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by John Lund

Every radio-station promotion should fulfill the following six criteria:
  • It will increase ratings by generating more tune-ins, extending Time Spent Listening, or carrying listeners from one daypart to another.

  • It will create awareness, thereby enhancing street talk in the market.

  • It will help establish a personal bond between the station and its core listeners.

  • It will enhance the station's image.

  • It will generate additional sales revenue.
When you've decided what your promotion can do, consider if there is enough lead-time to stage the promotion and achieve your goals. For a major promotion with multi-media involvement, like an outdoor festival, allow three or four months. For a smaller promotion, like a talent appearance or ticket giveaway, plan two to three weeks of lead time.

For each planned promotion, determine how much extra ad revenue will be generated. A price for every promotional announcement should be calculated and included in the cost to the client. Then do what you can to assure that the promotion runs smoothly. Use a planner or checklist to plot every aspect of the promotion and track critical steps for success.

From Promotion Creation to Implementation, try this step-by-step checklist:

  • Set your promotional goals and target air dates.

  • Determine the promotion budget.

  • Write promotional framework and any contest rules. Acquire event insurance, if necessary, and check the legalities.

  • Send a memo to the entire staff about the promotion.

  • Write and produce promotional copy and media advertising.

  • Acquire contest premiums and prizes.

  • Keep a large promotional calendar to track every station promotion, from giveaways to major events. Using the calendar as a marketing flow chart can help build staff awareness, prevent over-commitment, and benefits the sales department to generate additional dollars.
  • Tease any promotion for at least three days.

  • Promote for at least two weeks before any station-sponsored event.

  • Promote contests on the station website and send e-mail notices to your database.

  • Post-promote each major promotion for at least five days.

    If your promotion includes on-air giveaways:

  • Make sure prizes are in-house before the event begins.

  • Make the contest rules available to the public by mail, at the reception desk and on the station's website.

  • Post the contest rules in the studio and give a copy to the receptionist to help answer phone queries.

  • Send a memo to all staff about contesting procedures. Include emergency phone numbers for all promotional partners.

  • Place contest-winner sheets in the studio; all vital winner information must be carefully recorded.

  • Tape winning phone calls for later use on the air. Winner's comments build contest excitement.
  • Take a cassette recorder to all events. Tape listener comments about the event, and use the clips for post-event and station promos.

  • Ask winners to claim their prizes at the station in person; use the mail as a last resort. Each winner should sign a release form, and give the station permission to use his or her photo and info in press releases and promos.

  • Get pictures of big winners for press releases and the station's website.
  • Event staff and station personnel should wear station "uniforms" - an identifying T-shirt, jacket, badge or cap.

  • Banners, signs, balloons, flyers and the station booth should display the station's calls or nickname.

  • Station personalities should appear at events, and do live remote broadcasts from the venue.

  • Stage premium giveaways at the event location. The station's name should appear on every item awarded.
  • Mail, email, or fax press releases to all media several weeks before the promotion. Follow-up the press release with calls to key contacts.

  • A professional photographer should shoot pictures for trade publications and sales pieces.

  • Hire a professional videographer for trade press, sales presentations, the station's website and television.
  • Send pictures or videos to trade press and use them in sales presentations.

  • Send thank-you cards or e-mails to promotional partners, and ask for testimonial letters.

  • Review the promotion in a staff meeting to determine if all the station's goals were met. Note any improvements that can be made the next time a promotion is staged.

  • Create a file with promos, press releases, contest rules, and post-event info.

  • Prepare a review that summarizes the promotion's goals, accomplishments and costs, including a costs vs. sales analysis.

  • Air promos celebrating the event and telling listeners what the station has done for them. Adding listener comments recorded during event enhances the station's image.

  • Display pictures and a summary of the event on the station's website.

© 2002 by John Lund

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