The Power Of Local Radio For Public Relations
In today’s world, we have so many new platforms and possibilities for business branding and PR – including social media, streaming video, and podcasting – that it’s perhaps easy to overlook the tried-and-true methods such as radio.
The fact is that commercial radio has been around for 100 years or more, and its influence is largely undiminished. Despite the subsequent invention of many newer forms of media (such as television and the Internet), it has endured as a very effective tool for both communication and entertainment.
With Ofcom statistics showing that as many as 9 out of 10 people in the UK listen to live radio at least once a week, it’s clear that radio is still an extremely useful outlet for public relations (PR) and branding exercises.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at how your business can make use of local radio as a promotional tool – and how to get the best results from the medium.
Why is radio so good for business PR and branding?
When considering your PR and branding, it’s often tempting to think that you can reach everyone via the internet and social media. Yet while there are many audiences on different digital platforms, there are some demographics that can’t be reached so easily via digital means alone.
Depending on your brand and your message, some outreach channels are naturally going to be more effective than others. Radio can be extremely targeted – whether you want to reach the working population on morning breakfast shows or drive time slots, target influential C-suite executives on shows like The Today programme or influence the youth on stations like Kiss, radio is likely to be significantly more effective than social media when it comes to getting the word out.
Radio PR messaging also requires little active participation from the audience in order to be effective. Whereas a visual advertisement or magazine interview may require a dedicated effort – i.e. reading the advert to fully absorb the message – radio is the quintessential ‘background medium’. A radio show can be part of a listener’s ambient surroundings, and soak into their head without demanding their full attention. It can be extremely engaging and allow for a strong message cut through compared to the estimated 5,000 adverts people receive on a daily basis.
Local radio is also an excellent way to build reputation and credibility for your business. Listeners who tune in to a show day after day can build up a strong sense of trust and connection with the show’s presenter or DJ. By being part of the radio programming through interviews or segment pieces, this trust will be reflected back onto your brand, and improve your reputation by association.
As a brand that may be asked to be part of the show, you need to balance the overtly commercial messages with providing a genuine story and authentic voice. Listeners tend to associate the medium with a certain degree of editorial integrity, which contributes to the credibility of radio guests and interviewees. Find a place to land your message but don’t use it to provide pushy sales messages.
A spokesperson from a brand or third party telling a story provides authenticity to a marketing campaign. If the audience of a radio show hears a representative for your business speaking on an important topic, they will often assume that your company was selected based on your experience and qualifications – not because you contacted the station and asked to be on! This can create a very powerful brand positioning effect, equating your company with authoritativeness and preeminence in the listener’s mind.
An appearance on local radio can also be a good opportunity to speak publicly on a current news item or hot topic (especially where your business might have a particular angle or expertise to share). This can help position your brand in the public consciousness as both culturally relevant and proactive, getting stuck into key conversations with insight, poise, and control.
How to prepare for a radio interview
Successfully securing a guest spot on a local radio programme can be a great opportunity, but it can also be stressful. Appearing live on the radio demands that you speak with precision, clarity, and confidence, putting across a good first impression to potential new customers and clients. This requires keen consideration of your messaging and a plan for what you’re going to say.
One good tip is to prepare a short bio to give to the presenter that they can use to introduce you to the show. This can be just a couple of sentences and should be designed to get the listener up to speed quickly with who you are, what you do, and your expertise as it relates to the subject at hand.
It’s a very good idea before the show to set a number of key points you want to make on-air, and a way you could introduce them. You can then bear these in mind throughout the interview, and return to them whenever you feel stumped by a question or at a loss for something to say. If necessary, you might like to prepare a written ‘cheat sheet’ of talking points to go over.
Doing some research prior to your radio interview is a very prudent move (both around the subject on which you will be speaking and about the radio show itself). Learning about the radio station and the host you’ll be talking to will give you an idea of their interview technique, and whether they are likely to probe you with difficult questions. Similarly, it’s helpful to have a good idea of the tone of the show you’ll be on, and the types of guest interviews that tend to go over well.
During the broadcast, try to speak honestly and warmly about the topic and your business, and don’t use too much industry jargon. You need to paint the picture for the audience so they can connect with what you are talking about. Using overly complicated language will just be a barrier to the listeners’ understanding, and distract from the positive messaging you’re trying to send out.
You may also find it useful to prepare for the possibility that the interviewer may ask you a closing question, such as what you think the most important takeaway from the conversation was, or whether there’s anything else you want to say to the listeners. Getting caught off guard and saying “er, not really” would be a weak ending to your guest spot, so it might be worth working out what your concluding remarks will be, and how to sign off if the interview ends prematurely (e.g. if it ends up being rushed for a news bulletin).
Despite the abundance of newer technologies and platforms today, local radio remains an extremely powerful way of getting your brand out there and broadcasting a PR message to your community. Done right, you can not only take advantage of the inherent trustworthiness of the medium, but also gain credibility by association with the radio show.
Local radio is almost unique in the way it gives you direct control of your messaging, and puts the power of advertising in your hands. By securing a spot on the right show and preparing well for your interview, you can bring awareness of your business to a whole new level, and position your brand as an authoritative source of advice and leadership.
This post was contributed by Broadcast Revolution, a specialist broadcast PR agency and consultancy in London providing fresh and creative ways of delivering quality broadcast coverage for brands across TV, Radio, and owned channels.