"Podcast? What?"

My bet is that just five years ago that would have been the response of many who had never heard of a "podcast". Today it's so much different. Today, according to a recent survey of 16 to 64 year old internet users, 39% consume podcasts each month. Here is that data.

That's a big number and it continues to grow. The reason? Convenience. Online Content Use July 2019

And, that is why more and more radio stations are starting podcasts. You read that correctly. radio stations starting to do podcasts.

It's all about the time crunch that faces everybody. No longer do you have to sit and wait for the news or information. You can subscribe to a podcast and get it delivered to your inbox on your time. And if the host is knowledgeable and engaging so much the better.

One other quick fact. We're seeing more dollars being spent advertising on podcasts. Back in the day when FM radio started I remember sales people having to carry a small portable radio to clients so they could prove to them that FM radio existed. No, really! Today it's podcasting. People who are not informed about the power of podcasting are having to learn a whole new way of advertising their products/services.

On a podcast the traditional thirty-second "ad" doesn't work like it does on radio or TV. Listeners want what they want and don't wish to wait through several minutes of commercials. So the savey podcaster knows that embedding the message into the stream makes more sense.

IOB LOGO BWOne other thing about podcasting is quality. The quality of the audio is critical to a successful podcast. If the podcaster puts out lousy
audio that distracts from the content all is lost. It's one of the reasons professional audio and those who are experienced in audio seem to have better response to their efforts.

We've been in the podcast space for over 10 years starting with something that was way ahead of it's time at WebcastOne Live to our current business news podcast, "Insight on Business the News Hour". Sure it's about business and it's not as sexy as a murder mystery or a political rant...but's it's effective and it seems to deliver content that is appreciated while also garnering financial support.

Podcasting...yep...it's here to stay.

Thanks for reading. 

  


Twitter for Business - It's Frustrating

This summer marks the 10th year our agency has been doing Insight on Business the News Hour a daily business newscast which first Ben McDougal MPL Feb 8 2011 appeared on the web, moved to terrestrial radio and now is a combination of both radio and podcast. (Photo from 2011 with a younger Ben McDougal from our studios at Webcast One.)

During that time I've interviewed thousands of business people about the who, what, where and why of their business. Each long-form interview is then placed on our Radio Blog and shared across several social media channels multiple times over the course of several weeks or months...depending on the story.  We also send out the interview link along with a one-page "How To" so our guest can then share their story on their own social media channels.

In other words, we have a long and proficient history when it comes to social media, especially Twitter.

I tell you that because, over the years, I have searched for and found hundreds of Twitter Profiles connected to the businesses we've featured. We do that so we can link our story to their feed and help them get more traction.  

Man ConfusedHowever, more often than not, those business Twitter feeds have been abandoned or, worse, so sparsely cared for that I see one or two Tweets a month...if that. And, what is even more incredible is that even if our guest has a fairly active Twitter stream they may fail to retweet their own story and the content we have freely created for them.

Often I'll reconnect with a business we've profiled and ask the question, "I see that while we've shared your story a dozen times on Twitter over the past two weeks and tagged you. Yet, your Twitter stream has never carried your content. Can you tell me why?"

Crickets.

They don't know. Or worse yet I get, "Gosh, I'll have to ask our social media specialist about that..."

In other words they simply don't understand the power of Twitter. They may have relegated it to an outside source or have an internal person who simply doesn't understand how the platform works. Finally, I believe, they think..."Hey, it's free. How valuable can that be?"

It's frustrating.

Business has, in front of them, their own media company that, if they work it, can pay huge dividends in the form of referrals and sales and building a positive brand.

It's time to re-tool your thinking. Let's start with this piece, "Giving Up On Twitter" from 2015. 

More to come....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Some Hiring Help

Last week on The Business News Hour we had a story about jobs. The Labor Department says there are now 1.5 million more open jobs Hiring Use then there are unemployed people. To put that in context let's say there are 6 million unemployed people in the U.S. yet there are 7.5 million open jobs.

