2018 will be the year of the Podcast. Is it time to add podcasting to your marketing mix?

One of the most popular marketing topics in 2017 was video marketing. Every marketer was thinking about how to incorporate video into their strategies. After all, a picture tells a thousand words right?

With the growing popularity of smart speakers/personal assistants, maybe it’s time to focus on a new tactic – podcasting.

Podcasting is the new blogging – not

I saw the phrase “podcasting is the new blogging” on a news site, and it made me think about the effort we put into our blog writing. Some of us spend hours researching, outlining and writing blogs and columns, laboring over the right words to say in the right way. Is it possible we may be wasting some of our time? Would we be smarter to develop our ideas and share them through a podcast, leaving the writing part (and the cursed “passive voice) fall by the wayside?

There’s no video involved, so we don’t need to look good, and we don’t have to invest in expensive computer equipment for video creation and editing. Podcasting seems like the perfect way to share ideas.

It’s not that simple. Podcasting is not a replacement for good writing – blogs, whitepapers, and ebooks. And it’s not a replacement for video. It’s also not necessarily cheaper or easy to do. But it could be a great addition to your marketing mix if you approach it with the right strategy and mindset.

Tips for getting started with a podcast

As part of the marketing plan for one of my clients, we have decided to develop a podcast. This is a dip into the waters to see if we can build an audience by offering useful content in the market. There are a couple of other podcasts in this market, but none by a vendor and only one other focused on our particular niche. So there’s opportunity, but there’s also the risk that people won’t want to hear from a vendor.

Why did we decide to try a podcast? The team has a wealth of insights and information they want to share. They also have a lot of connections to experts and customers who are willing to share their expertise – we know the content is there. It’s not about peddling products and solutions. The challenge is now figuring out the best way to implement it.

The Globe and Mail article mentioned above noted that podcasting is a labor-intensive process. You have to plan the podcast, record it, edit it, distribute and market it. The article said it could easily take 10-20 hours per episode. We are hoping to start on a small scale, but that amount of time sounds about right.

There’s a lot of information available on how to run a podcast. Here are a few of those suggestions:

Planning the podcast theme

Before you start working on individual shows, you need to decide on an overall theme for your show. Who is the audience and do they listen to podcasts? Can you generate enough of an audience to make the effort worth it? What’s your goal with the podcast? What type of information do you want to share? What pains are you trying to solve? Have your goals and expected performance metrics understood before you start. They may evolve, but you need that starting line.

Hosting

Where will you host the podcast? There are many hosting options available including Blubrry and PodBean. Pretty much all of the hosting services include the ability to share your podcast show on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Maybe you are considering hosting your podcast on your website directly. Think about the size of the files you will not only be storing, but streaming out to your audience. The bandwidth alone might kill your budget. Plus, you don’t have those automatic integrations with iTunes and Google Play – and they are very helpful in getting your podcast available quickly.

Developing a schedule

One very important thing you need to be is consistent. Decide on a schedule that you know you can stick with and then plan out a few months of topics. This will give you time to pull together the content and the guest hosts you want. You can make the schedule available on your website and share it on social media to generate interest.

Podfly.net, a boutique podcasting company that helps companies create podcasts, includes show notes you need for each show:

  • A compelling show title
  • A subtitle
  • A description paragraph
  • Time-stamped key takeaways
  • Links and mentions
  • Tweetables

To script or not to script

There’s a lot of discussion on whether you should script your podcast or not – and what scripting actually means. You could write your script out word for word, ensuring you cover everything you need to. This works when you are doing the show on your own or with an internal team, but if you are interviewing or talking with an expert or client, you can’t script the conversation word for word. You need to think about how you’ll sound when you script word for word. Think about some of the webinars you’ve attended and how stilted they sound – those people are reading off a script.

Reading off a script doesn’t have to sound bad, but it will take practice to make the conversation sound natural. Another option is scripting a complete outline but leave the actual discussion be natural. An outline ensures you are covering all your points and it gives you a consistent structure for the show. The most conversational approach is a flexible, rough list of bullet points around a theme or topic.

