advertising

Tips and Strategies for Blogging

Posted on Updated on

Blog letters pinned to white wall

I’m sure this has only happened to me…  but, have you ever had the order come down from above (think more cooperate, less angles) that you need to write a blog post on (x) by (x)?

If you’re like most people the first thing that escapes your lips is a whispered “how am I supposed to get this done?”.  Well, relax it might just be easier than you think!
Here are a couple of tips and strategies that might just stir the creative writing process for you!

Step 1 – Read

The first step in writing a great blog post is to know your topic and chances are you’re not the first one to ever write on your subject.  So, why reinvent the wheel?
Solomon said it best “there is nothing new under the sun”.  There is no need to make things more difficult then that have to be.  Go online and find other blog posts on your subject and gather ideas.  Notice how other bloggers have organized their thoughts, and begin to formulate your own ideas on what you want to write about.

Step 2 – The Outline

Begin putting together an outline;
  • Create a topic headline
  • Brainstorm, and develop key points
  • Write an opening and Introduction
  • Write your thoughts on the subject
  • Conclusion
The mechanics of writing are pretty simple it’s the content and your personality that give it life!  I would suggest that you include quotes from the blogs that you checked out at first (for research of course).  Then, top it all off with a call to action.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but after all when you post online it pretty much stays there forever! (no pressure)

Step 3 – Pen to Paper or Voice to Text?

Even if you’re not the most skilled writer in the world chances are you know how to speak.  That being said, the good news is that through the use of some very handy technology you now have an advantage over most writers in history past.

The Smart Phone

Most smart phones come with some type of voice recorder, and if not, there are plenty of apps you can download.  Record yourself talking on the key points that your blog needs to touch on, and then write or type out the content.

Dragon or voice to text software

There are more and more apps and technology that allow users to simply talk and type content directly to the page.  Budges vary and so does software cost, so be sure to take a look around and do some research.  Is this a one time deal, or have you tapped into your passion for the written word?

Elance or Fiverr.com

Too lazy to type it out, or not tech enough for talk to text?  You can always outsource the typing to someone who can.  There are plenty of people willing to transcribe your audio and even organize your outline into a proper format (for a fee of course).  Same thing as before, do your research and see if this will work for you.

Conclusion

Times are changing and many professionals will be heeding the call to blog more often.  What we make of the experience and the process will ultimately be reflected in the content we create.  So, why not enjoy it!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

Why We Choose to Grow Organically

Posted on Updated on

Mountain-Man-Banner5

When first starting out in social media it’s easy to look at the “pros” and wonder how they do it.  Then, after staring at the mountain of media, we take our first steps;

  • We create a profile
  • We start to “Like” other pages in our industry
  • We begin adding content
  • We comment on other posts

After the initial excitement wanes, we begin to wonder why it’s taking so long for our likes to grow.

Certainly, this is not a Facebook only problem, it reaches across just about every social media platform from Twitter to Instagram, but for the sake of this article we’ll stick with Facebook.

So…

There’s gotta be a better way!

We’ve all seen ads that read something like this: “Guaranteed Facebook Likes” or “Get More Likes Fast”.

Buy-Facebook-Likes

Despite the advertisers “best intentions” for your company, or small business there’s always the nagging thought of “is this legit”?

When hiring an outside source to help build up “Likes” on your Facebook page or any other social media platform, here are some things to consider;

  • Many of these “Likes” come from fake user accounts
  • Some programs deceive users into liking pages through false actions, such as clicking on a video or article.
  • Some intermediary companies literally pay people to “Like” pages on Facebook
  • Facebook is now deleting fake “Likes”

Now think about this, you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars learning your demographic and target audience.  For example the target demo for Positive Hits PER is a 30-35 year old mother of 2 who lives in northern or central Virginia.  When you purchase “likes” or systems that promise to deliver a huge audience you have to consider who they are, and where their coming from.