Our business is based in the Des Moines, Iowa Metro where the current unemployment rate is hovering around 2.3%. I am told, by the folks at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, there are 17,000 open jobs in the Metro. Again, just not enough people...

Everywhere you look you see "Help Wanted" signs. HyVee, a chain of over 237 grocery stores in the Midwest, went out and bought flags to plant in their parking lot to announce the obvious. Over the past two years I've watched as B'Bops, a locally owned hamburger chain, has changed their help wanted sign to promote higher wages. Two years ago the sign said $8.00 an hour. Today the sign reads $10 an hour.

Last month there was a high-powered forum where experts weighed in on the employment troubles and offered up some suggestions regarding not only recruitment but also retention.

One of the things that is missing from the discussion is something called "passive recruitment". That's where you use media to target not only your "help wanted" message but also, at the same time, polish your brand. You can use a host of mediums radio, podcasting sponsorships, podcasting, video and social media to do the same thing. 

What is cool about passive recruiting is that word spreads. You may not hit the person who is actively looking for a job but your message may be heard or seen by a family member who then says, "Hey, did you see/hear that Weasels is looking for workers. Sounds/Looks like a great place to work."

Here's a sample, click to listen.

Recruitment Audio June 2019

It's really that easy but, does it work?  I have a friend who works in this field and he has been successful for years. The key is to let people know how really great your business is and then pitch the idea of working there.

Building your brand while building your bench is simply a good stratigity. 

 

 

 

 


Five in 24 - Five Things to Re-Brand & Sell More Stuff

For several years I've offered up a seminar on "Five in 24 - Five Things Any Business Can Do in Twenty-four Hours to Re-Brand and 5in24_LogoSell More Stuff".  It's been the most requested piece I do. Has it changed? You bet! Each time I go out, as I just did with the New York Press Association Annual Meeting, I refine it to match the needs of the audience I'm speaking to.

And, that is one of the Five Tips that is included in "Five in 24"

Know Your Consumer

It doesn't matter if you are selling a product or a service the basic metric of success is knowing your customer base. That's why, before I head out to do a presentation I adjust the guts of the seminar to match the needs of the people I'm speaking to.  For example the publishers and editors of the New York Press Association are struggling with new ways to connect to their readers outside of the printed product. 

To be sure the community based newspapers that are represented by the NYPA are doing pretty well. They are not daily papers but hyper-local papers that laser focus on their town, city, community. That they've got. But, what other things might they use to connect with their target audience?

Podcasting

Mobile Studio in Mobile 2019One of the new additions to "Five in 24" is Podcasting. I've been in that space for over ten years, long before it was considered cool and when it seemed like you were "talking to yourself". But today it's a thriving media option for busy people who may not have time to sit down and read. Want to check us out? Here is the Radio Blog for Insight on Business the News Hour

And so, I tailored my presentation to reflect that reality. Was it well received? Yes...and while the reviews are not in I'm confident that I was able to peel back the onion a bit and introduce them to the power of podcasting.  

The bottom line is you must know who your target customer is, where they hang out, how they buy what they buy. Once you've got that down all you need to do is create a story to move from "customer" to a lasting relationship.

Thanks for reading! 


No Homepage Traffic?

Not long ago we were asked to look at the website of a new client. The business is in the professional services sector. They were concerned Man Confused about their homepage traffic...which had declined over the past couple of years...and wanted a total new site and redesign. Yeah, they were...worried.

Now, they don't do e-commerce but they do a bunch with their business blog. (Clearly they had been listening over the years that business blogging is a great way to secure solid content and project a strong voice let alone be helpful in search engine optimization.) We knew...and they didn't...that visits to homepages continue to shrink and that happens because of a good reason...

So, we dug in to take a look and in the end made the professional recommendation that what they needed to do was stop worrying about their website and continue creating original content that drives people to their business.

