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

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

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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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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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How Minnesota Public Radio Captured the #MPRraccoon Sensation to Connect With Its Audience

Membership, marketing, Engagement

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Reprinted with permission from Solution Set reports from The Lenfest Institute and The Solutions Journalism Network

On Tuesday, June 12, a raccoon got stranded on the side of an office building across the street from Minnesota Public Radio, the public radio station in the Twin Cities.

The station’s reporters quickly dubbed the critter #MPRraccoon, and as it climbed up the building to safety it attracted worldwide attention. But as the newsroom covered the viral phenom, others at MPR tried to meet listeners’ request for raccoon merchandise. This week in Solution Set, I spoke with some of 
MPR’s leadership to better understand how they responded to this unique moment.

The Challenge

June 12 was a fairly normal Tuesday afternoon at Minnesota Public Radio until staffers noticed something odd on the building across the street: A raccoon was climbing up the side of a building.
 
Journalists, as they’re wont to do, quickly began tweeting about the little critter, and MPR reporter Tim Nelson christened it the #MPRraccoon as he reported extensively on the animal’s progress.
 
Soon, people far beyond Minnesota began following the raccoon’s ascent. Social media posts spread rapidly around the Internet, #MPRRaccoon trended on Twitter, and news organizations from around the world began publishing stories about the raccoon.
 
People from all around the world also began producing art depicting the raccoon’s challenge. And as the drawings and depictions appeared on social media, users had another request: Can I get an #MPRraccoon tote bag or T-shirt? (This is public media after all.)
 
So as the raccoon continued its climb, MPR began thinking about how it could make the most out of the unexpected attention.
 
“The conversations were how do we, Minnesota Public Radio, respond to this? It was more about feeding what the audience wanted and being true to who we were than how can we make money so to speak,” said Jennifer Van Zandt, managing director of marketing & creative services.

The Strategy

#MPRraccoon took off on Tuedsay afternoon, June 12. The raccoon safely reached the top of the building in the early morning hours of the following day, Wednesday, June 13.
 
By that afternoon, MPR was already selling T-shirts and tote bags.

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Marketing Tactics Used by Top Podcasts

PMDMC, marketing, podcast

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In our industry, it’s often said that anyone can make a podcast… but not everyone should.

So when your organization has invested time and resources into a really good podcast, you want to give it every advantage to succeed from the start.

These tips came from Joni Deutsch, on-demand content and audience engagement producer at WFAE, and Maggie Taylor, director of marketing at PRX and Radiotopia as part of the PMDMC 2018 session “From Launch to Orbit, Working Across Departments to Get Ears on Your Podcast.”

Identify your audience. 

Knowing whom you're talking to is the first, most essential step toward being able to  connect with those people. NPR offers storytelling training tools to help you identify whom you're trying to reach. Knowing your audience will affect which marketing tactics you choose to use. 

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Evidence of Growing Audience Trust in Public Radio

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

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Reprinted with permission from Jacobs Media Blog.

Whether you’re in middle school or are a media brand, these days there’s nothing as toxic as a bad reputation. These days, just the utterance of the term, “fake news,” unleashes a torrent of emotion, whether you’re a journalist, a politician, or just a member of the masses.

A recent story in Fast Company by Gloria Origgi suggests we’ve left the “Information Age,” and now reside in a world where it’s all about reputation… and of course, that means trust.

Origgi makes the point that while most of us don’t have the time or bandwidth to track a story or a rumor down, we have come more and more to rely on sources that have earned our trust.

And many think that’s a trend – that in the not-so-distant future, it will become less about how we critically assess a story, but how much we trust in the information source that delivers that content. Origgi quotes Frederick Hayek who postulated that “civilization rests on the fact that we all benefit from knowledge which we do not possess.”

So, who do people believe? And where do radio stations, personalities, hosts, and media brands stand on the “Trust-o-meter?” Do consumers trust in the radio stations they listen to, whether it’s delivering the news or giving away tickets to that Arctic Monkeys concert?

At Jacobs Media, we conduct a considerable amount of research – both qualitative and quantitative – in the public radio space. These stations are enjoying some of the strongest ratings in the history of their platform, and audience trust is a key driver of their success.

Our most recent Public Radio Techsurvey (our 10th annual is in the field right now), seeks to better understand the medium’s “core values.” And trust is an attribute we track.

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A Start-to-Finish Guide to Securing Corporate Sponsorship for Your Station Event

underwriting, event sponsorship, Bruce Erley, pricing, halo effect, Corporate Support, digital revenue, marketing

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What’s involved in selling event sponsorships? These 10 steps will help you determine the value of a sponsorship, find prospects, write a proposal, sell the sponsorship, and fulfill the agreement after the sponsorship is sold.

1. When planning your station event, keep sponsors in mind.

When you're planning your station event, keep in mind that corporate sponsorship is a form of brand advertising. The underlying intention of sponsorship is to create positive associations between the corporate brand and your station in the mind of the consumer. That’s the “Halo Effect.” You can do this, as you may have done in the past, by selling naming rights to the event or displaying sponsors’ corporate logos at your events and in your media when you promote the event.

2. Identify your assets.

What are the assets that can bring value to your sponsors? If the event is at your station or another venue, take a walk through the venue and make a list of the potential places where you can have a sponsor’s company name, logo or a presence at the event. Typical places for promotion include hanging banners over entrances, sponsors’ booths or tables at the event, sponsors’ logos, listings or advertisements in programs that are used by participants. The potential for where you can put a sponsor’s name or logo placement can be just about anything.

