Tag Archives: podcast

Five Things: Investigate Before Paying for Awards

Five Things: Investigate Before Paying for Awards. I have a client who was contacted by a trade magazine about being named to an industrial top 20 list of promising companies like his. Sounds good, right? Everyone likes recognition, especially the positive kind and especially when it will be published in a widely read, respected trade journal. What’s not to like?

The catch was that there was a $3,000.00 “sponsorship” charge associated with this award. When I heard that, my eyebrows went straight up and found myself instinctively clutching my wallet. But being fair minded investigated further, wanting to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt.

For the sake of protecting the innocent and not getting sued, I have changed all of the details about this story. Here are the things to investigate before paying for an award from a trade magazine or anyone else.

  1. Check the magazines’ circulation numbers. For this particular book, Vocus listed their circulation at 0. That does not necessarily mean that there are no readers; it means they did not report the number of readers to any audit company. Serious trade magazines have their readership numbers audited by an outside 3rd party, like BPA. That way they can justify their ad rates and communicate to advertisers that prospective customers see their ads. Be wary of any trade magazine that does not have an audit statement or lists of subscribers or readers.
  2. How often is the magazine published? 12 is the most often and sometimes there are 24 issues of most magazines. And they supplement with on line issues and podcasts, fine. In this case, the magazines’ web site said they publish “every other month” (which for trade publication is a red flag all by itself) but found other reviews that said they publish 12 issues a year and another that said they published 23. One review said they always publish an issue at the start of the month, but could not say when or if they published one at mid-month. Trade publications run by adults not only publish regularly but they also have an editorial calendar. If you the magazine approaching you does not have an editorial calendar and can’t keep up with the number they intend to publish, run away.
  3. The absence of a significant social media profile. Checking the twitter page for this magazine, I found there were 93 tweets and 613 followers. Another trade magazine that covered the same topic/industry had by contrast has 28,400 tweets and over 120,000 followers. The absence of a significant social media footprint is a bad sign. News sources (like trade magazines) publish news and use twitter to alert those interested about it because it is important or at least noteworthy. My own twitter account has more tweets than this. Beware. And look at the twitter accounts of others who were similarly approached about the same awards.
  4. How many other top 10/20/30 lists do they publish? For this particular trade book, I found 3 dozen top whatever lists. When you are 1 among several hundred others, it does not put you in unique company.
  5. Do your homework. For companies or individuals, it is very hard to hide on line. It is your responsibility to perform due diligence. Some of the clues about “offers” like this are not as obvious as others. No one did anything illegal as far as I can tell. But you have to feel that the overall dubiousness of the award and its price tag are worth noting.

In this case, all the clues were not obvious and that is the real shame. It annoys me considerably to know that honest people are tricked into things like this simply because they do not know the right questions to ask. Now they do. So if someone wants to give you an award and presents you with an invoice, just politely say “no thanks” and move on to the next real opportunity. There are plenty of them and you have lots of interesting things to say.

 

Five Ideas: Get Paid Writing Blogs/Podcasts

Podcasts create another opportunity to reach the audience and inform them about your expertise.
Five Ideas: Get Paid Writing Blogs/Podcasts. Podcasts create another opportunity to reach the audience and inform them about your expertise.

Five Ideas: Get Paid Writing Blogs/Podcasts. At some point whether blogging, podcasting, or posting videos on You Tube you will want to get paid. Sure there are people who will do these things simply for the love of it and we love them for being so generous. But most folks can ill-afford to make a commitment like this. The rest of us need to get paid.

Will you start your blog or podcast and have people lined up to sponsor you? No. If you work diligently for 6 months to a year, posting new, original material 5 days a week do you have a chance? Yes. Or maybe.

Advertisers want the same thing you do, page views or downloads from people who are involved with you. You could have guessed that, but what else? What about conversations about you on your social media pages? Could a sponsor benefit from being a topic of a post on your Face Book page? Assuming that the comments were positive, sure. But in any event, you have to bring the numbers.

Whether Twitter followers or downloads, advertisers want entrée to your audience. If your audience numbers in the dozens it is unlikely to attract a sponsor. So spend your time building an audience. The best way to do that is to be consistent with original content that is new or at least a new twist on something.

Traffic And How Much Is Enough?

