Friday, May 11, 2012 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||Is Mobile Ruining Radio?
Moderating a session at the NAB Show, Cory Smith, Director of ESPN Digital Partnerships, asked the questions: "Is mobile ruining radio? Is mobile cannibalizing radio?"
He said every time they add a new distribution channel for ESPN's Mike and Mike Show their ratings go up. Martin Kristiseter, VP Mobile Solutions at Marketron, said stations make money with mobile by "activating" their sales forces.
There is a lot more in this 3-minute video, plus more highlights coming from this panel in future RST Digital Issues.
(Source: John Potter, VP/Training, RAB)
||NC Digital 'Town Square' Gets Lift From Radio
The one-year-old story of Chapelboro (http://chapelboro.com/), the sister website to Chapel Hill, N.C.'s WCHL-AM, begins most dramatically by skipping to the end: This site nets 25% of the company's overall revenue.
The path by which it got there was cut by a combination of location (at the periphery of the Raleigh-Durham DMA, the city tends to get shorted on coverage), innovation and a boost from radio's microphone.
And Barry Leffler, CEO and managing partner of the site and the station, has been the story's principal author. Having come to the radio station as a co-owner two-and-a-half years ago after 25 years in television, Leffler took a long look at its existing site and found just about everything lacking, offering only radio headlines, no ad serving capabilities "and it was built on an old CMS held together by Scotch tape," he said.
Given that his market was only directly served by a weekly newspaper, Leffler saw an opportunity to develop a digital brand that could serve the community on a daily basis. And so he sought to draw on the audience from his left-leaning talk station (the local market skews blue in red state North Carolina), using its bullhorn for promotion to hawk a site with a wholly different Web identity.
"We thought we could build something that could try to capture the community spirit and ultimately becomes a kind of digital town square online," Leffler said. "We thought that would serve the community in a better way and would give us a better business proposition to try to monetize it and put a second revenue stream in place."
He landed on the Chapelboro moniker because of the two cities -- Chapel Hill and Carrboro -- that it principally serves. And while the site still streams the AM station live, the visible connections between the two entities are minimal.
What is visible is plenty of community content, from a highly popular "Scene Around Town" series of photo galleries to a "Local Buzz" blog network of nearly 20 local (and unpaid) contributors waxing about everything from science to comic books to the art of photography. A comprehensive community calendar also plays a major role, Leffler said, noting that until Chapelboro came along there was no one place to go for comprehensive local listings.
One other, peculiar standout anchors the homepage: A list of 200 "Chapelboro Names" rendered alphabetically and with no graphic fanfare taking up a sizable piece of real estate right in the middle of things. Leffler said this has become one of the most important parts of the site, though an initial glance would easily leave a visitor in head scratching mode.
"It's intended to create some social interaction," Leffler said. "It's a live module of the last 200 names of people who have appeared anywhere on the site. People come to the site to see if they'e there or who they know."
There's a democratizing simplicity to it, he explained, that doesn't make one local figure -- say, the town mayor -- stand out any more dramatically than the octogenarian on the obits page. "Here it's level-loaded, it's alphabetized and everybody is equal," Leffler said.
While he concedes that the list is graphically-challenged, he said it's also extremely sticky, drawing in more regular visitors and holding them longer on the site. Along the way, it has also created a kind of "digital history of the community, told by the people who live, work and play here," he said.
Leffler said local businesses have also begun using it as a resource, such as the realtor who began to send emails out to those who appear on the list, congratulating them for making news.
Connecting with such small businesses has been key to the site's rapid revenue growth, Leffler noted, as his community is far more SMB than big box. For that reason, he employs a digital-only sales staff to walk potential clients through their buys closely, selling ads by share of voice. He also keeps digital sales packages simple -- offering a section's home page and all related pages behind it -- and refuses to use an ad network for any backfill sales.
"We want all of the ads to be local in nature because that adds to the 'localness' of the site," he said.
Chapelboro has diversified its digital revenue by adding some pre-roll sales to its video offerings, along with some display tied in to its new iPhone app with apps for Android and iPad in the pipeline.
And Leffler makes ample use of his AM microphone to constantly drive users to the Web, promoting stories heavily on the air to continue to give his fledgling site a lift.
But what will ultimately sustain Chapelboro's growth, he said, is its laser focus on a community that was too long underserved with the kind of granular local content for which it has an endless appetite.
"The smaller we go, the bigger we'll be," he said. "That sounds a little counterintuitive, but the further and deeper we can go into a community, the more relevant our content becomes to the people who are going to consume it here."
Leffler ran down the site's vital stats.
(Re)Launched: May 2011
Updates: Seven days
Monthly unique visitors (average): 43,000 (OneStat)
Mobile platform: Mobile optimized site, iPhone app (versions for Android and iPad in development)
Content focus: Community news and sports, local blogs, local photo galleries
Geographic focus: Chapel Hill and Carrboro, N.C.
Target demographic: "It's a targeted geographic sell. We're trying to connect local consumers with local businesses."
