Friday, April 04, 2008

The Election and The Summer

Hopefully you are all set for the Spring promotion season with a great campaign to build your brand, TSL or market awareness. Now is the time to be looking ahead to the Summer and this Summer presents a lot of different opportunities. The biggest one is the election in November.

We have already seen huge voter turnout in the primaries, high ratings for news outlets, lots of web hits on election related sites, and big turnout at campaign rallies. The younger audience looks to be more active in this election than EVER before.

In many ways this echos a period in the late 60s when we also had a questionable war, lots of voter interest on the younger side, and a ton of issues that the audience was interested in. This time it may even be more critical as there are more people in the country, more issues on more fronts, and a lot more voices in the coverage. Elections are also a local event. While some of the issues are national in scope the voters mostly vote with their local heart in their hand. Ask any candidate and they will tell you that as they travel from state to state the issues change - you can see it in their messages and commercials. Radio has such a unique advantage because our coverage area is the local scene.

The general feeling in the country is that this is the most important election in decades and right now it looks like the audience is ready to vote and participate in record numbers. Are your promotions plans for the summer ready to take advantage?

Have you looked into setting up 'register to vote' systems at your remotes, community events (the State Fair, Taste of, Summer Celebrations), and at concerts?

Is your web site ready with a map of the area so people know where to go to vote?

Do you have links to the candidates web sites and also sites that cover local issues?

Are you ready to go to any big campaign rallies that may happen in your market?

Is your morning show thinking of bits, stunts and unique ways to cover the campaign and election that will entertain and inform your audience?

Have you brainstormed other ways to use your web site for election chats, polls, and other options to cover the election in a way that's relevant to your target audience?

The election is not just for News/Talk stations. Yes, Rush will have a good audience this Summer and Fall, but what about the 90% of the audience that isn't in the Ditto Head club? You have a great opportunity to bond with your target audience as they make a big decision in their eyes. This is more than just playing their favorite song or giving them some concert tickets. If you make the most of it you could end up with more P1s and a wider reach.

Rarely do we get this kind of opportunity where we know that such a large share of our audience is focused on a specific topic.

To make the most of it you have to have a plan and now is the time to get the plan in motion.

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