capital letters to make it easier to find you.
And finally be nice. You are far more likely to have people interacting with your content if you thank friends for following you, reposting and complimenting your work. This extends to responding to people when they comment on your work.
1. Know the difference between a fan page and a profile page.
If you have a program on a radio show it should be set up as a fan page because it is geared towards getting you followers and promoting your content. Also Facebook will take down a profile page if you are using it as a fan page and vice versa.
2. You should have an appealing and clear profile picture, cover photo and bio that shows your audience what your content is about.
You should also include links to your other sites in your bio. Update your profile picture every now and then to keep it fresh.
3. When your own original content is slow post interesting and relevant articles, pictures, videos and make sure you engage with your audience.
Social media marketers say 80 per cent of your content should be relevant and 20 per cent should be fun stuff.
4. Facebook insights is your friend.
Get to know it. It helps you monitor what your fans think of your page. It also lets you know how many people see each post.
5. Don't overwhelm your audience with posts.
You should also be selective about what you post.
6. Share other people’s posts too.
Being nice on Facebook is bound to get you a long way. The more posts you share of friends and even people you don't know, the more likely they are to return the favour when you publish interesting content.
1. What's in a name?
This rule applies across all social medias platforms but is particularly important for Twitter. Your Twitter handle should be really simple. For example, the CMTO twitter handle is @CMTO. The simpler it is, the easier people will find you.
2. Twitterquette is important.
people dont like rude tweeters. If you are looking for people to help you out with anything make sure you use your please and thank-yous. If you need some further Twitter coaching check out Twitterquette for new Tweeters.
3. Twitter is mainly for words but it's also not just for words
Make sure you keep your posts interesting and link to articles, include images and videos. Get multi-sensory!
4. Interacting with your peers is as important as Tweeting.
A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.
Hashtags make the Twitter world go around.
6. Make sure you credit the original poster when you share someone’s content.
If you don't you could make the original poster pretty mad. On an even more serious note you can also put yourself at risk of being in breach of copyright law.
1. Frequency of your posts says a lot about you.
Your Instagram feed should be a roughly balanced amount of photos from each person you follow, which is why you should try and keep it to an absolute maximum of three posts in one day. There are instances when you can post more, say if you had a well-known person running your Instagram account for a day. Be wary though. Any more than two posts a day and you might notice people will start to unfollow you because you're spamming up their feed.
2. Don't go ham on the filters.
Instagram filters are so 2012 *flicks hair*. In all honesty though, try to keep the filters and the editing to a minimum. Sometimes people would much rather see a photo without a filter. If you do want to use a filter, try and think about what meaning it might convey. Flick through this photo gallery showing you what each Instagram filter does to your image and what meaning it conveys.
3. Hashtags and TBTs (Throw Back Thursdays)
Both of these things should be used very sparingly. Apply a maximum of two hashtags to your images - anymore and you run the risk of looking too keen for followers. As for Throw Back Thursday images, don't revisit an old memory every single Thursday. Change it up sometimes!
4. Geotags show that you get out sometimes!
Geotags are a great way to show your audience where your content making takes you. If you do an interview with someone who is playing a show at The Metro theatre, you can add a Geotag to let people know you were there. If they search for that Geotag your post will come up, making you more visible on the 'gram.
5. No links
Links should be reserved for Facebook and Twitter. Remember that Instagram is an image-based medium. People aren't that keen to tap on links on Instagram because they take them away from the app.
6. Stick to the content
If you have an Instagram account solely dedicated to the content you are making, don't post selfies or pictures of food. Save that for your personal account!
If you want to Blog, or dabble in other forms of Social Media in your marketing strategy use the same rules and apply them!
Ask your friends if they own a radio. More and more people are listening to the radio via the web, be it services like the tune-in app on mobile phones or going directly to the station’s site. So it’s important that your site is up to date and easy to navigate.
First and foremost, your station should be able to be streamed from your site at a decent bitrate for sound quality. This helps your audience access your station in more places way outside your broadcast area. You may even want to consider Audio on Demand so listeners can stream recent episodes of their favourite show in case they missed it.
An easy to find up to date program grid is important, and for a more listener-friendly site, make sure the titles of the programs on this grid link to their own program pages featuring information on the show, a bio of the presenter, a picture of the presenter and a playlist and information about guests that appeared on particular episodes. Keeping this information up to date will keep your audience happy and keep them from having to ring the station to find out this information which usually is not accessible to whoever picks up the phone. AMRAP can help you with a playlist service on your site.
Your site should also make it easy for listeners to become members and/or supporters, signing up with their credit card details so they can help fund your station.
Some sites encourage their volunteers to blog, adding articles, interviews and reviews to the site making it more content rich.
Check out Eastside Radio’s site which not only has blogs but also produces podcasts - http://eastsidefm.org/
Also notice the easy to find ‘Donate’ and ‘Support’ links on the FBI website - https://fbiradio.com/