Monday, July 28, 2014

Your "To Do" List Strategy


Here are the top three directives to use as you tackle your “to do” list today:
  1. Complete the tasks that you are dreading most FIRST.  Your mind will then be clear to focus on the other tasks in a more positive and energetic way.
  2. Focus ONLY on the tasks that directly impact achieving your most important goals. You need the highest return on your time investment.
  3. Don’t get mired down in the volume of tasks, you will never complete them all.  Analysis paralysis is your enemy.
Dwight Eisenhower said, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”   He designed a long admired system for determining which tasks matter most:

If a task has been on your list for more than two weeks, it is probably not urgent or important; delegate it, deal with it or cross it off of your list.    

Working through your “to do” list is a bit like Chess.   People will constantly put obstacles in front of you.   You have two choices, remove the obstacle or work around it.  The one difference is, with your “to do” list, you need to make your decisions swiftly and execute them immediately.  

Set specific times to check e-mails, meet with colleagues and return phone calls. Stick to that schedule!   It is tough to do but you must.   There is a reason that there are 9,210,000 entries on Google about how e-mail kills productivity. Disconnect when you are working on an important task.   Close your door, close your e-mail and turn off your phone!  You will find that you accomplish tasks much more quickly and the quality of the work is exponentially better. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Drillin' It Down

The K.I.S.S. principle is alive and well.   Jumpwire Media founder Gavin McGarry found a unique way to "keep it simple stupid" and educate CRS 2014 attendees on the difference between the various Social Media sites that are now required tools of the trade:

Anytime you can get your message across in a simple and humorous way you are ahead of the game.   It takes work and preparation.  
There were so many great messages in just a few short slides.  Even if you don't agree with his main theme "11 Reasons Why Social Media Might Save Radio", you will walk away with tremendous insight as to the benefits of Social Media for radio.
He is right about one thing for sure -the on-air talent absolutely must be the "face" of the station on Social Media.  The human connection is imperative. Radio may be a "one to many" medium but the experience from the listener perspective has always been "one to me".  Use that skill to connect one to one in every way you can.   Be where the people are, make your voice heard, then listen and respond to what your fans have to say.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Passion, Persuasion & Persistence

There are frequent events where Nashville Mayor Karl Dean addresses the country music industry.   Each time the message is passionate and consistent.   He wants Nashville to be the city everyone wants to move to, live in and work in.   He has never wavered from his commitment to growing the “Music City” Brand.

He is focused on three main objectives; affordability, a high quality of life and a talented workforce; sighting Technology, Talent and Tolerance as three of the key components.  Tolerance meaning that the city is friendly, welcoming and celebrates diversity. 

The growth and evolution that has taken place in Nashville since he took office in 2007 is a clear indication that he persuaded a lot of people to buy into his vision.    He was persistent in getting key decision makers to help.  He is passionate about accomplishing the goals.  Certainly the growth of country music has had an impact on all of this as well; however, Nashville has seen growth in healthcare, education, the financial sector and more.    

Is your vision for your brand that clear?  Is your message that concise and easily “sellable”?  Are you persistent and consistent in the way you communicate your message day in and day out?  Do you do it in a passionate and persuasive way?   Do you have the right people and resources in place to help you achieve your goals?
No matter what your brand is (a radio station, on-air talent, an artist, a retailer, yourself) this kind of well thought out, focused and persistent approach should result in success every time!

Monday, July 29, 2013

We Are Bad Asks

It seems like such a simple concept.   All you have to do is ask.  But the reality is, humans are inherently bad asks.  That was one of my favorite quotes from Conclave 2013.   John Baker did an incredible job demonstrating and educating about “The Asking Formula”.   He is dynamic, entertaining and well worth your time to get to know.   The reality is, you will never get what you want if you don’t ask for it!
There are four simple steps in the process:
  1. Know specifically what you want to ask for and why
  2. Ask directly for what you want
  3. Give three reasons why your audience or the person you are asking would want to give you what you are asking for.   Not reasons why YOU benefit, reasons why THEY will benefit.
  4. Ask again in a simple and direct way and then ZIP IT!  Listen to what they have to say.
Why three reasons?  Because of the magic of the number three.   We learn in 3’s.  A-B-C, 1-2-3, Do-Re-Mi.  That is just one of the many explanations that Baker uses to help you understand and learn “The Asking Formula”.   I have no financial gain in promoting his book but I can tell you that it just might be the best $15 you will ever spend. 
Sometimes it is good to be reminded that you are never going to get what you want in life if you don’t ASK FOR IT. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You Can and You Must

If you work in Country radio, you absolutely must review Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9; especially if you are a Brand Manager, On-air Personality, Promotion Director or Digital Creative Director.   The findings will not shock you but they will certainly reaffirm what we veterans have known for a long time; Country is a mainstream format with passionate and engaged listeners, who are just as tech savvy as any other format. 

