Laura Landress

Recent Posts

The Five Best Sponsorship Business Categories to Work Right Now

sales strategy, Corporate Support, prospecting

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It’s exciting to see performing arts come back, events being scheduled, and the return of concerts and festivals of all kinds. We’re all hungry to go out again.

But, wait, let’s not forget what lesson we learned in sponsorship from the absence of all our beloved performing arts during the pandemic. It’s important to always, always keep a vital list of sponsorship accounts across a range of business categories including healthcare, professional services, local and state government, financial services, colleges and universities, senior living, and retail.

If you took time during the  pandemic to prospect every other business category while performing arts were dormant, good for you! You may have made progress and brought in some new sponsorship business. So don’t stop now. Welcome back your performing arts friends and clients, while still focusing on the addition of new business in other categories to your account list.

Recently the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) presented a “Radio Works for Recruitment Advertising” webinar that focused on the future of the job market. The RAB shared Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by the American Staffing Association (ASA) which identified the top five sectors for wage and salary jobs through 2029.

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The Cookie Apocalypse: A Tasty Opportunity for Public Media

Corporate Support, digital sponsorship

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What is the “Cookie Apocalypse?” Sounds like a chocolate chip-ageddon, which really wouldn’t be all that bad if you like chocolate chip cookies. But, the “Cookie Apocalypse” is the current name for the disappearance of tracking cookies in digital ads. Browser cookies identify a computer and its user(s) and help advertisers serve up more relevant ads. But have you noticed that websites now ask your permission to “track you across apps”?

When you say “No, don’t track,” then the tracking cookie can’t be used and those programmatic digital ads that used to follow you around everywhere are no longer viable. This is a new IAB best practice that advertisers are adopting.

“Yay!” many say, and rightly so.

The IAB published in their Post-Cookie Whitepaper that "the proliferation of cookies has increased anxiety over online privacy. Data collection is fragmented over many websites, devices, browsers, apps, etc. making it exceedingly difficult for consumers to understand who may be doing what with their data and to apply privacy controls centrally and consistently, while ensuring these choices persist over time. For third parties, the reliance on cookies has resulted in a battle between a rapidly degrading economic model, and the costly, persistent, and high-volume deployment of cookies.”  

What does this mean for public media digital sponsorship?

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Prepare Now for the Coming Corporate Support Rebound

Corporate Support

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We’ve all been through a tough year. We adjusted to a pandemic, worked and stayed safe at home, and brainstormed our way through a very soft economic environment.

But now, it’s time to plan for rebound success.

Radio is still America's #1 reach medium. 90% of all Americans aged 25-54 listen to the radio each week. I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s important to remember the power of reach that radio represents.

Consider that the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) projects $2 billion in podcast ad revenue by 2023, doubling this year’s 2021’s $1 billion. And BIA Advisory Services says that local radio’s digital revenue will grow 9.7% in 2021 and is expected to keep growing.  

Are you ready to raise even more sponsorship than before? Here’s a checklist to help you accelerate preparations for success in FY22.

Review Your Digital Sponsorship Offerings

If you’ve migrated to Grove CMS, it has 300x250 display ads down the right rail, a 728x90 banner at the top, a 320x50 mobile banner, and they’ve added another 300x250 mobile banner.  Why not offer sponsorship of all the ad placements?
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Maximize Streaming Audio Sponsorship Now More Than Ever

Corporate Support, digital sponsorship

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If you have been thinking about adding streaming audio pre-rolls to your mix of digital sponsorship offerings, now is the time to jump in and  jump in all the way.  If you have just been offering a “baked in” single or dual streaming audio sponsorship and are only selling it to one or two sponsors,  it’s time to change to dynamic pre-roll insertion and sell to multiple sponsors.  

Stations can more than make up the monthly service cost for dynamically inserted streaming audio pre-rolls through added sponsorship sales and increased digital revenue.  Borrell Associates recently released “The 2021 Mindset of Streaming Audio Advertisers,” including their survey of 2,262 local advertisers and agencies conducted in Q2 and Q3 2020.  The results showed that almost half of local agencies were buying streaming audio, while only 11% of local advertisers were doing the same. This may indicate that streaming audio is currently bought by more sophisticated marketers, but is starting to gain traction on direct buys, too.  With smart speakers now in over 87.7 million U.S. households (up over 32% year over year) and the ubiquitous use of smart phones, it just makes sense to capture the most sponsorship revenue you can with streaming audio.

