Once you release a podcast episode, you'll obviously want to share it on social media. However, you cannot forget that you're competing with a lot of noise on Twitter. Nonetheless, I still see plenty of Tweets like this:
Our latest podcast is now available! Check it out - (Link)
Episode 52 of the show is out now - (Link).
My initial response is...so?
I don't know anything about that episode. Plus, if this is the first time I've seen your podcast, you just lost a chance to intrigue me. Just like other forms of content (blogs, video), you need to post something that might get me or someone else to click on it. An episode number or simply saying, "check it out" isn't going to be enough for most people.
Use hashtags, images or clever text to draw attention to your latest episode.
I'll give you a personal example. When I was first learning how to do this, I posted a generic Tweet about my latest episode. As you can imagine, it didn't get much response. Then I thought I would highlight something specific that might get people to click on the link.
This episode featured an interview with Anthony Michael Hall, and he had some interesting things to say about playing Kelly LeBrock's love interest in Weird Science. So, I tweeted about that (in some fashion), and it got a much larger response. In fact, it got Kelly LeBrock's attention as well. She began following the show on Twitter.
So, don't share meaningless episode numbers or generic call to actions. Get attention and intrigue the audience! If I can help your podcast in other ways, contact me anytime!
Don't be afraid of your audience, and don't avoid telling them the truth.
You might read that sentence and ask, "What do you mean?" or "Why would someone be AFRAID of their audience?"
Those are understandable questions, but let me tell you a story to highlight my point.
A few years ago, I picked up a freelance copywriting job, and on the first day I visited the office for a welcome meeting. I don't think it was a dark and stormy night, but let's just say it was. As I was touring the building, we walked past a group of employees that made up the copywriting team.
I couldn't help but ask, "If you have a copywriting team...why do you need freelance copywriters?"
The answer (that might have been given with an Igor-like voice) was - "We just need some FRESH ideas." (Dun, dun, duuuuun!)
After successfully completing some simple projects, I began to realize what that really meant. You see, they were one of these companies that offered people something for FREE online. However, in this case, before you could get it (THUNDER CLAP), you had to enter credit card information. That information was then used to loop you into a subscription service that gave you several online tools. (Reaction)
So, the reason they needed "fresh ideas" was because they gave their copywriting team an impossible task - develop content that would make people more comfortable with sharing credit card information after being told they were getting something for free.
A few days later, I was brought into a creative meeting to give some feedback on their new website design. The preview site showcased pictures of nice looking business people and customer service reps. This was meant to humanize them in a way that would make people comfortable with giving credit card information (after saying something was free). There may or may not have been some maniacal laughing.
It makes me think of My Cousin Vinny when Vinny asks his girlfriend what pants he should wear to go deer hunting. She tells him to pretend he's a deer who's taking a sip of water out of a clear brook. Then, BAM he's been shot and the scene turns totally gruesome. She then asks if at that moment WOULD HE CARE ABOUT WHAT PANTS THE HUNTER WAS WEARING?
I went home and thought it all through. I even did some research and found a blog post about this company that said it couldn't understand why they weren't upfront about their paid services because there was value in them. A post like this could have a reader ask - "What are they hiding?" (Dun, dun, duuuuun)
So, I bravely went back and asked them why they weren't more transparent about having to input card information to pay for these services.
Their answer - Because all of our online ads (PPC, etc) say FREE, and connecting the pay stuff will ruin that or scare them away. So, instead of figuring out a way to effectively communicate everything...they needed copywriters to come up with FRESH ideas on how to sucker the public. They were trying to brainwash creatives into evil lying zombies!!!!! (Reaction)
Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
So, I went home and wrote/produced a video for them. This video showed that people were still getting something for free, but explained the value of the paid extra features. I also reached back into my on-air fundraising messaging days and developed verbiage that showed the audience just how little they were paying a week for these conveniences.
The company wanted no part of it.
Finally, I told them that their competition would likely take advantage of this by exposing the deception. Despite blowing that warning off, I later saw an advertisement doing that very thing. This commercial made a it a point to tell their audience that they will NEVER ask for credit card information.
What a twist!
Here are some valuable takeaways from this story:
1. What does it say about your organization that your content strategy is focused on fooling your audience? How confident are you in your services if you're afraid of your customer's reaction? Is that the type of company you want to be?
2. You audience is not stupid. They're not going to feel better about getting hit in the face because you wore nice pants to the fight. Customers that search for products and services online do their research, and they're armed with what their peers, friends and relatives say. Plus, user-generated content (like the blogger's commentary about the company) is one of the ways people learn about you.
3. TRUST is an incredibly important factor in generating business online. You are much better off being honest about what you're doing and why you're doing it than trying to hide half the story. In this case, the company still could've offered one thing for free and explained why the add-ons were worthwhile purchases.
