Expert Columns

It's the hashtag of the moment: #LoveWins. Top consumer brands posted comments to the tag after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Same Sex Marriage. If you get the chance, check out's coverage of the social media postings. Many of them are clever, well-designed posts. As I looked through the various designs, I was reminded of three things about good media:
1) Good media requires planning. Sure, media can turn on a dime. It's easy to make an announcement...but a quality message requires planning and anticipation. When you look at the images on #LoveWins, you'll see that someone took the time to plan and produce a quality response to the announcement.
2) Good media captures the moment. Good timing plays a role in powerful messaging. Brands anticipated the moment...and launched their messages when most people would be watching.
3) Good media follows up after the message. The brands that posted congratulatory comments on #LoveWins aren't content with a one-time post. Companies like Kelloggs have been targeting same sex families for quite some time. For one thing, it's marketing. Companies are working to show that their products have universal acceptance. For another, it shows people outside of the target audience that these companies are working to position themselves as socially conscious. You'll continue to see these companies follow up the ads, posts, and messages with many more messages to come.
So what does a Twitter feed about the U.S. Supreme Court decision have to do with you? It's a reminder of how to connect with the conversation of the day and to leave lasting messages. Combine that with the fact that as Christians, we have an eternal message about Love: “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son...” Maybe since everybody is talking about love – and they will be for a long time to come – this is an opportunity plan our response, capture the moment, and follow up with the story of an eternal Love that invites us to embrace something, Someone, that will change us and transform us to the image of Jesus Christ.

It's about time for a star-spangled celebration! Are you ready for the Fourth of July?
If you're still gathering ideas, here are a few conversation starters to help with your show prep. Share them on the air and feel free to adapt and make them your own:
1) Where's the best place in town for a picnic? Do listeners know an out-of-the-way place that they'd recommend to others?
2) George Washington just invited your family over for a Fourth of July dinner and asked you to bring a favorite dish. What would you bring?
3) Does your family have any unusual Fourth of July traditions? What makes them so unusual?
4) If you could invite a historical figure to your Fourth of July picnic, who would it be and why?
5) Fireworks are illegal in many places...but finger poppers just don't have the same pizzazz. What does your family do instead?
6) What's your favorite July 4th recipe? Will you share it on our Facebook page?
7) Going to the local fireworks show? Send pictures to our Instagram and Twitter feeds.
These are just a few ideas to help you have some fun. Got some others you'd like to add?

Every now and then it's important to back to the basics, so if you're a seasoned promoter, you may already know these things, but if you're new to media and promotions, here's a quick guide to promotions planning.
No matter the size of your marketing budget, you can get noticed in your community. There's no rule that says you have to have a massive amount of money to make an impact. Here's how to make the most of every opportunity.
1) Set ONE goal for your promotion. Keep your goal simple and clear. Can you explain it in one sentence? What is the ONE thing you want to accomplish? Don't try to get complicated, because that will water down your messaging.
2) Know your target listener and how your goal relates to them. This is the easy part. You already have a key listener, so take the time to ask how this promotion will help them. How will it add value to their life? If it doesn't add value to them, then the promotion does nothing for you.
3) Know how your target listener likes to get their information. Your station has multiple channels...multiple ways to distribute your message. But your target listener has one or two preferred ways to get their information: your on-air signal, Facebook, Twitter, Web...or one of many other ways. Send your message via those preferred channels. Send it often.
4) Think about the QUALITY of the promotion...not the QUANTITY. In other words, pick a promotion that will have a lasting impact. Don't worry if you're only doing one promotion this summer. That's not what matters. What does matter is that you do the best promotion you can do that benefits your listeners. Better to have one solid connect than a dozen little ones that come across as “busy work.”
5) Determine your measure of success. How will you judge the success of your promotion? Names generated? Number of attendees? Financial gain for advertisers? Much like point #1, the key is to pick ONE thing and keep that as your measure of success.
6) Start planning the details. Now that you've set clear goals, you can decide how best to proceed. What channels will you use to promote your event? On-Air? Social Media? Newsletters? Will you hand out flyers to promote an event, or will you send invites to social media followers only? Where will your event be held? Set the big goals first, then get into the details.
Why start with all of these questions? Isn't promotions just going out and running an event? No. Promotions are an important way to increase your station's brand visibility. Everything you do in public builds an image in your audience's minds, so make sure your station creates a powerful image.

Here's a unique way to connect traditional media to the digital world. The recent Critic's Choice TV Awards presentation invited fans at home to add a personal touch to the live event. While the stars of various TV shows walked down the red carpet, A&E network (host of the event) featured artwork created by fans of the various shows.
According to a report in The Trendera Files weekly newsletter (06/10/15), TV viewers uploaded artwork via Tumblr and A&E Network selected some pieces that were shown during the event. But the fans weren't the only ones featured. Guests at the event were invited to post tweets and vines during the show...and the network also incorporated those bits into the live coverage.
The next time you host a big event – a pre-concert broadcast, a fundraiser, a community celebration – take a page from A&E. Look for ways to involve your listeners. Are you setting up a booth at the county fair? Ask listeners to stop by and snap a photo with your team. Or maybe you're taking part in a July 4th fireworks show. Ask listeners to rate the fireworks...while the fireworks are in the air! Videos, photos, tweets – all of it works together to build community and conversation. Want proof? Just ask A&E.

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21…and there’s still time to plan a promotional campaign. If you’re looking for ideas, here are a couple to consider:
1) Ugly Tie Contest via Social Media: Think Throwback Thursday…complete with classy styles from the 70’s and 80’s. It’s easy to invite people to post photos…even easier to put the best/worst up for a Facebook vote. The winner gets a gift certificate.
2) Identify This Gadget: One of the best promotions I’ve seen in a long time came from an employment agency. Each week, the group sent our station an odd-ball gadget and asked people to guess its purpose. It kept our staff talking and trying to figure it out. The winner got free lunch for the entire office. Have your staff to find odd – but useful – articles dad might use, then take photos of a small part of the article and post online. Post an article a day for each day of the week before Father’s Day. Invite families to guess. The ones who get a gift for dad.
3) Tech Timewarp: Similar to Identify This Gadget, but post a small photo of an old computer, game system, Palm Pilot, or other piece of tech. Guess the maker and year.
4) Are We There Yet? What dad doesn’t know the mileage between Denver and Chicago? L.A. and D.C.? Get a dad on the line and quiz him on all those mileages, quirky travel facts, or gas mileage.
Father’s Day can be a lot of fun! Encourage families to celebrate Dad this year!

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