Ok, answer this: Does your work center around creating a product that requires consistent engagement, hopefully on a daily basis?

Of course it does, whether you’ve spent much time thinking about that or not.

This guy, Nir Eyal, thinks about it constantly. He’s even written a book about it, “Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products.” He says there are four steps necessary to becoming addictive:

  1. Everything starts with the trigger which produces…
  2. An action creating…
  3. A reward.
  4. The final step is an investment.

Yesterday, we saw that one of the great strengths Steve Jobs brought to Apple was a clear understanding of why people bought Apple products (and why people wanted to work for his company).

Why does a listener choose your station above any other? Why does s/he listen at this particular time of day and not another? What does s/he expect to feel when she hits your button?

Until you know your listeners’ triggers you cannot possibly create anything which will consistently produce the action required to build a habit.

The reward for the action is meeting the emotional expectation of each listener every time they listen. That’s hard, but that’s the job, because the investment you’re asking of your listeners is their precious time, attention, and engagement.

That’s why I press so hard for radio to create non-musical content that hits emotional reward buttons. It’s not that listeners can’t or won’t engage with songs; of course, they will and do. But music is the most easily exchanged part of what your station can offer. I can find it easily and quickly almost everywhere.

When you truly engage them, on an emotional level, they become invested in your success. Think Howard Stern, or Facebook, or Empire.

Look, it’s great that your listeners like you, and they leave comments on your station FB page, and some of them show up to see you at remotes, but if you want to be a daily habit, an irreplaceable reward in hundreds of thousands of lives, you have to do more than be cheerful and read liners.

Let me know if you need help getting started…