Over the years we've seen the number of "downloads" for Insight on Business the News Hour continue to grow. From a couple of hundred seven years ago to several thousand today. Of course we're on seven different podcast locations...so that helps.
But, here is the surprising number: 14%
According to Apple only 14% of the podcasts on that platform are "downloaded" the rest are "streamed". It's a pretty stunning development and one that we should have noticed because nearly all the platforms we're on allow our listeners to stream as well as download.
In addition to that bit of news we also allow listeners to stream from our Radio Blog that comes out each day.
The bottom line here is that metrics can be tricky especially when there are multiple ways in which to access content. So, maybe the correct answer to the question, "How many listeners do you have?" might just be..."Lots!"
Every so often stuff happens that business people need to better understand when it comes to marketing and advertising. Here are just two items that should get you to think about your approach to consumers.
Even in light of downward pressure on Wall Street Pepsi this week posted some impressive gains as the company posted third-quarter gains that beat expectations. Analysts had expected revenue of $16.93 billion however Pepsi turned in revenue of $17.19 billion. What does the company say contributed to the unexpected increase in revenue? Advertising. Pepsi CFO Hugh Johnson said, “The increased advertising that we have is causing consumers to shop us more aggressively, and our customers are rewarding us with that [grocery] space because they know that we can help them grow."
Remember when people said social media was a fad? Sure you do. I remember traveling around the country giving presentations about the power of social media and many times attendees came up to me and told me, in no uncertain terms, "Social Media is going to go away. It's a fad and we'll get over it." And, to be honest there are still some folks out there who believe that...even though social media platforms continue to grow.
Now it is podcasting that some say is a fad. However, consider this piece of news: "The Interactive Advertising Bureau/PwC forecast predicts $678.7 million will be spent by advertisers on podcasts this year. And revenue will top $1 billion in the next two years." And that, my friends, comes to us from the publication Inside Radio. So if radio is paying attention to podcasting...shouldn't your business?
Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a Lunch & Learn for the Carlisle, Iowa Chamber of Commerce about effective communication. How the vast majority of what you "say" isn't as impactful as your visual and vocal skills...or lack of them. It's true. While we might like to "think" content is king in communication in reality that content amounts to only 7% of your ability to connect with your audience...be it one person or one-thousand.
So, where am I going with this?
Every day an individual or a company launches their podcast often without really thinking about the two items that truly impact a listener: Visual & Vocal. Now, it's true that with an audio podcast visual can often be taken out of the mix unless you, as we do, incorporate some video teasers as to the content.
That leaves the impact of your vocals. At the Lunch & Learn an attendee asked this question, "What if you are not a trained broadcaster or public speaker, what are some of the hardest things to overcome?"
We talked about the use of "filler words" and vocal inflection and projection. Which brings me back to podcasting.
This week three new podcasts came to my attention. When things like that happen I like to click through to listen...just to hear what others are doing in the podcast world. All three of these new podcasts we're created by fairly large companies and/or non-profits and they were all...awful. Using the formula regarding Content, Visual and Vocal each of these new podcasts missed in the two most important categories with "vocal" being really bad.
Podcasting is the new cool way to connect but if you fail to think it through and your work sounds like you recorded it over a speaker phone...you are done. Stick a fork in it.
So, before you launch here are just a couple of tips: (Image is of our "mobile studio")
Get A Good Microphone - There are loads of options available. If it is just you or one other person you can get by with a USB mic like the one I use. It's the Blue Yeti and the quality is superb...broadcast quality. It allows you choose several options from picking up the entire room to picking up one voice direction or two. Here is a link to Blue...we love their products and their service is top notch.
Microphone Tip Two - We do a ton of remote recordings so we invested in some great equipment that we can take with us. Now, you may not be moving around but you might consider, if there are multiple people on the podcast to get mics and a recorder that can handle several inputs.
Post Production Software - We've used the open source Audacity program for years it's easy to learn and you can add so many touches to your podcast...like a pro. Here is the link to Audacity. Yes, there are more expensive programs out there...but for our use this has worked just fine. And, remember we're also sharing our podcasts on various radio broadcast outlets.
Visual Use - Make sure you take a photo of your podcast session and identify the people involved. It helps create a human touch. Likewise create a logo for your podcast so people know what it is that you are doing.
Plan & Be Informative - Sure you can have fun with your podcast...we do a weekly piece about "Stuff to DO" with our friends from Cityview Magazine but the majority of our news and interviews are things that many people simply don't know about. So plan your work to be informative.
Know When to Stop - People listen to various lengths of podcasts. We've found, over the years, that for us the best length of our interview segments is between 16 and 20 minutes. Anything over that and we create a Part One and a Part Two.
Share Your Podcast - We recommend that you be active in the social media world. If you simply post to your company website it's highly unlikely others will find you. Get social and watch your work get traction.
I truly hope some of this helps. But, if in doubt let us know. We're more than happy to answer your podcast questions.
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.
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.
One 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.
This summer marks the 10th year our agency has been doing Insight on Business the News Hour a daily business newscast which first 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.
However, 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?"
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?"
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.
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 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."
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.
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 Sell 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?
One 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.
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 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.
Sometimes we forget about the powerful search abilities that YouTube offers businesses. And, it doesn't have to be a complicated video with lots 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.
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.
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. 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.
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!
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