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Radio Interview 101 - Radio Compared To YouTube and Facebook: Imagine If The Counter Went Away

New for 2013: The hypnotic effect of YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Podcasts, and any other similar site where you upload your presentation, is one thing: The Counter. Without the counter, these sites would have no more use to you than your phone number listing in the phone book. Why does the counter matter so much?

Psychologically, it has to do with the "media effect", which is explained in mass media studies (especially Marshall McLuhan's book called "Understanding Media"). But you don't have to understand psychology to understand how the "counter" is misleading you and other authors. Imagine for a second, that all counters were removed forever. No more counters, ever again. Never again will you be able to tell how many people "heard" your presentation. Wow.

What then would you focus on? How would you judge your success? What would you brag about? How would your goals change? How would you compare one presentation against another? How many fans or potential customers would you think you had? This was what life was like before the "counter". Back then, you actually had to make things happen, instead of looking at a counter that said things were happening. And the way you made things happen was mostly by phone, in-person, and maybe fax. Today, email has replaced fax, but two things have stood the test of time: Phone and in-person contacts.

We talk to a lot of authors, filmmakers, speakers, consultants, and inventors who want exposure, and many of them have a presentation on a site somewhere that has a "counter". When they are asked what the AVERAGE number of "views" or "plays" or "listens" they have received, the answer is about 200. That's right, 200. And this is cumulative, from day one when they posted it, and is from around the world. That's about one "view" or "play" or "listen" per country. And they've typically had that presentation up for over 2 years. (Of course, we are talking here about real numbers; not the fake numbers that you can buy).

On the other hand, the HIGHEST number that people typically tell us they've received is 20,000 "views" or "plays" or "listens". Again this is from day one (cumulative), and from around the world, and also for about 2 years. This is about 100 listens per country, over a 2 year period. That's less than one listen a week, per country.

Obviously, both of the above are miserable failures, since the GOAL OF THE PRESENTATION was to get LOTS of views. This, unfortunately, is exactly the problem. The goal should NOT be to get lots of "views" or "plays" or "listens" at all. The goal instead should be to get SALES; this is so different from "getting views" that you may even have a hard time understanding the difference.

The first way to explain this is to look at media facts. Typically, about 0.1 to 0.01 percent (.001 to .0001) of a radio listening audience will buy the presentation/product. This means that if the total radio exposure of the presentation is 5 million "listens" per week, then that product will sell 500 to 5,000 units each week. In ten weeks, you'd have 5,000 to 50,000 sales.

These of course are highly ranked major-market stations, which generate huge numbers of "listens". However, medium and smaller market stations, along with major market stations that are not ranked as high, generate far fewer "listens" and thus sell far fewer units per week, even though the number of stations may be the same. So, what makes the difference between selling 500 and 5,000 units per week, even though the number of weekly listens remains at 5,000,000? Marketing. But that's another story. For a self-promoted presentation/product, assume you'll be at the lower level.

Now comes the "counter". The typical author has never had any numerical feedback before the counter. No sales tracking, no on-air tracking, no ticket sales tracking, nothing. So the counter looks to be pretty exciting, because for the first time the author is getting "feedback" on his or her's presentation. So far so good. But the problem arises when the author makes it their GOAL of maximizing the "views" or "plays" or "listens" on this counter. And the reason this is a problem is because the typical author reading this does not have the resources to get enough "views" or "plays" or "listens" to make any sales or anything else occur.

Looking at the example above, it takes 5,000,000 "listens" per week, for one presentation, in the U.S. only, for a lesser-marketed presentation/product to sell 500 units per week. That's because lesser-marketed products have not impacted the listener from as many directions as major-marketed products have. So sales are about 0.01 percent (.0001) of the total listens. Using this .01 percent number, the typical author needs:

5,000,000 "listens" to get 500 sales
500,000 "listens" to get 50 sales
50,000 "listens" to get 5 sales
5,000 "listens" to get 0.5 sales (!)

Compare this to what I said about how many YouTube views the typical author tells us they have, and you see the problem. The typical author with 200 views or plays does not have enough for even one sale. And the authors who tell us they have a mega 20,000 views or plays will only be getting 2 sales. THIS IS THE REASON that you don't want to focus any energy on increasing your number on the views-counter or the plays-counter. It won't sell anything, and it will just make you think that your presentation/product is not good enough. And of course I did not even mention that most counters are faked now anyway: You can get 1,000,000 fake youtube views with likes and comments for under $180. Nobody sees your presentation, but hey, you've now got a big counter.

Now, if the goal is to really get listens or views, then yes you can do it. This is how major publishers get their high sales: they get high "listens" from broadcast stations first, which are concentrated in particular cities, and then follow up with online marketing. Even our own commercial station campaigns (the smallest) usually end up with near 300,000 total listens in 10 weeks, concentrated in particular cities. 500,000 listens, and 5,000,000 listens, are not that much more difficult, since all you need to do is continue building on what you started.

So your goal should be to avoid the counter. You should instead be spending your time and energy REACHING PEOPLE that can help you sell your presentation/product. This requires phone calls, and personal visits, to people who can book you, interview you, review you, recommend you, place you, and so on. "Views" or "plays" or "listens" on websites with counters will NOT serve this promotional purpose. Nor will emails; emails are just for SETTING UP phone calls or visits, or for following up with data after phone calls or visits. No high-level activity will ever come your way if all you do is email. And certainly, nothing will ever come your way if all you do is watch the counter.

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