We’re fresh off toasts to the start of a new year - or perhaps instead you toasted “good riddance” to 2016.
Either way it’s probable that someone, somewhere, recently brought up New Year’s Resolutions.
I have no beef with resolutions though often they can be too vague (lose weight) or too negative (stop doing something).
Better I think to plan for self-improvement in the New Year with specific, positive goals and an easy to follow map to help you get where you want to go.
So if improving the quality and engaging nature of your content one break at a time is a goal for 2017, you deserved to be toasted: T.O.A.S.T.ED.
T.O.A.S.T.ED. in this case is an acronym you can use as a checklist for strengthening your content while it’s still in the developmental stage. Each letter offers a way to power up your idea for maximum impact.
Here’s what the letters stand for:
Let's look at each.
"Camera angle" is a phrase I first heard from friend and talent coach Tommy Kramer. It's one of the most useful and important "checks" you should subject your idea to. Fixing the camera angle is another way of asking, “What’s the best way to fame this content?”
Most content has multiple camera angles and some will make a deeper connection than others. The angle you choose plays a big part in determining the impact of your material. Consider as may angles as you can before deciding on the one that is most aligned with the target and their perceptions of you and the station.
Everyone has access to the same information as you do. Plus, by the time your next show rolls around, you may be dealing with something many people already know. But an original perspective overcomes these potential pitfalls.
Your personal “take” on a topic makes your content unique and valuable. It also helps clarify who you are and what you stand for (there’s more on that in Defining).
There are lots of moving parts to accessibility including pre-promotion, recycling, repurposing, social, and archiving. Planning for full accessibility from the start not only means maximum reach for your material, but also can foster new ideas for iterating your original concept.
Accessibility is part of this of course, but before that comes quality. It's either great or it's spam. Your brand is at stake so be sure you’ve done all you can to fully exploit your material.
This would be a great place to invoke the Seven Magic Words (“That’s great – what else can we do?”).
Even a great take can be neutered by tardiness. Delayed delivery of time sensitive content sends a message that this item wasn't particularly important to you. That's a big problem if it was important to listeners.
"Continuing content," such as those long-running concert announcements need special attention as well. Your best bet here is to refer back to “T” and “O” for ways to inject freshness into items with long shelf lives.
Simply put, how will you get me to have a stake in this piece of content - at least enough of a stake to keep my attention and interest? This is also a critical question for multi-break content.
What is there in the content and execution that will repeatedly bring me back for more?
What has been included to encourage virtual or actual listener participation?
Over time what you do on your show will help define who you are to listeners. That's exciting when you're working to make every break count, but it’s a hard dose of reality when you’re winging it.
If improving your content is one of your goals for the New Year, try applying the T.O.A.S.T.E.D. checklist to your work.
Check in during the year and share how it’s going.
Cheers! And here's to a great year ahead!
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