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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

Using video to bring you new listeners

The new year is a good time to take stock of your station’s promotional activity, clean-out the clutter and get back to basics.

For example, never forget that if you want to grow reach you have to be prepared to talk to people who don’t know you. It sounds obvious but I visit plenty of stations where the obvious gets overlooked in the rush to get something, sometimes anything, done.

Before you talk to new prospective listeners it’s healthy to stand-back and ask yourself a few questions:

1. Who am I talking to?

2. What offer can I make to them that’s worth them changing behaviour for?

3. Why should they believe me?

Point three is critical. It’s the evidence that makes your offer credible and the first signpost on a  journey from the functional to a deep emotional relationship with your brand.

Any amount of strong speech content is great evidence to support your offer. You’ll have that already, right, because speech is the most important part of radio.

Now it’s time to share it.

Despite the growth of useful services such as Audioboo and Soundcloud the most readily-shared content remains video, not audio. This is clear to see from just about anybody’s Twitter stream or Facebook page.

So, see what BBC Radio 4 has been doing, quietly, in support of some of its speech radio radio programmes.

Archive on 4 clips page

Each of these radio clips has been presented as a video file with, at the very least, an attractive image. It means the clips have a much better chance of getting in front of new potential listeners than anything BBC Radio 4 could do on-air and it is helping the station to surface interesting radio that can be placed in off-peak slots on the linear schedule.

It also gives Radio 4 an opportunity to express itself visually, exploit the range of picture material that you naturally accumulate when you’re making a speech radio programme or even commission something bespoke, like this wonderful animation:

This is a delightful introduction to some of BBC Radio 4’s distinctive content and it is a faithful representation of the station’s cultured approach to life.

For someone who has never sampled BBC Radio 4 before, this might be enough to tempt them into the water.

What can we all do now?

An video can attract attention to strong radio content but well-produced video is time consuming and can be expensive to make.

You can simply post a static image as BBC Radio 4 is doing with many of their clips.

But there’s a third way: slideshows are cheap to make and yet can be visually stunning as this history of BBC Radio Solent shows. Unfortunately they didn’t make this one embeddable otherwise it would be right here on this page and instantly shareable via social media.

Slideshows needn’t take long to make on something like Soundslides (but they do require clear thought to make well) and they ensure that potential listeners hear your audio – pretty crucial if you truly believe in your radio product.

Release timing is important. I hope BBC Radio 4 starts to make more of their visual clips available in advance of the programme release so they can build interest in the content they’re promoting before it goes out on air.

So is branding. If you want your videos to be ambassadors for your brand then it’s important to adopt a consistent and clear visual branding style. Your videos may well be  the first time a new potential listener has encountered your station so ensure they identify you clearly and that they reflect the personality of your brand.

This is one occasion when you’re not promoting a programme but using that programme to invest in your whole brand.

Is your station making some good, shareable video? Share it with us and we’ll showcase it on the blog.