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Selling Drama The TNT Way!

Jason Barrett

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For the past 10 years, if you’ve watched TNT television you likely heard the channel’s slogan “We Know Drama“. It’s a tagline in my opinion which was simply brilliant, because it reflected the channel’s programming choices. If you turned on TNT, you’d find either a movie, game or original program, and when you analyzed the content of that particular show, you’d find that it often included some form of drama which helped it fit perfectly into the channel’s strategy.

The slogan was introduced in June 2001, and at that time, former TNT General Manager Steve Koonin said “TNT’s promise is to engage the hearts and minds of our viewers with dramatic programming that offers a powerful combination of compelling stories and interesting characters, mixed with excitement, action, suspense, romance and humor. TNT’s slate of original movies and series, theatrical product, acquired series, championship sports and live event specials will deliver on this consumer proposition.”

Judging from what the channel featured during the past 13 years, they not only lived up to their promise, but viewership increased, and today it remains a strong presence in cable television. Clearly the interest in dramatic content was there, and TNT didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, they simply satisfied the appetite of those who were hungry.

Take a look back at this classic TV commercial created around the 2003 NBA Playoffs. TNT featured Spike Lee to sell the message and the result was a very identifiable spot which was easy for viewers to relate to.

When it comes to sports talk radio, I’ve heard numerous executives over the years refer to the format as the ultimate “soap opera for men“. In some ways, it’s hard for me to fathom that the world of sports could be mentioned in the same sentence with “One Life To Live” and “General Hospital” but when you step back and think about what the world of sports has to offer on a daily basis, it makes perfect sense. The presentation has shifted from x’s and o’s discussions and box score breakdowns to sports-bar conversations centered around personalities and teams. Coincidentally the ratings, platform distribution, and advertising dollars are all experiencing some of the highest performance levels in the format’s history.

lbj2So why is it that people keep seeking out sports media content?

The answer is simple, they love drama!

Case in point, look at these headlines below which were posted within the past week on different media websites. All 5 are written about one of the most popular and polarizing basketball players on the planet, LeBron James.

As you look at these 5 examples, one word should stand out in defining what each story is about – Drama!

  • LeBron James, Pat Riley to meet
  • LeBron James has a Dwayne Wade problem
  • Cavs working to clear max space to land LeBron
  • Cavs explain why they took down Dan Gilbert’s letter to LeBron James
  • LeBron’s inner circle, including his wife, want him to sign with Cavaliers

Regardless of where you go to get your sports news, you go there because you’re curious, and emotionally engaged in the content. Whether you realize it or not, you’re lured in by the drama of the story. LeBron James right now is the NBA’s real life version of the Truman Show, and we’re all sitting back watching, listening, reading, and reacting to every piece of news, and deciding what’s best for him, his family, his future, and each team that wants him. It’s a classic case of media outlets feeding us drama, and each of us devouring it, and asking for seconds.

Your-Opinion-MattersWhen you finish your show today, I want you to step back and reflect on what you presented to the audience. Look at each of your segments and what the conversation was built around. In most cases I bet you presented a question based off of a certain subject, and with that question you provided your opinion/answer to it. That my friends is called selling the drama!

If you weren’t doing that then I’d ask you to reassess your content, and figure out what you want your audience to sink their teeth into. If you have no hook and no drama in your presentation, than chances are you’re filling air time with no true purpose. By doing that you’re asking your listeners to standby while you figure it out, and they don’t have time for it. Your audience wants to show up and have you distract them from the everyday pressures they face by providing them with compelling and entertaining content. If you can’t do that, they’ll find someone who can.

Remember this, your audience isn’t turning to you because they want to know who won last night’s game, what Player X’s batting average is or how many of the next 10 games their favorite team plays at home vs. on the road. They can get that stuff by clicking on any sports website. They’re also not coming to you to hear how many phone calls you can take during the course of a 3-4 hour show. The only person keeping count of your caller totals is you and your producer.

They will though listen to a passionate discussion between a host and a caller provided there’s a question or angle being discussed, and they do appreciate information as long as it’s used to advance the angle you’re presenting. In a nutshell, information and filling content time doesn’t earn you an emotional investment from your audience – your ability to deliver a compelling discussion and unique opinion on the story that matters to your audience does.

manzielWhether we like it or not, people today care more about Johnny Manziel’s off the field behavior than any of his studying habits or practice throws. They know Carmelo Anthony’s free agent suitors better than the NY Knicks roster that he played on last season. They focus more on who got snubbed from the All-Star game, and how playing in the game could impact a player’s second half performance, more than they focus on the actual game itself. Every listener fancies themselves as a GM with solid knowledge of what each player makes, what each team spends, the length of each player’s contract, and how it will help/hurt their favorite team in the future.