So how do you know that you have “enough” of an audience to merit ads? Go to one of several ranking systems. The best ones are Google Page Rank (http://google.about.com/od/searchengineoptimization/a/pagerankexplain.htm) and Alexa (http://www.alexa.com).

Of course, raw numbers do not always tell the whole story. If you work in a niche that is very specialized you are not going to have millions of followers. My page on called www.collectorsshow.net attracts a lot of views from people who collect napkins. That is because I did a show earlier this year about that topic and they come to the site to listen to and read about napkin collecting. This fits that “small niche” category. While the number of these people ranks in the hundreds, most of them visited my site. Which brings me to the stat or measure that matters the most and that is engagement.

Engagement is the Best stat for a Blog or Podcast Sponsor

The most important stat to a potential podcast or blog sponsor is your influence. How engaged is your audience? Do they take action on your recommendations? This matters more to an advertiser than impression numbers, because they’ll not renew an advertising contract, even to a big audience, if the audience isn’t taking action (converting). The more likely your audience is to take action, the more valuable they are to a sponsor.

I was listening to Michael Berry on KTRH-AM in Houston. He mentioned that he liked a hat from a feed store called A & P Feed and talked about it on the air. Later in the broadcast, and probably not coincidentally, he received an e-mail from the owner who thanked him for the mention and told him about a big order he received as a result. If the people you attract are more followers than casual listeners, you can attract advertisers.

A good way to measure this for a podcast is by recommending relevant free or premium resources (maybe even an affiliate) with a trackable link, like from Pretty Link Pro or Better Links Pro. An affiliate will allow you to track both how many people visited through your link and—more importantly—how many people purchased.

Recruiting Advertisers

So assuming you have the numbers to attract advertisers, here are some suggestions to actually attract them.

  1. Figure out ways to get potential advertisers involved. Of course there are banner ads and payment for click-throughs. But what about polls? A sponsored poll or quiz will engage the sponsor and the people who participate. The results of the poll create a posting opportunity and even a news release possibility. You can offer all of these as a package to a potential advertiser as a value added benefit of working with you.
  2. Give something away. A giveaway of a sponsors’ product will also involve the audience and give you the chance to talk/write about the product in your blog or podcast. Once you determine the winner, interview him/her about the product and how cool it was to win. Beyond the obvious, you also just provided your potential sponsor with a testimonial. If you gave something away from them once a week you deliver 52 testimonials. For merchants of any type, there are few things better than unscripted praise from an end-user.
  3. Guest posts and interviews. Inviting the potential sponsor to be on the program or blog is a good idea because it will show them how professional you are and what is possible through further, albeit paid, involvement.
  4. Adsense and Amazon Affiliate programs. These two companies specialize in blog advertising and are 2 of the leaders. But there are others and you will want to research the ones that are the best fit for you.
  5. Podcast networks such as Mevio, Podtrac, and Wizzard Media welcome any podcaster that has an audience, because that means they can sell advertising against it. The networks collect shows, categorize them, and sell advertising on a CPM (cost per thousand) or CPA (cost per action) basis. Adam Curry, former MTV VJ, podcasting pioneer, and President of Mevio (interview), is looking for podcast producers that know their audience and can motivate them. Using either their show programming or social media, podcast producers promote show-specific coupon codes for their sponsors. Every time one is used, the podcaster gets paid. Of their network of 15,000 podcasters, Curry said he has three podcasters that will make between $500,000 to $1,000,000 this year.

Let me say, that this is not easy. It is anything but easy. As I have written before, you need to approach this like a job, you show up every day and post. You have to commit. I spend 2-3 hours a day researching and writing each one of the se posts. So on top of a 40-hour work week and everything else that is involved, add another 2 days to the week. Without a commitment, you have no chance. Even with a solid commitment, it will be incredibly challenging. I wish you well in your pursuit.

Six Things To Know About Adding A Podcast To Your Blog

Podcasts create another opportunity to reach the audience and inform them about your expertise.
Podcasts create another opportunity to reach the audience and inform them about your expertise.

Six Things To Know About Adding A Podcast To Your Blog. As part of the series on filling out the list of blog content techniques we come to podcasting. Hosting a podcast is like owning your radio station or at least having your own show. In my opinion podcasting opens up another channel of communications for you to reach people in your audience. And after all, sharing knowledge and expertise is the best reason to blog. Podcasts are for people who would rather listen in the car, while they are flying across the country, riding a bike or walking the dog. The podcast is perfect for people who are in a place where they are unable to read, or who simply prefer not to.