Fred Jacobs did an excellent job presenting the findings and highlighting the country strengths.   There are so many important aspects to this study but today I will focus on Social Networking.   These observations should help to cheer you up the next time you are grumbling about having to post on Facebook, blog on the website or tweet about something fun:
Ø  The percentage of Country fans that connect with Facebook first each day is higher than the national average.  (Important note for morning shows)
Ø  Country fans are higher than the national average as “frequent sharers”
Ø  Country fans interact with the station most often through e-mail, Facebook and contesting while the national norm is e-mail, website and computer streams. 
Ø  Pintrest is second only to Facebook for usage among country fans
Ø  Country is the second highest format in the Net Promoter Score, Christian is first.  (They say yes to promoting your station to others.)
Ø  CHR is the only format that beats country for engagement with the personalities
When you combine all of these findings, it validates the time and effort you are putting into social networking, your loyalty program and digital platforms.   Having personalities who are active on-line and in the community is a must. These fans want to interact with and support their favorite station.   Let’s make sure that we are there to make that happen on whatever platform they might engage.  Creating a social and mobile strategy and hiring the personnel to implement that strategy are critical to the future success of your radio station.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are You A Radio "Iron Chef"?

The best radio talent understands how to mix everyday ingredients to create an exceptional recipe.  If you’re not familiar with Iron Chef America, you should study it.  All 4 chefs are given the same five ingredients and an hour to create a masterpiece.  The competition is fierce, fast paced and brutal.  Welcome to radio.  

Think about the content of your show.   You have access to the same “show prep” (ingredients) as your competition.  The secret to success (recipe)  is what you choose to use, how you present it and how much of the secret ingredient you share.   That secret ingredient is YOU.  No one else can duplicate that one.   Here is one “recipe” that I think can help you create a better masterpiece each day. 

I am a strong believer in the magic of threes.  Let’s break the content into three main categories:
Big Dumb Fun
Prank Calls
War of The Roses
Telemarketer Calls
Parody Songs
Trivia & Other Games
“Are You Kidding Me” News
On & Off-Air Stunts

Relationship Engagement
Between Spouses
With parents
With Friends
Between You & the Listener

Human Interest
Celebrity interviews
Hollywood & Music News
Overcoming Obstacles
TV Shows

The most universally relatable category is RELATIONSHIPS!  Everyone has them, most people want them and all of them require nurturing.  At least 50% of your ingredients each day should come from that category.  Big Dumb Fun is entertaining and can provide much needed laughs.  However, the appeal of this category is very subjective and should only comprise 20%.    Human interest is necessary so that your listeners are confident that you relevant and up to date on current events.  They rely on you to help them feel “in the know”.  It is the least “unique” of the three categories and therefore only warrants 30% of the mix.   All of this must be mixed with YOU as the bonding element.  

I put relationships at the center of this recipe because it is the core of what we do.    That is where you get the most “bang for your buck” in terms of listener interaction and emotional connection.  If you work a music format, the music is all about relationships and provides an easy springboard for topics.  Your own relationships and human experiences provide show prep.   The possibilities are endless: dating, marriages, raising kids, taking care of aging parents, building a business, etc.    Finding hot topics and letting people voice their opinions is extremely powerful.

Once you have the right recipe, think about your presentation.  Every 20 minutes there are new people joining the show.  You need something new for them to sample that demonstrates your ability to combine all of those ingredients into a perfect and delicious meal that they just can’t get enough of. You want them to walk away satisfied but wanting more.   Think of yourself as the Iron Chef and accept the challenge of creating a new masterpiece every day.        

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Frequency Is Your Friend

You know the statistics.  The average person is exposed to anywhere from 247 to 5,000 messages per day.   A person needs to hear new information at least three times before it registers in his/her mind for immediate recollection.  It takes even longer to become truly familiar with, and develop an affinity for, anything new.  All of these factors played into the development of optimum efficiency scheduling (OES) for radio in the 80’s.

OES is a simple mathematic calculation:   divide the station’s weekly cume audience by the average quarter-hour (AQH) audience. The result is the turnover ratio.  Multiply that by 3.29 and you have your station’s OES number.  It was originally developed for sales as a tool to help sell more commercials and create success for advertisers.   Smart programmers started using it as a tool in calculating music rotations.    Now more than ever it is critical that you use this formula for your station promos and imaging.

Here is an OES grid calculated from the averages of the Spring Books of 11 of our Albright & O’Malley & Brenner clients:

Clearly Frequency is your friend.   In this example, a promo that airs 8 times per day Monday-Friday between 6a-7p for one week will be heard by one half of your cume three times.  That frequency barely meets the minimum for retention level.  Effective promos and imaging need to be played to be heard and absorbed.  

These important messages sell the unique differences that set your station apart from your competition.   Use them to create additional appointment listening and remind people that they need to come back time and time again or they will miss something.  Treat your promos and imaging like songs.  Develop power, medium and light messages.   Make sure the power messages are scheduled frequently enough to be absorbed, understood and effective in developing an affinity with your listeners.    Make sure your voice is heard in the clutter of messages your listeners are exposed to every day!