Tips for DIY Podcasters

My friends Jen Blackert (brandterra.com) and Tracy Jones (dessertdiet.com) have started using Internet audio to get the word out about their businesses. Here's what I recommend to them.

Thoughts on Podcasting:


  1. I love the extemporaneous tone of the audio.
  2. This is Internet Audio, not a podcast. It doesn't become a podcast until it's released on an RSS feed. Should BrandTerra implement an RSS feed? Yes, and I'll talk more about that later.
  3. The audio is a bit over-driven and it's "clipping." This causes distortion on the louder portions of the audio. I understand that they had to amplify Jen's "close" voice to make Tracy's "far" voice audible. Consider using a conference call bridge. HearThis.com has a partnership with Conference Calls Unlimited.
  4. Rename the "[click here]" link "Listen" or use an audio graphic.
  5. Currently, the [click here] link points to an MP3 player, and opens in a full-sized browser window. It's important to remember that most people listen while doing other things. If they accidentally navigate to another page, the audio stops. Make it easy for them to play your audio in the background. Here are some possibilities:

    • Invest in the Wimpy player ($19.95). We use it at HearThis. This allows the visitor to play the audio without opening another blank window. We use this at HearThis.com on all of our podcast pages.
    • Open the audio in a small "player window". Here is a free player called AJAXTunes:

      Listen in New Window
  6. Get a theme song. If you have implemented an RSS feed (and thus have a Podcast) you qualify for a free Podcaster account at the Podsafe Music Network. There is lots of great music here and almost all of my theme music comes from there:
    Denis Kitchen
    Fumitaka Anzai
    Amado
    Charlie Crowe
Posted by Brian Massey on Thursday, June 15, 2006

Podcasting Gets Blogging Bigwig

From the Wall Street Journal: Robert Scoble, a Microsoft Corp. employee who became one of the best-known corporate bloggers, is leaving the software giant to take a job at a podcasting start-up.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Noted Microsoft Blogger Scoble To Join a Podcasting Start-Up:”

“Robert Scoble, a Microsoft Corp. employee who became one of the best-known corporate bloggers, is leaving the software giant to take a job at a podcasting start-up.

Mr. Scoble will become a vice president for media development at PodTech.Network Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif., company that produces and distributes podcasts—audio programs available on the Web that can be downloaded to computers or personal music players, such as iPods. Many podcasts are now evolving to include video, and Mr. Scoble, 41 years old, said he will be working on new video shows at PodTech as well as other offerings.”

 

Posted by Brian Massey on Monday, June 12, 2006

Will Podcasting Work in My Business?

Am I Podworthy?

We are adamant about two things at HearThis.com

  1. Podcasting is one of the most effective ways to connect with your prospects
  2. Podcasting isn’t for every business

I want to help you answer the question “Is Podcasting right for my business?”

There are three things that make your business podworthy and three factors that will impact your success.

  1. Net-centricity of your market
  2. Content
  3. Long sales cycle or consultative sales focus

Net-centricity of your market

Does your typical prospect spend a considerable amount of time on their computer? Is their computer connected to the Internet? What percentage of your prospects would you say are computer literate?

Podcasting is an Internet medium. To be successful, your prospects have to be able to get it. But, despite its name, podcasting does not require an iPod, iTunes, MP3 player, RSS reader or aggregator. HearThis.com makes your podcasts available to any Internet-connected computer.

I met recently with an amazing program that is hosted here in Austin called The Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship. In my mind, they represent a business where podcasting can have a significant impact.

Our friends at The Acton MBA appeal to a computer-savvy crowd of multi-tasking professionals, so Podcasting is available to their target market.

Content

Every time you speak you are creating audio content. When you are talking about your business, give a presentation, or rally your troops, you are publishing a “bodcast” (sorry, bad pun). However, bodcasts can only be consumed by those people within earshot of your body.

Now imagine that your bodcasts could be turned into podcasts. Tradeshow presentations can live on to influence other prospects. Customer interviews can be turned into audio cast studies. Sales successes stories can be shared with the entire team.

Do you have smart people working in your company? Which is easier: getting them to write white papers, or getting them sit down with you for a 20 minute interview. The latter is a podcast waiting to happen.

The Acton MBA is in the business of creating bodcasts. Through information for prospective students, discussions and quest presentations in the classroom, the school communicates its vision to eager minds. Furthermore, they employ some of the brightest entrepreneur-teachers in the country, prime fodder for interviews.

Sales Cycle

I met with the folks at Acton in mid-June, a few weeks after the class for the coming year was finalized. The next chance that their prospects would have to enroll in The Acton MBA was next year. Those prospects that Acton engage today have to be kept engaged for a year.

How long is your sales cycle? How will you keep your prospects thinking of you until they act?

Podcasting is “sticky,” that is, it keeps prospects engaged. Why? Because it is free, it just shows up in your email inbox or aggregator, and it can be consumed while you’re working on your computer, driving or jogging.

But most importantly, it’s relevant. It can offer the kind of information that a prospect is looking for about your business, your industry, your company.

Things that make Podcasting even MORE interesting

The Acton MBA is a one-time event; once you graduate, you’re done, and there’s no more to sell you. But The Acton MBA has a large and active alumni association, and podcasting can help turn these alumni into salespeople for the program.

What kinds of information will engage your current and past customers? What would make them pass a link to your podcast page along to others that might buy your product or service?

After the Sale Support

Once someone has purchased a product from you, what do they need to know to maintain the product? How can you help them troubleshoot common problems?

Podcasting offers an on-going interaction with enthusiasts of your product or service that helps them get the most out of what you offer.

For example, automobile enthusiasts love to learn more about their cars. What after-market products are available? How can they ensure that they will get the maximum mileage from your product?

On-Going Learning

Many products require on-going education for the purchaser to fully utilize the product. Are you completely familiar with all of the features of your camcorder? What are the subtleties of using your new rod and reel that will help you catch more fish? You can use podcasting to continue to engage your customers, making your product and company more value to them, and encouraging repeat purchases.

The Acton MBA hosts industry guest speakers every Thursday. Making parts of these presentations available to their alumni allows the ex-student to continue their education. It also gives them something to share with other professionals who may one day become students.

Entertaining Content

For many businesses, your customers love the impact your product has on their lives.

Sometimes it’s enough just to entertain, and audio is a great medium to do that. What would your audience find funny? What would they find interesting, even if it didn’t relate directly to your product? Who would they like to hear an interview with?

Case discussions in the Acton classroom are rich with opinion and perspective on business and management from both students and the entrepreneur-teachers. Acton students will find this insight both interesting and entertaining, especially programs from the more colorful professors.

Pulling it all together

Let’s pull this all together: You should consider a podcast as a marketing tool if:

  1. Your prospects work with computers on a daily basis and are connected to the Internet.
  2. You regularly do presentations or have access to individuals who would interest your prospects.
  3. You have a product or service with a long sales cycle or that requires a great deal of information to make a decision.

Podcasts will further improve your bottom line if:

  1. Your current or past customers need on-going support
  2. Your current or past customers want to know more about your product or category
  3. You can entertain your prospects and customers with audio content.
Posted by Brian Massey on Monday, June 12, 2006
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