You don’t have to stick to one approach only, but it’s important to be aware of each style and what you need to do to prepare. (The Podcast Host provides lots of guidance on scripting, where I found this information)

Engage your listeners outside the podcast

Don’t think of a podcast as the only way to engage with your listeners. To help you build a loyal audience, think about how you can leverage social media to build and continue the conversations you have on your podcast. Consider a Facebook Group and create a Twitter hashtag or specific account to grow the conversation.

Promotion and distribution

Make sure you are promoting and talking about your Podcast on your website – links on the homepage,  blog post summaries of episodes with a link to the podcast, LinkedIn company page notifications, and updates, LinkedIn posts from the host and guest hosts summarizing the conversation and linking to the full podcast are also helpful. Give your guest hosts a way to promote the podcast as well and request the audience sign up for notifications of upcoming episodes so you can email them.

You might also want to consider getting set up with Alexa Skills to have your podcast showing up on Amazon for the Echo or Show.

There are visual components

Although a podcast is audio only, there is some artwork you need for your podcast to brand it. You may decide to brand it closely to your company brand or to keep it completely separate. Make sure you know what you need and make it look professional.

The equipment and software required

You can’t do a podcast with some investment in software and equipment. I think you can start with some inexpensive options and build from there. For recording and mixing, Audacity is a free open source tool that’s pretty easy to use (I’ve used it to add music to the opening of a podcast and to edit out dead zones that don’t add value).

Clear audio is critical. If you are recording a podcast where everyone isn’t in the same space, you want to be sure everyone’s audio and internet connection are solid. For regular hosts, you should have special microphones that improve the quality of your audio. Here’s a post that gives you a range of microphone options.

Finding the ROI in a podcast

Can you determine the ROI of a podcast? The answer depends on the purpose of your podcast. You can offer advertising spots in your podcast, have sponsors and do other advertising tactics that will bring in revenue for your podcast.

IAB did some research on podcast revenues in 2016 and indicated that US ad revenues for podcasts were expected to hit over $220 million in 2017. The latest stats aren’t out to see if we hit that target, but we know it will be up from the $119 million in 2016.

Advertisers need to know they are getting something for their money. Analytics around listeners become important to have, so make sure wherever you host and distribute your podcast includes a way to track audience engagement.

Of course, analytics are important regardless of whether you are trying to determine ROI. You want to know the number of subscribers, how many listened to each podcast, how much of the podcast they listened, and other key statistics.

My take

I am excited to start developing a podcast with my client. But I have no misconceptions about the work that is required to create a compelling story that our identified audience will want to listen to on a regular basis. I also know the budget is not high; we will start small with the financial investment. The sound quality is critical, the topics and conversations even more critical.

I’ll let you know how it works out and what lessons we learn after being active a few months. Until then, share your experiences in the comments. Any advice you can give someone starting up a podcast or looking to grow one in place?

Editor’s note: for more on the pros and cons of audio content on Alexa, check out Jon Reed’s How to get a halfway decent tech news Flash Briefing from Alexa – tips for enterprise readers. This article was first posted in Diginomica.com

 Image credit – Broadcast © fotomek – Fotolia.com

Hey LinkedIn, Facebook just rolled out a string of employment features

Hey LinkedIn, Facebook just rolled out a string of employment features

It was more a question of when, rather than would. Facebook’s awesome reach and the amount of time people spend using it made it the perfect candidate for one and all social experiences — even when you are talking about finding jobs. The company realizes that and towards the same, is publicly rolling out a string of brand new job-related features that have been under test since last year.

Announcing the features, Facebook said:

We know that finding the right talent can be a challenge. 40% of US small businesses report that filling jobs was more difficult than they expected, which is surprising when you consider that these small businesses also employ nearly half of the country’s workforce.1

The update is pretty huge and will allow recruiters to post and hire directly through Facebook, rather than moving to LlinkedIn or some other platform. Let’s take a look at the new features.

