Maybe I’ll Listen Tomorrow…Your Show & Urgency

You know it’s important to create appointment tune in occasions. The more occasions, the higher the ratings.

You also know that it’s important to be consistent, delivering (or over-delivering) the audience’s expectation.

The problem is that these two critical factors seem at odds. The solution?

Create a sense of urgency in your programming.

In marketing, many brands have done this by making products available for short periods of time. The popular treat receipt promotion at Starbucks is available often, but not always. When it returns, it creates buzz. When it returns, there’s a cause for celebration, promotion and news. A sense of urgency.

The Seattle-based coffee retailer’s loyalty program has earned admiration for it’s vibrant member engagement. They offer consistency (buy a drink, earn a star every time), simplicity (earn 12 stars, get a free drink) and incentive (free coffee). But they also inject the program with limited time only promotions, such as “get a drink at five different Starbucks in the next 7 days to earn bonus stars” or “Buy a breakfast sandwich to earn 3 bonus stars-only for the next 2 weeks”.

Many brands re-introduce products for limited engagements as well. When McDonald’s brings back the McRib, an inexplicable frenzy drives sales. There’s even a McRib locator website showing where the sandwich is available now.

A promotion offering limited engagement almost always performs better than one with no deadline. Why? There’s an implied urgency, a sense of fear that I’ll miss out if I don’t act now. It simply seems more important.

Free Cake

In radio, we present a lot of the same. Every day tends to sound mostly like the day before. We lock in features, games, contests and promotions and often fail to inject it with enthusiasm and excitement. Too much of the same leads to apathy, and when a listener is apathetic listening occasions suffer.

Challenge yourself to turn the routine to urgent, with the goal of “can’t miss it” tune in moments. Here are three things to help get you started:

  1. Create a special edition of an existing feature. For example, if you play Heads Up as a feature, offer a special one-week limited time themed series. Theme it by topic or attracting contestants from a specific career field (Nurse’s Week).
  2. Rotate features. Most of your audience won’t really miss a feature that is resting, as long as it’s replaced by something compelling. After all, you don’t realize the treat receipt program has expired, because they simply don’t refer to it or promote it when it’s on hiatus. This gives you a chance to introduce a new element and promote it aggressively with celebration. When your resting feature returns, re-introduce it with excitement.
  3. Update production and promotion. Even if the content is fresh, it may sound stale because of presentation. What have you done to innovate and surprise your audience?

There are dozens of ways to keep your show fresh, interesting and urgent, but it demands attention, creativity and time. If anyone asks, how will you answer this question: “What are you doing today that’s new, exciting or fresh?”

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