NHPR Earns Top Honor for Reaching Major Growth in Benchmarks

sustainers, Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, leadership, Benchmarks

Leave a comment

Winning the 2020 Benchmarks for Public Radio Fundraising Award is no easy feat, yet NHPR did just that with a little grit and plenty of perseverance. The big takeaway? Pay close attention to Benchmarks and you, too, could win the coveted honor next year.

Benchmarks are an annual data collection methodology that Greater Public compiles, measuring each participating stations’ fundraising performance and potential, both overall and in each individual fundraising area. According to Greater Public, this is the most purposeful way to measure stations’ fundraising effectiveness and efficiency.

In 2017, NHPR brought in Deb Turner as its development director, with proven experience in building both major gifts and membership programs--and a strong believer in Benchmarks. 

Turner immediately went to work tracking Benchmarks. It helped her determine where the gaps were, including areas in which NHPR hadn’t been performing well, particularly in the areas of major gifts and sustainers. 

“We knew we were underperforming,” observes Turner. “Using the Benchmark tool, we were able to identify what to prioritize and invest in.”

Continue reading →

Five Ways to Increase Sponsorship Call-ins and Leads

Corporate Support, digital sponsorship, sales process, sales prospecting, value proposition

Leave a comment

There is nothing like having the phone ring or receiving an email from a prospect who wants information about how they can become a station sponsor. Call-ins and leads represent companies or organizations that are already interested in buying sponsorship. These leads are “sweet” for sponsorship representatives because they know they have a much greater chance of closing.

Before I give you the list, I want to give a “shout out” to the Middle Market Underwriting Group that I have the pleasure of working with, who shared some of the ways that they are increasing sponsorship call-ins and leads. It’s important to remember how many touches it takes (more than eight) to educate and start building a relationship with a potential sponsor. 

Marketing to prospective sponsors is important and supports the work of your sponsorship representatives. It reinforces your brand and value. You can harness the power and reach of your broadcast and email lists to educate listeners on your unique value proposition and how easy it is to become a sponsor.

Continue reading →

How Public Media Can Create Equitable and Inclusive Content & Marketing

Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, marketing, diversity & inclusion

Leave a comment

What does equity in media look like?
Are the materials we publish reinforcing or subverting stereotypes? 
How can I make sure I’m considering all identities? 

These are just some of the questions folks in public media have asked me since my original blog post on Whiteness in public media and my keynote presentation for PMDMC 2020. And it’s why I wrote my first book, Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives (Sept. 7, 20201, Berrett-Koehler, www.TheEquityBook.com). 

As I write in Equity, if bias is the thumbprint of culture on the brain, then media are the inkpad. Media are more than news and entertainment programs; they’re all the content we consume, from marketing and advertising to PR stunts and blog posts. And media are exceptionally powerful. 

As media scholar Christopher Bell explains in his 2015 TEDx talk,

In media studies, we spend a lot of time saying that media can’t tell us what to think, and they can’t; they’re terrible at that. But that’s not their job. Media don’t tell us what to think. Media tell us what to think about [emphasis added]. They control the conversation, and in controlling the conversation, they don’t have to get you to think what they want you to think. They’ll just get you thinking about the things they want you to think about, and more importantly, not thinking about things they don’t want you to think about. They control the conversation.

Continue reading →

Effective Ways to Educate Clients About the Reality of Radio Listenership

sales strategy, Corporate Support

Leave a comment

Many stations have seen a surge in digital traffic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And many agree that digital sponsorship revenue is likely to further increase as the work-from-home phenomenon and other consumer and marketing shifts continue into 2022 and beyond. Much about this has been great news for public media, both because it has helped to fill some of the void left by broadcast revenue loss in the past 18 months, and because it has helped stations get their backend and digital inventory operations in order to grow audience and sponsor engagement across digital platforms. 

But this excitement about digital has also generated marketplace misperceptions about radio that many sales teams are working to overcome.

Perception vs. Reality

Many marketers and media buyers continue to think that the audience attrition felt at the beginning of the pandemic continues, and that radio listenership is essentially dead. 

In reality though, radio has the biggest share of listening time compared to streaming, podcasts, and other audio listening; many public media stations are within 10% of their pre-COVID audience numbers.

Continue reading →

The Five Best Sponsorship Business Categories to Work Right Now

sales strategy, Corporate Support, prospecting

Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading →

Bathroom Scales and Underwriting Sales: The Not-So-Likely Connection

sales strategy, Corporate Support

Leave a comment

During my lifetime, I have gained and lost over 700 pounds. I used to be morbidly obese, once tipping the scale at 260 plus pounds. No big surprise. According to the CDC, four out of five African American women are either overweight or obese. For more than four decades, I was a card-carrying member of that out-of-control sorority. And for more than a decade, I worked in public media—serving seven years as Director of Corporate Underwriting for Public Radio WEAA in Baltimore and four years as a Senior Account Executive at Maryland Public Television. A few years ago, I lost 60 pounds, kept it off, and launched a BRAND-NEW chapter in my life. Now I show overweight, overworked, overstressed, perimenopausal, menopausal, post-menopausal women—like I used to be—and anyone else who is over it how to quiet the battle between mind, body, and food. What the heck does this have to do with underwriting sales? Keep reading. 

