Leveraging Radio’s Story

There’s been a lot of talk lately around the Radio Industry regarding Radio’s ‘Story’.  And there is a lot to be said there.  The fact is that there are numerous other avenues for advertising budgets to go; digital being the most obvious as internet usage continues to explode here in the United States as well as abroad.  Radio seems to be avoiding digital, in a time where the web could be its greatest asset in reinforcing the marketing message of its clients.  The web isn’t here to kill radio, and the faster you realize that, the faster you can use it to your advantage.

Executive Director of the Seattle Area Radio Association, Melissa Kunde, recently gave her opinion on Radio’s ‘Story’ in an article titled Here’s How To Tell Your Story posted on RadioInk.com , drawing on the power of sound in a Radio Broadcast, “Sound is irresistible and when linked with story the combination is even more magical.”  There is no better industry in the world at telling stories using only sound than Radio.  This will never change.  The ability for a listener’s mind to create an image for a story they are hearing is one of the biggest advantages that radio has.

That being said, the biggest hurdle that radio has in front of you, is taking advantage of this story across all platforms.  While delivering a great marketing message in the form of a story is your biggest strength, how do you turn that story into successful campaigns for your advertisers?  Eric Rhodes addressed this exact point in his article Discovered: Why Radio Is Not Being Embraced By National Advertisers stating, “Clients simply won’t buy unless we first provide proof of radio’s relevance and effectiveness.”  Relevance and effectiveness don’t have to come from statistics alone, but in the digital age, it is extremely difficult to make a claim without the numbers to back it up.

Braithwaite Communications makes the following claim, “Stories have greater impact on key metrics, including awareness, recall, understanding, persuasion and loyalty.”  Leveraging that story with proof of its relevance is the tough part.  Rhodes suggests funding a study to prove the effectiveness of radio advertising.  While a large scale study would go a long way, stations also have to think about ways to do that on the smaller scale: at their station, and in their market.  Analyzing station website and stream analytics can be a great way to study effectiveness at the scale most important to you; your own.

Streaming may not be the most important listening medium when looking at the grand scheme of your radio station.  However, streaming may give you the best opportunity to call on that awareness, recall, understanding, persuasion, and loyalty gained from the story you’re telling.  Utilizing display advertising, which has the potential to be synchronized with streaming audio ads, gives you the opportunity to reinforce that story and call your listeners to action in a measurable fashion.  How you utilize the assets available is up to you, and putting yourself in the best position to prove the effectiveness of a client campaign is vital in the digital age.  Rhodes says, “Ratings are not relevant to a client if you can’t prove you’ll accomplish their goals. We must start proving it.”  Don’t get bogged down in the numbers, but make sure they are there in the event that you need some backup.

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