In the early 2000’s I started a real estate training company for investors. With the proliferation of boot camps and weekend seminars, I decided to offer similar content that everyone else was providing. However, my differentiator was the content I would deliver would not be oriented to my schedule and my desire for fast money (like all weekend bootcamps are designed to do). I would deliver it in a context that worked for the client.
I would create real training that worked for the students.
We opened up an academy with a 10-week curriculum and a 6-month training course. The academy was a traditional brick and mortar enterprise that gave instant and customized feedback to the clients. In effect, we started the nations’ only semester-based, live real estate academy for real estate investors.
Like any business, we advertised. We placed ads through local media channels, did telemarketing and attended trade shows. We invested heavily in the marketing of our academy and began to enroll students on a consistent basis. The stress of hunting for clients was wearing us all down. Expenses were high. Revenues were low. We needed a shift and we needed it soon.
In January of 2003, I came up with the initiative to create a 180-degree shift in our marketing. I told our staff that I wanted to “fire” all the outbound sales efforts and have 100% of our efforts go to handling inquiries from our PR.
I gave them just 12 months to pull it off….
As you can tell the title, this is a book about radio.
Specifically, I’m going to share some lessons learned and mistakes made in my transition from not having a clue about broadcast radio, to hosting Chicago’s very first real estate radio program on ABC radio.
Before we discuss this journey, the 7 secrets I learned and the 21 best practices, it’s important to understand a bit on why radio works.
Take 2 minutes and reflect on the roots of radio.
In 1897, Guglielmo Marconi was issued a British patent for improvements in transmitting electrical impulses and signals and in apparatus there for.
In short, he invented the foundation for radio.
Like all technology, it went through a process of transformation, improvements and acceptance. After the telegraph became the mainstay of “instant messaging,” Marconi went on to develop wireless technology using the electromagnetic receiver. By the turn of the century, a Nobel Prize was awarded and in a few short years, all of America was glued to their radios as an instant medium to connect with music, news, entertainment and advertising.
Radio was it.
Like the movies and newsreels that preceded and complimented it, broadcasting your voice, personality and message in a mass environment gave birth to the expert…the authority…the celebrity.
If you were on the radio and not a motion picture star you were either an entertainer or advertiser (the two melded together rather quickly with celebrity endorsements). Politicians like FDR’s “Fireside Chats” became wildly popular and within a few years, radio was THE medium for advertisers. Yesterday’s versions of soap operas were 100X more popular than TV series like Keiffer Sutherland’s, 24.
There was no other choice.
Orphan Annie and other serial shows were much MORE popular than today’s programs because radio was their only choice. Cinemas were available in the cities, but for the rest of America, there was only one outlet.
It is this psychologically embedded acknowledgment of broadcast radio as a credible source for entertainment, news and information that prevails. Even to this day, broadcast radio retains its credibility.
While the internet, YouTube and Facebook have a 100-fold national reach over most local radio stations, the credibility established and solidified by the big broadcasters, like ABC, CBS and NBC have indelibly etched authority into the minds and hearts of Americans.
Anyone can publish a YouTube channel, but only ‘credible’ newscasters and journalists can communicate through airways regulated by the FCC.
Even though the potential reach of your own YouTube channel is greater than your local ABC radio channel, the credibility of being on broadcast radio carries more authoritative weight with the population because you are perceived as an endorsed expert by a credible third party. (As opposed to creating your own audience and channel)
It may not be fair, but being on “recognized” broadcast media channels resonates with consumers better than a new or unknown channel.
Regardless of your current reach, audience and platform, being on “the news” (in a good way) will do more for your status and exposure than all the Facebook posts imaginable.
Getting on the radio works.