Finally, don't send the wrong signal to your talented copywriting team by hiring freelancers that can come up with "fresh" ideas. It's an especially bad practice when you've giving them the impossible task to effectively fool your customer.
If you are having challenges sending the right message to your target audience, I can help. You can email me or contact me HERE.
When someone is about to sit down and write their first blog, it can create headaches. New writers tend to overwhelm themselves with worries about length, likability, reactions and best practices. If you choose to search for advice, you'll find enough to last you for months. At the end of the day...you just want to write something!
Calm down. Breathe. Clear your head.
You can definitely start your blog today. Here are some expert tips to help you break through the anxiety.
Write about what interests you and put your personality into it
Mark Schaefer talked about some of the early lessons he learned in the book Born to Blog. His first attempts to blog taught him one thing - his approach wasn't working. The problem was being a "classically trained" marketer who started out writing posts that focused on a specific marketing message.
After that failed, he just relaxed and wrote about things that were interesting to him. He told marketing stories, used humor and pushed himself to try a number of blog styles. After that, "Instead of me finding my target audience, my target audience found me, " he wrote.
Incorporate "Flair" Into Your Blog Posts
In the most recent episode of The Content Call Podcast, I talked with Sheena White about picking photos for your blog (without worrying about copyright troubles). I described it as FLAIR for your blogs. If you're serious about views, you should follow the advice of Forbes contributors, and write catchy headlines, use visual aides, and embed links. These types of strategies make your blogs a lot more intriguing and engaging.
Use Tools and Strategy to Reduce Time Stress
One big obstacle that prevents people from blogging is time. If you're considering a blog for your business, this could be a huge concern. However, it doesn't have to be a stressful time-hog if you take a planned and practical approach to the content.
First of all, don't convince yourself that your blogs have to be 1,000 word journalistic news-style pieces. They can be short, sweet and valuable. In fact, unlike news posts that can bury the lead, you should get to your main point towards the beginning of your posts.
Two ways you can save time is to focus on a clear blog niche and arm yourself with helpful tools that can help you pick topics.
Speaking of Tools...These Help You With Content Ideas
One of the most common roadblocks for new and seasoned bloggers is coming up with topic ideas. Brainstorming is never a bad thing, but writer's block can quell that storm. Then what do you do? Use the internet to help you! Neil Patel recommends these resources to help younever run out of blog ideas. These ideas are focused on using keywords, hot topics and analytics to help your content strategy.
A key to my success as a content producer and consultant has been my ability to gauge how an audience will likely respond to what they see or hear. If I can help engage your target audience, feel free to email me today!
Aspiring podcasters know they need to put their show on iTunes. So, a common question becomes - How do I get my podcast on iTunes? It's probably easier than you think, but there's another step you have to take first:
Get podcast hosting.
iTunes is going to ask you for your podcast feed. When you sign up with a hosting service, they'll provide you with one. There are several services to choose from, like Libsyn, Buzzsprout and Blubrry.
Being in the messaging and marketing space, I love watching shows like Shark Tank. I not only love learning about new products, but I'm also fascinated with how people attempt to convey messages to the investors. However, they can throw out the perfect pitch, showcase a good product and NOT get an offer. One reason tends to be the number of products in that space.
Remember this when you launch a podcast. In fact, think of your podcast as a bag of chips.
I saw a pretty successful pitch for a new brand of potato chips, but the crowded chip shelves at grocery stores deterred the sharks. Think about it, when you go to the grocery store...how likely are you to try a new brand of chip instead of going with what you already like? Granted, if your favorite BRAND launches a new flavor, you might consider it.
What about a brand you've never seen? What would they have to do in order to get you to TRY their food? If you try it out, would you compare it to your favorites?
A big part of your target audience are people who currently listen to podcasts, and they know what kind of shows (or chips) they like. If your ideal listeners are seasoned (see what I did there?) podcast listeners, they probably already listen to shows like yours. So, now you have to convince them to fit your show into their consumption habits.
In other words:
This is why you need to think less about doing what other people do, and work harder to be different or better than them. If you love Doritos or Fritos, you've probably seen similar brands of chips. Big deal. You don't have to have something "similar" because you already get what you like.
Don't be a Doritos copycat. You can provide your podcast audience with a something unique that gives them value (and a lot less sodium).
As many people know, I am a BIG proponent of podcast editing. In the first episode of Content Call, I loved how Chris Brogan's wife beautifully coined the process as "good manners". You should call it that because taking the time to edit a podcast means you care about respecting the listener's time. As I've said before, you can do some of the editing before the show starts recording by:
For the last 3 years, I've set the flagship show at Assembly of Geeks to run about an hour. However, there have been times when the recording session went 90 or more minutes. That means I have to work harder in editing, but I've cut 25+ total minutes off in post production in order to get it a lot closer to that 60 minute threshold.