Here is how it works: A consumer does not go looking for the XYZ Legal Services Company...unless they get a recommendation. It is more likely that a consumer is searching for something. Perhaps they are looking for "Business Succession Issues". They plug that into their search engine and get lots of places to go so they can learn more. And, because this client has written, several times, about that issue their legal blog came up on the first page of the search. And, because they used the right keywords and tags in their blog, the consumer was able to tell the company was in their metro area.

Today it's all about content and changing content at that. So, if your homepage is static don't expect much. However if your homepage content always changes...and if you are creating content on a regular basis it all adds up. 

Content, content, content. And today you've got more places to share that content than ever before.

Create valuable information that people can use and the rest will follow. 

Thanks for reading!


The Power of YouTube for Business

Sometimes we forget about the powerful search abilities that YouTube offers businesses. And, it doesn't have to be a complicated video with Karen McCullough YouTube Image Feb 2019lots of shots and edits.

So, what can you do?

Last month I did a phone interview for Insight on Business the News Hour with Karen McCullough, a professional public speaker based in Houston, Texas. And, yes we shared it for several weeks on various social media platforms from Twitter to LinkedIn. (It's what we do there.) 

Karen went the extra step and created a YouTube video of her audio interview complete with some neat artwork (see above). Then using the the correct keywords posted it on her YouTube Page. While at the same time promoting an upcoming speaking engagement.

Brilliant!

And, frankly, that got us to thinking about how we might do a better job on The Business News Hour when it comes to YouTube.

Here is that video/audio of her interview.

And, remember it's something you can do as well.

Go get 'em!


Feeling Time Starved?

It's a valid question and the answer is a resounding, "Yes"! We have so many demands on us that to give more than a few minutes to MPL Twelve Thirty consider a decision is tough. Time starvation is one of the reasons convenience rules. Consumers are more than happy to buy products at a corner convenience store and pay 20% more than wade across a parking lot and roam the aisles of a grocery store even if there is a "friendly smile" everywhere.

Consider online shopping and business.

I know of a professional business that just purchased all of their officer equipment and furniture from Amazon.com. You read that correctly...all of it. And when they need paper or ink or whatever, they push a button and it is delivered to their door. Do they get to "touch" the products. Maybe but what they did do was research, online, and then made their purchase.

I've just given you two real world examples of how convenience seeks to play a role in time starvation.

Here is another one: Podcasting

Broadcast outlets are learning that people want news and information on the go and on their time. Rather than sit and wait for the specific time a broadcast is on consumers are consuming content when THEY are ready. That reality has led to a massive number of podcasts being created. Once again, playing into the reality of time starvation.

The podcast industry is still in it's early years. Our company has been in the space for at least ten years with Insight on Business the News Hour and we've watched the podcast effort continue to grow. Once again, people want good content delivered to them on their terms.

It makes sense and we believe it will only continue to grow. How about you?  Thoughts?


Podcasting Equipment

Over the past year I've had dozens of people ask me about helping them start a podcast. It's all the rage you know and I'm here to help. Mobile Studio in Mobile 2019 I've been doing Insight on Business the News Hour in one podcast form or another for about ten years. First as a video podcast and then when I transfered over to radio it became audio only. Today I do the newscast as a podcast, each day Monday - Friday. There is at least 10 minutes of business news and an interview that can go 15 to 22 minutes...sometimes two interviews.

The photo is my "mobile studio". I use two Audio-Technica AT8004L mics from B&H out of NYC.  Decided on these longer microphones because when interviewing people who are not used to doing broadcast interviews I've got to adjust them, often, closer to get good sound. There are two mic stands, two 6' mic cables and the recorder I use is a Zoom H4n Pro. I also use a Sony Pro headset to monitor the interviews. If something goes wrong it's easier to stop and re-do while on site rather than in post production. 

That's it and it all goes in a roller suitcase.

In my office I use a USB microphone that plugs directly into my computer. It is a Blue Microphone Yeti. I love it so much that I have three of them! It's a great company based in California...and love, love the sound.

