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Know Thy Digital Competitor


Whether youre developing a strategy for social media, planning to update the station website, creating a business model for streaming, or wondering why you arent getting advertisers digital dollars, conducting an analysis of the competition is key.

Why? An online analysis of the competitive landscape yields information you may not hear by monitoring the on-air product. You can capitalize on the competitions weaknesses, or reveal your own by finding out what theyre doing better. You can also determine whether competitors are generating revenue from advertisers.

Program directors spend time listening to the competition. Its time to start listening online, too.

What To Review

Their website design and content. Is the design modern and easy to navigate? Is the content updated frequently? Are the air talent posting blogs, videos, and audio regularly? Is the station providing any content yours isnt? From a listener standpoint, is their website more interesting? Does the content give listeners more reason to visit often?

Advertisements on their website. Make notes for your sales manager. Who are their sponsors for promotions and contests? Is there a video pre-roll advertisement? And dont forget to listen to the stream.

Engagement on social media platforms. In addition to the vanity metrics (Facebook likes and Twitter followers), review how many comments and likes each post receives. Is your station getting similar engagement from listeners

Social media content. What categories do competitors include in their social media strategy? Are they posting about music and promotions? Do air talent post during their shows? Or is their engagement empty, a product of off-brand Internet meme updates?

Their social media sponsors. Is there any indication that advertisers are spending money on social media? Look at promotional banners or timeline photos, and read posts for mention of sponsors. Look for a contest tab for an advertiser-sponsored contest.

Who To Look At

Competitors in your market. Go beyond stations with similar formats. Do an online analysis of all radio stations in your market that share your target demographic, as well as all stations that boast strong ratings.

Similar stations outside your market. Review the online presence of stations in your format that are successful in similar-size markets across the country.

The best (your format) station in the country. While many ideas you glean from market No. 1 may not be practical in your market, you can tweak some and execute on a smaller scale. If youre going to learn from competitors, you may as well learn from the best.

Non-radio brands in your market. Review the websites and social media strategies of local TV stations and companies that do digital well. It is likely that advertisers arent giving your piece of their digital budget to other radio stations, but to other, non-radio brands.

What Next?

Use what youve learned to improve your digital presence. If youre missing content categories on your website, add them. If other stations talent are more involved online, work with your jocks to increase post frequency. If your website looks like it was built in 1999 and your competitors are rocking a 2015 design, its time to push hard for a design update.

Help your sales team target digital advertisers. Give them a list of companies that advertise on both the radio and non-radio brands you reviewed. Explain the different types of sponsorships, ads, and contests you saw to begin brainstorming for ideas. Its easier for account executives to sell a great idea than to sell a generic banner ad.

Set up a Google Alert to monitor your competitors (and your station, too). Add keywords for station and show names, and Google will e- mail you once daily with any news or blogs posted.

If you havent ever run a Google or Facebook ad for the station, do it now. Not only will these improve your website traffic and increase Facebook likes, respectively, theyll show you another realm of competition. Its important to understand the way Google and Facebook ads work, so you know what potential advertisers are getting from these ads (and what theyre paying for).

Stephanie Winans is a Social Media Strategist and Content Curator for the Randy Lane Company and Stephanie Winans Digital. Learn more at or e-mail her at