Category Archives: Website

Best CSS tool: Using the 960 Grid System

Amazing!  No, stupendous! No, unbelievable!  You get the picture. 

If you are a designer, developer, coder, etc. (even a newbie) I would highly suggest you dig in and use Nathan Smith’s 960 Grid System, best css tool ever!  It only took me a few hours to understand the structure and begin using it.  Nathan Smith provides a ton of templates for Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and even Visio (along with several more).  So you can start using it almost instantly.

My favorite part was how easy it was to update the layout for Nashville’s premiere music teaching studio, Music Star Studios.  MSS has recently expanded into the Atlanta market.  And, since I built the site about a year ago it definitely needed updating.  The original code and design was NOT on any type of grid system (my bad).

It only took about a day to update all the pages, all WITHOUT any design changes (except for the homepage, which was a total re-design anyway).  I was able to quickly add a new navigation scheme and it worked like a charm.

To sum up,  THANK YOU, Nathan Smith for developing tools like the 960.gs for the community to use.

Another designer friend of mine also recently introduced me to the grid system when they designed the website for the 44th Annual CMA Awards on ABC.  Thanks to StudioBanks.com for that.

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Has Country Music Finally Gone Digital?

We are DEFINITELY getting there… well the fans anyway. Let me explain.

As fans continue to demand what they want when they want all of the music industry has struggled to keep up.  Some genres like Pop and Rock tend to have a younger demographic so those fans have been quicker to adopt and more demanding than the older, not-as-tech-savvy Country Music fans.  BUT…

Country Music fans are getting younger and more technologically advanced in their increasingly complicated and busy lives.

How do you know that Ben?  Well, after looking at all the data from the largest Country Music festival in the world (CMA Music Festival, held every June in Nashville) the results are very promising!

Without getting into specifics, CMA members can email me for those, the digital marketing effort put forth by CMA for the event was a huge success and the fans really responded to it.  Here are the highlights:

Continue reading

Action items to make your business better. #NABradioshow

Digital Best Practices
from Daniel Anstandig of McVayNewMedia.com

In a word: BRILLIANT

Brilliant actionable tips for local radio and others to make their digital presence more focused and able to work harder for them.  These are from Daniel Anstandig, President of McVay New Media, as presented at the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia on Sept. 24, 2009.  Find him on Twitter @anstandig.  By far the best session at the show!

DIGITAL REVENUE BENCHMARKS FOR YOUR LOCAL STATION
Year 1:
3-5% of broadcast revenue should be digital
7-10% of broadcast cume should be the amount of unique visitors your site receives
Your site should average about 3 Page Views per visitor

Year 2:
5-8% rev of broadcast revenue should be digital
10-15% of broadcast cume should be the amount of unique visitors your site receives
Your site should average about 5 Page Views per visitor

For every 400k in rev ur trying to generate u need one seller.

EVERYONE PITCHES IN
Daniel has re-written the job descriptions for everyone at your radio station so you can do your part in the digital revolution.  I plan to post them as soon as I receive them.

FIVE ACTIONABLE ITEMS TO IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL STATION’S SITE
1. You HAVE to have an intuitive user interface
If your users don’t understand what it is that you want them to do on your site they won’t be coming back.
• To check your station’s site(s) go to: Feng-GUI.com and Fivesecondtest.com

2. Enable new discovery
If new users can’t find your site you’ll be scratching your head wondering why your online audience isn’t growing as fast as it should be.
• Submit to social bookmarking sites like delicious.com and stumbleupon.com.
• Daniel also pointed to http://www.kexp.com/ as a great example.

3. Instant gratification
Everything online is about instant gratification.  I want what I want and I want it now!!!
• Scrolling feature box is 60% more effective getting users to visit a second page on your local site.
• Also, Daniel pointed out that the ‘Listen Live’ button is more effective in the upper left portion of your homepage.

4. Adapt based on past use
This is an advanced technique that some stations can use to target ads (namely from Google) based on past data from users that visited their site.  Check out Google ad manager.  It’s free for goodness sake!

5. Emotional meaning
This is radio’s number one ‘ace in the hole’.  Radio connects to the listener in a way TV, print, out of home and even typical internet cannot do.  Your website should mirror that connection.

FOUR WAYS TO LOSE YOUR ONLINE AUDIENCE
1. Off site links in same window. 
Any time you link off of your site make sure it opens in a new window.  All it takes is a target=”_blank” added to the HTML for the link.

2. Poor content. 
Well duh?  Of course, looking at several local station sites this may not be as obvious as one might think.

3. Outdated/irrelevant content. 
Daniel gave a great example of a station’s site that had school snow closings listed on the homepage.  The problem was that it was APRIL and hadn’t snowed in months.  C’mon radio!  Please, pay attention to the www.

4. Compatibility. 
If someone can’t properly view your site then what’s the point?  Check out browsershots.org to make sure it works correctly in a ton of different browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, Chrome, and a bunch you’ve never heard of.

THREE IMMEDIATE STEPS RADIO CAN TAKE
1. Leap from broadcasting to crowdcasting.
It ain’t about broadcasting to the masses anymore.  It’s about connecting to the ones that are really listening.

