Get Your Bonus: Invest in Yourself

Posted on February 21, 2011


I have known several radio sales managers who have personally purchased advertising schedules on their own station. It’s not that they had anything specific to advertise; they were just a few dollars short of a revenue bonus which amounted to a lot more money than the ad schedule they had to purchase. It was a simple dollars and sense move. The station hit its revenue goal and the manager made a bonus; the proverbial win-win as it were.

That’s never really been an option for airtalent. The vagaries of Arbitron ratings and the prohibitive cost of most forms of mass-marketing  such as television commercials or billboards, made it impossible for a talent to personally chase down an elusive ratings bonus.

Until now.

Arbitron’s PPM-based ratings tend to be more stable giving hosts a better idea of where they stand in the market and what it would take to move their ratings to the next level. Inexpensive marketing is now available though social media platforms and it’s targeted to the people you want to reach, not wasteful like mass marketing was.

For example, on a Webinar last week put on by Verge Networks, a new syndication company that is focused on providing content that can easily be, or is already, integrated with social media platforms, they pointed out that Facebook now accounts for 12% of all time spent online, making it the number one platform ahead of Google, Yahoo and everyone else. Your audience is there. If you aren’t you have bigger fish to fry than just making your next bonus.

They also talked about a test case where a station held a stealth contest — meaning they never mentioned it on the air — completely through Facebook. They invested $500 on targeted Facebook advertising and got prizes to give away from a sponsor. The results: their contest received 2.7 million exposures over 10 days inside their target market of  80,000 people. Nearly 3,000 people participated in the contest which required them to tune in and listen at specific times for their chance to win. Imagine what could happen if that impacted the listening habits of just one or two people carrying a PPM?

It’s not foolproof or a guarantee, but if you’ve been just missing a big enough ratings bonus wouldn’t it be worth the investment? What about contract renewal time? You can secure some prizes or buy them yourself. Purchase a small ad schedule on Facebook. What a great way to go into contract negotiations: with your ratings trending upward in the target demo.

And of course, while you are thinking about investing in your career, consider a talent coach who can help you hit those bonuses. I might just pay for myself and then some.