Bust Your Organization's Internal Silos With an Audience-Centric Approach

Membership, General Management, Corporate Support, Major Giving, marketing, leadership, strategy, PMDMC

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This interactive session  was first presented by Atlantic 57 at PMDMC 2018. You can try three session exercises with your own team to explore how to put these principles into practice.

There's a division in many newsrooms today that has an impact on how well we serve our audiences. 

Most newsroom reporters and editors focus on creating content, while those in digital roles focus on distributing that content or analyzing audience analytics.

The challenge: Newsrooms are struggling to bridge the divide between old and new.

When these groups work as two teams instead of one, newsrooms struggle to bridge the divide between old ways of presenting content and the new ways in which audiences consume content. It's a gap that has a significant impact on the audience experience:

The solution: Unite your teams to serve your audiences.

Put the needs of your audiences at the center of your work. This seems like a no-brainer. And yet, many organizations are falling short of this goal. There are three key barriers that stand in the way. We'll outline what those barriers are, and how to bridge them. 

BARRIER 1: Media organizations try to be everything to everyone, everywhere.

Sound familiar? Audiences are moving across platforms at a rapid pace (think podcasting, social media, smart speakers...) Many organizations are scrambling to keep up with these platform shifts and can lose sight of the larger mission. 

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How to Better Motivate Your Sales Team This Year

Corporate Support, managers, New Year's resolutions

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When I worked in the sales department at a commercial radio station, the sales manager went to the extreme to motivate the sales staff just prior to the fourth quarter in preparation for the holidays and leading into the new year. 

There was a huge kickoff meeting, with sales contests and incentives such as trips, double the sales-commission rate, and cash bonuses. But all the “rah-rah” and pom-pom shaking can’t fix a motivation problem.

Sales reps continually face outside circumstances that affect their motivation. Prospects and customers tell them "no" over and over again; the timing may be wrong to sell a particular sales promotion; or there may be some personal situation going on affecting a person’s ability to sell. 

As a sales manager I know that the motivation of sales people can affect their productivity. With an eye toward improving the success of your sales staff, here are some ideas to boost their motivation. 

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Farm Bill Changes Legal Status of Certain Types of CBD Oil - What That Means for Underwriting

Corporate Support, FCC, cannabis

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On Thursday, January 20, 2018, President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as "the farm bill," into law. In doing so, a small subset of cannabidiol (CBD) – a product derived from cannabis that has been promoted as non-intoxicating and has become trendy as a “wellness” product – has been legalized.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal law called the “Controlled Substances Act.” Even though there has been a recent wave of marijuana legalization at the state level, there has been no change to the federal law making marijuana illegal. 

This newly-signed law creates a small exception for hemp (with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 0.3% or lower) to be grown without violating the Controlled Substances Act if the grower receives approval from a state, Indian tribe, or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and follows the applicable regulations.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not changed its position that CBD is not an approved food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.  

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What Are You Going to Get Great at in 2019?

Corporate Support, calendar year-end, New Year's resolutions

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It’s the time of year for annual planning.  Whether you’re a sales manager or a corporate support rep, having a plan is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your team. What seems clear in today’s media environment is that we can’t enter any year with a business-as-usual approach.

I’ve had many conversations lately with Greater Public members who have shared news of unexpected attrition of longstanding accounts deciding to cut back or leave public media for now. We can’t take anything or anyone for granted. An annual plan needs to take an honest look at possibilities for growth in the face of a possible 25-35% attrition.

As a sales manager, new initiatives are a good place to start. What are you going to pursue? I’m sure the list of options is long, but it’s important to focus on just one or two things that will bring the most value to the station and your team.  

Create my operating plan for corporate support >>

My first year as a sales manager I was so energized and excited. I was going to change the world! I had a list of six or seven major initiatives to tackle. When I put them into my annual plan, my boss - the now famous Kirk Nelson - warned me that I was taking on WAY TOO MUCH! He forced me to prioritize by making me write out all the steps and a timeline for each thing I wanted to take on. That was an eye-opening experience that I have never forgotten.  

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Nurture Your Underwriting Client Relationships After the Close

sales strategy, Corporate Support, prospecting

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You’ve worked hard to sign up your new underwriter. You started with an initial meeting to learn about her challenges and objectives. Then you followed up with information how your media can provide a solution targeting her desired outcome. She liked your presentation and proposal; your answers to her questions, and she decided to become an underwriter.

What do you do now?

Believe it or not, the sale is not complete. The commitment is there but you’ve not yet started to deliver what she purchased. So, next up… 

Write up the underwriting agreement and have it signed and returned to you.

Corporate Support Administrative Templates

Draft the underwriting copy so it conveys her marketing message and complies with the FCC’s and your station’s copy guidelines. Once the copy is approved, send her a recording of the spot. Let her know she can share it with her employees and post it on her company’s website. 

Send her a schedule of times that her underwriting spots will air during the first week so she’ll know when to listen in to hear her spot.

