4 Ways to Fire Up Promos With Content
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Tracy Johnson
4 Ways to Fire Up Promos With Content
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The world moves fast and your audience has high expectations. That alone should be enough to cause us to reconsider how we promote stations. Every element is an opportunity to entertain, position and inspire action. But most stations keep running out the same type of content. We need promos with content.

It’s important! Imaging promos that repeat your position or tell listeners fall on deaf ears. Do you think that saying “We play today’s best music” 14 times an hour causes reaction? Does building a promo around “Keep listen for your next chance to qualify for our trip” drive tune in? I don’t think so. It’s a waste of time. And you can’t afford to waste a moment.

So how can you get more out of those commercials for your station or show?

Here are four ways to fire up your promo campaigns with content.

Find The Content & Sell It Emotionally

Get rid of claims and all promos built around positioning. Yes, positioning is important, but we’ll deal with that later (#4).

Positioning promos are generic. They don’t inspire action. And they don’t cut through when thousands of messages compete for limited attention.

What is a generic promo? Here’s an example:

Peppy and Zippy, with the most fun in the morning. Miss a day, miss a lot. Weekday mornings from 6-10 on (station).

Did you hear Peppy and Zippy this morning? If you missed it, you missed this (out-of-context clip that doesn’t make sense unless you heard it). Peppy and Zippy in the morning, with the most laughs and (city’s) best music on (station). Home of the All-Request Workday.

Instead, find a way to insert topical content into the promo and provide a specific time to listen.

Listener Nicole has a problem and needs your help. Her boyfriend was away for two months, and now he’s back. Should she tell him about her affair while he was gone? Or ignore it and hope he never finds out. Your calls and Nicole’s decision tomorrow morning at 7:40 with Peppy & Zippy on (station).

With a little preparation, it’s easy to find headlines that direct listeners to tune-in moments.

Trim Copy Points to One Message

Most promos try to do too much. We want to give all the details about the concert. Or provide the instructions on how the contest works. Those long lists fall on deaf ears. The audience doesn’t have the attention span to get your message.

The details may (or may not) be important. But you can’t communicate the nuances of the campaign in one promo. So don’t try. Create a campaign with a series of messages focused on one specific element. Add a call-to-action and you’ve got it!

For example:

Mix 100.3’s $10,000 Secret Sound is on. What is this sound? (play sound). Think you know? It’s worth Ten Grand. Listen to win at 11:15…and get the details at www.MixSecretSound.com.

See what this promo does? All that matters is getting the listener to the next tune-in occasion. This is much more powerful than a list of all the times to listen. And, for those that want to know more, you’ve provided a way to get it. By the way, stations should get more unique url’s for promotions. It sounds bigger and is far easier for the audience to remember. You can always redirect them to the landing page on your website.

In writing promos with content, always think about:

The next time to listen.
A specific content-based reason to tune in.

This applies to promos outside a personality show, and inside the program.

This happened on Ellen’s show yesterday (play audio). What was she doing to Tom Hanks? And the behind-the-scenes firestorm that started. Zippy has the inside scoop in 12 minutes on Hollywood 360.

Create Your Own Promos With Content

Following this advice takes time and resources. And that’s in short supply at most stations. Don’t get frustrated that the production department can’t handle that many promos. You don’t want them spending their time on repetitive promos anyway. They should be creating new concepts.

Take matters into your own hands.

Have the production god create production parts. You can write, voice and produce the promos yourself. You may even be able to produce it on your home computer and bring it in the next day or email it.

Create Urgency and Relevance Through Scheduling

Once you’re creating promos with content, make sure they work. They can only work if they’re actually heard!

Invest the time in figuring out where specific promos should run to be most effective. Then develop a system to manage the promos. Don’t use one rotator cut with a series of promos that run at random times. You have limited control over it.

Instead, create multiple cuts that air at specific times. Then populate the rotator with promos designed to run only there. It’s a lot more work in the beginning, but once it’s set up, it’s easy to manage. And it sounds great. Here’s an example:

Rotator 1: Runs at 10:20. Content: Directs listeners to tune-in to win at 11am.

Rotator 2: Runs at 10:50 into spots: Content: You’re less than 10 minutes away from winning $10,000.

Rotator 3: Runs at 11:20: Do you know the $10,000 Secret Sound? No winner at 11. Direct tune in to 2pm.

Each rotator should have several versions of the message.


Content wins. Audiences won’t tolerate less. And content is promotable if you produce promos with content.

Promos are essential to forward momentum on stations. And, promos can direct the audience to increase listening occasions.

You may wonder how to position your brand values in promos with content. No problem. Fold it into the messages in a natural way. Most promos are about your station, with a message of listener benefits added on. Turn that around. Build the promo about the benefit, and tag station values to it.

Get rid of everything you don’t need and replace it with content-based messages that inspire action. And have fun doing it!

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