It’s less frustrating when you’re collaborating.
The evolution of social media and digital marketing has created an often overwhelming choice for promoting your internet radio station to a vast number of potential listeners. However, like many of us you may be finding it increasingly difficult to gain meaningful traction in an ever more crowded digital environment. Now that the tech giants are raising the cost of access to that enormous potential audience, returning to the opportunities available on your doorstep is starting to make a lot more sense.
Building relationships with organisations and brands that will resonate with your listeners isn’t a quick fix, but the engagement you could achieve will be far more meaningful than a ‘like’ on your daily insta-post. Whilst you’ll be avoiding the cost of the services from the likes of Facebook or Google, it is important to invest some effort in carefully selecting your collaboration partners and considering what you can offer each other. You won’t need a huge listener base to get started but you might need to think outside the box!
Step 1: What’s in it for them?
Reaching out to an organisation or an individual at the heart of the community you wish to address can bring authority and authenticity to your station’s image. However, any collaboration is a two-way relationship. Before you take your pitch to established community members, you’ll need to be perfectly clear on what you can offer them. This might seem daunting to smaller internet radio start-ups, but the process can be broken down into two simple stages.
Firstly, get to know your own audience. Having a good understanding of who listens to your station and what makes them unique as a group will give you a head-start in finding the perfect partners for your public relations strategy. Of course, the genre of your station is a good indication of who might be tuning in, but why not try running a survey – you might be surprised by what you find out!
After the who, comes the how. Just as important as who can be reached through your station is how third parties can engage with them. Classic radio PR services such as regular readings of event calendars, or hosting ticket giveaways and phone-ins are tried-and-tested favourites for actively sharing third party news and events with your audience. However, you may find you get more mileage from something more original. With the flexibility of our Airtime Pro internet radio broadcasting software, you could even offer a listener the chance to win a slot on your station – if you’re brave enough!
Step 2: Approach local ‘venues’ and potential sponsors.
When it comes to establishing fruitful partnerships, it’s the long term relationships you build that will become the most beneficial. For music-based stations this could be as simple as engaging with the small and medium sized venue owners in your area to provide regular broadcast coverage or to be featured in regular calendar slots. Non-music options could include local theaters, bars, restaurants, independent shops or even online retailers if you find your audience is spread across the globe. It all depends on what best suits your listeners.
With the research we conducted in step 1, and the intelligent listener statistics provided by your Airtime Pro station, you’ll have all you need to convince those potential publicity partners that being associated with your station will be of value to them.
Once you’ve established a relationship with an appropriate partner you’ll be able to offer an exchange of promotional merchandise such as tickets, discounts, or other freebies for radio publicity services such as hosting shows from their premises. With a flexible audio streaming software like Airtime Pro, hosting a radio show ‘on location’ is as simple as finding a stable internet connection nearby for your phone, tablet, or laptop and signing in to our cloud-based service.
Step 3: Approach artists, promoters and other VIPs.
Long-term relationships with the appropriate partners might be great for your station, but attracting ‘headline acts’ is what your listeners will likely appreciate most. Whilst these relationships might be more short-term, the same guidelines apply. Start with what you have to offer them. For example, if you’re approaching an agent or promoter, offer to showcase their smaller acts before discussing the more well-known figures on their books.
You’ll want to keep an ear to the ground to catch news of any VIPs visiting your area as early as possible. The earlier you make contact, the more likely you are to be squeezed into busy travel schedules. Anyone who is in your area to make a public appearance will be keen to promote their upcoming event.
Even if inviting guests live on air isn’t feasible for your setup or their schedule, broadcasting a pre-recorded or VOIP interviews prior to their arrival in the area are good fall-back options and both are easily achievable with Airtime Pro’s scheduling and collaborative broadcasting feature set.
Step 4: Engage the local community.
Change hearts and minds on the streets! Use the information you have gathered about your audience to identify relevant upcoming local events which will already have a sizable attendance. Piggy-backing off existing events will likely grant you access to a larger crowd than trying to start your own. In cases of public celebrations you may not even require the permission of a particular event organiser, but make sure to double-check before hand!
If you’re lucky enough to find an upcoming event in your area whose attendees are a good match for your audience, the same methodology applies here as before. Concentrate on what your station could offer the event organisers.
An excellent option for music-based stations is to offer event DJ services to the event organisers – just don’t forget to stream your set live to your Airtime Pro station!
Airtime Pro users also have the option of streaming ad-hoc audio content directly to their internet radio stations from a smartphone. With just a couple of apps and a reliable 4G connection you’ll be able to interview event participants live on-location.
You could also dedicate a few hours of your station’s schedule to community-run shows. Let your listeners and other community members speak their mind through your station. If you can create an appropriate format, why not enjoy the benefits? More engagement equals more publicity.
Don’t forget your listeners!
Cross-marketing your online radio station with a relevant partner is a great way to tap into the community they have already created. However, doing so comes at a risk!
By aligning your brand with another organisation, you’ll have to trust that organisation to uphold your image. A poor choice of PR partner could alienate your audience. Stick to relevant organisations you trust and those that have a long history of upholding a good reputation in your community. Just don’t let that hold you back!