Job openings through business pages:

So this is probably the biggest feature that is being rolled out today. Businesses can now leverage the reach of their Facebook pages to create and post job openings. The jobs can be viewed on the page itself. So basically, If I ran a Facebook page and wanted to fill a position, all that I would need to do is create a job opening. The opening would also be visible to whoever visits the page.

 

As per Facebook:

It’s easy for Page admins to create a job post, track applications and communicate directly with applicants. After posting a job, Page admins will be able to review applications and contact applicants on Messenger, all on mobile and all in one place. And as with other posts, they can boost job posts to reach a larger or more relevant audience.

Apart from being simple for the poster, the experience of applying for a particular job is pretty straightforward as well. Job posts could appear  in various places — just like the other items on the feed, in the new bookmark for jobs, or even alongside other posts on business Pages. Once you see one that you like, simply click on the Apply Now button.
Doing so will open a form pre-populated with information from your Facebook profile — saving you further trouble. However, you can easily change the information before submitting the form to the prospective employer.
The feature is currently being made available to prospective employers in the US and the Canada.

Meanwhile, Facebook has a couple of advantages over LinkedIn. One is of course, the audience reach. Facebook has almost 2 billion users — four times that of LinkedIn and making it much more easier to get your voice across to more users. Next, is the fact that many people are not even aware of the fact that they could be open to a change in their employment.

By making applying to jobs literally as easy as one click/tap, this new feature could help a lot of people take the plunge and apply for some cool new positions.

Finally, there is scope for a lot more, considering that Facebook could leverage its platform to do things like: Presenting specific jobs before specific people, looking in your friend list to determine who could be the best fit for a position and so on. And of course, this marks yet another possible revenue stream for Facebook as companies would be able to spend money to sponsor their job postings and make it reach more people.

How to Attract 2,000 New Instagram Followers Every Day

How to Attract 2,000 New Instagram Followers Every Day

As Instagram continues to soar in popularity, more companies are trying to find ways to use their accounts as a way to amass fans. Interior design startup Homepolish is one company that has mastered the formula. Homepolish, which acts as a middleman between customers and designers, has gained more than 840,000 followers since its launch in late 2012 with its feed of beautifully designed and decorated rooms. In fact, the New York-based startup says it attracts about 2,000 new followers every day.

Homepolish founder Noa Santos and product manager Kate Haberbusch spoke to Inc. about how to use Instagram as a marketing tool–and turn some of the app’s 400 million monthly users into potential customers.

Social Media Marketing Guilford Connecticut

Social Media Marketing Guilford Connecticut

1. Craft each post to appeal to several different emotions. 

As a rule, Homepolish makes sure each post connects with users in at least two different ways, which it believes doubles the chances they’ll share it with others. Haberbusch says that a viewer might tag someone in a post because it offers design inspiration, has a “cool factor,” shows something unique, or just looks gorgeous. The post at right features a wall painted with the lyrics of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ love song “Home.” Users might tag others because the photo depicts an awesome design–or as a way of showing a loved one they’re thinking of them. The recipe worked: The post has 554 comments–the most of any Homepolish post–and most of the comments tag one or more other Instagram users.

2. Give credit where it’s due.

Homepolish uses the photo caption to tag the photographer as well as the interior designer responsible for each post. Santos knows this means the company is opening the door to having potential customers cut out the middleman and contacting designers behind its back. “I am 100 percent certain that happens,” says Santos. But the company believes in building good karma: “The couple of clients that slip through the cracks,” he says, “are worth you being authentic as a brand.”

3. Don’t assume you know what works. 

Early on, Homepolish occasionally featured people in its photos of living spaces as a way of livening up its feed. When they analyzed likes and shares, they discovered those photos received significantly fewer social interactions than the rest. “We realized that people want to insert themselves into the scene,” Santos says. “They’re not coming to us looking for photos of other people.” Since that revelation, Homepolish’s feed has become entirely human-free.