In addition, if I'm caught without my recorder and mics I do have Voice Record on my iPhone. You can download from the iStore. The quality is really pretty good. I also carry with me a bluetooth lav mic that hooks up with my iPhone (Thank you Phil K. James!) to do promotional videos with my guests. That system is from Kimafun and runs about $50. Works great.  Here is a sample with Georgia VanGundy from the Iowa Business Council.

 

Great sound...yes?

Of course you need to take your WAV file, create an MP3, edit the work, put in music, commercials and more. I have used, for my post production Audacity. I've used this open source system for years and years and it works great. Best news is it is free. So...go get it.

Finally, you need a host. Someplace to actually PUT your podcast. I have used Podbean.com for years. It works slick, you can share to other podcast platforms like Stitcher, iTunes, PlayerFM, TuneIn Radio, Google Play by giving them the RSS Feed.

I'll share with you that all of this takes work...and some experience. Before launching our advertising, marketing and communications company I spent years in radio and television so I've got a bit of history and experience in those areas. It truly has helped and coming back to newscasting after being gone for several years is sort of like riding a bike.

Finally every newscast and interview is placed on our Radio Blog.  I've used Typepad for years. It's a habit I guess. Finally, each week I author an e-newsletter through My Emma to boost my advertisers and the content. 

So, that's about it.  I'd be happy to help you figure out some other things like original music for your podcast...HELLO James GOODLETT from Jam Good Productions!!! Or anything else you might need.  Check his work below.

Final word: Work.  I spend, roughly six hours a day doing interviews, travel, production, post-production and posting. And, that is every day. I get it. We do a daily newscast and you might be looking at doing a weekly podcast. Then, the time commitment goes way down. But till you've got to write, edit and create content that is worth listening to.

Now...you know everything! 

Good luck and THANK YOU Patrick Rynard for the boost to get me to write this!


Podcasting - The New HOT Thing

So, you want to start a podcast for your business...any business. You'll be joining a crowded field. In 2018 there were 170,000 new Podcastpodcasts started. That would be on top of the 110,000 podcasts started in 2017.

Yeah, it's the HOT new thing.

Want more? The number of episodes that went out last year numbered 575,000. That would tell us that not every podcast that started last year or the year before, or the year before that released a new episode. Why?

Folks find that it's hard work and getting your audience is not done instantly. It takes time. 

We've been in the podcast space for six years, long before it was popular. And, to make it all work you've got to have a compelling storyline, something worth talking about, professionally produced audio (and often video) and then the social media background to spread the message.

It takes...work.

But, in this "time-starved" world where nobody has time to sit in front of their radio and requires information on the go...podcasting makes a ton of sense. Just be prepared to spend time and money to get it done right.  

We've stuck with it and after six years Insight on Business the News Hour is rocking it....and we're grateful

It reminds me of the early days of blogging. It was hot and people started thousands of blogs and then, as time went on...they figured out it took lots of time, energy and talent to pull it off.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from moving forward...just want to help you understand what it takes.

Good luck...and if we can help....let us know.

 

 

 

 


The Video from 2014 - National Tractor Parts Dealer Association

I was going through some old notes this weekend preparing for a trip to Mobile, Alabama to cover the annual meeting and trade show for Video single our client the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association. During the search I ran into a promotional video I did for them four years ago along with an outtake from the first scene. 

At the time the association was struggling with getting people to attend their event so they asked us to do a number of things to push attendance levels which, by the way, worked. It's amazing what can happen when you put some thought into a multifaceted approach to solving a problem.

Anyway, I thought you might get a kick out of this one outtake that set up the beginning of the video. I've been doing this stuff for years and, for folks not in the business, it's enlightening to learn how much goes into just a few seconds of finished video. Equipment issues, forgetting the lines, tripping while walking.  So here is the outtake I found:

 

And then this is the finished product:

 

It was all shot with a single camera. The shoot took about two days and another day to edit. They had a very tight budget so it was a "one man effort" with some help from friends, Mariah, Tony and Georgie.  It was fun to do...and thought we would share.