Whether you’re developing a strategy for social media, planning to update the station website, creating a business model for streaming, or wondering why you aren’t getting advertisers’ digital dollars, conducting an analysis of the competition is key.
Why? An online analysis of the competitive landscape yields information you may not hear by monitoring the on-air product. You can capitalize on their weaknesses, or reveal your own by finding out what they’re doing better. You can also determine whether competitors are generating revenue from advertisers.
Program Directors spend time listening to the competition. It’s time to start listening online, too.
What To Review
- Their website for design and content. Is the design modern and easy to navigate? Is the content updated frequently? Is the air talent posting blogs, videos and audio regularly? Is the station providing any content you aren’t? From a listener standpoint, is their website more interesting, and does the content give you more reason to visit often?
- Advertisements on their website. Make notes for your Sales Manager. Who are their sponsors for promotions and contests? Is there a video pre-roll advertisement? And don’t forget to listen to the stream.
- Engagement on social media platforms. In addition to the vanity metrics (Facebook likes and Twitter followers), review how many comments and likes each post receives. Is your station getting similar engagement from listeners?
- Social media content. What categories do competitors include in their social media strategy? Are they posting about music and promotions? Do air talent post during their shows? Or is their engagement empty, a product of off-brand internet meme updates?
- Their social media sponsors. Is there any indication that advertisers are spending money on social media? Look at promotional banners or timeline photos, and read posts for mention of sponsors. Look for a contest tab for an advertiser-sponsored contest.
- Competitors in your market. Go beyond stations with similar formats. Do an online analysis of all radio stations in your market that share your target demographic, as well as all stations that boast strong ratings.
- Similar stations outside of your market. Review the online presence of stations in your format that are successful in similar size markets across the country.
- The best [your format] station in the country. While many ideas you glean from market #1 may not be practical in your market, you can tweak some and execute on a smaller scale. If you’re going to learn from competitors, you may as well learn from the best.
- Non-radio brands in your market. Review the websites and social media strategies of local TV stations and companies who do digital well. It is likely that advertisers aren’t giving your piece of their digital budget to other radio stations, but other non-radio brands.
- Use what you’ve learned to improve your digital presence. If you’re missing content categories on your website, add them. If other stations’ talent are more involved online, work with your jocks to increase post frequency. If your website looks like it was built in 1999 and your competitors are rocking a 2015 design, it’s time to push hard for a design update.
- Help your Sales Team target digital advertisers. Give them a list of companies who advertise on both the radio and non-radio brands you reviewed. Explain the different types of sponsorships, ads and contests you saw to begin brainstorming for ideas. It’s easier for Account Executives to sell a great idea than to sell a generic banner ad.
- Set up a Google Alert to monitor your competitors (and your station, too). Add keywords for station and show names, and Google will email you once daily with any news or blogs posted.
- If you haven’t ever run a Google or Facebook ad for the station, do it now. Not only will it improve your website traffic and increase Facebook likes, respectively, but it will show you another realm of competition. It’s important to understand the way Google and Facebook ads work, so you know what potential advertisers are getting from these ads (and what they’re paying for).
Photo credit: Harald Hoyer/Flickr via Creative Commons
What metrics or entities do you include when analyzing competitors? Share your thoughts in the comments below.