For 20 years of my life, I worked in radio. I did almost everything in the business, including news, play-by-play, hosting a morning show, editing, producing ads, disc-jockeying, and even scheduling commercials. It was a long career, and because I worked at a local radio station, I learned some important life-lessons, especially when it came to working with the public.
When satellite and Internet radio made their debuts, we all held our collective breath, wondering if the end of local radio was at hand.
As it turned out, we had nothing to fear. True, some people did migrate to the new platforms because they were lured by the promise of commercial-free radio. But the content they received via the Web or their satellite receiver had nothing to do with their daily lives.
When our listeners needed someone to sponsor their softball team, promote an event, or highlight the accomplishments or needs of someone in the community, Internet and satellite radio was nowhere to be found.
On the other hand, we were front and center in the community. We reported the local news. We sponsored local events. We highlighted the teacher / student / employee of the week. One of our disc jockeys devoted a daily segment of her show to the local animal shelter.
When elections rolled around, we made sure that we had the local candidates on the air — not just on paid political ads — but on debates that we sponsored. When the high school presented "Phantom of the Opera," the cast visited the station to sing "The Music of the Night" to our listeners.
If the swim team went to state, they were on the air with us. No matter if it was a sporting event, a fundraiser, a play, or just a community gathering, we made sure that we were a part of it. By keeping our attention on the community, we set ourselves apart from the competition.
It's important to remember that we were not looking for slick ways to infiltrate the hearts and minds of the listeners. We realized we were a part of a community, and that we needed to be good members of that community. It made a difference.
We weren't just a voice in their headphones or speakers. We became friends and neighbors. We became someone that people could turn to in a time of need or celebration, and a friend who happened to be in their homes and workplaces.
As a professional, you have a business to run, and you have no shortage of work to do. But in the coming year, why not set aside one meeting a month, or some time during the week to discuss with your staff what is happening in your community?
What local charity or effort could use your help? Is there a place or an event that your office could champion? Could you create something to benefit your community? Is there a team you can sponsor or a cause you could support?
Involving yourself in the community will raise your business profile, set you apart, and moreover, let potential customers know that you are interested in being a part of their lives, not just a provider of services. You and your staff may even have the chance to let your hidden talents shine. And let's be honest, it's just good to give something back! Everyone benefits when you decide to become a community stakeholder, and not just a business.
Business Promotion is dedicated to helping your business grow. We have a talented staff that can help you raise your profile and make your presence known in the community. If you have questions, or would like help brainstorming some ideas, reach out to us at 866.664.5216. We look forward to making 2018 a great year for you and your clients!Author: Lincoln Brown
Lincoln Brown is a writer and editor for Business Promotion. In addition to spending 20 years in radio as a host, journalist, and producer, he has also been a wildland firefighter and hazardous material responder. He has published one e-book, based on a human trafficking awareness trip to Cambodia, and has been a guest columnist on The Hill.