What?! Video Can Learn From Radio?

What's your favorite memory of the Tooth Fairy? And don't pretend like you don't have one... maybe it's the pretty wings or a shiny silver dollar? Those are nice. However, when I think of the tooth fairy, it's not about the rumor of glitter dust wielding parents sneaking into their kid's bedrooms to stuff wads of cash under pillows or even that movie with The Rock from a few years ago). I'm thinking about the one and only real tooth fairy- the Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy. What's that you may ask?

When I was kid in the 70's I would wake up early just to listen to the morning radio show. They would talk about stuff, crack jokes and play music. I loved it, but what I loved most happened at 7:10. That's when they would play a radio bit called the Tooth Fairy. It was a hilarious two-minute daily radio comedy program produced by the legendary Dick Orkin.  Each day you could hear one of the 300 episodes featuring the brilliant bumbling interactions between the molar marauder (Newton Snookers), Nurse Durken, and Dr. Nelson C. Armadillo.

Each episode would burst with some truly great theatre of the mind - the mammoth dental organ, Nurse Durken's wry snarky voice, the classic door shuts, the jangling sack of teeth, or Newton's gum pink jammies with the feet in them. It was memorable. I became an official tooth fairy member and quickly bought the entire series when it became available a few years ago. 

This is all very touching, I know, but here's the deal. Video marketers can learn some things from great radio, and not just that the pictures are better! HA! There are some unique morning show strategies that can help you make better video stories... and here they are:

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 More music and Les Nessman.

Keep People Tuned In
Radio creates content to keep people listening. The more people that tune in and the longer they listen, the better the station performs. They design all of their content to build loyalty and habitual listening. They don’t want to give reasons for people to leave. They create, curate and distribute relevant, valuable and engaging content in order to keep their audiences faithful. That’s the very definition of content marketing.

Be Audience Focused
The great radio stations figured out long ago that they aren’t transmitter-focused. They are really more audience-focused. They discover the interests and lifestyles of their audience and understand their point of view. Stations needs audiences to remember them so they keep coming back.

Create Benchmarks

 This is not really a bench, Mark. It's Mark on a bench, or rather a radio console.

Benchmarks create memorable moments. The Tooth Fairy aired at 7:10am. The trivia question, test tune or contest was asked at 7:20. The news update and surf report came on at 7:30. Those specific moments established continuity and familiarity.  Content was created so that the audience could depend on certain information or entertainment that interested them. Tracy Johnson and Alan Burns write in their radio books that consistent content builds success, not the really the style.  Benchmarks give reasons to tune in. They build trustr and strengthen your brand equity (or goodwill) with the audience. Still not convinced? The late night talk shows borrow this philosophy as well with such memorable moments as Top Ten Lists, Jay-Walking, Headlines, and Thank You Notes.

One Thought.
Each on-air talk break usually features specific information. There is one thought per break. They set up what they are going to talk about and stay focused on that one element until the next thing.  It gives them shorter punchier breaks, plus the opportunity to say something more in future breaks. It’s easier for the audience to follow. Morning shows keep the momentum going. In your video marketing, you don’t have to talk about everything, just one thing.

Know The Beginning and (and more importantly) the Ending.
Great radio shows may sound like they are winging it, but they are a planned spontaneity. On-Air personalities spend hours preparing and planning. Yep, doing media is harder than you think, but it’s also really fun! They figure out why they are talking about it and where they are going with it.  Each time the mic turns on the good personalities know how their bits will start and most importantly end. They know what they they are trying to accomplish and what they want to emphasize. They start strong and are prepared for the proper ending (even when it isn’t specifically the designed one. It is live radio after all.) 

Go Big
If you’re a company thinking about creating media content, all this may sound a little nutty or crazy, but you have to do something. You have to think big. Some of the best moments in radio have been when stations take a risk. You have to market and create memorable content to your “audience”. But it takes commitment and passion. Plan it, figure out where you are going and do it.  The content will get better, the momentum will build, the goodwill will grow and your audience stay tuned to your business. You'll be richer for it. 


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About the Author
Mark Seignious, M.A., realizes his last name is a bit of an eye-chart. But, it rhymes with genius. Of course, after reading this post or others, you'll immediately know...it just rhymes. . He enjoys writing for Slate and Main plus shaping young minds as an Associate Professor at the University of Northwestern- St Paul. When it comes to water activities, Mark only wears board shorts or a wet suit.