If I purchased a 1,000 or 10,000 “Likes” on Facebook and they’re not within PER’s listening audience, and they’re mostly older or younger men, then I have wasted my money.

Also, when it come to these quick “Like” programs there is no relationship built, no connection made, and no telling if the audience you picked up even knows if they’ve ‘Liked” you.

Finally, purchasing “likes” may end up costing you money in the long run.  Prime example, if you try and engage with your audience through a “boosted post” or Facebook ad you are essentially paying Facebook money to promote to a fake audience.

Try explaining that to cooperate!

Organic Growth 

8539048913_3328e8545c_b

Organic growth is growth that comes from a company’s existing businesses, as opposed to growth that comes from buying new businesses.”

Growing your brand organically is a much slower process, but it brings a massive advantage when it comes to audience engagement.

Such as;

  • Audience rapport with the brand.
  • The audience’s expectations of the kind of content you’ll be posting
  • Your audience is more likely to comment, share, or like your post

Think tortoise not hare!

Grow your audience through posts that connect, conversations that inspire and inform, and show that you are more than just simply another brand.  Become a friend!

In closing, organic takes time, and your numbers may look low, but ultimately, the relationships you build and the content you share will give you the win!

Be Blessed!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

Pictures Tell a Story

Posted on Updated on

pictures worth a 1000 words

“A picture’s worth a thousand words…”

When you get home tonight, look around your house at the many pictures you have hung up.  If you are at your desk right now, look around at the pictures of your friends and family.

Those pictures tell a story.

They tell of family vacations, graduations, a loving union, a birth of a child, etc. Whatever the picture is, it says something to you. A picture conveys much more than you could ever say in words.

As humans, we are visual creatures. We like to look on the beauty of what God has created, and we want to somehow capture it.  In a picture, something right in front of us, we’re able to keep seeing it.

So human beings love to take pictures and look at them… what does that have to do with our websites? EVERYTHING!

When someone visits your website, your home online, you have the opportunity to grab their attention. But you have a short period of time to do that and limited space too. So what is the most effective way to get them to buy into your web presence?

Pictures and graphics!

What kind of pictures should I post?

The message in the picture should match the message you are trying to get across. Recently, our Spirit FM team hosted diaper drives for several local pregnancy centers. Instead of using a banner with simple text on it, we used a picture of a mom and a baby. This picture set the tone for our drives, related to the lives of our listeners and told a story that spoke volumes.

What did the picture of the mom and the baby say?

  1. Your donation is helping moms care for their babies.
  2. Remember what it was like to have little ones?
  3. Remember how much diapers cost?
  4. You could be a blessing to this young mom.
  5. There is no greater love you can give a mom than to help her take care of her baby.
  6. You’re helping a mom say yes to life.

To each person that picture said something different, something we could have never conveyed in words alone.

When choosing a picture for your website or social media:

  1. Make sure it tells a story.
  2. Make sure it fits the tone of your printed words.
  3. Make sure you have a high quality picture.  It should be clear, not grainy, and it should fit correctly physically, etc.
  4. Make sure they fit your stations demographic.  Just like we analyze on-air breaks and how they could relate to “her” better, do the same thing before posting a graphic.  Make sure it’s something that would connect with her.
  5. Make sure it fits your stations story.  Every word spoken on-air, every status on Facebook, every graphic on the website is a continuation of your stations story.  Make sure the graphics continue that story!

As radio stations, we are always thinking about the on-air product but sometimes forget about the other media we produce.  Remember your website is a part of your station, it’s a representation of it.  Graphics play a huge role in the success of your website, so pick wisely!!!

~Colleen Larkins

Assistant Manager Spirit FM, PAR website coordinator

Facebook’s 20% Text Rule

Posted on

ComputerFrustration

Most of the time I try to stay positive…. when dealing with Facebook’s 20% text rule I have to admit I went the other direction for a temper tantrum or 5!

So, what is Facebook’s 20% rule?

Via Facebook:

“Ads that have more than 20% of text in their image won’t be approved to run in News Feed.”

