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SYNDICATION 101... Syndication Marketing Tools, Part 2

Last issue we covered some basic items that many shows will be able to consider. Now we'll get into some advanced items that most shows will have to work up to; a show will need to have grown considerably, and established a sizable budget, before these tools can be used. The tools are:

SALES TRAINING: Sales training is not a simple one-sheet in your demo kit; it is a live person that spends a pre-determined amount of time with each new affiliate, stepping them through the proven techniques that have worked for other stations who are already airing your show. One to ten hours on the phone per new affiliate, over a period of six months, would be a starting point. A one, two, or three day visit to the station would be much more welcomed.

Training is something which cannot be done by the host; stations expect to be taught by a radio sales professional who has sold time at stations before. Using a radio sales trainer in this fashion is indeed a great investment.

FIELD SALES: Taking the station sales visits a step further, you get field sales. This is where you have a dedicated radio sales professional in each new market where a station has signed on. These sales folks can either move to the city where the new station is located, or they can be hired in the market. Whether part-time or full-time, they are contracted to sell on your (and the station's) behalf.

When you take the field sales route, you take almost all load off the station, thus making it very easy for stations to say yes. Stations do not have to use their own on-air talent or their sales staffs... all is provided by you; yet the stations still makes money.

PUBLICITY/BOOKS: If you can reach a station's listeners via articles in newspapers or magazines in the station's market, or if you can get of book of yours into bookstores in the station's market, you are really going to impress that station. This is because consumers who read about you and your show are going to want to hear it, and the station that puts your show on will thus get those new listeners.

This is not easy, however. Writing multiple (and constantly changing) press releases, getting the releases to proper writers in each market, and telephoning those writers on an ongoing basis, requires a PR firm or a full-time assistant who knows how to do this. On top of this, press takes a large amount of calendar time; a couple of weeks is useless... you need a minimum of six months.

A book is even more difficult. The printing of the book is difficult enough (writing it is easy), but getting it on the shelves (and not just "in the system") of several bookstores in one market requires a retail promoter and possibly also a salesperson.

FILM/TV: Possibly the most difficult and least understood of syndication marketing is film/TV placement. But film and TV make such an impact when people watch it, that if you or your show are placed into a film or network TV show which airs in a station's market, you will have instant awareness not only with a large percentage of that station's listenership, but also with that station's staff, since they are constantly battling (and monitoring) TV for ratings.

Getting film/TV placement requires a placement staff in NY and LA who has access to the people, scripts, and production schedules of the major film and TV production companies (indie film or low-power TV is of no use). On top of this, because of the long planning times of major shows, attempting film/TV placement for less than a full year just isn't going to produce any usable results.

Next Topic: The Marketing/Demo Kit

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