This “Ghost Stories” idea is in the same spirit of the “Pinewood Derby” post a few weeks back. The idea is this: to create a compelling piece of local radio content–on the cheap–that engages not only the parents of your community, but the kids as well. The theory is that if you can give kids a positive and nostalgic memory of your radio station at an early age that will follow them into adulthood. That, and it’s a very unique piece of content that any local business would love to sponsor. This program would be mostly suited for a local AM talker is a small town.
Here’s how easy it would be to do this…
1. Call To Action. Run a 30-second promo inviting members of your community to stop by your radio station to record a ghost story that they remember hearing as a kid. Something from camp, Boy/Girl Scouts, you get the idea. If nobody responds to the promo, then I would recommend taking a portable recorder down to the Old Folk’s Home and getting some of the geezers to tell you stories there. They would absolutely love it. Old people love to scare kids…
2. Production. Record each 5 or 10 minute “Ghost Story” in the prod room of your radio station. Produce it up with cool sound effects, or something as simple as a spooky music bed. Knock out an hours worth of these.
3. Execution. Promote the thing as a Friday or Saturday night special program that runs during the summer months. Make a big deal out of it by encouraging kids to camp out in their back yards with one of their dad’s old transistor radios. You know…after reading that last sentence, that may not be such a good idea! Just promote it as a show that kids should listen to with their parents.
This is a quick and easy program to slap together. It will be almost as easy to sell. Also, doesn’t this just sound like fun?
About nine years ago, I was fortunate enough to have worked along side a brilliant young sales guy at Learfield Communications (and for the life of me I can’t remember his name, Chuck something?). He was constantly looking for companies in his territory that he could truly help with the power of his network. That seemed to be his primary focus and he was wildly successful. I stalked him quite a bit, and learned a lot from him along the way.
Here’s one example of his strategy in action…
I was in his office and he was trolling the Iowa news wires. He was reading a story about a local power company that was dealing with wide-spread outages after a massive storm and the community was getting pissed. A light bulb went off in his head: “You know what, Ben? I’ll bet this power company is going to have some serious image problems after this is all said and done. I think I can help their PR campaign.” He immediately got on the the phone with their PR gal and offered a solution to her problem. I listened to his conversation intently. The words “sales” or “money” never even left his mouth. He focused on engaging the potential client and offering her a solution to a specific problem. Brilliant. He got the account on the spot. The cool thing about this guy? He was very genuine. Not a sleazy sales bone in his body.
I’ll bet that if your local sales staff shifted their underlying focus from “selling” to “problem solving” you would start to see some serious gains. At the end of the day, that’s what your potential clients are all looking for, right?
[Update: I was chatting the other day with respected radio consultant Ed Shane about this upcoming blog post. While he agrees with the concept, he brings up a solid point: local sales folks –in today’s current economic climate– just don’t have the time to develop the kind of solid relationship they once had with individual clients. It’s all about what you sold today. Is there something we can do about this? Thanks for making that point Ed.]