It can be done.
How? Well, most people see editing as just cutting out the "uhs" and "ums" throughout the recording. Yes, you can do that...but you can also do so much more.
Cut out the stutters and stops/starts.
Podcasts are generally the flow of natural conversation, and not all of us are professional speakers. So, there are going to be times where someone stutters or starts a sentence, stops and then starts over. Cut that and tighten those moments into one fluid sentence. There are also times where someone takes a longer than usual pause before saying something, and you can tighten that as well.
Cut the rambles and less important comments
We've all been in conversations where one person has so much to say that we get antsy. We get that way because they dominate the conversation that we don't feel part of it anymore. Remember, the listener is part of your conversation...only you can't hear them speak. So, don't make them zone out or feel antsy. Listen to some of the longer commentaries during your conversation and find places to tighten it. In the end, they might say the exact same thing, only in fewer words. Or, they might just say the most important stuff. Here's an example:
Let's say you're listening to someone talk about the new Wonder Woman movie and they say:
"I thought it was easily the best superhero movie I've seen in awhile. I think Gal Gadot proves she was the perfect choice to play her because you fully believe she IS Wonder Woman from beginning to end. Which is such a relief because so many people questioned her casting, but I knew all along she could pull it off because I've seen her in several other movies. Fast and Furious being one of them. Love that movie. She is the embodiment of what we love so much about heroes, especially Wonder Woman. She stands for what she believes in...she's brave, courageous, intelligent, and she's a badass. It reminded me a lot of this girl that I went to college with. She was beautiful, but she also wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed in. I think she could totally cosplay as Wonder Woman. After all the attempts to bring Wonder Woman to the screen...it's almost been worth the wait considering what we got. I want to go see it again."
We can cut a few things and turn it into this:
"I thought it was easily the best superhero movie I've seen in awhile. I think Gal Gadot proves she was the perfect choice to play her because you fully believe she IS Wonder Woman from beginning to end. She is the embodiment of what we love so much about heroes, especially Wonder Woman. She stands for what she believes in...she's brave, courageous, intelligent, and she's a badass. After all the attempts to bring Wonder Woman to the screen...it's almost been worth the wait considering what we got. I want to go see it again."
I've edited my co-hosts, as well as myself this way. The beauty of pre-recorded podcasting is that it's not live. So, you can record the natural flow of friendly conversation, then edit it for an audience.
Remove an entire conversation
If you have to pick several topics for your show, occasionally some will generate little in the way of engaging conversation. When that happens, don't be afraid to cut the whole thing out. I've done it.
As I mentioned, our flagship podcast episodes have run about 60 minutes. However, this past week, I attempted to tighten it a little more. I tried a new format that put the most recent episode of The Geek Directive at 40 minutes. It featured six topic discussions, a fictional story and the usual open/close/bumper/break/production.
If you incorporate these approaches to editing into your podcast, you'll be amazed at how it all adds up. After you're done, you will have effectively made better use of your listener's time, and you would've demonstrated good manners.
In the first episode of the Content Call Podcast, Chris Brogan talked about how people read an average of 19 minutes of text per day (blogs, text messages, news, etc), but hours and hours of videos are viewed/downloaded each day. This was a key reason he decided to start vlogging and including video in his content marketing efforts.
Another important point was to not limit your content to "talking head" video. It was good to hear him say this because I too have suggested this to businesses. I think you need to do some of it in order to humanize your brand, let people get to know you and offer the audience good value (by answering customer questions, etc). However, I also think you need to mix it up a little bit and maybe add some creativity into your video content. I understand that can sometimes be easier said than done depending on the business. So, here are some examples to help get you inspired.
Michael Dubin, the guy you see on camera, knew that people remember things presented in the form of music. In his view, COMEDY is a form of music. Granted, they had a budget ($4,500 to be exact), but that isn't the point here. The point is the creative approach used to do one thing - sell a razor subscription. Even if some people didn't sign up for the product, odds are they still shared the video with others.
If you don't always have the time to shoot these types of videos, services like Animoto, Moovly and GoAnimate can help you focus on music, text and animation.
So, you have plenty of options to make some engaging videos that can drive traffic to your business. You can really optimize your potential by finding a variety of ways to be creative and effectively engage your target audience.
"That won't work for our company."
"We don't need a content calendar."
"Just post whatever on (Facebook/Twitter) and promote us."
"We know we should develop a content/social strategy. We'll get around to it sometime."
