Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Effective Emails Start with Strong Subject Lines

The likelihood of listeners opening up one of your emails is improved with a great subject line.

Here’s a good one from 3-time ACM Station of the Year winner (and long time A&O partner), Cat Country 98.7 in Pensacola, FL.

Subject: OPEN this email and you might win Zac Brown Tickets

A subject line like this plays to a key reason why listeners join radio “Insider” clubs: access to special privileges especially concert tickets – from winning them to being able to buy them early.

The body then reinforced the subject line and the value of being a Cat Country Insider:

Just because you are a Cat Country Insider you have also scored a chance to win General Admission tickets to Deluna Fest to put your "Toes" in the sand with Zac Brown. The Cat Pak will announce the Winner on Wednesday Morning at 840a, but you can only win if you are a reading this email!

This was followed by a “thank you,” an invitation, and signature:

Thanks for being a 'full-time' listener to The Cat. Follow the Cat on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/catcountry987.                              Brent and Candy, The Cat Pack Morning Show

At the very end there was a pitch:

PS: You can buy single day tickets to Deluna Fest at http://www.delunafest.com

How effective was this campaign?

Cat Country’s Brent Lane says it was, “…pretty great. Considering the average 'good' campaign is about 10-15%, this one did 23% as of last check."

Presslaff Interactive’s Ruth Preslaff shared that when open rates jump, “(it) means listeners are just waiting for something to capture their attention and when it hits their inbox, they respond."

Here are six ways to improve your subject lines.

We'd love to hear some of your lines and your techniques.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Listeners’ Picks for Top Country Songs of Summer: Want to Float a Guess at What’s Number 1?

Just for fun with absolutely no intention of being scientific, Albright & O’Malley invited our stations' listeners to tell us their favorite songs of summer 2012 by ranking the most played songs from Memorial Day to Labor Day (U.S.).

The hands down winner? Little Big Town’s “Pontoon.”

Here are the top five songs as picked by our respondents:

  1. Pontoon/Little Big Town
  2. Springsteen/Eric Church
  3. Drunk On You/Luke Bryan
  4. Come Over/Kenny Chesney
  5. 5-1-5-0/Dierks Bentley

Pontoon received more votes for “number one song of summer” than the next two songs combined.  In a place for comments, one listener said of Pontoon, “I could listen to that song all day.”

Luke Bryan made a race of it for second, falling just short of Eric Church’s totals. Kenny Chesney and Dierks Bentley were further back but close to each other. 

We posted a similar survey for our Canadian stations that included CanCon as well as International songs released during the same time period. Here’s that top 5 list:

  1. Pontoon/Little Big Town
  2. Springsteen/Eric Church
  3. Drunk On You/Luke Bryan
  4. Good Girl/Carrie Underwood and Gloriana/(Kissed You) Goodnight (tied)

Gord Bamford/Leanin’ On A Lonesome Song got the most #1 votes among the CanCon titles.

(Quick respondent facts: both panels leaned female and were country P1-heavy; ages were fairly evenly distributed across 18-54 though the Canadian panel was slightly older).

We invited station personnel to participate as well. Though we didn’t get a lot of takers, our US radio folks made “Pontoon” number one while in Canada it was “Springsteen.”

As a passing observation, the top three songs' themes were summer-related: two in the present, one in the past.

Aside from ranking their songs, we asked these listeners how they thought this year’s crop of summer songs compared to previous years. Both US and Canadian panelists were bullish.  

In the US, 64% thought this summer’s music was a lot (23%) or a little (41%) above average compared to past summers; 6% said this summer's music was a little or a lot worse. Among Canadians, 70% thought this summer’s music was a lot (30%) or a little (40%) above average with 6% saying a little or a lot worse. 

All this is interesting of course, but here's a key point: while the informal poll gave stations a little data, it more importantly gave them a fun and timely way to engage their listeners.

Feel free to share how you've recently engaged your listeners... and if you want, let us know YOUR favorite songs of summer 2012 - country or otherwise.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

For Better Content, Treat Ideas like Runners in Scoring Position

“Runners left in scoring position” is one of those “relative” baseball stats.

If a team scores a lot of runs and wins big, RLISP (runners who were on second or third base and in a position to score but did not) is an afterthought. But if the game is tight or the team loses by a couple of runs, the number of runners who had the potential to score but didn't takes on more significance.

At its core, RLISP is a measure of missed opportunities, of something that began with great promise but was not brought to its ultimate conclusion. 

A lot of shows stumble with their own version of RLISP: good ideas that don’t get sufficiently developed and simply remain “in scoring position.”

To more get more interesting, unique and fully developed content, try this 3-step, “brainstorm your brainstorming” technique. We did this last week with a room full of morning shows but you can absolutely do this by yourself with great results.

First, we brainstormed the big topics:  things we believed listeners are or were going to be doing or talking about, things that are now - or would in the near future be - impacting listeners' lives, and things the group had heard or experienced that they felt listeners would find interesting. We wrote all the ideas down without judging. The first round is about quantity not quality.

Next we choose one topic from our list that the teams felt had the best potential and did a second round of brainstorming, this time on all the different ways the topic could be approached. Again, we wrote down all the different perspectives, angles, or “takes.”

Here’s what we came up with for our big topic: “school reopens next week.”

Lastly from this list we chose the three approaches the teams believed would be the most fun/entertaining to listen to, that provided a showcase for each player on the show, that we could do stellar execution on, and that offered opportunities for listener engagement and participation.  Then we brainstormed how we’d execute each with the goal of presenting the big topic three times over the course of the show, but each time from a different angle.

“Schools reopen” put the idea on base. 

Brainstorming the treatments put the idea into “scoring position.” 

Brainstorming the execution drove the idea home.

Your content will be richer if you approach your good ideas as if they were simply in scoring position and it was up to you to keep batting (developing and enhancing) until you brought them all the way home.