2. Databasing
McVay New Media suggests collecting these data fields for your email database: First Name, Last Name, Address, Date of Birth, Gender, Mobile Phone #, and a few targeted survey questions where the answers will add value to your stations.

3. Analytics
Subscribe to Quantcast.com now.  They will monitor your traffic for you.
Subscribe to Google Analytics now.  It’s free and is almost always easier to use than the analytics tool your parent company has set up for you.

TWO NOTES ON INTERACTIVE SALES
1. Embrace the show outside the show. 
What Daniel means by this, he explained, was that your talent, sales, management, promotions/marketing all have to buy into this whole internet thing.

2. One station he works with signs off each morning with, “we’re moving over to our Internet studio”.  Even if this content is pre-recorded it gives the sense of being live and sounds GREAT online.  Daniel also sited, Joyfm.com, as a great example.

ONE KEWORD FOR SUCCESS
PURPOSE
You HAVE to have a purpose and strategy when jumping into the digital realm.  Know where you want to go before you start your journey.  One to three word mission statement. E.g. Local active moms or affluent ski bunnies.  Haha

Other tidbits from Mcvaynewmedia.com
Reach (broadcast). Engage (web). Capture (listener).

Reach: use your own signal to promote your site/content.
Engage: make sure you engage and interest your audience on a continuous basis once they get to your site(s).
Capture: make sure you capture some data so you can message back to them to drive ratings and revenue.

Hope these help.  Get more from McVayNewMedia.com.

WHICH HALF OBSERVATIONS: Dear Radio Industry, please do all of these and do all of these now!  If you do your part to raise Radio to the next level it will benefit everyone.  More traffic, more engagement, more ratings, , more revenue.

Get people buzzing about your brand! #NABradioshow

BUZZMARKETING
Presenter: Mark Hughes

6 SECRETS OF BUZZ MARKETING

  1. Push buttons (what do people talk about?)
    1. the Unusual
    2. the Outrageous
    3. the Taboo
    4. the Hilarious
    5. the Remarkable
    6. Secrets
  2. Capture media
    1. Types of Stories (STORIES ARE CONTENT!!)
      i.     David & Goliath
      Ben & Jerry’s did in 4 years what it should have taken 18.  They took on the giant Pilsbury corporation and drew attention to itself when Pilsbury threatened their common distributor that they would pull their business if the distributor trafficked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  B n J’s held a press conference, picketed Pilsbury and created a lot of BUZZ in the media.
      ii.    Unusual & Outrageous
      Half, Oregon was pursuaded to change it’s name to Half.com, Oregon by Half.com founder Mark Hughes.  Good Morning America did a story on the company the day it launched.  Mark had an offer from eBay 19 days later!!!)
      iii.   Controversy
      iv.   Celebrities
      v.     What’s Hot in the Media Already
      Bush’s Pretzel – Lay’s Potato Chips harnessed the power of what was already happening and inspired the country to “save the country, buy Lay’s instead of pretzels”
      Swiftboat Veteran’s harnessed the power of what was already going on in the market and lead George W to victory!
  3. Advertise for attention (Mark said to read his book 🙂
  4. Climb Buzz Everest (Mark said to read his book 🙂
  5. Demand Creativity
    Mark gave the example of how Heny Kissenger told his speech writer to re-write the first draft of his speech.  Upon submission of the second draft Henry remaked, “I guess I’ll read it now.”
  6. Police your Product
    1. Volkswagen example, “on car sign ‘Don’t buy a Volkswagen’.”  Volkswagen hadn’t been policing their own product and had a LOT of makeup work to do.

OTHER NOTES
Audio stimulus stays in the brain 5x longer than a visual stimulus before it starts to fade.  Think the Jaws theme song and how it stuck with you for decades after you last heard it.

QUO VADIS?  Where are you going?

  1. You can: React to biggest communication revolution 2 gain audience.
    WHAT IS THE BIGGEST COMMUNICATION REVOLUTION OF ALL TIME?
    i.      Facebook – It only took 6 months for FB to gain 50 million users.
    ii.      iPod took 3 years
    iii.      Internet took 4 years
    iv.      TV took 13 years
    v.      Radio took 38 years
  2. You can also: React to advertising landscape 2 gain advertisers.
    1. Example given was to hold a press conference in your home market and announce “We are no longer selling ads to local advertisers!”  This is an overstatement meant to draw attention.

The most important thing to do is to TAKE ACTION in some way!!!!!
Do something that will create buzz for your station!!!

WHICH HALF OBSERVATIONS: It’s time for Radio to stop thinking of itself as Radio or Broadcasting or the first “social network”.  It’s time to get serious about building the brand of Radio and local market brands.  Create some BUZZ, TAKE ACTION and stop everything you’re doing that even resembles the good ole days!!

Death of the Pre-roll Video Declared!!

by me. How annoying is it to HAVE to watch a 30-second or 60-second ad BEFORE you get to see the content you clicked for!!!!!

Especially when I’m in a hurry, I don’t want to watch anything except the content I clicked for. Do you?

Now, I don’t mind banner ads on the page or a post-roll even. If its done smartly I think video ads are very powerful but they have to be:
1. relevant to me
2. non-intrusive
3. see rule #1 and #2