Baby, I'm Amazed...

The ability to connect with customers, clients and co-workers has never been greater. Go ahead, pick a platform from traditional media use Connecting Puzzle Image to podcasting to a host of social media platforms. Never before has there been so much opportunity yet utilization, real utilization, and the understanding of how to make it all happen tends to rest with just a few of us. I'm amazed.

Last week I joined Clubhouse (thank you Ben McDougal) and was involved in a deep dive into journalism. From how people are consuming the news to the many platforms that are available to a deep concern about an aging population that still relies on print and what happens when that goes away. We talked about news silos where people only get their information from a source that aligns with their personal/political view. We chatted about independent writers and journalists that are freelancing and publishing on Substack or on their blog or in an electronic newsletter. Baby, I'm amazed...

If everything that I wrote in that second paragraph reads like some sort of techy gibberish you would not be alone. Think of that entire ecosystem as a layer of knowledge and activity that is going on in what would seem like an alternative universe. And, to a point it is. News Typewriter

While the vast majority of people and businesses survive on some traditional and "old school" models of marketing, advertising and information gathering you need to know those old models are quickly going away or being replaced with other means of connecting. And, that...can be a blessing our a curse.

It all depends on your target market...the people that really matter to your business.

I was watching "Better Call Saul" the other night (If you've not seen it...go...you will not be disappointed.) when the main character Jimmy McGill, a down on your luck attorney and the person who later becomes Saul Goodman, recognizes an opportunity to do something called "elder law". Jimmy_McGill Saul You know, doing wills and trusts for older citizens.  In one scene we see what appears to be a long-term care facility day room with dozens of elderly people talking, playing cards, doing puzzles and the staff is handing out Jell-O Cups.  As the people eat the Jell-O there is a message printed on the bottom of each cup that says, "Need a Will? Call Jimmy McGill" and an image of McGill's face.  And, of course, McGill is in the room glad-handing each person and giving some really over the top complements.

Brilliant...  You see Jimmy knows his customer base and it would be a waste of time and money to try to reach these folks with traditional media and so he does some inventive "direct marketing" on a personal scale. Now, the show doesn't tell us how successful this method is but if he gets just eight people, out of the sixty there, he's made a good return on his investment.  But, the key was he KNEW who and how to connect.

So, where is your key customer? They may be consumers of local radio or television. They may be die-hard print subscribers or they may be digital consumers or early adopters of various communication tools from Clubhouse to Twitter. The question to you is, "Where are my customers/clients/co-workers spending their time gathering information?"

Figure that out and you...win.

 

 

 


Why Discount When You Have Peter Children?

I've had the pleasure of knowing, and liking, Peter Children for several years. Here is a guy who, in his mid-80's, works his business, Peter Children May 2017 Universal Products, every day. And I know because Peter calls or sends me an email almost daily asking about his ideas, sales efforts and more.  Some time ago he was on my radio show talking about sales and sales marketing. That's where the photo comes from.

Recently Peter has been working on several opportunities for major businesses to use what he is calling the Swarovski Incentive. It plays like this:  Rather than sell a product be it clothing to flowers at deep discounts why not hold the original price and offer a really amazing incentive like a pair of Swarovski studs?  And, the cost of the incentive is way lower than what the retail store would lose by selling at deep discounts AND (this is the best part) the word of mouth marketing from the effort will be huge.

Here is a quick 20 second video of the studs and a neat tennis bracelet so you can get an idea of the quality.

 

Nice huh?

Full disclosure: Peter didn't pay me a dime to write this or create the video. I am simply in awe of his work ethic and his ideas. Now, should you wish to connect with him (nope, he doesn't have a website) you can call 641-423-0184 or shoot him an email pchildren@mchsi.com.

Thanks for coming by.

 


So, You Want to Add a Podcast for Business?

Back in the day we were early adopters of the business blog. It's a great way to tell your business story outside of somebody else doing Blog Image the work for you. And, we've always believed that organic is much better than hiring outside help...unless you don't have the time or interest.

It's the same for business podcasting.

Let's be clear, with more consumers being mobile and listening to "spoken word" on their devices the business podcast makes sense. And, while you could invest in radio or television why not become your own broadcast facility?  But, we get it. You may not have the equipment and or experience to create the content or edit the finished product.  Totally understand and that's why we've launched our new business podcast service.

New Studio ShotIf you've followed our work you know we've been in the broadcasting and podcasting world for over a decade. Recently we added the equipment necessary for us to assist our clients in creating their own branded podcast. Our work includes the recording, editing, dubbing in your branded music/jingle and more. We'll even help you create your social media channels to distribute your content. Just like we're doing for a new Minnesota based client.

OK, so let's say your business isn't using social media (which, we think, is a mistake) perhaps you've been doing email marketing or direct mail marketing. Did you know that you can use those tools to also distribute your business podcast? 

There are many ways a business podcast can be helpful in telling your story. And, if you've been doing a business blog for some time turning those stories into a podcast gets even easier.

So, let's visit. That conversation won't cost you a dime and you may come away with some great marketing ideas.

Thanks for reading! 

 


Random Marketing/Advertising Thoughts

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. Pepsi bottles

Pepsi Wins

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."

Yeah....advertising.

Podcasting

Podcast MicRemember 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?

Marketing and Advertising thoughts...it's what we do...every day.  And, if you want to check out our Insight on Business the News Hour podcast you can find us on your favorite podcast platforms:  Google PlayPlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday at 2pm on News/Talk 1540 KXEL.

Thanks for reading...now go sell something!

 


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!


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!