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How to Get More Listening Occasions

“We need more occasions.”

That’s the kind of radio industry jargon that we can thank PPM for.

Where once all of our focus was (quite wrongly) on trimming out everything that could possibly be conceived of as “clutter,” the trend nowadays is to look at an even more important issue:

Keeping people tuned in is not enough.  You also have to bring them back.

And cutting the clutter doesn’t do that.  Because you don’t know what you’re not hearing, whether it’s cluttered or not.

Indeed the idea of “going back to” a station is completely different than the idea of “staying tuned to” one. This is a concept I presented in great detail a full four years ago in this presentation.  And now, finally, broadcasters are beginning to appreciate this notion.

The idea of returning to a brand for even one more occasion requires these elements:

  1. An expectation that you will find what you want there

  2. An emotional connection with the brand

  3. A spark or incentive to return

Let’s take a look at each of these:

1. An expectation that you will find what you want there

This is why standing for something is so important.

Listeners have problems and they look for stations to solve them.  Depending on what their problem is and who is best suited to solve it, they will adjust their listening accordingly.  Pick a problem and make sure you solve it uniquely.

2. An emotional connection with the brand

There are too many choices for people’s attention nowadays to spend that precious resource of attention with any brand that doesn’t care about me. What do you do to stoke that emotional connection? I’m not talking about promotions and stunts here – I’m talking about everyday interest in the people you want to listen to you over and over.  Is your brand built to be liked – or to be loved?

Listeners are people, not bundles of music tastes with meters strapped to their hips.  People like you.  How much do you love your own brand?

3. A spark or incentive to return

This could range from old school “teases” to contest opportunities to marketing and social media tactics to the best incentive of all: Something tangible and specific worth tuning in for.

Don’t call it a benchmark, because “benchmarks” too often describe regularly scheduled content elements that may or may not matter to the audience, especially if they matter to the sales department.

Call them attractions – and make sure they are.

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