Annual operating budget: "The website is profitable. On a month-to-month basis, we are bringing in more revenue than it costs us to operate it."
Annual revenue: N/A
Revenue streams: 80% display ads; 10% video; 10% newsletter and app
Ad sales: Handled by a digital-only sales staff of two-and-a-half; no ad networks used for backfill
Staff: Five full-time
Social media: Facebook and Twitter to promote content and contests
Most popular features: "Scene Around Town" photo galleries, local news, blogs, special sections (UNC Basketball -- Drive to the Championship was a recent hit)
Media partnerships: WHCL 1360
Primary digital competition: Leffler said he considers Google and Yahoo, social media and SEO services as bigger competitors than any local media outlet in terms of competition for SMB dollars
What distinguishes it from the digital competition: The radio station's ability to drive Web traffic, which Leffler uses daily; the site's daily focus on local, community news
What's next: Leffler is adding an FM transmitter to the station in August that will boost listenership and (he hopes) site traffic in the process; more design tweaks to the site; more video and advertorial content
(Source: Michael Depp, NetNewsCheck, 05/07/12)
||Too Many Brands Stuck on Media Part of Social Media
"How do I think about reach and frequency in social media?"
"How do I use social media to get my brand's message out?"
Clients have asked me questions like these on a number of occasions over the past couple of years. If they are more sophisticated than most, their questions may be along the lines of "How do I use social media as part of an integrated communications plan?" or "How do I assess the ROI of social media compared with other media?"
I always get an uncomfortable feeling when I'm asked these questions.
Too many marketers still don't get what is different about social media. There are two words in "social media," but too many people are hearing just the "media" half.
In the media world (including both traditional and digital non-social media), there is an audience that is essentially passive, receiving an advertising message that has been delivered to them. While people may grumble about the incredible number of ads directed toward them over the course of a day, they generally recognize that this is part of the price they pay for viewing content of interest.
Despite tremendous effort and expense on the part of media and media-research agencies over many years, it is difficult to predict which ads will "work" in this cluttered environment and whether the audience will "hear" what we want them to about our brands.
In the social world, there is no audience; it is people talking to each other. That is what makes it "social" rather than media as we are used to thinking of it. It is inherently active, and when the topic of conversation among people is brands, it gives consumers control of what the brands are about.
Because of the lack of control in the social world, "getting your message out" in social media is an inherently flawed notion.
That is also why "counting eyeballs" that have seen something in social media about a given brand and trying to equate that with views in traditional media is an inherently flawed exercise.
Putting the emphasis on the word "social" means focusing instead on the nature of the brand conversations taking place and how to influence (not control) them.
If we can liberate ourselves from the "media mindset" and adopt a more "social mindset," we will then be able to make significant progress in understanding how to engage, how to take part in the brand conversations going on around us, and how to build relationships in this new world. It is clear, though, that we are still in the early stages of sorting this all through, and there is much to learn.
When jumping into social media, brands need to keep in mind that people will not be receptive to the old paradigm of "push the message."
TNS conducts an annual survey of consumers around the world to try to understand how people live online. The latest Digital Life survey shows some sobering yet encouraging insights as to how people view brand interactions in the social-media world:
These data would suggest that brands have opportunities to find creative ways in social media to build stronger relationships, but there is risk too, as they need to overcome many people's wariness.
Sixty percent of U.S. consumers who use social networks say that they are a place where they don't want to be bothered by companies or organizations.
- At the same time, 45% say that social networks are a good place to find out about brands -- but 50% say that even a single negative review on a social-media site can affect their brand decisions.
- Most people who join brand communities will do so for mercenary reasons (65% say they do so to get coupons), but many also do so to express their passion for a brand (45%).
- Most of those who write about brands on social media say they do so to praise brands (61%), but nearly as many say they write about brands to express negative feelings (45%).
As everyone rushes to develop a Facebook strategy, social media represents a double-edged sword for marketers as they seek to build their brands.
Approaching it with a media mind-set may well turn off many people; letting "social be social" will be a better path to growth. The choice is ours.
(Source: Larry Friedman, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer at TNS, appearing in Advertising Age, 05/06/12)
Daily Sales Tip: 'No Radio Rep Has Called me in 15 Years'
Speaking at the RAB Board of Directors Meeting last week, Allen Ginsberg, Founder of Allen Ginsberg & Associates, said you have to tell radio's story to the client.
He left the agency side to work on the client side (ING, Cleveland Clinic, and others) and lamented that in his role as client he has not heard from a radio salesperson in the past 15 years. Meanwhile, 50 digital companies contact him each week. He said they are very aggressive.
Ginsberg said radio salespeople can get more appointments with advertisers and agencies if presenting case studies. Advertisers like ideas and will listen if you share what others in their industry are doing.
According to Ginsberg, case studies are the best way to get into a client. He recommends going to the agency and letting them know you are going to the client, then immediately go to the client.
Source: John Potter, VP/Training, RAB