Seems simple enough right?  Yeah, not so much…

The rule itself is understandable, last thing we want to do is to clog up people’s News Feeds with endless post that look like spam or want ads in your local newspaper.

Here’s why the rule makes me crazy:  It’s not consistent and you never know if it’s actually going to be enforced.

This week I began a Facebook ad campaign for Positive Hits PER.  We are a listener supported station, and the purpose of the ads were to drive listeners to click on the image and be directed to our “giving” webpage.  Here’s one images we used as a boosted post.

Don-&-Happy

I micro-targeted the ad to specific listening areas, specific interests for our demographic, set the budget, and VOILA!  

As far as I could tell the boosted post was up and running, and just about the time I was about pat myself on the back… I noticed that the ad after 3 hours had only received 701 views… did you hear the tire screeching sound?

After reviewing the ad here’s the message I received:

Not boosted because

First of all, there is the annoyance of thinking that for the past 3 hours my ad was running and changing the world (you can always hope)!   When in reality, it was simply sitting there taunting me…

Second, this same image worked perfectly fine for other Facebook ads, why not for this boosted post?

The Grid

Facebook created a grid that you can upload your photos to and find out if you are using too much text or not.  You can find the grid tool Here.

The problem with the grid is that it measures whether or not the text is more than 20% of the grid, and not whether the text is really more than 20% of the photo.

So, even if you don’t actually have more than 20% text… text size, and even text placement can kill your photo’s chances of making through the gauntlet of Facebook’s approval.   Oddly enough, sometimes (depending on how long you run the ad) it makes it through and does the job.

With a little bit of editing, and a lot more hope, we submitting the following post.

Don-&-Happy-Ad

Approved and running! Whew!

Recommendations:

  1. Use the Grid!
  2. Keep most of your text in the status of the post rather than the picture.
  3. Whisper a prayer or two!

We may not like the tools we have to use, but adaption comes with the territory in social media.  Our craft, and the art of what we do shows itself in the work we create, and even recreate!

Be Blessed!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

 

 

Those Beloved Underwriting Rules…

Posted on Updated on

TheRules_Kelvin-480x296

 There was a song in the early 80’s with the line “it goes on and on and on and on….” The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recently levied fines for an underwriting announcement that seemed to go ‘on and on and on’ about a roofing company. It stated that they offered “Custom metal roofing, siding, hardware, trim, insulation, trusses and perma felt paper”.

 
Same for a gardening center mentioning they provide “bulk and bag mulch, peat moss, potting soil, bulk top soil, and decorative borders…pick-up and delivery”. They do offer all those services, that’s a fact, but the FCC said, “excessively detailed menus of multiple product/service offerings by underwriters exceed the type of information that would enable listeners to identify supporters of non-commercial programming”.
 
You can mention multiple non-promotional products and services, just don’t go on and on and on and on….about them.
 
Although the Federal Communication Commission didn’t say how many was too much, we would suggest no more than three. If you have more than three, you might consider:
 
• Rotating acknowledgement featuring different items.
• Using a female voice that might deal with more female items
• Using a male voice that might deal more with the “bulk mulch and “decorative borders, potting soil and bag mulch”, top soil, lawn mowers”.
 
Now I could go on and on and on and on…but you can find out more here. Click Here
 

Randy Pierce
Director of Underwriting
Positive Alternative Radio

 

 

 

First Steps to Excellent Production

Posted on

AudioProduction

 

Among the most satisfying functions of a radio station is audio production.

At the same time, this is one of the most frustrating jobs, particularly with commercials. You can crank that frustration level up a few more notches when producing underwriting announcements for a non-commercial station. The FCC guidelines are enough to cause bouts of heartburn with the “do’s and don’ts” that have a myriad of interpretations, depending on which FCC legal counsel or “so-called” station expert on the matter you’re speaking to.