Of course you have media and other assets where you can put sponsors’ names or logos which are of value to sponsors:

  • Your radio/TV promos for the event
  • Logo / name on VIP passes
  • Signage at the entrance to the parking lot
  • Admission tickets or invitation
  • Booth, table or display area
  • Logo / name on T-shirts, posters or other keepsakes
  • Sampling opportunity
  • Mailing list
  • PA announcements
  • PBS Kids programs characters appearances
  • Website
  • E-newsletter
  • Mobile apps
  • Print or online magazine / logo recognition
  • Broadcast radio / TV underwriting schedule

In addition to the use of media and logo placement, identify other opportunities, such as meeting and having photos taken with guest celebrities, or access to exclusive areas like backstage passes.

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Five Ways to Wow Your Event Sponsors With First-Rate Execution

event sponsorship, Bruce Erley, fulfillment, Corporate Support, marketing

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Guest post by Bruce Erley, APR, CFEE

Most public broadcasters produce many special events throughout the year. If your job includes the responsibility to make sure all your sponsors are taken care of, from benefits fulfillment to on-site support and post-event follow-up, how can you keep all those balls in the air without dropping them?

To keep so many details and deadlines in place, you need to make a plan and then work the plan. Here are some of the best practices we use at our sponsorship agency to keep many details organized and make sure sponsors are happy.

1. Assign a point person.

Sponsorship fulfillment needs to be the responsibility of a specific person, whether staff or volunteer, responsible for the “care & feeding” of sponsors. Often it will not be the person who “sold” the sponsorship. This needs to be an exclusive or significant part of their job while the event is occurring.

Generally, I look for a person who is customer-service oriented, an organized, “detail person,” a good communicator -- someone who will serve as the sponsor’s advocate and resource person, and be a problem-solver.

2. Create an internal fulfillment program.

How will you keep track of all of the rights your sponsors have been promised and their fulfillment? We have found it most effective to create a fulfillment matrix: a spreadsheet of information that takes everything from proposals to agreements and puts them in one place. Among the information we track on the fulfillment matrix is:

  • Contact info
  • Sponsorship level
  • Logo/trademark benefits
  • Ad & promo benefits & deadlines
  • Digital and social media rights
  • Program and printed material recognition
  • On-site benefits, including signage, live recognition, and exhibit space
  • Hospitality benefits

3. Make an activation plan.

Understand what the sponsor wants to accomplish at your event and then help them develop an “activation plan.” Work with them to think through what they want to do on-site to engage your attendees. Many sure they are also completing the planning they agreed to.

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The Best Formula to Calculate the Sponsorship Fee for Your Next Event

event sponsorship, sponsorship fees, Bruce Erley, halo effect, Corporate Support, marketing

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Guest post by Bruce Erley, APR, CFEE

Most likely, part of your job as an event manager for your station is to sell sponsorship. Most people don’t mind calling people and telling them about their events, but many have absolutely no idea if the fee they are asking for is worth it!

Determining the correct value for a sponsorship proposal is essential. Not only will the sponsorship decision-maker see through a wild guess, but you will be more confident knowing that you have a fairly-priced sponsorship opportunity that you can defend.

The first thing to know is that the price you set for a sponsorship package is not based upon how much you need to raise, nor what something costs you. Many event managers make the mistake of determining a sponsor fee by adding up the cost of an event asset - say, a children’s stage - and setting the sponsor fee to recoup those costs.

Instead, the fee of a sponsorship should be based upon:

  • The opportunity you are providing the sponsor

  • The package of accompanying rights and benefits

The good news is that by determining a value of sponsorship in this manner, the appropriate fee is almost always far greater than the cost of the asset or activation.

There are three factors that go into setting a sponsorship fee.

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Five Secrets to Marketing Events to Millennials

event sponsorship, Bruce Erley, Millennials, Corporate Support, social media, marketing

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Guest post by Bruce Erley, APR, CFEE

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Three Key Ways Impact-Centered Cultivation Makes a Difference

sustainers, impact, OPB, Membership, donor cultivation & stewardship, marketing, WAMU, philanthropy

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When it comes to revenue and donor retention, good fundraising practices are paramount to success. Yet for the most part, outside of recent sustainer success, public media’s record of retaining donors year after year, and transitioning more people to philanthropic levels of giving has often been mediocre at best.

In order to retain more donors, it’s vital to make the most of opportunities as they present themselves to signal impact and value to donors. This means finding ways to talk about what the station brings to the community that goes beyond the simple act of listening to programs on the radio. It’s about helping listeners and donors build a deeper sense of meaning and understanding of the importance of your mission.

Here are three key ways that demonstrating the impact of your programming makes a difference in donor cultivation:

1. It shows their donation makes a difference.

It keeps your new and long-time members connected to the “why” of their support, serving as a regular reminder that their listening and support has true purpose and importance – that it matters – and their continued participation makes it all possible.

2. It paves the way toward major giving.

It sets your potential major donors up for a more fruitful conversation at a more advanced starting place, a position likely to result in greater levels of giving.

3. It draws in younger (more impact-sensitive) donors.

It strengthens connections with younger donors, a generation that we will count on to fund the work of public media in the decades to come. This is a generation that – at least to date – has shown that impact is a key driver of their charitable giving choices.

Even though budgets are tight, a creative approach coupled with a little time invested can ensure that some important impact ideas reach your donors on a regular basis.

Here are two excellent recent examples of stations using existing tools and resources for an additional purpose of signaling impact.

OPB's Story

In the midst of the occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, OPB utilized its weekly e-newsletter to go beyond a “tune-in-for-developments-here” message. President and CEO Steve Bass crafted a timely and significant leading letter that:

  • Shares behind-the-scenes information about the coverage
  • Tells readers why it’s important
  • Gives donors props for making it possible
  • Touts how OPB’s work is central to national reporting efforts, an idea that builds pride amongst supporters.
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