Parents...rejoice! The kids are heading back to school! Oh, wait. Maybe you shouldn't rejoice too loudly. There's a lot of activity attached to the new school year.
If you're a parent – or you're talking to parents every day – you'll know that there are a lot of mixed emotions at the beginning of the school year. On the one hand, it means kids are getting back into a routine. On the other, it means a huge commitment of time and money.
Because the back-to-school rush is on mom's mind, here are a couple ways you can help her get ready for the new year:
1) Dedicate a section of your station's website to back to school helps and ideas. Whether you simply post supply lists for various school districts or you whip up some handy shopping list templates, make sure mom knows there's a place she can turn for information.
2) Share some school lunch recipes on your Facebook page. Sure, a lot of kids just grab school lunches, but some still brown-bag it. Dig up some fun, healthy and inexpensive ideas that mom can keep on hand.
3) Talk about safety. We all need to know some safety basics. Ask the local public information officer on your police force to share some common sense safety tips for bus stops, latch key kids and carpool lanes.
4) Give out branded planners. If you have enough time and cash, invest in some school-year planners for mom or her kids.
5) Collect some time-saving and organizational tips. Mom's got a lengthy to-do list for each morning. She's also working, picking up kids and helping with field trips and foodstuffs. Bring in an organizational specialist who can talk about ways to prep for the day and still keep up with kids and their homework.
6) Remind mom that it's ok not to do it all. WorkingMomsAgainstGuilt.com shares an interesting tip: Don't overschedule. “Don’t do it all. Give yourself a break. Be super choosy about the few commitments you make outside of work/school for you/your kids.” (Susan Wenner Jackson, 10 Back to School Tips for the Good Enough Mom)
7) Invite moms to put a weekly “love note” in their child's backpack or lunch bag. Just a sticky note with encouragement will do. Or get creative and make up a page of love notes that mom can copy or print. Share ideas online.
8) Write or share a “parent's prayer” that moms and dads can pray over their kids each day. Ask parents to share their prayers on your Facebook and Instagram pages.
9) Share some helpful budgeting ideas. Remind mom that it's ok to stay on budget when shopping for supplies and clothes.
10) Remind everyone to laugh a little. It's ok to relax. It's just school … not a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion. Although some days it might feel like it...
This is a time of year when you can be mom's hero! Help her plan for – and celebrate – the new school year!
Bill Arbuckle CMW
Walmart woke up to a social media crisis this week after comedian Travon Free noticed the retailer used a racial slur on an online product posting. Free sent a tweet – with the info – to his and Walmart's Twitter feeds.
To their credit, Walmart was quick to step into the fray, identify that the post came from a third-party vendor, and issue an apology and a promise to investigate the suspicious posting. But is it enough?
Fortune.com ran an editorial piece which included a harsh critique of the retailer, and a word of warning to all of us who represent our organization online. In the editorial, speechwriter Paul Pendergrass said, “The company should treat any product it sells as if it is stamped with the Walmart trademark. Because in the consumer's mind, if you sell it, you own it.”
It's true. In today's world, perception is reality. People don't often check the source. They assume that because we've said it – or posted it – that we own it.
So do yourself a favor when it comes to social media – or on-air information:
1) Check your source. Are they credible?
2) Check the content. Is it accurate? Does it match your brand? Does it reflect the image you work hard to build in your audience's mind?
3) When in doubt, don't. You work too hard to create a solid brand … and there's a lot more content – better content – that you can use in its place.
Walmart will recover. But in the future, they'll screen posts and vendors more carefully. Save yourself the headache by learning from Walmart's crisis and screening your content to make sure it matches your branding and messaging.
Bill Arbuckle CMW
My teenage son just issued the challenge: publish a short story on Wattpad.
I didn't know much about Wattpad – and don't really know where to start – but that's part of the challenge. We're daring each other to try something new. Something uncomfortable. Something that helps us grow our skills and use our gifts. Something that helps us connect.