The up-front work before a spot goes to production is critical to achieving excellence in the final product, before it goes to air. This begins in the sales department. Non-commercial stations sales people are typically referred to as underwriting representatives. How about we call them  Sponsor Care Specialists? I like that. Anyway, the SCS has the power to make the difference between mediocre client service and care that speaks “excellence”.

This begins with how the SCS presents what we can and cannot say in their script. As a non-commercial, educationally licensed station, we provide acknowledgments or a“Thank You’” for the sponsor’s tax-deductible donation. Semantics play a key role in helping the donor understand the differences between commercials and underwriting spots. Though we will not address the FCC Underwriting Guidelines here, simply stated, we can provide acknowledgements similar to those heard on Public Broadcasting stations. It is incumbent on the SCS to know what these limitations are and how to navigate sponsor questions to arrive at a script that is agreed on by all parties.

With the Underwriting Agreement in hand and the Production/Insertion Order with approved script ready to go, these documents, including any special instructions, go to the Traffic Department for processing.

Phew!! That sounds like quite an ordeal! This phase of the production process is critical to excellence. Having a solid and sustainable means of communication between the Underwriting Department, Traffic and Production is paramount in the second phase. Having a work-flow that covers the necessary details for each Agreement and Order saves time and frustration.

Once Traffic enters all Agreement and Order information into the station traffic system, Spirit FM takes advantage of Google Spreadsheet to communicate the Production Order details, i.e., Business Partner, Start Date, End Date, Cart Number, Voice Talent/AGY, Date Sent to Talent, Date Completed, Underwriting Rep.

Now Production is ready to take it from here. The SCS tells the sponsor/client that it takes five (5) business days, typically, to process their order and have it ready for air. This keeps us in control of the procedure and minimizes rush jobs that threaten our ability to achieve excellence consistently.  It is recommended that the Sponsor Care Specialist (SCS) not provide the mp3 file of the produced spot until the end of business the day prior to air.  Remember, the script has already had prior client approval. This avoids giving the sponsor the time to have co-workers, friends, family and dog from giving their opinions that often lead to changes. Talk about a source of anxiety and frustration, for the Production Department especially! I worked at an AM/FM commercial property several years ago with six (6) sales people. Imagine the bottleneck if each of them had changes to scripts and spots that could have been avoided with prior, proper planning.

Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world, so there will be occasions when last minute changes and rush orders take place, but these should be the exception and not the rule.

Though the relationship between sales, programming and production has been challenging since the dawn of radio, following protocols such as these are some of the First Steps to Excellent Production. And, a much happier Team!

 

Marc Tischart

General Manager, Spirit FM

WHAT IS UNDERWRITING?

Posted on Updated on

Image

Every day, our underwriting directors present PAR’s ministry, mission and vision while building relationships in our community; securing and accepting donations from like-minded businesses and leaders who enjoy and desire Christian radio in their communities. We are here to serve, create, deliver and help fund experiences that inspire our listeners to live passionately for Jesus Christ. We do not sell radio. We do not sell advertising. We do not necessarily have rate sheets.

In return, the Federal Communication Commission, (FCC) allows non-profit broadcasters to thank those businesses on the air in the form of Underwriting Messages. It really is that simple.

We identify the business donor. “Positive Alternative Radio would like to thank ABC Office Supply, 123 Main Street in Hometown USA…

Sometimes we add “…for their support”, “…for their donation”, “…for standing in partnership with WXYZ”. These are ‘added words’. Shorter is always better. Again, we are not selling advertising so we do not have to necessarily develop a full thirty second announcement. Granted, there are those ‘network blocks’ that are time sensitive but that’s more the exception than the norm. We are not selling radio and crafting some creative radio announcement, but forming a Thank You message for the donor businesses.

We can mention non-descript, value neutral services offered to the general public, along with hours of operation, website address and phone numbers; things that are factual and could be helpful for our listeners.

The outline is clearly stated and summarized in the conclusion, point 21.  Click Here to see PDF.

Randy Pierce

Director of Business Development