What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “Radio Promotions”? Is it the loud, Monster truck-type ads with screaming vocals, hard-driving music and a lot of hype? Or maybe you think of concerts, the cool-sounding, shades-wearing DJ with the golden voice.

A lot of times when I help people plan their marketing and promotions, I'll hear them say something like this: “Oh, well, so-and-so has great promotions, but I really don't have the money/talent/opportunity to do THAT.”

And here's my answer: You don't have to have all those things to get noticed. But there are some things that you need to know. If you're new to the promotions world, or you're working to boost listenership, here are some things that I've learned over the years. I hope these ideas will be of help to you and your project.

1) Radio promotions isn't about magic. It's about hard work. A lot of hard work. There's no magic potion, no genie in a bottle who can skyrocket your product to number one in the customer's/listeners' minds. You've got to put in effort and earn your audience's attention.

2) Radio promotions is about being consistent. Sure, it's fun to think up a new promotion or ad, but most of the time it's about showing up and being consistent – day after day, month after month. Sometimes it's boring. Or aggravating. You have to tweak copy. Rework the spot for the fifth time. Rewrite announcer copy. Again and again and again. And after your promotional campaign is over, you have to start all over again and earn listener's attention for the next event.

3) Radio promotions start by knowing what it is you're trying to do. A friend of mine always asks clients, “So, what does success look like?” Sit down with your client – whether it's the Program Director, advertiser or concert promoter and ask them what they're trying to accomplish. Be specific. Know exactly what you're trying to do and how to get things done.

4) Radio promotions are audience-specific. You've heard the phrase, “Who's your audience?” It's one of the most important questions we ask our clients. And, just like setting specific goals, you need to determine exactly who you want to target as a consumer. A lot of times when I ask clients, “who is your audience for this product?” I'll get the answer, “Women ages 30-55.” Nice answer … but you haven't told me anything about your target listener. Tell me why a 37-year-old woman wants your product? Does she need diapers for an 18-month-old baby? Does she have cavities and need to brush her teeth with your brand of toothpaste. Get specific details.

5) Radio promotions means knowing your limits and operating within those limits. This means that you need to know exactly who you are, what your station is all about and how much you can or can't deliver. It's also about knowing your audience and delivering promotions that your audience can't resist. And...it means knowing all of this before you say yes to a prospective client.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to radio promotions. We'll answer some more questions over the next couple of weeks and add more tools to your promotions arsenal. I hope these next few articles will be very helpful to you and your team as you work to reach more listeners in the year ahead.

Bill Arbuckle CMW    

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions.  You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it....

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