4. Be consistent.

Homepolish posts twice per day, a number it settled on after careful analysis. Santos believes this keeps users satisfied without oversaturating their feeds. The company’s target demographic is people in their 30s, which means they’re likely to have 9-to-5 jobs. So the company posts one photo before lunch and one after dinner, when people are most likely to have some down time and check their phone. The time of day doesn’t vary much–nor does the nature of the content. “Regularity is really key,” Santos says. “We know that people want to see great shots of spaces. They want to see shots that are beautiful, and accessible, and speak to who they are as an audience–and they want to see approximately two posts per day. From that strategy, we don’t vary.”

10 Tools for Better Content Marketing in 2016

Content marketing can be a time-consuming tactic. Sixty percent of marketers are creating at least one piece of new content each day.

Luckily, as content marketing has become more popular, an array of helpful tools have entered the market to help save time and money.

Here are 10 top tools for better content marketing in 2016.

1. Evernote
Evernote is a note taking, organizing and archiving tool any marketer can use to get their content in order.

At first glance, Evernote’s web clipper tool makes it easy to organize your research materials for content development, but there’s so much more than that. You can:

Create a library of social media update ideas
Collect and organize stock images for your content
Create a social media calendar
Subscribe to newsletters for content inspiration
Create notes and to-do lists
Track your social media performance
And it seems with every update, Evernote is finding new ways to cater to the unique needs of content creators.

2. Buffer
Social media automation is a must for any marketer, and no platform compares to Buffer for usability.

Buffer works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest, so you can cover all your profiles with one tool. Buffer will also analyze your Twitter profile to determine when your followers are most often online and interacting, and schedule your tweets to post at the optimum times.

You can also make use of engagement analytics to see which tweets are getting the most engagement to further optimize your social media efforts.

3. RightlyWritten
Content has literally been a staple for all those involved in content marketing. However many marketers struggle to provide the volume and stellar quality of content at affordable prices which is very important to succeed.

RightlyWritten is simply the best copywriting service online to address this problem. They have a talent pool of hundreds of Native American writers on board with expertise in most of the verticals and can be hired to create content in the form of blog posts, articles, website content, press releases, white papers and more.

You may place orders on ad hoc basis using their intuitive ordering system or sign up for Monthly blog packages to put your website blog on complete Autopilot.

4. Feedly
Feedly is a organization tool for all your favorite blogs, online magazines and news sites, making it simple to follow all the latest news in your niche in one place. It’s a great tool to brainstorm content creation and follow the latest trends.

Feedly also integrates with several social media automation tools (including Buffer), so you can share valuable content to your followers with a click of a button.

5. Slide.ly
Slideshows are becoming an increasingly popular content-type, especially for repurposing blog posts and other material.

With Slide.ly, you have a simple way to create your own professional slideshows. Slide.ly allows you to create video or photo slideshows on mobile or desktop, use real-time effects, and work with more than 80 templates and visual art. The platform also integrates with Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, YouTube, and others.

6. BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo fills a lot of roles in the content creation and distribution process. If you’re in the brainstorming phase, use BuzzSumo to easily search for similar content types that have received the most “buzz” (social shares, comments, etc).

The best way to use BuzzSumo though is to find potential influencers to help spread the word about your content. The tool allows you to easily find powerful social personalities who like to share content related to you and your niche.

7. Trendspottr
So much of social media success comes from taking advantage of the hottest trends, which is easier than ever with the help of Trendspottr.

Trendspottr allows you to follow emerging social media trends, including hot topics, trending hashtags, and important influencers. The tool also gives insight into audience sentiment surrounding the topics, so you can decide which conversations are the best to join.

8. Trello
A content marketing strategy has a lot of moving parts, which you can easily keep organized with Trello.

Trello helps you plan your content week by week, including helpful notes and comments from you and your team members. The platform keeps all your information in one place, making it simple to see what projects you’re working on and what tasks need to be done next.

9. Apester
2016 is all about creating dynamic content, and thanks to Apester, you don’t need advanced software to create your own.

Apester allows you to create polls, quizzes, surveys, personality tests and other types of interactive content.

Easily engage with your audience on a new level by making them a part of the content you create. You can even make video quizzes for the visually-inclined.