Match the audience and what they want. If they would rather listen than read, provide that opportunity.

More To It Than Most Will Tell You

Podcasting is not easy from a technical point of view, and if you do not have any experience with it, but want to do it anyway, it can be learned. I learned how in the days when podcasts were first becoming popular. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not technical. Putting together microphones, downloading recording software, recording phone calls, and getting it all synced together etc. were not easy. I say this because you should know what you are getting into. So many blogs and articles will tell you that things like this are easy. More often than not, they are selling you something and do not want you to know that it is more involved and will take time to set up and then learn. I’ve done hundreds of podcasts and can tell you from experience that it is challenging. Forewarned is forearmed. Here are other details to consider when contemplating a podcast.

  1. If you are serious about starting a podcast do not rely on the built in microphone that came with your computer. The sound quality is not on a par with anything that will make you proud. Buy the best microphone you can afford. If it is priced under $100.00 then it is probably not the quality you need. As with everything you will get what you pay for, microphones are no different. Other podcasters will have high production values. You are competing with them for listeners. If the quality of your sound is not any good, you will have a difficult time attracting and retaining audience members.
  2. Phone or Skype? I have a separate phone line for making calls to interview people for my podcasts. It requires special phone connections, a USB audio interface and a digital PBX along with the microphone, headphones and recording software. In the early days of podcasting this was the only option. It worked, but was a pain. Even with a land line the sound quality was not always broadcast quality. Thank goodness for Skype. I do not remember how I learned that I could record phone conversations over Skype, but it was a real blessing. The sound is always excellent and the recording feature comes with it. Skype is not free, but it is priced very reasonably. After I started recording interviews with Skype, I spent almost no time editing or making changes to sound quality with my editing software. The main thing I have to monitor are the sound levels, is it too loud or too soft, and that is relatively easy to manage.
  3. Monologue or Interview? Some podcasters are very good at presenting information without anyone else around but most are not. So I recommend getting someone else to talk to while recording, especially if you are new to the practice. There are lots of reasons, but the main one is that you will be tempted to read a script. Bad idea. Reading sounds terrible over the radio or a podcast. You want your content to sound conversational, so to have that tone you may need to get someone to have that conversation with. Ask a friend or even your spouse or significant other to partner with you. If that is not doable for you, book guests to interview. Find experts in the field and invite them to participate in a friendly interview. Take lots of time to practice. Listen to radio talk shows and other podcasts to get a feel for how to do this. Broadcasting is a profession that requires training and practice. No one just sits down in front of a microphone for the first time and spins audio gold.
  4. You will need software to edit and convert your recordings. I use Wavepad. It is relatively simple to use, compared to other software that is really meant for studio professionals. Garage Band, the Apple users will at least have seen on the toolbar, is also a possibility but you cannot save files in MP3 format very easily. The same is true for a software called Audacity. To be honest, I find Wavepad easier to use than Garage Band. Garage Band is really for recording music and different instruments on separate tracks. At most, you will have 2 tracks to edit, you and the person you interview. I’ve tried several and recommend Wavepad. As mentioned above, save your files as MP3’s as that is the format most use to podcasting.
  5. Add the final MP3 to your website. Here is where it gets trickier. For this blog and others I manage, we use WordPress. If you do not use WordPress, then I am not sure what to tell you. But if you are using WordPress, go to your dashboard, and click “Categories” and then add one called “Podcast”. Alternatively, you can wait until you write your first post containing a podcast file and then add it by clicking “Add New Category” on the right of the post area.
  6. Adding your Podcast to iTunes. Once you have created and posted you podcast to your site and published it, you are ready to put it on iTunes. I found this very difficult, though like I said earlier I am not technical. You need your podcast to be on a RSS Feed. “RSS” stands for “really simple syndication” and unless you have this capability, you will not be able to send it to iTunes. I use Feedburner, from Google but there are bound to be other, better platforms. Here is a link to the support in WordPress for podcasting: https://en.support.wordpress.com/audio/podcasting/

If you have the savvy and patience to get through the technical parts or the resources to hire someone to do it for you, the podcast is an excellent communications tool that will compliment your blog content and attract more people to you. To hear a podcast I do, go to iTunes and listen to The Collectors Show. I learned all this the hard way. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.

