After ABC kept Cougar Town off the fall and midseason schedules, Co-creator Bill Lawrence and staff took actions into their own hands. Lawrence has ran screenings of his show and Q&A’s with writers and members of the cast across the country. They’ve sent wine to viewers pledging to stay home to watch the season premiere on Valentine’s Day. They played off their crossover with NBC’s Community into a series of cast cameos on other programs.
Their three-pronged mission: to get viewers to remember the show exists, get those viewers to share their love of it with others, and that it’s long abandoned its original premise of lead Courteney Cox dating younger men. The show finally gained a premiere date and timeslot after the critically reviled Work It was cancelled after two episodes. We won’t know for a few weeks if the gambit paid off, but that doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t do similar campaigns on a local scale.
Lawrence made deals with bars across the country to have an open bar for two hours during each viewer party. The bars then made their money back with the extra patrons sticking around much longer. An easy gambit for a radio show to match. Have regularly scheduled meet & greets with listeners, Q&A’s with programmers to explain how radio works, talk show town halls. There’s plenty of ways to interact with your audience on a more consistent basis. All it takes is one of the listeners to bring a friend who happens to be a diary or PPM holder and get them to become a regular listener for it to pay off. If its just a show to audience meetup in some cases you can get the ball rolling without the station.
The days of large scale promotions being the only option in town are long gone. Social media has proven that one to one communication and interaction with the audience is effective. Now take those people that you’ve gotten to know through Twitter and Facebook out for a drink. You don’t even have to tell the boss.