Sun. Aug 19th, 2018

The D Word

This week’s topic is digital. Or as some media sales reps call it “the D word.”

I recently ran into someone I knew in media sales who said: “I hope everyone in our business knows how important it is we are selling digital, because it is the future.” I told him I had news for him, the future is now.

We have all read the numbers, we have all seen the reports. Traditional media is getting less and less of the spend and more dollars are being shifted into digital. If you are of the mindset that “digital is the future” as if to suggest it is something you should be preparing for now, you are behind, way behind.

The beauty of digital for the sports format is that it all boils down to targeted advertising. Figure out who you are trying to reach and go after that specific audience. Sounds familiar, right? Mainly because that is what we have been selling in the sports format for twenty-five years – targeted marketing at the male 25-54 demo.

So, the format that should be able to take the most advantage of digital is ours. Selling digital is no different than selling any of your other core radio products – it’s about ideas. In sports radio, we are often looking at ways to tie our advertisers and prospects into programming, but now with digital, that programming platform can expand.

I have seen some great examples of local digital programming that are being created in our space. As I researched WEEI for my interview last week with Matt Hochman, I ran across what the station is doing with their podcasting. Whereas some stations consider podcasting to be the replays of content that already ran on the air, WEEI is creating unique content that gives the listener more of a host’s personality, or their passion where they focus on one singular team or sport.

101 ESPN in St. Louis is doing high school football games through their website and Facebook Live. As part of a partnership with a local production company, they’ve been doing a game of the week throughout the football season. The games aren’t aired on the station, it is completely a digital product with the support of station and social media promotion.

Both ideas are great ways to tie in digital sponsorships while extending your programming to your local website or social media outlets. Other stations are having hosts do long form interviews if they have someone who excels at asking questions and getting the most out of a guest, or they are allowing hosts to branch out of sports and tap into other passions such as food and beer.

Additionally, almost all of us have digital extension products we can sell and that brings us into a whole new ballgame. Now, we can sell any audience a client is looking to reach, and we can tie your radio advertising and your digital advertising together. If you’re working with a business that sees a need to reach a pro or college sports team’s audience with radio spots, they probably would be served well by doing a geofencing or conquesting campaign around the same team’s stadium on game days.

No matter what it is, it once again all boils down to how good of an idea or campaign you help create for the advertiser, and then the execution of what you come up with. The real “D word” is dollars, and as those shift to other platforms, our ideas and solutions are how we can keep the money with us, both now and in the future.

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