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In Praise of “Honest Signals”

“Honest signals are the only signals that travel.” 

That’s a sentence from Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

While Seth is talking specifically about the rewards of digital and social media, I think his point can be interpreted much more broadly. 

Now, more than ever, the audience knows when you’re faking. Especially the more active and engaged audience. 

There’s so much crap and manipulative nonsense in this world, your audience will thank you for a moment of authenticity. They’ll heave a sigh of relief for a gift that has real feeling behind it. 

Is your Facebook fan page’s follow list rather anemic? Maybe that’s because they know you’re in it for you, not for them.

Recently I was invited to a friend’s house for a living room concert. It featured a journeyman Country artist who has had more than one hit on the charts. There were about 20 people in the audience. This artist was thrilled to perform there, and he – and we – had the time of our lives. He did it because he loved doing it. It was 100 percent authentic, and we all knew it. He was sending honest signals. And now they’re traveling from me to you. 

Too often when we talk about marketing strategy for our stations – messaging, positioning, music mix, you name it – we tend to think of what we need, what we want, what’s good for us. We think of how to avoid competitors’ strengths and target their weaknesses. 

Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, competing stations don’t fill out diaries or carry meters. It’s people – real, genuine people – who do these things. 

And real, genuine people react to honest signals. That’s why these signals travel best. 

So what kind of signals are you sending?

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