Plan before launching social media

September 6th, 2011

Marketing strategy
Lately I’ve received calls and emails from existing clients and new prospects seeking ways to use social media tools. They want to find out how to set up a Twitter account, exploit the ins and outs of LinkedIn, record a podcast, create a Facebook business page, and maybe even learn about GooglePlus so they’re ready when Google admits brands to its new platform.

Some of these people are pretty smart about their requirements. In many cases, however, I discover that two things are missing:

  • A commitment to developing an overall marketing or communications strategy first, before diving into social media. If you don’t know what your goals are, or who your target market is, how can you even dream of reaching them? And how would you measure success?
  • The allocation of resources for content development, curation and publishing. Think about this: After you’ve set up your cool-looking Facebook page, put a snazzy avatar on Twitter, and added fancy plug-ins to your WordPress blog, what are you going to say? Do you have a plan for curating, creating and publishing content?

Spending a few days hashing out your communications strategy and then planning your content flow will make the whole process of “using” social media a lot more effective.

I’m assuming here, perhaps too optimistically, that the organization in question is already monitoring mentions of their brands and their key people on the Web.

Do you agree? Easier said than done? Do people argue with you when you say “There’s no such thing as a Twitter strategy”?

For more content like this, follow me on Twitter or GooglePlus.

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Free webinar: Take your podcast to the next level

April 19th, 2011

How’s your podcast? If you’re already podcasting, then we probably agree that podcasting can be a powerful way to communicate with prospects, employees and customers, by telling stories with the warmth of the human voice. But perhaps you know in your heart that your podcast could be better.

I’ve been using audio on the Web for about seven years, and podcasting since 2005. Along the way, I’ve managed to learn many techniques that have been helpful to me in my own podcasts and in the hundreds of podcasts I have produced for clients. And I’d like to help you too.

That’s why I’m offering a free webinar called “Take Your Podcast to the Next Level.” During this 30-minute Web-based seminar, we’ll talk about simple, practical things you can do to improve your podcast – from content to audio quality to search engine optimization (SEO).

This free webinar will take place on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

Please reserve your spot today. Send an email right now to register. Attendance is limited. By the way, all you need to attend is a computer (with speakers) and an Internet connection. And perhaps a comfy chair.

Bonus: All attendees get a copy of the newly revised Podcaster’s Checklist, a three-page document filled with tips to improve your podcast.


The timing and format of this event have changed. Please note:

  • The webinar will not be held on June 1 as originally scheduled.
  • In late June, I will release a video that you can watch at your convenience. This video will show you some of the top ways you can improve your podcast.
  • On July 14 at 2 p.m. Eastern, I will host a free 30-minute teleseminar, where you can ask questions about the video and get answers to your own podcasting questions.
  • Please mark your calendar for July 14 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.
  • Watch your inbox in late June for a link to the video.
  • To take advantage of all this podcasting goodness, YOU MUST REGISTER. Kindly use the link in the original post, above. Thanks!
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How to be a terrific podcast guest

January 10th, 2011

If you want to spread the word about your book, your business, or your speaking availability, being a guest on a popular podcast is an obvious step. But do you know how to be the type of guest who is invited again and again? Learn some tips in this post from the Trafcom News Podcast.

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Special report for event planners

December 3rd, 2010

Hot off the virtual presses!

Click here to download a special report on social media for event planners. It’s a quick read but should be worth your time.

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Conference podcasting in action

November 24th, 2010

If you’re interested in event planning and/or conference podcasting, you may want to check out the podcasts we produced for the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP). They’ve chosen to publish them on their Posterous blog, a handy option for an association. Visit their blog here. (I’m pictured on the right here, with Ingrid Norrish, an active CanSPEP member.

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The Podcaster’s Checklist

November 24th, 2010

Check markInterested in podcasting? Take a look at the newly revised Podcaster’s Checklist. When you click through, please note that the checklist is also available as a PDF.

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Hello, CanSPEP!

October 26th, 2010

I’m looking forward to traveling to the beautiful Muskoka region later this week for the annual conference of the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners, where I’ll be producing podcasts as well as leading two breakout sessions (one on blogging, the other on using new media to promote events).

If you’re an event planner, I invite you to subscribe to this blog and to sign up for my free email newsletter

For more info about the conference, please visit the CanSPEP website and blog.