10. Outbrain

Every marketer struggles with content distribution to a certain extent, and Outbrain is posed as the best solution to the problem.

Outbrain can get more eyes on any type of content you create (blogs, videos, infographics, etc.) by displaying it as promoted content with other related options.

As far as affordable options for increasing traffic and amplifying your content goes, there’s no comparing to Outbrain.

Know any other must-have tools for content marketers? Comment below!

Job Seekers Read This!

Sick and tired of being hounded by recruiters? Check out this great new website concept for job seekers and employers:

http://www.interviewjet.com/#!

InterviewJet is a members only hiring platform. Each week, we feature the top technologists that our team has pre-screened and fully vetted. Member employers are given 72 hours of access to browse through each technologist and request an interview with just one click. Intrigued? Click here to learn more. Go hire.

 

8 Ways Nonverbal Communication Can Make or Break Your Brand

When you think of nonverbal communication, you might think of how a person can stand up straight to communicate confidence or lean forward during a conversation to show engagement. But the definition is actually much, much wider if you ask one expert on the subject.

Joe Navarro spent years as the FBI’s sole nonverbal communications guru tasked with helping recruit spies. Now an executive coach and author, he says how a company and its employees behave greatly affects brand perception.

“The definition of nonverbal is anything that communicates a thought, an idea, a mood, an intention, or a message but is not a word,” he says.

Here are several things he sees businesses and executives often overlooking.

Curbside Appeal

Aesthetics are everything, Navarro asserts, pointing out that people speak volumes through clothing and accoutrements, the cars they drive, and the degree to which they keep facilities neat and orderly, to name just a few examples.

Take a look at executive photos on your website, for a start. Were they done professionally? Would hiring a makeup artist help individuals look better?

“It’s amazing to me how many people become successful very quickly but don’t take the time to assess themselves [in terms of] curbside appeal,” he says.

The Color Blue

There’s a reason President Obama and the CEOs of many major companies hold press conferences in front of a blue curtain.

“Blue has a very soothing effect, but it also is a color of confidence. The research is very clear,” Navarro says. “During presidential debates, candidates will actually fight for which color of blue they want to be in front of.” Perhaps it’s time to buy a new blue shirt.

Proactive Movement

Consider a receptionist who remains sitting with hands on a keyboard when you approach, versus one who stands to greet you while holding out a hand to shake yours.

“We know from studies when we do things that are considered ‘pro-social,’ we are persuaded by it, we are seduced by it, we’re influenced by it. So if I walk into a bank, and I have to walk all the way to where the manager is, I will feel different about that bank if I walk in and the manager gets up from behind his desk and walks toward me,” Navarro says.

Unveiling

A politician who takes off his jacket communicates he’s a regular guy who wants to get down to work. Similarly, public figures often intentionally wear two-button suits instead three-button varieties.

“The more chest area that you see, the more honest you’re perceived,” Navarro says.

Location

Martin Luther King had publicly spoken about having a dream on more than one occasion, but it wasn’t until he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., that it became symbolic of the civil rights movement.

Another example Navarro points to: Ronald Reagan’s famous oration delivered in front of the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall. “If he had given the ‘Tear Down This Wall’ speech from a hotel room or at a convention center, it wouldn’t have sold,” he says.

Manners

Are you and your employees kind, amicable, and respectful to people inside and outside your walls? Smiling, holding a door, or letting someone else go first are all examples of nonverbal behavior that reflect a person’s character.

“[It’s] something people don’t think about,” Navarro says. “We’re impressed by people with good manners, and of course we’re turned off by people who [lack them].”

The Use of Time

The study of time is called chronicity, and how people use it affects others’ perception.

If you do business with people in other parts of the world, it speaks volumes if you’re willing to communicate with them during their workday instead of your own, Navarro suggests.

Haptics

How things feel also counts as nonverbal communication.

“We know that a resumé on 24-pound paper gets a better review than the same resumé on 20-pound paper,” he says. “Think about how many business cards or brochures we’ve handed out. The weight of it has significance.”

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