He started the challenge by writing a story and then asking how to record it. As a radio guy, I'm thrilled to share some of the craft … but I never saw his challenge coming!
I've accepted his challenge – in part because it's something fun I can share with my son – but also because I need the nudge. The dare. The push to try something new, something uncomfortable.
Why am I sharing a personal challenge when there are so many big issues that need to be addressed? Because we all need a push. We all need to learn. To find new ways to grow our skills and learn new mediums to connect with audiences.
Our world gets the need to grow and build new connections. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently suggested that his social media platform can share “fill the void left by decreasing religious participation.” (The Foster Letter/Religious Market Update, 7/10/17) The social media mogul explained his desire to reach out. “It's so striking that for decades membership in all kinds of groups has declined as much as one-quarter. That's a lot of people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support somewhere else.”
Zuckerberg's words are as much a challenge to me as my son's dare. If we're not filling the void … if we're not shining a light … if we're not telling good stories … then who will?
So I'm accepting the challenge. And now I'm daring you. Try something new this summer. Learn a new platform. A new skill. Connect with a new audience. Shine a light. Fill the void.
I dare you.
Seems like there are a thousand-and-one things to remember when planning a radio promotion: everything from writing copy to scheduling announcer time, coming up with a location and getting everything and everybody on the same page. It can be a little overwhelming. But over the years, I've developed three simple rules to help me plan and execute events ranging from blood drives to national program launches. Here's my secret:
1. Sweat the Details: It pays to plan. So make time to sit down and answer these questions: What do I want to accomplish? Who am I talking to? What does success look like? What are the most important things that need to be done to make this succeed? Spend time “sweating the details” before you start the process. You'll have a clearer picture of what you need to do to succeed.
2. Impact Beats Size: Look, we all want to say that we've pulled off the most awesome event in the nation. But the truth is, God usually asks us to do something harder: be faithful to the day-to-day stuff. And here's what that means in radio promotions: do things that matter to your audience. Engage them. Run promotions that make a difference in their lives. Keep track of what you do. Measure it. Look for ways to make it better. Your market matters. God gave you this audience for this time. That makes them the most important people in the world. So give them your best and make an impact.
3. Have Fun: Promotions is hard work. But don't forget to enjoy it along the way. Celebrate the victories. Grab some photos. Gather some stories. And weave those highlights into your work. People will hear the difference and your promotions will be better for it.
Yes, there are a thousand-and-one things to remember when planning a promotion. But remember that it all starts with planning ahead, choosing promotions that engage listeners and having fun along the way!
Bill Arbuckle CMW
What's the next big promotion on your calendar? You've probably got Back to School events listed somewhere close to the top. As you start planning, here are a few ideas that can help you get ready for the new school year.
1) Ask this question: What can we do to become our listeners' number one resource for Back to School? The answer to that might take a good bit of work. That's why it's important to start now. Maybe you take the time to reach out to school principals and administrators to offer your station's services. Post announcements on your social media channels. Dedicate a section of your web site to school resources – calendars, shopping lists and school supply needs.
2) Promote student health and safety: Let's face it, today's students face some unusually tough issues. Cyber-bullying is one of those issues. Immaturity and social media make for a volatile mix. Maybe we can do something to help. Feature some interviews and podcasts with experts who can help parents guide their kids through some rough waters. What other topics can you address?
3) Use your social media channels to get moms connected. Invite your local MOPS group to host a live online chat. Turn your Twitter feed into an encouragement channel – ask parents to share what keeps them going.
4) Talk about nutrition – What recipes or power snacks help students thrive throughout the school year. Bonus points for anything that steers kids way from Monster drinks and Red Bull!
5) Promote clothing exchanges, school supply drives or other events that offer free – or reduced cost – supplies. Mom will love you for showing her ways to save money. Contact churches and community groups who host these types of events and help them with promotions.
You can't do everything. But you can look for ways to show listeners that you care about their kids. Parents – especially moms – will appreciate knowing that you're a on their side as they get started in the coming school year.