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How to write a podcast script

July 27th, 2010

Yes, it is possible to write a tightly crafted script for a podcast. I’d like to encourage you NOT to do this, but I know that in some situations, circumstances require a script. For example, in a few organizations, every word uttered must be approved, so it’s deemed easier to get permission before recording rather than after.

Why do I discourage scripting and then reading a podcast? First, most people are pretty lousy script readers. (I wrote a post about how to read a script aloud here. You might find some useful pointers in it. Check out the comments, too.)

Secondly, I think that the best podcasts sound conversational rather than scripted. If you can “fake” a conversational tone, you might do OK with a script. (This entails inserting the occasional pause, um, ah and even a flub or two. You should also vary the speed of your read. Do you think I’m disingenuous recommending this tactic? Welcome to the real world.)

Please don’t take a written document (which is crafted for the eye) and just read it. I can almost guarantee that this won’t work. You need something written for the ear.

I recommend LIGHTLY scripting when a script is called for. Start with jotting down the goal of this particular podcast episode. What are you trying to accomplish? Explaining the new dental benefit to employees? Rallying the troops for next quarter’s sales campaign? Getting customers excited about your company’s latest gadget?

After acknowledging your goal, you can write down a short outline, much as you would for a presentation.

Keep in mind that your listeners don’t have visual cues in front of them, so try to use devices such as numbered lists: “Let’s talk about the three ways to…”

Use the active voice when never possible and keep sentences short.

Be sure to add transitions between your points, and a recap at the end, using your numbered list as a structure.

What tips would you add?

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Five ways to kill your podcast

July 24th, 2010

Focusing on technology
Hey, you have a condenser microphone and a copy of Adobe Audition. That’s wonderful. But what is your podcast about, why are you doing it and who is your intended audience? Have you planned your first six to 10 episodes? Don’t start recording until you understand what your podcast is all about (unless you just want to play around as a learning experience).

Email the MP3 file to everyone you know
Ok, this business about RSS and iTunes is admittedly a little confusing. But please figure it out before you start podcasting. YES, you can certainly email a LINK to your podcast to clients, associates, friends and so on, but make sure that your podcast actually lives somewhere where there is at least an RSS feed! Why? Because the beauty of podcasting is both its portability and its serial nature, which are enhanced by your file being received by people who want it – without them having to remember to go somewhere to get it.

Don’t bother learning how to use a microphone
Some people say, “I paid 200 bucks for this mic, so of course my podcast will sound great!” Yes, with an expensive microphone you certainly have the potential to produce a podcast with lovely sound. But do you know how to USE the mic? Have you practiced? Have you found the sweet spot? Unless you want to assault your listeners’ ears, take the time to learn how to use your equipment. I’ve seen people sit six feet away from the mic and I’ve seen others get so close they look like they’re eating a popsicle. Find what works for you.

Don’t consider your listeners’ needs
“Our content will be so compelling that our listeners won’t care if we don’t make it easy to listen to us. After all, it’s not like there are lots of other podcasts out there, right?” Some successful podcasters sit down and record in one take with no edits.  They have a rare talent that most of us don’t possess. At the very least, if you’re to going to edit your audio at all, please even out the sound so that people can hear you. If there are two or more people talking, make sure they’re all at the same volume. The Levelator is a terrific tool for this. And it’s free.

Forget about shownotes
Yes, they can be a pain. But there are two very valid reasons for producing shownotes:
1. They make it easy for your audience to know what your show is about before they listen, and to find content after they’ve listened, especially if they’ve been at the gym or on a bus, away from their computer.
2. They make your podcast visible to Google and other search engines.

When I look at my pod stats, it’s apparent that most of the people who listen during the first couple of weeks after a podcast episode is published are regular subscribers. But then for months later – forever really – people are discovering the podcast by searching for certain terms. Without the shownotes, how would they find the podcast? They wouldn’t.

(Based on episode 71 of the Trafcom News Podcast, February 2008.)

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Back by popular demand: Podcasting 101 for Communicators and Marketers

July 24th, 2010

UPDATE: You can watch a recorded version of this Webinar here.

Ask and you shall receive. Several blog readers have requested this Webinar, so here we go…

In this free Web-based seminar you’ll learn what podcasting is all about, including: how organizations are using podcasts for internal and external communications; how to create a podcast using free and low-cost equipment and software; and how to sell the concept of podcasting to management.

You need just a computer and an Internet connection to attend this 45-minute session at 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, August 25, 2010. Just send an email to receive the login instructions.

Please note: Seats are limited, so don’t delay.

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