By Neil Holmes

I have an addiction. That’s the first step toward healing, right, admit you have an addiction? I have an addiction. It was made plain a couple days ago when my router died. I am addicted to the Internet and my email. At home my wife checks her email a couple times a week. I have to check my email a couple times an hour. My daughter, she’s addicted to instant messaging. Not me. If it can’t wait for an email, I’ll pick up the phone and call. That’s what the phone is there for, like sales making an intercom call down the hall to production.

But me, I’m addicted to the Internet. I listen to radio station streams, I enjoy Pandora, I scan the news and sports pages every couple of hours. I’ll even open an online encyclopedia, then type a single letter in the search box just to see what comes up, then read an entry at random. Hey… maybe my addiction is not the Internet, but information. Maybe I’m really an info-maniac.

What’s my point, where am I going thinking you care? Information and the Internet is a big part of my day. I believe it helps me be a lot more relatable to my different audiences (different stations, different audiences).

What’s a big part of your listener’s day? We know the stereotypes, the PD and the consultant talking about your “typical” listener -- age, sex, race, yada yada yada. But stereotypes and demographic profiles do an injustice when we’re trying to get a listeners attention and deliver that listener to a client.

OK, maybe injustice is a bit strong. We can use stereotypes, demographics, to narrow the focus, but don’t get caught up in them. Guys are not all about sex and beer and monster trucks. Women are not all about jewelry and their kids and how screwed up their relationship might be. Those are simplistic generalities. You will find some Jazz listeners get really pumped for NASCAR, and some Country listeners look forward to dinner on fine china with linen napkins. If you want to appeal to your listener; if you want to move them to your client, if you want to deliver for the station (and you should or leave the station right now), then get past the demographics and talk in ‘relatables’. Forget the ‘broad’ in broadcasting and talk person to person. Tell a story, talk about shared experiences; and slip the product or service into that conversation

But remember you don’t need to talk to a guy about trucks if the client’s product is curtains. Wait, curtains? Sure, stereotypes are meant to be challenged, like curtains or sofas or perennials for men. Like auto maintenance and wood working and electronics for women. (Noticed there is a huge market for lightweight power tools? Lighter means increased sales to women. Yet I don’t hear power tools advertised on AC stations. Methinks someone is missing a source of revenue).

The key to moving listeners to your client is to be relatable. To be relatable you have to understand your listeners beyond the stereotypes. Then engage them in their activities with a touch, a smell, a look, a taste. You can do all that with your keyboard and your microphone. How? For me I need to get out of my comfort zone and live in someone else’s for a while. I read the books that audience would read. Delve into history, medicine, law; lose myself in a mystery, a love story, a sonnet. I feed my addiction to information online. I try and get to know what is important to my audience, so I may be relatable, so I may move the listener to action, please the client, etc.

To convince your listener to visit your client, connect to you listener, get inside their head, live in their world and be relatable.

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