Six Steps For Expert Blog Interviews

Better blogs can be had in six steps. Easy!
Better blogs can be had in six steps. Easy!

Six Steps For Expert Blog Interviews.  Nothing will add to your credibility and blog readership like interviewing someone in your field who is already a recognized expert. It’s the opposite of guilt by association, but I don’t know what or even if there is a saying for that. Maybe “smart by association” or “expert in proximity” are those labels. But you want to be thought of and remembered in the same way that those experts are. How do you do that? Where do you go to find someone to interview and once you find them, how do you convince them to talk with you? While there are no guarantees offered here, the steps listed below are the ones I use to book guests for my podcast.

  1. Research via Google News Alerts. I do a podcast called The Collectors Show. Every week I interview someone who is a recognized expert in his or her respective field of collecting. I’ve interviewed people who are regulars on “Antiques Roadshow” along with others who hold records for collecting, authors of price guides, tour guides and some with collections that are non-traditional. I’ve interviewed a man who collects vacuum cleaners, another who collects mustard, one who collects barf bags and another who collects fishing lures. I found them all with Google News Alerts . Google News Alerts provides as much information as I can read about collecting, collectors and collectibles. There is always a local paper or some other media outlet that covers something of interest that will show up on the alert. There is so much news about collecting and collectibles, that I also do a “news from the world of collecting” segment. Find your experts via Google News Alerts.
  2. Send and e-mail invitation. Once you located the person you want to interview, send him/her an email invitation. Introduce yourself and describe what you want to do. Tell them there is no charge for participating and that you are a friendly outlet for their views and opinions. I always say, “ours is friendly program with a friendly audience, this is not 60 Minutes.” More often than not the person you invite will say yes. In fact I have done over 50 shows and only been turned down twice.
  3. Send a list of questions. Whether you intend to record the interview over Skype, for a podcast or a written blog, do the interviewee the courtesy of sending a list of questions in advance. This will result in a better interview because your interviewee will be better prepared with more thoughtful answers. Worried about spontaneity or journalistic integrity? Well, if you are a paid member of the news media that is a reasonable consideration. If you are, on the other hand, someone who blogs because of a love of the topic you blog about, it is not. In addition to better answers, you will save time for yourself and for your interviewee. Most bloggers have real jobs, so making a good use of time is better for you too.
  4. Presume you are already friends. I had the chance to meet and work with a brilliant marketer whose name is Stan Slap (http://www.slapcompany.com/site/) Among the many things that I learned from him was “the presumption of acquaintance” with the audience. It amounts to writing as though you were writing a letter to a friend. It works when writing sales letters, brochures and it also works with interviews. Listen to some of your favorite media hosts or reporters and make note of the tone of the interview. I’m a fan of radio, so I listen to it a lot. And the thing I learned from listening to them is that they always sound like they know the person they are interviewing. Most of the time, they have never met and have never even talked on the phone before the interview starts. But you would never know that from listening. The radio personality I liked the most was a man named Ian Punnet. Ian is not on the air any more but if you go to the Coast-to-Coast web site (coasttocoastam.com), you can find some of his old shows. For a good television example, watch Jimmy Fallon. You would think he knows everyone on his program really well. He doesn’t but you would never know that from watching. If you decide to do a podcast, Blog Talk Radio is the first obvious resource. Webmaster Radio is another one to keep an eye on.
  5. Edit sparingly. For radio, podcasts or video, this used to be called “live to tape” but since no one uses tape any more, it is probably called something different. Heavily edited content looks and reads like it is abbreviated. When I do the podcast interviews I hardly every do any editing of the audio. The only time I do is when the dog barks, I start sneezing or coughing, or there is some other exterior interruption that is out of my control. If you sent the questions to your interviewee for written responses, treat them the same way. If you have to edit answers, make sure the person you interview knows this in advance. You may have to edit because of space or time limits. People understand that and will forgive you, but only if you tell them in advance.
  6. Make interviews a regular addition to your blog. This will help you with unique content for your blog in the form of expert input and provide a nice break for you. If you blog regularly you know that it is hard work and that letting someone else add his or her voice will allow you to learn and re-charge all at once.

Like most everything there is a lot more on this topic and it is freely available via the Internet. These 6 tips are based on my experience. I hope they are useful to you.