BRAND-NEW thoughts about food or anything, even underwriting sales, lead to BRAND-NEW behaviors— and outcomes. Here, I unpack the eight-step strategy I used to achieve and teach weight loss mastery. My program mirrors the actual letters in BRAND-NEW. Upon reflection, I recognized these as the same steps I followed throughout my 40-year career in sales—a career that has generated more than $75,000,000 in revenue. 

B: Begin and Believe

Converting a $5,000 sponsor into a $50,000 partner (hint: $50,000 doesn’t have to come from one client) begins with imagining all that could be involved in getting there. If you want a BRAND-NEW and improved relationship with a client, you must first believe a better relationship is even possible. This is where you begin to write a BRAND-NEW story positioning yourself to provide maximum value to your clients. When you “begin with the end in mind,” you immediately start to think differently, ask different questions, and believe in BRAND-NEW outcomes.

Continue reading →

The Cookie Apocalypse: A Tasty Opportunity for Public Media

Corporate Support, digital sponsorship

Leave a comment

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?

Continue reading →

Prepare Now for the Coming Corporate Support Rebound

Corporate Support

Leave a comment

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?
Continue reading →

How to Pivot Corporate Support to Meet This Year's Challenges, Part 3

sales strategy, Corporate Support, COVID-19

Leave a comment

Greater Public CEO Joyce MacDonald recently sat down again with Paul Jacobs, VP/General Manager of Jacobs Media, for the third in a series of conversations about disruptions to the public media corporate support landscape (go back and read Part 1 and Part 2). The discussion was designed to take stock of where we are a little over a year into the pandemic and to offer advice for sales teams working towards recovery: 

First the good news: things are better than they were this time last year … 

But, to state the obvious: they are still messy! 

Here are a few tips from the conversation to help you continue to navigate through the uncertainty, keeping this guiding principle top-of-mind:

Just because things are beginning to resemble “normal” life, we are not going back to the way things were. If you are looking at 2021 through a 2019 lens, you are in trouble. 

Consider:

Digital Acceleration

The shift to digital marketing that was taking place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic is now accelerating. This is primarily because many local companies had to learn digital as a survival tactic to literally keep their businesses open during lockdown. In doing so, here's what they learned:

  • Digital marketing is not as hard as they thought, in fact it is pretty easy.
  • Digital marketing offers direct communication with customers, which they like.
  • Digital marketing makes tracking and testing possible, which allows for flexibility of messaging and spend in an uncertain business environment. Again, something they like. 

As a result, they will continue using digital moving forward.

Continue reading →

Antidotes to White Supremacy Culture in Our Organizations

Membership, Corporate Support, Major Giving, leadership, diversity & inclusion

Leave a comment

We work in the culture business. Our individual and collective efforts have the ability to mold the world outside of our industry’s walls. The stories we report, music we air, programs we produce, and events, webinars and experiences we offer to our audiences all add to the narrative of our multifaceted, multi-lensed society. Our programming is like a tapestry; it offers perspectives carefully designed, woven and crafted with different materials, patterned and textured to make something uniquely appealing. Adding our own flair to the public media tapestry is a privilege we all share; we do not take this position lightly. Each of us brings ourselves, past and present, to our work in hopes of creating something meaningful that resonates throughout history.

It is critical we look at culture when thinking about who has access to public media. To do so, we must examine the definition of culture from an everyday perspective and within the workplace. Generally speaking, culture defines our way of life, such as our norms, values, attitudes, customs, vernacular, and the nuances in between, depending on the group in question. In a corporate setting, culture sets the tone for how business is conducted. It ripples across departments and hierarchy, denoting which behaviors are praised and which are deemed unacceptable. In both settings, culture maintains boundaries, whether physical or psychological, tangible or abstract.

Leadership controls the culture. We look to their vision as our main objective while measuring and observing their every move. This includes a litany of things: their public and private behavior; their decision-making processes; their character; what and who they value; where they divert time, attention and resources; the company they keep, and so much more. The list of attributes that encompass their leadership style is endless. The compilation of these traits creates a culture barometer, measuring the efficacy of the entity’s vision.

Much of my time as a consultant is spent untangling conversations, carefully pulling them apart and then piecing information together to get to the crux of an organization’s culture. In some instances, I have separate conversations with multiple people within an organization and find there is a disconnect between the information both parties share. When this happens, it becomes evident that the organization’s communication mechanisms are strained, signaling a potential culture problem. I ask questions about leadership and how supportive they are in creating a workplace environment where everyone receives what they need to be successful. Too often, I hear comments similar to these:

“When I have a question about a project, or have an idea that could help my department or organization, I’m told to stay in my lane.”

“My organization says it supports professional development, but all of my requests are denied. How do I grow if I’m not receiving the training I need?”

“I have glowing performance reviews and am told the department could not function without me, yet I always get passed up for the promotion and I’m always asked to train the new employee hired for the job.”

“My manager asked me for feedback about a project/situation. I came prepared and explained my concerns and solutions in detail. My feedback was never incorporated and my manager never gave me an explanation as to why.”

“My editor is afraid my story, that includes instances of racism, will upset our core audience and wants the story scrapped altogether.”

“Sometimes I feel like I’m not trusted to do the job I was hired to do.”

“The organization’s leadership continues to ignore recommendations from its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, or makes plans without asking for our ideas, insight or opinions.”

“I always have to jump through hoops to get the things I need/my department needs, while other employees/departments get things handed to them without question.”

“How people are promoted is secretive and exclusive.”

Continue reading →