Reverse Engineering Podcast Growth

This week on the School of Podcasting I want to reverse engineer growing your audience. If you remember, how did you find the last podcast you listened to? Why do you consider this show “Good.” (I will be asking for your absolute favorite show in a few weeks so start thinking about that as well).

If you want some exposure for your show go to www.schoolofpodcasting.com/contact and record an answer via phone (888-563-3228) or just use the button below 

Potential NMX Speakers – Here is Your Target

TargetI’ve been asked since taking the position of Director of the Podcasting Track for the New Media Expo, what I’m looking for in a speaker submission. It may be easier to define what I’m not looking for. Poor presentations are like spoiled milk, it doesn’t take long to identify something is wrong. The packaging seems fine, the milk may (or may not) have a bad oder, but when the lumps came out of the milk bottle you know that the milk is bad.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Presenting

Define Your Audience

You know I was going to start here. It always starts with your target audience. We have people who have never recorded a podcast, and we have those who are approaching 10 years of podcasting. Your presentation very rarely will appeal to both sides of that fence. I would prefer a deeper dive on few subjects (with plenty of take always) then to go shallow on a larger number of topics.

If you show up talking about starting a streaming radio station with your podcast, it is somewhat related but most of us love the joy of time shifted content (which a streaming station is not). I don’t think that would be a perfect fit like other topics.

Winging It

For the record I’ve been to a number of different events (some speaking, some not). I see a lot of “Winging it” (especially with panels). In the case of panels it is like those group project in schools where everyone assumes the other people are going to do the work (and then nobody does). When I was on a panel with Daniel J. Lewis and Ray Ortega we met a number of times to first organize our content, and then determine who would deliver what. We timed ourselves so we had an idea if we had enough (or too much) content.

When a submission is accepted, you and I will become friends. I’m going to be working with you to ensure that you deliver the best presentation. I’m not telling you what to present, what to say, or even how to say it, but I may help you shape your focus.

Same Old Song and Dance

I’ve been to almost all of the New Media Expos. People are spending their money to attend. If you spoke last year, don’t submit the same presentation that you presented before.

Remember You’re Talking to Adults

This is where my background as a teacher will come in handy. It’s not enough to say the Audio Technica 2100 is a great podcasting microphone. Adults need to know why. You tell a child that 2+2=4 and they say, “OK.” You say that to an adult and they will start asking questions. The Audio Technica 2100 microphone is a great podcasting microphone because it picks up less room noise than other microphones and it also works as a USB microphone and can be used with a mixer. That is an example of remembering the why.

Back It Up

I can tell you that, “Most podcasters don’t make it past episode 7.” This (for the most part) is true. However, if I’m saying this in a presentation I’m going to give my source (Todd Cochrane of the blubrry.com). Why? Trust me. Your audience is going to question anything that makes them go, “Really?” I once saw a speaker misquote a stat about podcast listeners and the hallway was buzzing before their speech was over.

If you’re talking about your own experience, then feel free to share. If you live what you’re talking about, it helps.

Nothing brings value like “behind the scenes” information that you can’t get any place else. That makes your audience say, “I’m glad I was there to catch that presentation” (because they can’t get that information any place else).

Be Prepared

If you are creating your slides minutes before starting your presentation, you surely haven’t spent time practicing this at home. If you’re editing (i.e. the perfectionist) that is understandable. Be careful with endless tweaking. By adding, “One more point” you may not leave any time for questions.

Different Levels of Detail

When it comes to different levels of content beginning topics are easy to spot. When it comes to intermediate vs. advanced it gets a little stickier. Here is a way to look at things:

Definition (basic): Twitter is a social media tool

What (intermediate): Twitter is a way to interact with your audience and keep up to date with what is happening.

How: Create a hashtag for your podcast to use so it’s easy to find their tweets while promoting your show. Here is how I follow my hashtag, and here what I’ve learned.

At The End of This Presentation the Audience….

One thing I’m really looking to see is if your presentation will have a “take-away.” I’m actually looking for multiple actions for the audience to take away from the conference. These are specific action items, tools, insights, and information. We all love it when we walk out of a presentation with action items on our mind and inspired to move ahead. Make sure you have your audience saying, “I can’t wait. When I get home, I’m going to _____.” I realize in some cases your presentation will be focused to inspire. How did you get to a position to inspire?

One of the Best Presentations I’ve Seen

One of the best presentations I’ve seen was from Tim Paige from lead pages. Tim didn’t do a giant sales job on lead pages (because nobody flew across the country to watch a commercial). He said he used to do a daily show. Then he decided to change his schedule. He explained the stats of his show and how they originally dipped and then they came back up. He explained by not doing so many episodes he had more time to create better content. He then explained a strategy of building an email list. It was specific (using videos delivered every three days). He had stats from lead pages to show why it was three days. Yes, he mentioned lead pages. He didn’t ask for a sale, he simply explained that they organize all the stats from all of their users to determine the most popular forms and strategies. It seamlessly blended in with his presentation and backed up everything he said.

When I left that presentation I had action items. I didn’t have idea. I had step one, step two, etc. all mapped out in my head. I was excited, and I felt I had received information that I couldn’t get any place else.

