In the broadcasting business we’re constantly searching for ways to invade the head space of our audience. With listeners having countless choices of where to spend their time, and distractions popping up at every turn to pull them away, it’s critical to deliver content that makes people think and seek a response. This is what we call “teasing”.
Why does it matter? Because in the broadcasting world we’re constantly looking to grow two areas in order to deliver stronger ratings – cume and time spent listening. As a broadcaster, you can’t control whether or not an extra fifty thousand people show up each day to consume your material, but you can control whether or not they stick around and listen longer.
Additionally, research has shown that those who provide effective teases consistently, and deliver a payoff on them, typically receive more time from the listening audience. That speaks to the level of trust you develop with your audience, and loyalty has a deep impact on a personality’s ability to cut through and build a lasting brand.
When it comes to teases there are many broadcasters who do it extremely well. Mike Greenberg and Erik Kuselias are two hosts on the national level who I think do a tremendous job. On the local level, Michael Kay, Bob Fescoe, Randy Karraker and John Lund are just a few who understand the concept and execute it well. The one thing that each of them understand is that it’s about hooking the audience, not over selling an expectation that can’t be delivered on. They also recognize that while it’s important to keep a listener curious heading into the commercial break, it’s equally as important to deliver on the tease when they return from the break.
When you’re delivering a tease it’s important for it to sound natural and honest. Some talent make the mistake of trying to over do it, and people today are smart enough to sniff out nonsense. If you keep a similar tone to how you broadcast throughout a segment, and you provide a curious question or comment, and sound excited and interested in the subject, you’re more likely to keep the audience around.
Think for a minute about all of the distractions that a listener has when listening to the radio. There’s text messages from friends and family, there are other radio stations on the dashboard, there may be other people in the car who want to talk, there’s outside noise if a window is rolled down, there are other apps on their phone for them to listen to, and there are websites to read.
We can tell people not to pay attention to their phones when they’re driving but we all know that’s impossible in today’s A.D.D society. The reality is this, everything that occurs around a listener is a potential distraction, and if you’re not crisp and consistent with making them think, they’re going to depart your program whether they like you or not.
Watch this video and you’ll see how quickly and how easily the listener is distracted. This is who you’re trying to reach every day! Even if they want to consume your content, they’re just as quick to leave if you don’t occupy space in their mind.
In this video the total time ran 3:29, and during that time the listener was interested in the radio station he began his drive with. He also liked the song that was playing, yet 1:45 into it he began to use his cell phone. Once the DJ came on to talk he was searching for something else. Between 2:30-3:20 he is scanning stations and searching for something else to interest him.
Luckily for the station that he started his listening session with, he returns to them after he can’t find something else to capture his attention. In their case, they have likely developed a connection with him, but even with that loyalty, this listener is out the door and on someone else’s airwaves if they can’t provide a compelling reason for him to stay. This is what you’re facing every single minute and every single segment of every broadcast day.
- Make Me Think – We All Like To Learn New Things
- Manufacture The Drama – Conflict and Controversy Sells!
- Writing Ahead of Time – The Best Works In Life Are Prepared!
- One Short Focused Item – Don’t Overload, One Item Is Enough
- Create The Need For Closure – People Always Want A Resolution
- Speak To Me Not An Entire City – The word YOU Is Very Powerful
- Coming Up Next, Up Next, Coming Up – The Show Doesn’t Leave
- Use Breaking News To Your Advantage – Hold It Through The Break
- Capitalize On The Name – Big Guests Matter But The Content Is The Hook
A few more things for you to ponder as it applies to teasing. Every one of these should factor into your approach.
- Passion & Conviction Are Critical – People Respond To Both In Positive Ways!
- Tell Me It’s Worth It and Provide The Proof – Bad Payoffs = Bad Customer Service
- Recognizing You Are a Salesperson – If You Don’t Care About What You’re Selling To Me Then Why Should I?
- More Than 70% of Radio Listening Happens In The Car – Are You Cutting Through All The Distractions? If Not, How Is That Going To Change If You Don’t?
- Short-Term Thinking To Long-Term Thinking – It takes 22 Seconds To Go From a Short-Term Thought To Long-Term Thought! If You Make Me Wait Too Long, I’m Gone!
- It’s An A.D.D World – The Top Sports Stations On Average Deliver 30-45 Minutes of Listening Per Day. The Average Listener Who Gives You a Quarter Hour of Credit Does It By Giving You Two Occasions For 2-3 Minutes, Not 5 Consecutive Minutes.
So how can you tease more effectively? Here are some examples. Test them out and make them into your own and you’ll find yourself making improvements in how you connect with your audience.
- Questions, Questions, Questions – Always Start With Who, What, Where, When, Why or How!
- Drama and Suspense – Why Do Soap Operas, TV News & TV Dramas Perform Well? The Unpredictability & Curiosity Keeps You Hooked!
- Information Is A Weapon – Breaking News, A Special Guest, A Stat That Will Change My Mind About My Favorite Team/Player or a Situation – They All Cause The Listener To Think & Crave More!
If this subject interests you and you’re curious to learn more I’ve listed a few additional articles below which I think do an excellent job of providing extra detail. The bottom line, teasing benefits you as a broadcaster, but it’s up to you to make it your own and put the time into how you execute them. Those who do it well, enjoy great success at keeping people interested!
12 Tips For Writing Great Teases by Al Tompkins – Click here
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teases by Randy Lane – Click here
You’re Such a Tease by John Myers – Click here
A great PowerPoint on Engaging Audience courtesy of Andy Holt