Keeping with the theme of supporting your social media marketing teams, today's audio blog is about investing in the transformation of a Marketing Department to a PUBLISHING Department. I'll start with an insight that came from my Social Media Marketing Certificate courses. Specifically, I'll touch on a section that featured insights on Taco Bell's Social Media War Room.
I also talk about Richie Kawamoto's effective strategies for getting companies to tell their stories through blogs like these:
What if Your Business Story Became a Movie?
A Brand Story on Social Media Requires a Budget
Richie Kawamoto on Twitter
If you're interested in a Social Media Certificate with Northwestern University, visit Coursera!
If I can help you produce content, just fill out the form below!
The decision to start a podcast is one thing, but developing the right concept is another. Obviously you want to talk about something you're naturally passionate about, because that passion will come through to the audience.
However, I tell people to think about a few other important aspects of the show. For one thing, you need to make sure your show can generate around 45 topics a year. This is true if you're planning to produce a weekly show. If you brainstorm and can't get past 20 topics in any way, shape or form...it might not be the right concept.
Make sure the concept lends itself to a good format (segments, interviews, round table discussion, etc) and figure out ways to showcase engaging content through it.
Finally, make sure you can easily explain what it's about and why people will want to listen every week.
I was thrilled to see Mark Schaeffer's blog about three big social media problems that aren't social media problems. Specifically, it was great to see him point out how lack of management support can ruin even the best of plans or the most creative of social media employees.
In this audio blog, I expand on this even further with an example from my own personal experience.
A few years ago, I sat in on a conference session that featured a panel of podcasting experts. The topic of logos came up, and one of the panelists said something like this:
If you have a $500 podcast budget, spend $450 on the logo.
While that advice demonstrates the importance of a logo, you don't have to spend that much to make one that works. Before you get started, take time to look at great examples of podcast logos.
Your logo needs to be 1400 x 1400 pixels (as a jpg). You could create a blank square of that size and make one of your own using Canva or PicMonkey. Or you can hire someone to (within your budget) to create one for you using services like Fiverr or Upwork.
Or, if I can help you with your logo or any other podcast element...contact me!
Okay, I know it's only July, but I can always get excited about Christmas. I love everything about it, including the holiday movies that appear on TV every December. I'm one of those snobby 80s kids that hasn't watched many black and white movies, but I do love the 1947 Miracle on 34th Street. There's a great scene in that movie that I think can teach modern marketers something very important.
While talking to a parent at Macy's, Santa shares where she can buy a toy for cheaper at another store. When the manager first gets wind of this, he's furious. That is, until he hears from the customer. She goes on to tell him how that one act changed her feelings about the store:
"Listen, I want to congratulate you and Macy's on this wonderful new stunt you're pulling. Imagine sending people to other stores. I don't get it...Imagine a big outfit like Macy's putting the spirit of Christmas ahead of the commercial. It's wonderful. Well, I'll tell ya. I never done much shopping here before, but I'll tell ya one thing. From now on I'm going to be a regular Macy's customer."
Ironically, this came after Kris Kringle was told how to "be a good Santa" by pointing customers to specific products while talking to kids. At that moment, it was all about the sales push at any cost. Little did they know that it wasn't even necessary to make the customer love the brand.
Back then, the writers probably thought it was just a unique twist. Today, it has so much meaning because success in social and content marketing is heavily rooted in trust. Granted, you don't have to suddenly hop on Twitter and tell people to check out your competitors, but you can still offer up some unexpected surprises:
Would that be scary? Why?
Because it might be more than your competition?
Because it might run people off?
You can't think that way. That store manager thought the parent would run off to the other store and never come back. It was scary to him!
Then, it went from scary to rewarding.
The same can happen to you in the real world. Why? This is a consumer-driven digital world, and people go online to search for answers! If you provide them (and the competition doesn't because they're too scared)...YOU become the trusted one. It's not about being expensive. It's about finding answers from a source that's willing to be honest with their audience.
If that store manager was in the parent's shoes, he would want to know where he could buy something for cheaper.
THERE LIES THE PROBLEM.
Marketing hats are pulled so tight on people's heads, they forget what THEY want as customers. Free yourself from that, and you'll put yourself in a better position to become a trusted brand.
You won't even need Santa's help to pull it off.
These days, one of the most powerful content marketing tools you can use is video. It's an even better tool if you can showcase several of them on your YouTube page. Once you start showcasing your content on your channel, you'll want to create custom thumbnails to make each one stand out. You can also use them to create some uniformity and give your channel some eye-pleasing organization.
Anytime you upload a video to YouTube, it will create a set of stills to serve as your thumbnail. This is the image people see before clicking on the content. Once you've verified your account, you'll see a Custom Thumbnail option in the upload/edit page.
There are several free graphic design programs out there, but I like to create YouTube Custom Thumbnails on Canva. They give you some really nice templates that allow you to quickly produce an engaging image. You can choose one and easily swap out images or adjust the text. You can also choose a blank format and build one from scratch.
You can see some of the ones I've created on my YouTube Page.
Have you ever listened to a podcast and thought:
OMG! This is sooo long!
Are they ever going to get to the point?
