How To Succeed With Cause Marketing and Promotion

One of the 10 Ideas to Generate Revenue that PD’s love, is adopting a cause and making it uniquely your own.

There are endless opportunities to give back to the community. Some are instant, spontaneous moments that alert personalities can capitalize on.

Such as how Kidd Kraddick in the Morning’s Big Al recently provided a vehicle for a listener. Or the way Kyle & Jackie O surprised this mom. These are terrific, spontaneous moments that stand out, cause emotional responses and often spread virally.

Then there are ongoing campaigns that enable your show to grow community roots, building goodwill over time.  And there’s no shortage of worthy causes eager for your station to promote them. It’s hard to say no. But you must, unless the cause is your own!

Consider the evidence from analyzing PPM data shows that those food drives, blood drives and fun runs that raise money or awareness drive away listeners. Sometimes dramatically.

So what is a station to do?

Don’t Stop Promoting. The solution is not to avoid “feel good” promotions. Even if they cause tune out in the short-term, consider it an investment in your brand. It’s an important part of the personality profile that can solidify your station.

Just Say No. However, if you invest your time and efforts in a cause, it’s critical to actually make an impact. And that means you have to say “no”. A lot. Focus your efforts and do fewer things well or risk falling short of motivating listeners at all. If you drive listeners away and fail to nurture your brand values, you inflict damage to your station.

Adopt a Cause. And make it yours. This puts you in control of the promotion, positioning and messaging without having to pacify outside organizations. You can plan events to retain the attention!

Focus Messaging. Tell stories. When listeners hear a story, with colorful and specific detail, they are much more likely to take action. We are quick to help one individuals, but tend to avoid appeals for a larger cause. Why is that? Here’s the scientific explanation from NPR:

Make it Tangible. Collecting money for The Red Cross or raising money to fight Prostrate Cancer are noble efforts. But they don’t provoke a response from the audience because these organizations aren’t tangible. Big corporate charities may do good work, but it’s hard to make the audience feel anything. The best charity promotions are event driven, with a call to action and story that allows listeners to see the results of their generosity.

Entertainment, not Information. Too many times, stations get technical or fill the air with details that are hard to understand, impossible to remember and fail to inspire. If you want to prompt a response, make them feel something emotionally. That almost never includes details, statistics or scientific explanations.

Think Big. Or don’t bother. Put everything you have into your campaigns. If it’s not special, if it doesn’t matter, you’re wasting your time. And more importantly, the listener’s time.

In short, be certain that your efforts are worthwhile. A mentor once told me that in order to do well we must first do good. And that’s true. Just be sure that doing good results in doing well!

And, in case you didn’t click the link above, here’s Kyle & Jackie’s O with their Give Back:

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