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Mike Stiles

10 Ways to Captivate On-Air and Online


Youre at war for peoples attention.  And in a world where both the number of messages and the speed at which those messages come at people has skyrocketed, waging that war has gotten nothing but harder.  If your business relies on attracting, interesting, and holding an audience (and it does), then your very survival hinges on your ability to not only create content that truly connects with them, but to do it again and againdaily.

So I would ask myself, As a radio station, are we that interesting?  What kind of content are we putting out?  How regularly are we putting it out there?  Is our idea of content completely different from our audiences?

As Ive said a few times in this blog, the tips below are not for successful talent, because they know this stuff already.  Its in their bones.  Theyve conditioned themselves to be so in tune with the human beings on the other side of the mic, they know what registers and whats white noise.  But if your station is now all robots, board ops and management, a recent infographic called Understanding Viral Content Marketing contains a section called Reasons We Share.  It lays out just why people connect and react to some content but not others.

1. It is absolutely hilarious
Not only does everyone like to laugh (despite that look on their faces), they also like being responsible for making other people laugh.

2. It is incredible or unbelievable
Its hard to surprise people these days, so if you can make somebodys jaw drop, they want their friends to have that same reaction.

3. It is deeply emotional
People, especially women people, love to connect by sharing an emotional experience.  It is very much one of the ways in which they bond.

4. It agrees with our worldview
We have certain values, so whenever we see something that validates those values, it makes us feel good and share the content to show other people were right.

5. It makes us stop and think
Life is so incredibly busy, its a rare thing for something to make us stop in our tracks to consider the bigger questions in life.  If were challenged, we like to challenge our friends as well.

6. It isnt covered by mainstream media
Maybe its a conspiracy, maybe its not.  But it really is astonishing how much we, the mainstream media, dont have time to cover or dont think is worth covering.  Digital fills all those voids.

7. It will make someone smile
This is different from making them laugh.  If content earns a cursory, Aw, thats cute, thats enough to inspire a click of the share button.  People like a light, warm feeling.

8. It is dramatic
A no-brainer isnt it?  Why do you watch the full hour of an hour-long show?  Because you want to see what happens next.  Create cliffhangers.

9. It is embarrassing
Its the train wreck you cant help but watch.

10. It is provocative
Alright, sex sells and theres a damn good reason why it does.  It never gets old (even though the models do) and it grabs attention every time.  But theres a real art to knowing where the risqu line is so you tease, but dont cross it.

People being what they are, these are all connections you can make with your on-air content as well as on your social streams.  Is your station giving your listeners reason after reason to stay?

Mike Stiles is a writer/producer with the social marketing tech platform, Vitrue, and head of Sketchworks comedy theatre. Check out his monologue blog, The Stiles Files.
on Twitter @mikestiles
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(12/8/2011 6:38:17 PM)
Great stuff, Mike! And I think you'll agree that any combination of those points applies also and quite nicely to commercial production.

Meanwhile,I have a suspicion you might also agree that content is content and it's available anywhere in any number of genres and configurations.

From my own pulpit, that means our challenge is to develop superior processes for delivering that content.

Thanks, Mike - just a quick sermon at your expense?
Best wishes.... Ron

- Ronald T. Robinson

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