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Loyd Ford

Back-To-School Digital Dollars


We often like to think about what is right in front of us and generally speaking we don’t think about how time works. It’s nearly the middle of July and children will be going back to school soon (believe it or not). So, now is a great time to develop your social media plan for taking advantage of what people will find important as they prepare for the fall and prepare for returning their children to school and their lives to “normal.” To do this, you can use your on-air, website, and also email database to dial in a huge advantage for your local radio brand against competitors while building a new wall of digital revenue, too. Here are some starter content ideas:
1. Focus on making the local “return-to-school details” easy for parents to find THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE and promote it on social media platforms. Find out the local websites and materials available to adults in your listening area and prepare to “publish access to them” in a “back to school” email and across your social media assets (all of these assets should send people NOT to Facebook or other social media platforms…but to YOUR WEBSITE and/or features on-air if you have any of that happening in the early fall).

2. Publish tips on how to save time and make the “return to fall” more efficient and less stressful. Believe it or not, you can access this in a wide variety of ways through the Internet. Give credit where credit is due, but – again – publish these things on YOUR website and draw “fire” to them from your posts on social media. All of radio’s social media should include some clever form of help or fun, and all should drive local listeners back to our assets: on air and on the websites we own. After all, we want to use the large crowds of local listeners using a variety of social media platforms to promote our value (based on focusing on what your target listeners want the most) and bringing them back to our core products.

3. Even when you have a back-to-school push happening, keep in mind that listeners will also want to get one more push of summer fun in before everything returns to fall as usual. So, for this reason, provide a variety of tips or ideas on how to get a few more fun family activities in before kids turn back to school seriousness and the routine returns to a schedule around school study and activities. Again, there are a million resources for this on the Web. Pick and choose wisely and always focus on local opportunities first (local theme parks or local weekend activities, of course).

4. Make sure parents know where they can get school supplies. By the way, this can be sold. There are always specific merchant level “pushes” to gain access to the attention of these parents in the late summer each year. You can publish a list of what is needed by county in your market and where these items can be purchased. If your sales team sells this, isn’t that just providing the content and building revenue at the same time? Isn’t that what we do? By the way, all of these content features (on your website) can be sponsored. Why not?

5. Publish interviews with the major personalities in the local school systems and make sure listeners know where they can find these interviews. That’s right. You can publish written interviews or you can video them in sections or as one large video with the school officials everyone will know in your market. This gives you a hyper-local connection and it gives the school system what they want:  A big opportunity to talk directly to parents. It also gives interested parents content they would love to access and an easy way to do it. As with all other elements above, this can also be sponsored.

6. Finally, you can create a back-to-school contest for your website or radio station (depending on what is most appropriate for your station format). Radio is supposed to be fun. You can create a fun contest to draw listeners to your content on the website and on-air if you like. This allows you to tie all things together in a section on your website or appointments on your actual radio station for back-to-school content. All of this focuses on how local you are and how helpful you are for the massive return-to-school efforts happening soon in your market.
These ideas are not meant to be the complete plan. I am only trying to get you to think about how you can use your website, on-air, and social media assets (along with your own loyal listener email club) to boost local connectivity, local community service, and digital revenue. Local radio still has the single-largest quick-fire opportunity to personally connect with listeners in the most meaningful way coming up within the next month or so. The question is: Will you take advantage of it for boosting participation, connection to your personalities and radio brand, will you use it to be hyper-local and give yourself “community advantages” over your direct and indirect adult competitors, and will you develop an overall plan to increase the spend or digital dollars you should be receiving for this kind of content effort?
Good luck in creating dynamic fall connectivity content for adults that will help your local radio brand with both community advantage and digital revenue. Do this and it will help you have a more productive fall for your local radio brand.
Loyd Ford is the direct marketing, ratings, and social media strategist for Americalist and has programmed very successful radio brands in markets of all sizes, including KRMD AM & FM in Shreveport, WSSL and WMYI in Greenville, WKKT in Charlotte, and WBEE in Rochester, NY. Learn more about Loyd here: Get his radio-social media content sent directly to your smart phone or email for free here: Reach out to Loyd via e-mail HERE.  Visit his Facebook radio social media page HERE.

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