News article

Why you should think like a radio presenter when it comes to client interaction

This doesn’t mean that you need to start doing big cash giveaways or birthday shout-outs.

In the past, radio presenters were often seen as haughty disc jockeys with shouty voices and a questionable sense of humour. Today, however, the one skill every successful radio presenter must have is masterful communication.

Presenters on the radio, unlike television, are generally broadcasting to a passive audience; these days people rarely crowd around the wireless listening intently to every word. We lead busy lives: driving, working and (occasionally!) exercising, meaning that the challenge for radio is to catch our attention without us even realising it.

Similarly, as much as we wish that they were, it’s highly unlikely that your marketing audience are glued to their inbox or social media feed waiting to hear from you. So, what can we learn about communication from the people that talk for a living?

Every word counts

Words can build relationships, escalate careers, win elections, and end wars. This also means there are a lot of words out there; emails, PDFs and websites are bursting with them, so it is vital to put our message across as concisely as possible to cut through the noise.

On your standard contemporary radio station, presenters are rarely granted more than a minute between songs, including announcing the previous and upcoming tracks, giving a time-check, and regurgitating the station’s slogan. Put simply, they understand more than anyone the power of being concise when engaging an audience.

Whilst brevity can maximise the impact of your words, the type of words we use is just as important.

For example: What’s your nearest supermarket?

The brain can’t ignore a question. And the time I am currently spending picturing my local Sainsbury’s could be time spent thinking about your business. Whether you’re selling mortgage advice or meat feast pizzas, using evocative vocabulary can help paint the right picture of your brand.

Audience over everything

It may be cathartic for a broadcaster to moan on-air about being kept up by a loud neighbour’s party (remember parties?!), but listeners will start to switch off if what they’re hearing doesn’t add value to their life or isn’t told in an entertaining way.

What we can take from this realisation is the importance of putting yourselves in the shoes of your audience in every aspect of communication. Using industry terminology can make us feel smart, but if your client is having to subtly Google what “RPI” means, then you’ll struggle to build a strong relationship with them.

This also means understanding your audience which, for a radio station, can be very difficult.

Many will take the approach of targeting a “typical listener”. For example, BBC local radio stations in the 2000s talked directly to 55-year-old fictional divorcees, “Dave and Sue” – a self-employed plumber and school secretary respectively – who shop in Asda and have grown-up children.

BBC bosses even printed off photos of Dave and Sue and put them up in the eyeline of presenters so they would adapt their pitch accordingly.

Luckily, understanding your audience as a business is a lot easier. Pinning photos of your clients to your office walls would probably be frowned upon, but a simple catch-up at the start of meetings can help build a deeper audience insight.

The power of the personal

Ever noticed that nearly all radio presenters will use the word “you” despite sometimes broadcasting to millions? This personal touch helps the medium to enjoy greater closeness to its audience than TV, magazines, or newspapers.

This approach can be taken one step further by targeting a specific area of your audience, with great results. Radio DJs will always get a far greater response to a targeted call-to-arms such as “get in touch if you’ve ever met an adored famous person who was horrible in real life” than simply “get in touch and let me know what you’re up to”.

You can employ this tactic too, by targeting specific groups of people in certain aspects of marketing. Very often, a strong response from a particular group can be significantly greater, and more valuable to your business, than a weaker response to a more generalised campaign.

Get in touch

Our writers understand how to retain that personal touch when it comes to client communication, meaning that you can spend less time channelling Zoe Ball and more time running your business.

Give us a call on 0115 8965 300 or email to chat about our newsletter and blog service.

Stay in touch


Sign up to receive our hints, tips & ideas to improve your marketing.
As you’d expect, we’ll never pass your details to anyone else and if you don’t like what we have to say, you can unsubscribe at any time.