Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Plan before launching social media

Tuesday, 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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How to be a terrific podcast guest

Monday, 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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Events + social media = success

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

There was a time when printed brochures, news releases and ads in trade publications were the main tools we used to promote events. Now, in addition to these traditional media, along with Web sites and email, we can add social media to the marketing mix.

Increasingly, organizations are using blogs, podcasts, Twitter and Facebook to publicize an event, and then keep the conversation going during and afterward. In some cases, organizers succeed at creating a community that thrives long after the conference or trade show is over.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these tools.

Think of a blog as a publishing platform. They’re no longer considered “online diaries.” Use your blog to publish content that builds excitement about the event by showcasing some of the key speakers and sponsors. Encourage questions and comments on the blog.

As a micro-blogging platform, Twitter can work nicely with your blog, allowing you to publish 140-character bursts of information. Many event organizers create a hashtag in advance, so that everyone on Twitter who is talking about the event uses common terminology. For example, the popular South by Southwest conference is #sxsw.

I’ve worked with many clients who’ve used podcast interviews before and during their conferences, with great results. At Autodesk University, for example, we ran in-depth interviews with organizers, speakers and other experts before the event, to build interest. During the conference, we conducted more interviews and also grabbed quick sound bites with attendees. These were used as part of the marketing campaign to promote the event during the following year.

If your story has a visual element, then use video. Keep them short, though, because editing time will eat up much of your budget otherwise.

Have you thought of using a Fan page or Group on Facebook to drum up interest in your event? We’ll be covering these in more detail in future blog posts. There are differences between the two that you need to be aware of.

One of my clients recently used Ning to set up a community for attendees, so that they could congregate in a private online area before the event, and then keep the relationship going afterward. A group like Ning also provides a safe place for people to try out their social networking skills, rather than out in the wider world.

Don’t forget about LinkedIn, which you can also use to promote your events. You can also post articles to stimulate discussions.

What are some of your favourite social media tools to promote events?

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Free Webinar: Podcasting 101 for Communicators and Marketers

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

iStock_mic-in-hand-000005949688XSmallSign up for this free Web-based seminar to learn what podcasting is all about, including: how to find podcasts relevant to your interests; how organizations are using audio for internal and external communications; how to create a podcast; how to sell the concept of podcasting to management.

You need just a computer and an Internet connection to attend this free 45-minute session. It’s at 2 p.m. Eastern on Thursday,  November 19 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Just send an email to receive the login instructions.

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How and why to podcast your conference

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


Over the last four years, I’ve produced conference podcasts for associations and corporations for both internal and external purposes. If you’re curious about whether podcasting your conference can be an effective way to communicate with your audience, please read on for some tips and insights. IN this blog I’ll be covering this topic extensively, but let’s begin with an overview.

What is a podcast anyway?
A podcast is a multimedia file that can be shared with others. A podcast can be audio or video.

How is a podcast different from any old downloadable audio?

The ability to subscribe is what makes a podcast special. After you create your podcast, you can publish it on your blog and/or Web site. You can also make it available on iTunes, YouTube and other locations, and your listeners can subscribe to your podcast for free.

How does a podcast subscription work?
You can subscribe to a podcast in a few different ways:

  • By email, if this is offered by the podcast producer. You simply enter your email address on the page, and the publisher notifies you whenever a new show is available.
  • Via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) using a feed reader such as Bloglines or Google Reader. Every time a new podcast is published, you automatically receive it.
  • Using the iTunes application (which works on Macs and PCs), you automatically receive new shows. You can also synchronize your iPod or other compatible MP3 player to load the new shows.

NOTE: You can certainly produce audio and video content from your conference that is NOT a podcast. As long as you know where you’re going to publish and position this content on your Web site, it doesn’t have to be a podcast.

How will I benefit from podcasting my conference?
Have you ever produced tapes or CDs of your conference proceedings? Do you remember what a headache it was to create and distribute them? With podcasts, you can easily make your content available on the Internet, saving time and money. Beyond saving, you’ll also be creating meaningful information products that can generate buzz before your event and add value afterward. Here are the main benefits of podcasting your conference:

  • By offering audio or video content from your most current conference, you can attract people to your next one.
  • You will educate prospects about your company, your products and your expertise.
  • You can reach a broad audience at a low cost.
  • You can make selected content available to your clients, prospects and employees who are not able to attend your conference but who still want your message.
  • By creating a Web site or blog to accompany your podcasts, you create a presence that is searchable by Google keywords, therefore expanding your reach on the Web.

Examples of conference podcasts
Pre-conference podcasts can increase interest and may stimulate registration numbers. By adding audio or video content to your Web site and linking to it in your emails and other marketing materials, you can entice potential attendees to check out what your conference has to offer. You can also take advantage of the power of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to link to your multimedia content and boost your pre-conference buzz even further.

Podcasts produced during the conference itself can capture some of the sessions and grab opinions from attendees too. You may decide to not offer all of your sessions as podcasts. In this case, you can produce “script and clip” podcasts, where you edit your original files down into bite-sized pieces, and add professional narration to tie it together. Think mini-documentary.

A roving reporter on your conference floor can capture all sorts of valuable multimedia content from speakers and attendees.

Of course all this wonderful content can be used to promote your next conference and to educate your employees who are unable to be at the conference.

Tips for successful conference podcasts

  • Start planning well in advance. You don’t want to rush this.
  • Decide on your goals: increase registration, create a lasting legacy of your event, build multimedia content for your intranet or Internet? Then define success for each goal.
  • Get a team together. Who’s going to conduct the interviews? Record? Edit? Publish?
  • Assemble your gear. At the very least, you’ll need portable digital recorders, microphones and computers loaded with editing software. For video, you’ll add cameras, tripods, lights.
  • Draw up a schedule of who’s doing what, when. Keep track of what’s been accomplished. Revise your schedule as needed.
  • Go with the flow. If the opening night reception is generating lots of cool discussion, try to grab some interviews right then and there, even if it’s not on your schedule.
  • Record as much in advance as possible. Script and record your introductory sections and closing sections in advance to save time.

Is this a do-it-yourself project?
You can certainly create your own podcasts if you have the skill and the equipment. Compare it to desktop publishing: Not everyone with a copy of InDesign can craft a beautiful newsletter. Ditto: Not everyone who owns Adobe Audition or Final Cut Pro can create a nice podcast with solid content.

Will podcasting my conference be expensive?
In a word, no. Add up all the dollars you’ve spent on organizing your event, printing up literature, marketing and advertising, and so on. The cost of podcasting your conference is the equivalent of a small fraction of your overall cost.

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Welcome to the blog!

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Welcome! What’s this blog all about? You may already know me from my Trafcom News Blog and Trafcom News Podcast, where I discuss communications tactics. In both of these vehicles, I’ve talked about conference podcasting, building buzz around events, and the use of audio, video and social media. Well, this new blog is a forum to explore these ideas more deeply. I hope you’ll be a part of the conversation. Please read, listen and watch, and let me know what you think. Add your ideas. Ask questions. Tell me when I’m wrong. Or right!

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