The Borrell Associates study mentioned above goes on to show that half of streaming audio sponsorship buyers are in arts & entertainment, retail, civic organizations, and health care.  Most of these are strong public media sponsorship categories. And indicators suggest that streaming audio buyers have bigger budgets.

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Possibly the Most Compelling Reason to Sponsor Public Media

Corporate Support

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Reaching the public radio and television audience has always been a selling point with sponsors, and is the unique value proposition of all stations. The public media audience is unparalleled in reaching decision-makers and is an ideal highly qualified audience for sponsors. But as listening and viewing habits change, as well as behaviors due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there may also be another reason to sponsor public media that is even more compelling.

A recent study reported by Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB in her blog post “Radio Covers Auto Insurance,” showed attribution data analysis by Analytic Owl on the recent large ad spends by insurance companies like Progressive Insurance. The data showed that of nearly 36,000 radio ads throughout 2020, radio increased web traffic by 12%, according to NumericOwl data (powered by AnalyticOwl). For every radio ad aired, it generated 2.2 new website visits for a total of over 135,000 visits.

Everyone wants increased web traffic! Think of all the professional service companies, attorneys, healthcare, and others that have spent a lot of money updating their websites to make them current and user-friendly. If you can increase their web traffic it can help make that investment worthwhile. Oh, and what about automotive dealerships? Driving traffic to their website is exactly what they want.

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More "Share of Wallet" Can Deliver More Revenue and Better Results

sales strategy, Corporate Support

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BIA Advisory Services, which tracks the local advertising spend for 16 different media, half of which are traditional and half of which are digital/online, is reporting that radio advertising spends will be up slightly this year. To get more revenue, and deliver stronger sponsor results, we in public radio sponsorship can work on getting more “share of wallet.” 

“Share of wallet” is defined in this context as the dollar amount a client spends with a particular advertising media. Radio, historically, has not asked for enough “share of wallet” compared to the unparalleled reach that radio offers. This year, if you change your expectations and your “ask," you can change your sponsorship revenue results.

The Radio Advertising Bureau reports the total number of radio listeners from Nielsen’s RADAR data every year.  92% of all Americans over the age of 18 listened to radio in 2019. As of August 2020, in Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, approximately 91% of all Americans over the age of 18 were listening to radio. According to Nielsen  this means that Radio is America’s #1 reach media. 241.6 million people listen to radio each week. How does this compare to TV? Television reaches 80% of Americans over the age of 18 according to the same Nielsen data. 

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The Corporate Support Proposal That Most Often Leads to 'Yes'

sales strategy, Corporate Support, prospecting

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Corporate support proposals are often thought of as a key part of the selling process. In fact, they are part of the implementation process. Your sales efforts will include the conversations you have with a prospect to understand what they want to achieve with a sponsorship, and how they are currently marketing to meet those goals. 

The proposal is what comes next. It’s a written statement of the conceptual agreement you’ve already gained in your needs analysis with your prospect. When a proposal is done well, it’s easy to get to ‘yes.’

Before All Else: The Needs Analysis

If you have not reached a conceptual agreement and understanding with the client before presenting a proposal, your written document is unlikely to meet your client’s needs and may waste both of your time. A well-conducted needs analysis and meeting of the minds with your client before you write your proposal is the critical foundation for any proposal.

What Your Proposal Should Accomplish

The purpose of a proposal is to:

  • Demonstrate that you have listened to your client, understand what they need and how they are marketing, and feel confident about what you can provide.
  • Reaffirm the conceptual agreement and understanding already gained from prior meetings/conversations.
  • Explain the options you have and how you can help the client reach their stated goals.
  • Clearly state the sponsorship investment you’re inviting the client to make.
  • Formally sign off and launch the partnership.

