Friday, March 12, 2010

TUNEGENIE™ Best Practices....Connecting To The Audience Via The Content

With so many stations on the TUNEGENIE™ playlist platform, we see patterns of what works and what doesn’t. The following best practices suggestions come from analyzing a zillion page-views, experimenting with display locations and effective wording, and talking to many operators.

Best practice #1: Focus on the content!

Best practice #2: Easy access for listener to stations’ playlist.

AHA-HA MOMENT: Arbitron Ratings!

Best Practice #3: Play the hits.

Best practices start with understanding that compelling content drives usage. We can't stress enough the importance of compelling content. After all, why do people use your stations...for the CONTENT, not the ads. We know the industry is starving for cash, but the audience just does not care. Either you give them the content they are looking for or they bolt.

With that said, we see many stations forget the importance of content by placing non-content or non-essential content in prime real estate positions. That’s like rotating a stiff in power. Which is odd for an industry that historically is content-focused -- at times to a fault. For some reason when it comes to station web sites the discipline of content is often lost.

Best practice #1: It’s Focus on the content!

The public goes to restaurants to eat food, shops in clothing stores for clothes and goes to car dealers to buy cars. For radio--it's about the music. And while it has various accessories surrounding the music, the primary usage of radio by the public is to listen to music. If you think about it Radio is really the great playlist generator, and recently playlists have evolved into a consumer need vs. industry jargon.

The listeners want to find playlists; they are searching for songs and lists of songs that they hear broadcast. Playlists are in demand, and who makes a better playlist than a PD!

And there lies the foundation of the best practices. It’s simple, the audience expects music from radio, and today they expect to interact with music online. They are looking for the music the station plays, for the now playing information, and to be able to see a list of songs. They trust the station musically as a friend with great "ears" and want to fill their iPods, burn a CD, or just be in the know.

Best practice #2: To the listener a stations’ broadcast is a playlist---make it easy for them to get it.

Radio: Do you want to drive engagement, page-views, time-spent listening, digital traffic etc? Let the audience know that the information they are looking for from the broadcast------THE PLAYLIST, -- is simple to find on your web site. Encourage the listener to go backstage of the station to see the music. Make it SIMPLE for anyone who goes to a station site to find THE PLAYLIST on your station site.

The original design of the TUNEGENIE playlist platform is a spoke and hub system. Meaning the PLAYLIST is the main show and the now playing widgets (like the HOURS) feed the PLAYLIST. Stations that make it simple for the listener to know that now playing information plus the entire station PLAYLIST is available at their site see heavy usage.

What we have learned is that if you make banners, badges, links, panels, etc. that say various ways of, SEE THE PLAYLIST, or WXYZ's PLAYLIST, or THE PLAYLIST, (in addition to the now playing widgets like the HOURS), the station will generate a lot of page-views.

AHA-HA MOMENT: Arbitron Ratings!

The listener wants information about THE PLAYLIST, and when the station of facilitates the connection between the listener-- the now playing--and the station PLAYLIST makes; the result is a fulfilled listener from the BROADCAST and web site perspective. Connecting the dots like that, fulfilling listeners’ needs, drives increased page-views and RATINGS.

We see dramatic page-view increases when all of the dots are connected, on all formats and in all markets big and small.

Best Practice #3: Play the hits.

We tell our clients to look at their site like they do their clock; play the hits, the digital hits! Where many stations’ error is that they do not know what their digital hits are, or how to highlight the hits, or rotate them as powers. Remember when stations make it real simple for the listener to know that they can see the music, the dots connect, the page-views jump, and the listener is fulfilled.

Some great ways to connect the dots:

On-air: Tell the audience that what they are looking for is online; "Like our music, see our playlist,"

On-line: Prominently display the phrase SEE THE PLAYLIST:

  • In the header
  • Next to the now playing banner
  • In the navigation tabs
  • In a rotating promotional panel (which should be sold to a sponsor!)
Place the Hours widget in the upper right corner (or left) just under the header.

Use the various TUNEGENIE widgets

Make the streaming link fire the PLAYLIST with the Streamer in expand mode.

Do not promote 'buy the music', or 'see the bio', instead focus on SEE THE PLAYLIST as the primary message. Then the secondary message is Video and Lyrics. (Note, coming soon will be... make a playlist and share it with your friends.)

There are more tips but I suggest starting with the PLAYLIST focus. For now the above would be a great boost to driving usage. As long as all involved understand the foundation theory of PLAYLIST, your station will see success.

Jeffrey Specter

1 comment:

  1. As a former programmer of small and larger market stations I couldn't agree more with what Jeffery has shared. Its all about simplicity and ease of use, wrapped around the core values of what programmers need to be successful today. In a world where the industry is hiding behind their desks, fearful of being held responsible for the decisions they have yet to make, Tune Genie is a NO BRAINER.