These are some of the responses I have gotten from former bosses when I pleaded with them to develop a social media strategy. Over the years, I've heard colleagues share similar workplace experiences with me. The first and third quotes are the most troubling. One is not true, and the other needs to realize that "sometime" is now or never.
Even though I have experience with social media and content marketing, I recognize that I need to expand my knowledge. So, I've begun the coursework to get a Social Media Marketing Certificate from Northwestern University. I can tell you just in the early days of the program, I've gotten a broader understanding of how the marketing landscape has evolved in recent years.
I've seen insights and stats that clearly show why effective social media strategies are so imperative in today's marketplace. I realized if I didn't know some of this data, those bosses probably didn't know them either. Therefore, it could be one of the key reasons why so many businesses have not embraced social media. This realization began with sessions featuring Professors Randy Hlavac and Judy Ungar Franks. Franks discussed the "chaos" seen in the marketing space today. She pointed out that the media ecosystem has evolved from a Newtonian Machine to more of an Einstein Landscape.
You chose a media that you completely understood in purpose and functionality.
You didn't have to worry about excessive media overlap.
You could put 90 percent of your resources in one media, and go light on the others.
Content was straightforward and predictably sequential. It launched from Point A and traveled directly to Point B. You rarely had to worry about any kind of disruption.
There is media overlap - think about how much of it is seen on a screen.
Now you have to combine media in order to provide the user with more fully engaging experiences.
That same user (or customer) can take your content and continue its journey via another media circuit.
At the center of it all is this - the consumer now CONTROLS the marketplace. As an audience, they are now a recipient and an accelerate of your content. Companies and brands have to recognize this and learn about media/brand management. This is because you can't take old-school traditional marketing strategies and effectively use them in the new media.
In IBM's "Any" Challenge, they highlighted that companies have to be consumer-driven because they control the marketplace. You have to tailor to them and provide them with a consistent experience on all platforms.
One of the most powerful ways the consumer controls the market space is through suggestion. An extremely popular reason why people buy something is due to a friend or family suggestion seen online. Plus, several top search results for the top 25 largest brands come from user-generated content (i.e., blogs about products/brands).
Social media is not just a fun fad. It is a fundamental shift in communication and it's now the number one activity on the web. If that wasn't enough to get attention, this certificate program bombarded me with some amazing statistics like:
The ROI of social media is your business will still EXIST in five years.
Eventually that number is going to go from years to months. By that time, trying to finally embrace social media will be even harder because you'll be so far behind.
The clock is ticking. So, embrace it and learn it.
If you take too long to learn about a platform or strategy, your audience may have already found something new. That's the point - consumers and competitors in the social media realm are going to move on with or without you.
Obviously, I highly recommend getting training through certificate programs like the one I'm taking at Northwestern. Here pretty soon, I'm going to have a better way to explain to companies why they should invest in social media marketing and provide them with an even more effective way to drive it.
The folks over at Animoto, just conducted a survey of 1,000 customers about how they're responding to web video. An impressive 64% of them said they made a purchase after watching a marketing video.
You can get the infographic HERE.
If you're trying to grow your following on Twitter, there are several things you can do. There are some universal strategies that tend to work, and some ideas that may only work for some people. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing you can offer a potential follower is VALUE. With that in mind, here are some things I think Twitter accounts can reduce in order to be more valuable.
Automatically Generated Messages
There is nothing more robotic and anti-personal that an automatic message that gets triggered after you follow someone. This is especially true if it's some sort of pitch to buy, visit or follow something. This has been around so long it's obvious when it's done. At least try to fool somebody!
One tip-off is usually that it doesn't address someone by name. If you're going to send a message, please do that. Show that you care, and you're making a genuine attempt to connect or start a conversation. If this is truly SOCIAL media, let's not make an algorithm do all of the communicating for us.
Twitter Feeds That Feature Nothing But Posts and Promotion
Look, I understand that promotion and sharing content is part of what makes your account valuable. However, can you show us there is a human behind the account from time to time? I think it's a much better representation of your presence if I see you tweet to someone, tweet something original or even reply to someone on a regular basis. It just looks like your Twitter feed is more than just a posting service.
Twitter Feeds That Feature a Bombardment of Promotion
Again, it's social media, and therefore people aren't there to be hammered with sales pitches or self-promotion. I think it's better to pick your spots after you've spent 90 percent of your time sharing other content of value AND interacting with other people. It's all about being a little less "look at me" and a little more "engage with me".
Now, I realize someone could say, "Hey, Scott...I have 2 bazillion followers! What do you know?" I would say there are plenty of films that made a lot of money at the box office, but it doesn't mean it was an awesome movie. I'm not suggesting what you're doing is wrong, I just think you could add even more value with a couple of tweaks.