How to plan radio promotions (with examples)

Would it be awesome to create radio promotions & contests that go viral and draw many new listeners for your radio?

In this post, we talk about how to create successful radio promos.

I've included two brilliant radio promos you can learn from:

Have your ducks in a row and let’s go...

More...

What are radio promotions?

To advertisers, they are ad spots. But…

To radio folk, they are means to promote the station while entertaining and rewarding listeners.

So call them promos, giveaways or contests—the baseline is—they will help grow your audience.

So, what are the steps of creating a radio promotion?

1

Come up with an idea

You can look at what others have done.

Put your unique twist to previous ideas and generate fresh, fun and engaging promos.

You can also:

a) Think about what people need

b ) What you want to accomplish

—Here is an example of thinking about your listeners' needs:

Not everyone can afford Christmas presents.

A relevant radio promotion might involve asking listeners to share reasons why they can’t afford presents this holiday season.

Then create a content where the winner walks away with a shopping voucher.

Secondly, you can also use promos to accomplish goals.

Promoting your radio app?

Do you have an app, but can't get listeners to install it?

Offer listeners who download and use your app a chance to win money or other prizes.

Need more likes and comments on social media?

Create a post...and reward people who share the post on their public profile or tag a number of their friends.

2

Put a plan in place

It’s a little obvious—but you ought to put a plan in place to execute your idea.

And—it helps to start early.

If Christmas is three months away, waiting till the end of November to come up with a radio promotion will equal less time for proper execution.

So whip up a creative team—if you may—to brainstorm great topics even months before you create the actual promo.

This is also the stage to think about sponsors.

For instance:

You can partner with a wine store to create a radio series about wine.

Then at the end of the series, a lucky listener may win a year's supply of free wine or a trip to a vineyard.

As you plan, consider the mechanics of the radio promotions: 

  • How will listeners participate?
  • Who will select the winners?
  • What are the contest rules?
  • Are prizes transferable?
  • Is the contest open to only one member per household?

Document your plan of action. And over the coming months or weeks hold meetings to discuss and work on your radio promo.

3

Create and​​​​ deploy

Right before you run your promo, a good idea would be getting everyone including the presenters on board.

And testing out the delivery before you get it on-air.

Awesome! For the other section of this article, I'll show you two great radio contests that made radio history:

The Last Contest

The Last Contest, a giveaway that aired on KCBQ radio in 1972, got me excited.

It was a really creative radio promotion that you can listen to here: 

There were hundreds of prize packages with unique gifts.

In sixty seconds, Jack McCoy would tell listeners what each package contained. For instance:

  • Prize package 158, had a 1972, 246GT Dino Ferrari.
  • Price package 179, was a brand new Santana sailing yacht.
  • Price package 201, included flying lessons, a helicopter, and a Cessna airplane.

In total, the price packages were worth 87 million dollars.

I can only imagine what it felt like as Jack described what was in a package and loyal listeners from rival stations tuning into KCBQ to cash in.

After 13 days of running the promo, they chose the random secret number.

The lucky winner selected the prize package 158 *with the Ferrari.

Due to the sheer volume of calls on the final day, a 1/3 of San Diego's telephone system was out for thirty minutes.

Win a Baby

In 2011, Ottawa's hit music station —The New Hot 89.9 FM—ran the "Win a baby" contest.

Radio promotion ideas

To win couples had to explain in 100 words or less, why they deserved to win a baby.

It generated lots of buzz around the world along with some controversy.

Those against the radio content argued that it was outright unethical!

Well, they weren't giving out a baby per se. 

The lucky couple would get $35,000 worth of fertility treatments.

And the best part:

Not only did the contest become legendary because of some nifty phrasing and some attention-grabbing images—the station shed light on the plight of couples struggling with infertility.

In 2017, WXKB, a Florida FM radio station ran the same promo giving out free IVF treatments.

The winning couple had been trying to have a baby for the last five years.

Let's wind this up...

If you have more radio promotions ideas, we'd like to hear them in the comments below.

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  • Hugues
  • Updated February 14, 2019
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