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Build a Radio Website that Gets Results

11 Parts of a Winning Radio Website

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A radio website should include more than a station's telephone number and stock photos of recording artists. Strengthen your radio station's brand by connecting with your audience in ways that aren't possible over the airwaves and track your results using the latest web analytics tools.

1. Give Your Radio Website a Local Look

A photo of three office workers gathered around a computer
Photo © Stockbyte / Getty Images
As more radio stations switch from local in-studio programming to syndicated shows, it's easy for a station to appear generic -- on-air and online. Design your radio website to reflect your community by including backgrounds, banners and photos showing familiar landmarks. Even if your station hasn't produced any memorable on-air radio personalities, it will appear that your station is a bedrock of your city and not just a station from anywhere, USA.

2. Use Local News to Keep Your Radio Website Fresh

Even the most loyal on-air listeners need a reason to keep coming back to your website. Use local news to keep your site looking fresh every time someone clicks on it. If your station doesn't produce news on its own, form a partnership with a local television station or newspaper to post their stories on your site. Beyond traditional news, listing area gas prices or movie times also creates local content that will keep people interested.

3. Strengthen Your Identity with Music Industry News

The on-air radio station format needs to be reflected on your website. Beyond your logo and slogan, strengthen your brand through music industry news. These tidbits can be promoted by your announcers on the air to drive people to the site -- "Wait til you see Cher's latest revealing outfit -- we have photos on our website that you have to see!"

4. Post Your Playlist

Since the day the first song was played on radio, a listener has asked, "I wonder what's the name of that song and who sings it?" You can answer those questions by having a constantly-updated playlist on your site. The software you choose can let users re-hear the song online, add it to their personal playlist or even buy it.

5. Create a Listeners' Club

Everyone likes to feel like a VIP. By creating a listeners' club on your website, you build loyalty among your audience members while making them feel special. Your on-air announcers should direct people to your site, where they fill out a club form to get discounts, tickets and other offers through their email. The questions you ask on the form can give you instant research -- like the hometown, age and gender of your listeners and their favorite music artists, all for free.

6. Turn Listeners into Winners Through Contests

Radio contests have been a staple at most stations for decades. Whether you give away prizes on the air or online, you should require people to use your site to sign up. That keeps your staff from having to sort through letters and postcards or taking information over the phone. As with listeners' clubs, you can design an online sign-up form to get research information -- like what time of day a person listens to your station, who's her favorite announcer and which songs she wishes you'd play.

7. Allow Your Audience to Listen Online

In years past, office workers would have to put a radio on their desk to hear you while on the job. By allowing your audience to listen through your site, you keep them connected anywhere they have Internet service. While they have your site pulled up to hear the music, hopefully they'll also click around to check out your other content.

8. Interact Through Social Media and Polls

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter give your audience a way to talk about your station. Make sure to display the latest posts on your website so that you can capitialize on the buzz happening on your Facebook and Twitter pages. This provides another opportunity for on-air promotion of your site -- "What did you think of the American Idol finale -- post your comments and read what others are saying. Go to our site to get the links!" A website poll can achieve the same goal of interaction -- "The latest Lady Gaga song? Smash or trash? Go to our site to tell us!"

9. Add Apps for Listeners on the Go

Smartphone apps are quickly becoming a must for most media websites. Make sure you don't turn away your listeners by failing to offer them. When your audience downloads an app for their iPhone, Android, Blackberry or other mobile device by going to your website, you don't lose them when they're away from their radio. Even if you can't offer specific apps, designing a mobile site that works on all phones is another option. It gives users a stripped down, easy to read site for their small screen size.

10. Connect with Your Community

You already know that the most successful radio stations do more than play music from a studio, they put their people out into the community to become a vibrant part of listeners' lives. Your radio website can highlight your efforts around town. Publish a photo gallery from a concert, post a sign-up form for a charity walk or just embed YouTube videos of your crew doing something crazy with your listeners during an outstanding radio remote. Reninforce your community commitment by making sure it's showcased on your site.

11. Offer Advertisers New Ways to Reach Their Customers

Building a more loyal audience is great, but creating new opportunities for your advertisers is just as important. By using your site, they can move beyond 15-second or 30-second audio-only commercials. Your sales department can create 1/2 price deals, photo galleries of cars for sale or video tours of clothing boutiques. Now your advertising clients aren't limited to sound only -- if you take time to brainstorm how to use your website to bring them better results.

For decades, radio stations have strived to avoid static on the air. Today, you also want to avoid a static radio website so even if your listeners have infinite music choices, they pick your station as their favorite.

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