Additionally, your proposal can serve as a persuasive document that can be shared with others who have not been part of the decision-making process.

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Understanding the Digital Ad Sponsorship Capabilities of Grove CMS

Corporate Support, digital sponsorship

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Digital ad revenue is more important now than ever before, given the shift to listening on digital platforms. NPR’s new Grove Content Management System (CMS) will replace Core Publisher for station websites and is intended to make website content management easier, more flexible, and more dynamic. The new CMS is being beta-tested by a handful of stations now.

Grove and Digital Sponsorship Ads

Grove CMS was designed to have parity with Core Publisher to make migration easy. The digital ads that were available in Core Publisher are also available in Grove’s CMS. Here are the digital ads that are “baked in” to Grove CMS which were, for the record, also available in Core Publisher:

  • 728 x 90 Banner ad (at the top) (Can be replaced with a 970x50 banner ad) (both of these can support Rich media ads that include In Banner Video or push downs
  • 300 x 250 ads (3 down the right rail)
  • 320 x 50 small smartphone banner (disappears when user scrolls)

If you are - or are considering - migrating to Grove, you may have questions about the more detailed capabilities of the new system. Here are answers to such questions, based on those raised during our recent PMDMC Summer Series session “Leveraging Grove for Sponsorship.”

  1. Does the Grove audio player still support pre-roll banners? 

Yes, Grove supports pre-roll ads. We will likely need to work directly with your site during set up to make sure they are working properly.

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How Grove CMS Features Address the Growing Importance of Digital Sponsorship

Corporate Support, digital sponsorship

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Grove CMS expertise provided by Tutuwa Ahwoi, Director, Spot Sales Operations, National Public Media.

It’s more important than ever for stations to leverage increasing website and streaming impressions to capture as much digital sponsorship revenue as possible. Listening behaviors are changing and station sponsorship revenue depends on additional digital revenue. Jacobs Media recently reported that “With more Americans working remotely and the number of functioning AM/FM receivers in households slowly shrinking, digital delivery of broadcast content has never been more important.” 

Data Behind the Growth of Digital

The IAB recently released the COVID Impact on Consumer Media Usage Report demonstrating the importance of digital. The report showed that consumers spent 14% more time online during the time period of March-April 2020 versus the same time period in 2019. In fact, by March 31 of this year a whopping 87% of consumers reported increased media consumption compared to pre-pandemic; 23% are listening to more radio and 13% are podcasting more. A majority of users in each medium - television, radio, and podcasting - report they’ll increase consuming more on different formats. Smart-speaker growth was up 10% in 2019; mobile phone use is also way up and will continue to be so with many working from home. It goes without saying that having a 320 x 50 and/or 300 x 250 mobile digital ad is more important now than ever.

A handful of stations have been beta-testing NPR’s new Grove Content Management System (CMS) over the last six months. Grove CMS will replace Core Publisher for station websites and is designed to make website content management easier to manage, more flexible, and dynamic. If you are - or are considering - migrating to Grove, here are the ways in which the new system supports the growing importance of digital sponsorship.

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Five Ways to Increase Digital Sponsorship Revenue in FY21

Corporate Support, digital revenue, COVID-19

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Public and commercial radio have seen website and digital platform traffic surging in the last three months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Listening habits are shifting from broadcast to digital platforms and smartphones specifically are being used even more than they have been in the past. This is a shift in behavior that can be leveraged for more digital revenue if planning and preparations for success are made now. Are you ready?

Borrell Associates shared in their April 2020 webinar that Phase 3 of business reopening will be an opportunity for media if we are prepared. Borrell Associates research predicts a boost in advertising revenue this summer. Here are five ways you can increase your digital revenue in FY21 when businesses reopen and when some events that were delayed this spring come back in Phase 3.

1. Review your digital ad revenue.

Compare your year-to-date FY20 digital revenue to that of FY19 (using your data from Greater Public’s FY19 Benchmarks for Public Radio Fundraising) to see if your sponsorship team is increasing digital sales. Many teams look to double digital revenue year over year. If you are already maxing out your digital capacity, look for new digital ad units you can offer or ad units that could be better utilized.

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