|SYNDICATION 101... Syndication Marketing Tools, Part 1
We are often asked, "If you start marketing my show to X number of stations, how many of those stations can I expect to start airing our show?" We tell these people, "Well, that's up to you."
While syndication promoters like us do make our weekly phone calls (and faxes/emails) to stations, there is still a large number of things the host / syndicator / producer can do which will directly affect the number of stations we will be able to get. As a simple example, if we are working a brand new radio show by John Doe (to X number of stations,) and we are also working a brand new radio show by Oprah to a similar list of stations (using the same terms), Oprah will win every time. In this case, Oprah's other activities are the marketing tools that we will use. And this is something most people can understand.
Below, however, are the tools many people do not understand. Keep in mind, I am not saying these tools are a must; I'm just giving a guideline that, if your time and money are going to be spent somewhere, then there are places to spend them that will help us clear more stations for you, faster. If you can't afford any of these tools, then our station selection will be done based on that situation. The tools are:
THE DEMO KIT: While not really an extra expense, there are some critical audio and printed items which need to go into a kit, and most people leave them out. I'll be doing an entire future article about just this one topic. One thing for sure: You absolutely must have a mailable kit... web kits are for backup only, and are not taken seriously.
TRADE SUPPORT: Some people say that putting ads in radio magazines is a waste of money; they say "I tried it, and I only got a couple calls, and I got no new stations." Well, the purpose of trade ads is NOT to get calls... it is instead to build up show awareness. Matter of fact, you are NOT supposed to get any calls at all from trade ads... the ads are simply supposed to make the show more memorable when we are calling the stations on the phone. The stations will say "Yea, I've seen something about that show before." This is much better than, "No, I've never heard of it."
BUYING FLAGSHIP STATIONS: Obviously, the purpose of hiring a syndication promoter is to obtain as many barter stations as possible. However, a good case can be made for making your biggest station a brokered (bought) station in a major (top 30) market. Having a larger market like this is something that smaller stations will really look up to. A second advantage to a purchased station is that you can use their studios (if agreed to up front) as your home base for your show.
MARKET VISITS: You may wonder why a host's visit to a market would have any impact on a station (in that market) taking the show. Yes, meeting the host does have some meaning to the station, but the real use of what we call a "market visit" (as opposed to just a "station visit") is helping the station close sponsor deals while the host is in town. The station can arrange to have the host meet up with prospective sponsors of the show, and this will really help the station close local sponsorship deals for the show, and thus get the show cleared.
LIVE: Although this is somewhat dictated by the type/time of show, there are still some shows which can choose between live or taped. When this is the case, preference is always given to live, because live shows attract a larger audience. But the show must have proof that it can deliver on time, every time. If your show is brand new, offering it live will not benefit you because the stations will be wary of you being able to deliver it properly, every time.
Next Topic: Syndication Marketing Tools, Part 2
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