Why do all of these items above matter to people? Because they’re dramatic, and they create thoughts and emotions inside of every one of us. These are feelings that can’t be turned off or brushed aside. Whether it’s joy, frustration, love, hate, passion, confusion or something else, the more people hear about it, the more interested they become, and the more they seek resolution and additional facts to our conversations, the more we invade their minds and cause them to think and feel. The more we do that, the better our chances of keeping them listening.

feelingsFor an on-air talent, you are constantly selling drama to your audience because it’s the one ingredient that makes your show special each day. Nowhere on the planet can your show be duplicated. While the same stories may be discussed everywhere else, your personality, perspective, creative elements and delivery of the information keeps you unique.

However, your audience has distractions being thrown their way every day, so the only way to cut through the clutter and permanently rent space in their head is by using drama to your advantage. They want to take the roller coaster ride with you, and experience your ups, downs and in-between’s. It’s your job to keep them hanging on every word and sentence.

A colleague of mine (Jeff Schmidt) sent this to me months ago and it instantly connected with me. Take a look at these two stories below and look at the headlines. The story on the left is presented by Deadspin.com and the story on the right is presented by ESPN.com. When you look at the headline of each story, which one contains more passion and suspense?

Kluwe Stories

In my opinion, Deadspin used words to stir an emotion with the reader while ESPN focused on the facts and delivered a neutral headline. While the approach for both brands may be different, they both make sense. However if this were a sports radio segment, you’d hook a lot more people with the drama of the Deadspin headline than you would with the ESPN presentation.

Think for a second of how this relates to you. Your listener is either in a car or listening on a computer or mobile device and on each of these platforms have multiple choices. In most people’s phones there are 25-50 apps readily available to take them elsewhere, or if they’re in a car they have the option of FM/AM radio, a CD player, possibly satellite radio, or some other electronic device that they can connect to their dashboard and listen to. In either case, you’re already battling for an individual’s attention before you even get started.

If you’re lucky, you’re one of the first places the listener turns to because your brand/station has built trust and loyalty with them, or they’ve formed a connection with you or another on-air personality. From there, it comes down to picking the right content and manufacturing the drama in the most unique and entertaining way to keep them engaged.

Right_Vs._WrongPick the wrong content, and they’re gone. Pick the right content, and present it in a safe and predictable way, and they’re gone. Select the right content, and construct enough angles and unique viewpoints to keep the listener wanting to take an emotional journey with you, and you’ve got a fighting chance.

Try it out when LeBron James finally signs with a team. I guarantee you’ll hear every station discuss the story, but the place where you’ll spend the majority of your time listening to it, will be with the outlet and personality that advances the story, and best captures and sells the drama and suspense and drama.

There is no better example of capturing drama than when you go to the movies, and spend 15-20 minutes waiting for your featured movie to start. Once those previews hit you know you’re immediately sucked in. For example, watch this trailer of the upcoming film “When The Game Stands Tall“. By the time the trailer is done playing you’ll know the focus of the story, the drama that occurs, and the question being asked that must be answered. The result, you’ve given Sony Pictures 2:44 of your time, and soon enough you’ll be spending your money to go watch it because the story drew you in.

Whether it’s a movie, a sporting event, an argument between co-workers or a sports talk radio show, people have a passion for drama. They seek it out and remain consumed by it, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Don’t believe me? Check your Facebook feed or Twitter timeline. It’s happening every second of every hour.

Sometimes a slogan doesn’t make any sense for a brand, but in the case of TNT they created something which fit like a glove, and they delivered on that promise to perfection. That’s an example of effective research, smart strategy, and consistent execution. When you do those things right, you win consistently and grow continuously.

101 PartyTo wrap this up, I’ll leave you with one shred of evidence that’ll make you re-think whether or not you can afford for drama to not be a central part of your content focus each day. Currently when you look at the best performing sports radio stations across the country, the average amount of time spent listening is usually between 3-4 hours per week M-F 6A-7P. These stations also deliver somewhere between 5-10% of listening among Men 25-54, and that by industry standards is considered a pretty strong success.

One though could look at it the other way, and argue that your core programming which you pay top dollar for and promote heavily, is consumed for only 36-48 minutes per day out of a 780 minute window, and in your market, 90-95% of Men 25-54 don’t listen to you.

Now how’s that for drama!

Yes we can talk about the issues with PPM, we can blame things beyond our control such as signal issues, play by play events, lack of marketing, etc. but in every one of those scenarios, we’re emotionally invested in the subject and we’re ready to defend, explain and engage in the conversation. That my friends is what drama does.

TNT figured out how to capture the mind and eyes of the viewer,nand there’s no reason why sports radio can’t do the same, and capture the mind and ears of its audience. If ever there was a business built to understand and sell drama, it’s sports talk radio. If it can be done right, who knows, maybe one day we’ll present a brand new slogan – “We Own Drama“.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.

But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?

As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.

Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.

Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.

I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.

What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.

As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.

Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.

But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.

Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.

There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.

I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.

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