On Your Radio Station Website, Use Language That Puts Listeners First
By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies
Talent coaches frequently tell radio DJs to use words that put the listener first in their on-air breaks. For example, instead of saying, “Coming up, I’ve got your chance to win a thousand dollars,” a DJ should say, “Coming up, YOU could be a thousand dollars richer.”
It’s good advice. And that advice should be followed when you write copy for your radio station’s website as well. Yet somehow, we tend to lose sight of it when creating webpages. Here are two examples:
When radio stations write website copy for their contests, they tend to lead with the name of the content. But the listener doesn’t care what the name of the contest is; they care what the prize is. Which headline do you think will generate more clicks and drive more entries?:
“The WKRP High Low Game”
“Win $1,000 in Cash”
Your contest page is going to instruct people to take an action, such as fill out an online form or listen to the radio at a particular time. The first and largest words on the webpage should motivate people to take that action. Too often, we get caught up in thoughts about “branding” when writing web copy, when we should stay focused on motivating listeners to take a specific action.
Don’t assume that the visitors to this webpage have heard about the contest on the air. After all, somebody could have arrive at this page by clicking on a link in their Facebook feed. So the page should stand on its own, without needing any other explanation.
For example, make sure that the instructions for entering the contest are clear even to somebody who is not familiar with the radio station. Sometimes contest pages will say, “To enter, sign up for the Fun Club,” without any explanation of what the Fun Club is. I’m not signing up for that! For all I know, the Fun Club is a multi-level marketing sex cult. A few extra words can clarify these instructions: “To enter, sign up for our weekly Fun Club email newsletter.”
On your contest page, be sure to clearly explain how the winner is chosen. For example, “Every day in October, Johnny Fever will draw a random name on the morning show. If it’s your name, you’ll have 15 minutes to call the station and claim your prize.”
Finally, if you are asking for a lot of information in the entry form for your contest, explain to the listener why you are asking for that information. People hate getting unsolicited phone calls, so they are reluctant to fill out forms that ask for their phone number. If you absolutely need the listener’s phone number, explain why: “We will only call you if we select you as our winner.” If you don’t need the listener’s phone number, don’t ask for it. The same is true of their mailing address.
Advertise With Us Page
Many radio station websites have an “Advertise With Us” page that features an opening paragraph that boasts about the radio station: “WKRP reaches over 250,000 people in the Sunshine Valley blah blah blah.” Good for you. Let’s be frank: As a potential advertiser, I’m not interested in how great your station is. I only care what you can do for me. Yet so many radio station’s miss this key opportunity on their “Advertise” webpage. Stations talk about themselves when they should be talking about the potential client.
Instead of opening with a paragraph about your station, open with a paragraph about the person interested in advertising. What do they need? What problems are they facing? Identify and describe that problem. For example, you might open with, “Your business needs to reach more people…”
The next paragraph should describe how your station can solve that problem: “We can help you reach new customers by…”
The final paragraph can then boast about the station: “WKRP reaches over 250,000 people in the Sunshine Valley blah blah blah.” Just make sure that in doing so, the copy references things that a client would care about, not the things a listener would care about. Keep this page oriented towards potential clients.
These are just two examples, but in practice, the copy on every page of your radio station’s website should use language that is oriented to the visitor. Take some time to review your website with fresh eyes and see whether your website puts the station first or puts the listener first.
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Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.