Speak out – Link in

As Mark Ramsey points out that radio sites need work – too often they are based on templates and there’s too little management time or money goes into them. He’s right.

What’s needed are incremental steps that help management see the web is not black art – but as a personal Arbitron giving them immediate information on what sticks with an audiences – both on the web and on-air.

First let’s look at web content. There are lots of opportunities to add station and user generated content. Rather than focus on content that needs constant updates, develop practices to build evergreen content (content with a long shelf life) to make the site richer. Add things like:

– concert reviews
– band & musician profiles
– interviews
– on air bloopers
– local bands
– highschool / college football games

And remember that there are multiple opinions so don’t limit yourself to one concert review if you get several – post them. If it’s a local band that’s profiled ok – you’re a local station, and that’s content that links you to the community. Give recognition to the producers with on-air discussion of their content – both you and they will feel rewarded.

With every page include the ability for listeners to add comments to keep the content fresh and relevant. And make sure you include an easy locate link box on your stations web home page so listeners can find content referred to on air – as they will want to check it out.

Next develop an interest in web metrics. Look at page views, time on site, unique visitors, search terms, time of day etc. Each will tell you something about the habits of your audience and their interests. Got a local band profile that’s getting a lot of attention – maybe you should stream a concert or interview them. By following web stats you’ll quickly learn what resonates with your audience.

Pay particular attention to pages referred to on-air because that activity is the basis for growth in both your online and on-air business. And because radio is in the ad business as you start to quantify the relationship between on air and on site activity, consider how ad campaigns can use this knowledge to tell your advertisers story better.

It’s the opportunity to link traditional and on line content that will be the basis for radio’s new connection with its audience – because each conversational break is an opportunity to create rich discussion – with some portion of the stations audience.