Back in the day of traditional broadcast media, when we talked about increasing audiences, we were only trying to get people to listen to us on-air.
Our t-shirts, stickers and mugs tell the audience one key piece of information - where and when to tune in.
These days, there are so many places audiences can listen, read and watch our content - we talk about how to "take our stories to where our audiences already are." For example, YouTube, Facebook, podcasts and streaming radio services.
What's changed in this new media landscape?
1. Audiences are now fragmented.
Your audience no longer tunes in at the same time to listen to live broadcasts. They might tune into your station by going to your website or your program's social media page. They may follow a Twitter link provided by someone they follow or they may be searching the Internet.
One thing is certain - your audience is no longer coming to you simply by turning on their radio or television. We need to understand where our audiences are consuming our content and place it where they already are rather than forcing them to go elsewhere.
To understand more about how Australian audiences access media check out a comprehensive report: Digital Australia: State of the Nation.
2. Audiences want to participate more.
In traditional media, the main way the audience participated was through letters, talkback and by attending live broadcasts.
Today, audience members are able to send emails, post on your Facebook wall, upload video messages, send tweets and much more. In fact, 'user generated content' is a now an important part of any news service.
What's important to note is that because people are given more opportunities to participate, they expect to engage with you more than ever as well as consume your content.
Check out how these radio stations used social media to find new audiences:
3. Local audiences can be found much more easily.
If you are looking for ways to find targeted audiences, it may be useful to take a look at where people are congregating online around certain topics and issues.
For example, there may be some action being taken by residents in relation to a development project or community event. The first place to look is social media sites like Facebook or Instagram and search your local area.
Ask yourself: 'Is there some content the station is making which relates to the issue?' A short interview with a Member of Parliament or an activist can be shared through social media. By making a connection with the group already engaged in the issue, you guarantee your content will be shared much further.
When you are trying to reach audiences online, it's worth keeping in mind that your content should be short and to the point. It is unlikely that people are going to listen or watch more than a few minutes on social media. Be sure to include the link to longer versions of your content on your website for people who want to know more.
Also remember that audio is nowhere near as popular as visual media on social media. You may want to consider a short video clip or photos with your guest. This could be as simple as shooting a video on your phone. You will be surprised how these short videos will impact on your station's brand.
Have a look at how to take great photos here.
Learn how to shoot behind the scenes in the studio here.
Learn how to reach a local audience through Social Media.