After the contract is signed, the copy is produced and ready for airing, and you’ve sent her the list of when her spots will air during the first week you’re all done. Right?

There’s still more work to be done.

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How to Monetize Your Podcast With Grants

Corporate Support, podcast, foundation support, digital sponsorship, philanthropy

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It’s been said that we’re living in the Golden Age of Podcasting. This relatively new medium has exploded in popularity; those who listen are often super-fans. There’s a natural fit between corporate sponsorship and big-name podcasts like Serial and Death, Sex and Money. But for many of our smaller startups, securing podcast sponsorship is an absolute challenge.

If you haven’t yet grown your audience numbers to attract a business sponsor or your community just isn’t quite “podcast savvy,” there’s another funding option that might be perfect for you: securing grants.

The good news is that if you are a grant writer, getting a grant for a podcast is no different than getting one for any other project. And if you are in sales, making a case for funding to a foundation is much like making the pitch to a potential underwriter or sponsor, as long as you have honed your writing skills.

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The Good Things We're Doing With Our Member Survey (And How You Can Survey Too!)

Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, General Management, marketing, surveys

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Introduction

This September, Greater Public surveyed our members with the goal of determining how well we were serving them in our four main resource areas: our website, our ongoing webinar series, our professional advising team, and Benchmarks for public media. We serve fundraisers in public media - the ones who make sure public and community radio have the means to serve listeners - and we want to ensure we’re providing the best information and cutting-edge ideas so that they may succeed and, ultimately, public media succeeds. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the raw data that our survey yielded, along with our own impressions of what it means, why it’s important, and what we’re doing to make our resources better.

We all take surveys (or are asked to!) and we almost never see what companies are doing with them. We want to be transparent about the feedback we get and what we’re doing about it. We also know many of our members also conduct surveys and we want to reveal how we go about doing ours so you can see too.

As we reviewed the results, we found that few criticisms were truly surprising to us. We had a sense for where we needed to do better before the survey went out, and had begun work on several projects that our survey-takers said they needed. We also discovered some new areas for improvement. Surveys can serve many purposes: to illuminate things going wrong you didn't know about, or reinforce what you already knew about needed changes. If you decide to take on a survey, know that the feedback can provide credibility and urgency when you need to, for example, request additional resources to make something better.

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Tips for Getting the Best Copy on the Air, Every Time

Corporate Support, credit copy, halo effect

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We all know that the most successful credit copy - for stations and sponsors - is brief, concise, uncluttered, and consistent with the public radio tone. And yet some of our copy on-air isn’t hitting all of those marks. Sometimes it’s because we need to write better copy from the start. And sometimes good copy gets questioned before it gets to air. So how do we write the best copy and make sure that’s what our audience hears? Here are some tips.  

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Molly Davis’s Top Four Recommendations for Achieving Meteoric Growth With Benchmarks

Membership, General Management, Corporate Support, Major Giving, Benchmarks for Public Radio Fundraising

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Molly Davis says the first year was the hardest. It was also what set her station on a course for unprecedented fundraising growth.

The assistant general manager at 88.5 WFDD in North Carolina has overseen her station's data entry for Benchmarks for Public Radio Fundraising for the past four years. In order to receive her customized report, Davis was charged with gathering audience, expense, and revenue numbers from several different departments within the organization. Finding the right numbers to enter that first year was, frankly, hard.

The Challenges

WFDD is a university licensee; some of the raw data Davis needed was provided by staff members in campus financial services, who weren’t fully versed in the public radio business model or in the purpose of Benchmarks reports. When she reviewed her station’s past reports, she discovered their data had been entered both incorrectly and inconsistently. A key feature of Benchmarks is the ability to analyze year-over-year performance to highlight areas of opportunity. She began to take detailed notes on how each point of data should be calculated and where it came from (use our handy worksheet for your own notes). This would save anyone coming after her from the confusion she faced; it also vastly simplified her process the following year.

The Roadmap

After completing (and documenting) her data-entry process, Davis received her station’s report. It showed several areas where WFDD could be performing better. Some might have read the results with disappointment. Not Davis.

“We had loads of potential,” she remembers. “I pulled out that report and said here’s where we are. We are leaving money on the table.”

The Payoff

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Underwriting Category Update: Automotive

Automotive, Corporate Support

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The automotive industry has long made for challenging underwriting prospects. Car dealers don’t tend to understand the value of public media as a complement to their commercial media mix, and a sales call can quickly get hijacked by a discussion of the things we can’t do, rather than proceed as a productive conversation about the unique marketing value we can offer such a business. Sound familiar?

But where are we now with automotive and public radio underwriting?

In the most recent Greater Public Category Study (2013), automotive was not a top category for most stations (AAA stations were a notable exception), but it did represent an opportunity for growth across the board.

A recent conversation among larger-market stations offered a quick snapshot into the opportunities and challenges associated with this business category in 2018, which can apply to all public media stations.

1. For the most part, success is variable.

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