10 tips to promote your new station

How your radio station can make an impact from day one

Someone about to start a net station asked how they can I create a storm of interest for the launch for their new station.

It is a good question and one every new broadcaster needs to address as early as possible.

I think it a good idea to soft launch stations to iron out any issues, get everything bedded in and playing out correctly (particularly if you are new to using Auto DJ).

Now, about that song and dance… How to create a bit of a buzz and encourage people to stop listening to the station they currently enjoy and give your one a try. Here’s my shoot-from-the-hip top 10  list of things to try first.

  1. Business cards. OK, it’s a bit old school, but they are cheap to print and ideal for telling anyone how to listen to your station or contact you. Some big business card firms even do free offers – you just need to pay for postage. So, get a few hundred cards printed up. Include your station name, logo, website and maybe a mobile number for people to text requests to.
  2. Give these cards to your friends and family. Boy, if these guys don’t support you then something’s wrong. Most will have jobs so ask if they can put your station on at work. Encourage them to listen and mention your station to their friends.
  3. Leave cards where ever people are. On buses, trains, library, the doctors, local businesses, community notice boards.
  4. Print up posters for display in local shops.
  5. Join local Facebook community pages and gently mention your station as being a new service to the community. Offer free ads on your website and on the radio for worthy not-for-profit organizations.
  6. Get some of those magnetic signs to promote your station on the side of your car (or anyone else’s car). Ideally stick them to cars that do a lot of miles and are seen during the day  (i.e; they don’t go from the garage at home to the garage at work).
  7. Got a credit card? How about booking some ads on Facebook. Be sure to specify that the ads are only seen in your neck of the woods and select the appropriate age group for your station’s output.
  8. Concentrate on your local area. If you are in London, then having listeners in New York is not much help to you. Why? Because if you are selling ads to local businesses, they can’t sell to people in New York. Build a local listener base, and with that you’ll have a fighting chance of getting local advertisers.
  9. People are busy, they don’t have time to think – so don’t make them work to hear your station. Have a clean and uncluttered website with a player that is clear for all to see in a nano second. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at a net broadcaster’s website and literally spent minutes searching for the audio player to hear their stream. Oh, don’t have the audio player on auto play – people hate it when they have to search to turn it down / off (they might be at work in a quiet office).
  10. Launch the Radio Station Disco Roadshow. You can ask to appear at shopping centres, the mall, and do free gigs for local charities. Now, charities can often well afford to pay the going rate for a disco, so you must insist – in writing – that you get something from appearing at their event for free. And that includes that your radio station is an official sponsor / supporter of the charity and the event; and your radio station name, logo and website etc feature on all marketing material the charity hands out in relation to the event.
    You want a link on their website too to your site (you can reciprocate).  And if they don’t deliver as agreed, then they pay the going rate for the disco. You must put this in writing as part of a contract. Even though you may be doing it for ‘free’, a contract is still required so everyone is clear on what each party is required to do. It’s called a contra deal; you get something and they get something – but no money changes hands.

So there we have it, 10 ideas to promote your station.

Do you have any ideas to share? Let me know using the contact form.

Steve Hart

Steve Hart

Steve Hart is a journalist and editor based in Melbourne.

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