It’s all about the experience

This week’s episode is about how to promote your podcast and more observations about the all important user experience. In our ongoing effort to demystify Web 2.0 tools like blogs and podcasts, we offer up some observations, opinions and cold hard facts.

Listen live here on the blog, or, better yet, subscribe in iTunes. With a subscription, you find out before anyone else about new content and you don’t have to lift a finger…

Listen live

Promotion of new media collateral

Inevitably, when we are in the midst of evangelizing to an existing or prospective client we get asked, "What is the best way to promote my blog or podcast?" The answer seems to be a bit of a letdown to clients or, at least, somewhat puzzling: Publish quality content on a regular basis.

Blogs and podcasts are, at their core, a conversation. How long would a conversation last if only one person was talking? When you publish positive content, you begin to build an audience and that audience comes to expect to hear from you regularly. ("Positive" in this context means useful to your readership or listenership.) So many blogs and podcasts are like a bonfire- as Joni Mitchell observed, "I’ve seen some hot hot blazes come down in smoke and ash." This can be either a welcome or disappointing development, depending on your point of view. The point is, if you want to continue to build and grow connections, you have to consistently bring something to the table. The ephemeral nature of the online community attention span dictates that you stay current and active. But if you are really passionate about your blog or podcast subject, that should not present a problem.

Final thought: you are what you publish. And how often.

Podcasting associations

In the last few weeks there has been some controversy over Susan Bratton’s decision to form the ADM (Association of Downloadable Media).

To help determine what course of action the community should take, the steering committee of the Association of Podcasters and Online Media Producers (a working title) have decided to publish this survey.

Please take the survey and feel free to link to it to spread the word.

The train is coming

Peter Leyden of the New Politics Institute recently observed, "The 20th century was the cult of the artiste, the director, the president or the CEO, the mad genius who knows everything and controls everything. But the way our economy works now, it’s increasingly made up of all kinds of people contributing at all different levels. Why wouldn’t our politics work like that, too?"

Indeed, politics is migrating more and more to the web: netroots, bloggers shaping the national dialogue, voters using the internet to check a candidate’s voting record, etc. As an adviser for the 2004 campaign realized too late, "…the dangerous lesson of the web [is] you succeed by giving up control, and that’s the inverse of the normal campaign. The most difficult choice is just to wake up and smell the coffee."

Many are scared of the two-way conversation that blogging and podcasting facilitate. Trying to avoid the oncoming train will be scarier still.

New podcast episode

We continue our discussion of advertising, marketing and new media on this week’s podcast. We talk about how to see the advertising trees for the marketing forest. How does new media fit into the overall advertising and marketing puzzle? Why should podcasting, blogging and other forms of new media matter to my clients?

Listen here on the blog, or sign up for our podcast in iTunes.

A new advertising philosophy

As the noted philosopher Wayne Gretzky observed, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."

In the wake of the recent YouTube presidential debate, it’s worth remembering that many of the candidates chose a podcast as their method of delivery when they announced their candidacies. This speaks to the power of online video to transform the way we all communicate. EMarketer predicts that from 2006-2010, the number of online video viewers will grow 50% to 157 million consumers. That is a big number, no matter how you slice it. The advertising opportunities will grow along with that number, with an 89% growth predicted for 2007 alone.

Online video is the fastest growing way for marketers to connect with consumers, but context and environment matters.

How much of your ad budget have you allocated?

From the advertising trees to the marketing forest

Regular readers of this blog might find this redundant, but I came across a brilliant blog post today and I wanted to help extend its reach a bit, as well as add my two cents.

As social media continues to become less of a curiosity and establishes its foothold alongside other more traditional and, perhaps, better understood forms of marketing, there will be a fundamental shift in thinking that must take place in order to exploit these media to maximum benefit. Alan Schulman writes a beautifully reasoned post here which I urge anyone who is trying to sell ANYTHING to read.

A couple of points he makes really stood out to me:

1- "What matters now, more than ever, is [marketers’] ability to establish and advance relationships– relationships they can build and grow." (Italics mine.)

It really does not matter if you’re selling  cars, plumbing services, music, apples or Apples. Just rolling out an advertising campaign ain’t gonna get the job done anymore.

2- "To truly affect a brand’s business, you have to get out of the Advertising trees and into the Marketing forest, where the important stuff of establishing relationships, supplying insights that result in innovative products, generating cultural currency and generating real sales reside: the Business of Marketing. Today that’s what we’re really in the business of…not what the next television campaign should look like."

We talk about all this here and here.

My guess is that 12 to 24 months from now, all of this will become second nature to the most savvy marketers, and that goes for every marketer, from an automobile manufacturer right down to the musician recording, publishing and selling their music on their own out of their home studio using their laptop.

Not only hybrid cars have to be “green”

I was feeling pretty good about myself when my wife and I went out and bought a hybrid Toyota a couple of weeks ago. Then I read this in the paper the other day and thought, "Hey, this is a new twist." Seems as if a different state beat California to the "green" punch, as it were. I wonder if this means that we can get ready for a hybrid model from either Jeep or Chrysler. (So far these are the only models we are aware of.)

In other encouraging sustainability news, Florida Governor Charlie Crist recently convened a two-day Summit on Global Climate Change in Miami.
Recognizing that tourism is critical to Florida’s economy, the leadership in the capitol can no longer wait for the federal government to take the lead on this issue that affects us all.

Businesses and governments are realizing that it pays to be green, but as consumers, we need to make sure there are clear and enforceable definitions of what that means. Sort of like using the word "natural," which can mean just about anything. Sometimes doing the right thing requires a bit of legwork on the part of the do-gooder.

Blogging for CEOs

Despite the, ahem, misguided efforts of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in the blogosphere, more and more top executives are venturing online via signed blogs or webpages. Corporate behemoths like GM, IBM (which also has set up an innovative employee blog), Marriott and Pitney Bowes as well as many medium sized and smaller companies (including this one) have begun to reach out to investors, employees and customers and even to defend themselves under fire- all in real time.

Obviously in larger Fortune 500 companies, it isn’t as though CEOs completely lose their minds, forget who they are and cannot wait to engage in the kind of unfiltered dialogue that characterizes blogging. (Although roughly 40 of the 500 biggest US companies now publish corporate blogs.) But for smaller and medium sized companies, think of it as a way to let people find out about your values, who you are and what you do by releasing a serialized narrative. As we have remarked previously, here and here, blogging and podcasting is a way to both present yourself but, perhaps more importantly, find out what your customers want or need.

Just building it will not make them come. You need to give them a reason to come, stay and come back again.

Technology doesn’t hate you

Friday the 13th in the middle of July officially counts as the nadir of the so-called dog days of summer. Therefore, dear readers, we will return briefly to the gospel according to Chuck Klosterman for another of his keen observations:

"I suspect that all of these dystopic ‘man versus machine’ scenarios are grounded in the fact that technology is legitimately alienating; the rise of computers (and robots, and iPods, and nanomachines who hope to turn the world into sentient ‘gray goo’) has certainly made life easier, but they’ve also accelerated depression. Case in point: if this were 1904, you would not be reading this essay; you would be chopping wood or churning butter or watching one of your thirteen children perish from crib death. Your life would be horrible, but your life would have purpose. It would have clarity. Machines allow humans the privilege of existential anxiety. Machines provide us with the extra time to worry about the status of our careers, and/or the context of our sexual relationships, and/or what it means to be alive. Unconsciously, we hate technology. We hate the way it replaces visceral experience with self-absorption. And the only way we can reconcile that hatred is by pretending machines hate us, too.’