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Tracy Johnson
How to IZE Your Content to Add More Personality
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One of the basic pillars of performance is relating to an audience on their terms. I call it ize-ing content.

Personalities that are friendly, warm and involved in the listener’s world become friends. But you can’t become friends unless you add personality to your show. Otherwise, you’re just a voice on the radio.

This seems to be a declining art. Air talent sounds increasingly robotic, detached and as a whole seems to be losing the warmth that goes beyond content, topics or material.

Perhaps it’s a by-product of our obsession with the PPM-centric programming philosophy of eliminating all “useless” talk, keeping it tight and trying to win more occasions of listening. The actual words may not be needed, so they’re eliminated.

Or perhaps we’ve inadvertently raised a generation of air talent that doesn’t understand the importance of being authentic, natural, relatable talent.

Or maybe personalities really are disconnected from the audience because they’re voice-tracking multiple stations in other cities they know nothing about.

What’s missing is content additives, relatable comments, phrases, mentions and observations that let them know we are real, live, living and breathing human beings getting through life the same way they are.

Add Personality By Ize-Ing Content

Content additives are at the heart of  “ize-ing” content.

The four principles are to energ-ize, personal-ize, local-ize and supersize your show with content relatables. This requires discipline, time and attention. They should be infused into every single break in your show. It should be part of your show prep process.

In my webinar on this topic, I go into more detail in each of the four IZEs, but here are seven simple ways every personality can make it happen.

Information Elements

Research tells us weather still one of the most important elements on most every show. Every station does it, but few are relating it. Most are just going through the motions with a stiff, official forecast.

You’ll need a sweater and a coat today… the sun is coming but just 1 degree on Monday as the new work week begins.

Dress warmly today-a sweater and jacket will be about right – it’s going to be chilly but not cold…

A break from the snow later this morning, but bundle up… and don’t forget to put a hat on the kids. The sun is out but it’s really cold out there today.

Sarah Taylor is the midday personality on Spirit 105.3/Seattle, a terrific Contemporary Christian station. Sarah is upbeat, bright and clever. And she masters the concept of ize-ing her content.


Sarah Taylor Great Examples of How to ize Content

Listen to this break, a simple weather forecast and how Sara personalizes it:

In just a few seconds, Sarah told a story. It’s a short story, but it adds color to a service element that is usually ordinary and mundane. This actually gets heard! And it adds value to her personality brand.

In just a few seconds, she communicated everything we needed to know about the weather. It cuts through more than the official forecast from the weather service or detail about today’s highs and lows. it’s perfectly presented to the audience, a target of moms.

It’s simply great example of energizing a break with color.

Welcome Listeners

Create stories (yes, make them up!) about their lives and what they’re doing today. Make it sound like everyone is listening, and the party is on your station!

Thanks for turning us on this morning… including Paula and Shannon. They carpool with their kids to school at (name the school), and Paula told me her 6th grader has her hooked on (our station). Awww, thanks so much. You made our day! And to her daughter Chelsea: Good luck on that history test today.

Another new listener checking in this morning… Brenda just found us on her way HOME from the late shift at the hospital and tells us that she can’t get enough of that new Maroon 5 song, and she’s standing by for (contest coming up in 10 minutes)… Brenda, your chance is coming up at 8.

“Maggie just called – she’s fighting the snow to get to her first day of work at a new job this morning and she’s afraid that her new boss won’t understand that she’s late because traffic is bad. You’re not alone, Maggie!”

Take Phone Calls

Even short phone calls or playing excerpts of calls that punctuate the show and suggest that you are friendly, warm, approachable and interactive. Listener interaction, even if it’s repurposed from previous days (or weeks or months) gives the impression you’re talking with the audience, not at them.

Shake Hands

Thank them for listening. Insert listener names (just first names) and locations, including neighborhoods, schools, communities, businesses, etc.

This is a great way to shake hands on the air. Sometimes personalities come on abruptly as if they’re walking up to a group at a party and just start talking without introducing themselves. It’s more polite (and likable) to introduce yourself with a quick handshake.

Lifestyle comments

Find ways to connect to things happening in the community with simple references that acknowledge you are “one of them.”

Laura is dragging a little this morning, getting ready for another day of battle at the cosmetics counter at (retail store)… she was at (event) last night and didn’t get to sleep until after 1… wanted to get moving this morning… here’s Rihanna.

If you’re passing near (intersection) in the next few minutes, stop by and help Terry and John… they’re stuck on the right side of the road waiting for Triple A. They’re carpooling to (business) and John insisted there was enough gas to get there… uh huh. Thanks for having us on… and good luck guys.

This happens in organic breaks, but also in ordinary promos and reading liners.

Supersize It

This is another of the ize-s. It’s supersizing content. Here’s Sara Taylor again with an example:

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This promotion is for Spirit 105.3’s concert featuring Jars of Clay, but you never see it coming. She paints a picture, taking you there with rich details. It’s not over-the-top, but the promo is much more interesting because it’s so colorful.

The great part of this break is in the details. She doesn’t just mention the scones. It’s warm scones, fresh out of the oven. And you don’t have just one, you have and one in each hand.

The technique is excellent, but it’s energized by her personality. Sara’s smile comes through every time she opens the mic, and she reveals character through comments, without calling attention to herself.

Music Additives

Include music information and content. Artist information. Song details. Don’t isolate pop culture exclusively to the Biz. Integrate it throughout the show in small bits, not just in your celebrity news feature.

These music additives connect song to your personality, show and station. Not in every break, but regularly and frequently. It’s easy to find out what Britney, Katy and Adam are doing today and relate it in a small way.

Justin Bieber says he wants to be Michael Jackson. What do you think? Is this song his “Billie Jean?”

The countdown is 28 days until Nicki Minaj debuts on the voice and I can’t wait… here she is.

It’s easy to get information on the artists and connect with listeners for one of the primary reasons they’re coming to your station!

Format Bridges

Connect each element to the preceding and upcoming element. Introduce the songs. Promote your features.

Here’s a great example of a personality oriented show demonstrating that they love the station, embrace the music and turning on some personality for a short break. This is Jagger & Kristi, morning show on Magic 92.5/San Diego:

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Anyone can read liner cards and provide facts.

It’s on you to paint a picture and make every break come alive. Say it the way nobody else does-or can. This is at the heart of personality.
Morning personality Rick Morton was reading a liner card for a promo on Z90/San Diego that offered an exclusive party experience for a listener. He set up the break by saying:

This is what it must feel like to be Paris Hilton.

That one line built more excitement and vision than all of the facts and details for the promotion. It lured the listener into wanting to hear more. Subtle? Yes. Small thing? Of course. But it’s these details that paint a picture for the audience.

Another Format Bridge Example

Here’s another example from the same promotional campaign.

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Start putting more prep time into those things that seem easy. It may seem like a small thing, but as the saying goes: Many Mickles Makes a Muckle. In other words, little things add up to mean a lot.

Make every mention come alive and tell a story!

Opportunities are everywhere. Start tomorrow. It’ll energize your show!

Want to get more information on how to IZE your content? Sign up for my webinar on July 18, 2017.

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