Are they ever going to get to today's topic?
Sheesh! I may need to fast forward because this isn't interesting.
These are reactions that take place due to the podcaster forgetting about a very important element to their show - YOU. Instead, they got caught up in a conversation, concept or segment, and they forgot to consider how much value it brought to the listener.
The hosts should always think of a listener as the other person in the conversation. Otherwise, they might feel less like they are in the conversation and more like their eavesdropping on one. This is an important concept in podcasting that is similar to a qualifier the late Gene Siskel applied when watching a movie. He would ask himself:
"Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?"
When I was hired to improve the radio fundraising drives at the Dallas/Fort Worth Public Radio Station, I applied this principle to our live on-air breaks. Sometimes that would mean changing something as simple as saying, "Good morning". If two people open their live segment saying "good morning" to one another (which was common), without the acknowledgement of the listener, there is an immediate disconnect. It's another reason why pledge breaks can be so irritating to listeners. It sounds like two people interrupted your favorite show to beg for money. Instead, it should sound like two like-minded people that want to discuss the importance of giving with you.
It can happen on podcasts as well. The hosts are having so much fun talking, that they'll veer off topic and sound unfocused. They simply forget they're doing a show for a listener, and it becomes all about them and their fun.
The same can happen when you're forced to listen to a segment that sounds weird or unengaging. The problem is that the host thought it was brilliant, and that was enough for it to be on the podcast. They got so caught up in how great it was to them, and they forgot to determine why the listener would like it.
If you ask people why they love certain podcasts so much, you'll often hear them say it's because they love the hosts. Many times they'll go as far as to say they feel like they're hanging out with them as they laugh, learn and talk. That's how you want your listener to feel.
When you produce podcasts and remember your listener at all times, you'll find that it can improve the quality of your show.
Your audience knows when they're valued and ignored.
In 2007, I was hired as an On-Air Fundraising Producer at the North Texas NPR affiliate. At the time, fundraising goals were coming up short, the drives were taking forever and they were getting complaint calls from listeners. It was my job to develop a brand new content and messaging strategy in order to right the ship.
Fortunately, I was successful.
Even though I improved how our team asked for money on-air, I found myself wondering if there was anything more I could do with that strategy. Even if we gave a clear reason why people should donate...the audience knew we worked there. So, in their mind, we were basically getting paid to share messages about why they should give.
So, I decided to invite donors to come to the station and record interviews about why they give and why they think it's important for others to do so. I didn't script any of it. I interviewed them, edited their comments down to the best answers and put a music bed underneath it all. I produced several of these, and each person had their own story.
In 2017, you could say testimonials are impacting all kinds of companies. Just like in my experience, they make a significant impact on how people decide to spend money. You have to be aware of what your customers are saying about you.
Many organizations may not realize that there are testimonials about their business being shared right now. Even worse, if a lot of bad things are being said, it has likely hurt their bottom line. Thanks to social media, blogs and websites (like Yelp), more and more consumers are making decisions based on:
1. Suggestions from friends/family online
2. Reviews posted by other consumers
3. Content produced about a company/product
This is why marketing departments need to make sure they can evolve past their reliance on advertisements and develop content that engages an audience. People trust their peers WAY more than than an advertisement. This trend is consistent with my own habits. I frequently do searches for content and reviews written about a company or product before taking the next step in the purchasing process. In fact, I have even searched company reviews on Glassdoor before applying for a job.
Social media has given the consumer a lot more power. They know how to do the necessary research before making a purchasing decision. That's why about 70% of the decision to buy has already been made before the customer even makes contact with you.
So, now your content and messaging strategies have to incorporate testimonials as well. You need to know what people are saying about you. If it's negative...you need to engage them in new ways, improve their experience and change their mind. If you have people who love you, turn those people into advocates for your brand.
Develop your own content that features quotes and testimonials. Engage your audience on social media, and make it easy for them to express their love of your company, product or brand.
Simply put, you need to care about what other people are saying about you. Your target audience cares, and they're already listening.
When you make the decision to launch a podcast, it's easy to get overwhelmed with questions:
1. What should I name the show?
2. How do I develop a format?
3. How do I get an open/close produced?
4. How do I find a co-host?
5. How can I be different in my space?
6. How much money should I spend?
7. What do I do about a logo?
8. What podcast hosting service should I use?
There are plenty of blogs, podcasts and videos available to answer some of these questions. However, it can be challenging to sort out which advice is best for you, and it can all get overwhelming. You may think about hiring someone to help, but finding the right person could also be challenging. This is especially true if you're concerned about budget.
I've helped new podcasters answer all of these questions and launch their shows. I've also helped people improve their existing podcasts. Sometimes clients want something as simple as getting a few questions answered. Other times, they need concept consulting and production assistance.
So, I currently charge $50.00 an hour for my podcasting services. Many times, I'm able to answer several questions in an hour or less, and I make sure that I provide a lot of value in that time frame. So, it adequately allows me to provide my clients with meaningful assistance, and it allows me to make something reasonable in the process.
There are household appliances that don't do enough to justify a $50 price tag, and my clients tell me that my work is money well spent.
If I can help you launch or improve your podcast, contact me HERE or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!