When I think about this presentation it had:

1. Energy. Tim was busting at the seams to talk about this subject.

2. Great Content. He knew his audience, and presented a strategy to help them grow their audience.

3. He Backed it Up. He used graphs to show his data, and explained in plain English what it meant.

4. The Why. Tim often explained why they continued to do something (publishing less frequently left more time for content creation).

5. A Take Away - I had a strategy, with specific steps, I could try when I got home.

What is My Target as the Director of Podcasting?

My target is to have the best content provided by the best presenters with the best insights.

The Best Book I’ve Read on Presentations

One of the best books I’ve read on presentations is Secrets of Dynamic Communications: Prepare with Focus, Deliver with Clarity, Speak with Power. It’s a great book, and walking through the book will help you focus on your content and help you bring out the best points.

Ready To Submit A Presentation?

The deadline for speakers is 10/24. Submit your session today. That is a HARD deadline.

Podcast Review: The Real Wealth Show

The latest person to sit in the hot seat for the Podcast Review Show was Kathy Fettke of the Real Wealth Show. As always Erik K Johnson from Podcast Talent Coach is joining me for the critique, and we have a great time with Kathy. You can find more podcasts at www.podcastreviewshow.com

http://youtu.be/CazxQV4GShc

Get Your Podcast Reviewed

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Come Along With Me And Learn LeadPages

If you listened to my last podcast, you know I was really impressed with Tim from LeadPages at the PodcastMovement. I have since signed up for LeadPages myself and I’m looking to get ramped up fast. I wanted to let you know they are doing a webinar that will guide you through the whole program.


Here is the agenda

Here’s what else you can expect from this live training. . .

 

  • A Guided Tour of the Top Features inside LeadPages: You’ll see firsthand how to create a landing page (from a collection of 75+ high-converting templates) and generate “click up” opt-in boxes that you’ve seen on our site.
  • How to Choose the Highest Converting Pages: You’ll discover how to select the highest-performing landing pages for your opt-in pages, sales pages and webinar pages, even if you know nothing about lead generation.
  • 3 Ways to Build Your List Outside Your Site: Your website isn’t the only place to generate leads. You’ll discover how to grow your email list through affiliate partners, guest blog posts and Facebook.

 

  • The Right Way to Split Test: You’ll see how to set up a split test in minutes, and find out exactly what elements you should be testing to get the best results.

 

  • The Most Overlooked Landing Page Opportunity on Your Site: Hint: This is one that every marketer should use even if you never plan on using LeadPages tools.

 

This live webinar is happening Thursday, August 28th at 3 pm Eastern (12 noon Pacific).

 

If you’re looking to boost your sales this year, we can’t recommend this webinar enough.

 

Go here to register right now. <–
I’ll see you at the webinar.

Podcast Movement Reflections

I attended the Podcast Movement event this weekend (PM14). Unlike other events, this was strictly about podcasting. They brought in experts from all over to talk one thing: podcasting.

First Impressions:

Podcast MovementAs this was the first time this event had been held, I had a good idea what to expect – but then again, you never know. The very first impression was the price. Compared to other events, they scored an A+ on price.

I landed at and made my way to the hotel. Nice. This staff was awesome, and signage let me know I was in the right place. As I was part of PM14 I got free Wi-Fi. Very cool. The room was nice (not that it really matters I only sleep there). I was excited as I made my way to where the event would be held.

The “Floor” was filled with vendors setting up their booths and tables. What was cool about this setup, is this was (more or less) a giant hallway. When exited a room where a session was, you were “on the floor” and a few steps away from talking to a vendor. Bathrooms were also just a few steps away.

In my case I forgot to pack my dress shirt, so it was an added bonus that the hotel was connected to a mall and I quickly fixed my problem with a quick shopping trip.

Kick Off

The program let me know I was in for a good weekend. Unlike the photo copied black and white document I’ve received at other events, this was full color, card stock program that SCREAMED “first class event”. It listed all the speakers, was easy to follow, and served its purpose well.

I’ve heard good and bad things about Chris Brogan. I’ve heard people complain that he “abandoned” podcasting and is only podcasting now because of things like Apple’s podcasts app making its popularity increase (as apposed to sticking around when there was less audience?). This was the first time I had heard him, and he was funny, direct, and inspiring. Chris was a great way to kick off the event. He talked about things like embracing your individuality. He begged people to quit copying each other (AMEN!). He talked about looking at what is working, what is not, and “killing your babies” (those things that are not impacting your audience). HE shared what has worked for him, and what has not. Chris was there in the early days, and shared some of his insights of why podcasting didn’t take off as fast as we had hoped in 2004 and 2005. Chris was a very hard act to follow (and being that I can’t say much about the next speaker…..)

Sessions

As we were all standing in the hallway, it was nice that we didn’t have to walk far to go to our sessions. The rooms were nice, with your typical projector screen, water, and chairs. 

The organizers have a hard job of choosing speakers. First off, they all operate in our community. This means you put yourself in the position of potentially saying “no” to friends. You also get bombarded with submissions. It’s a rough gig, and a salute the PM team for doing a good job. I may be biased, but many of the speakers are my friends. I attended talks by Ray Ortega, Daniel J. Lewis, Erik K. Johnson, Todd Cochran and Tim Paige. They were all filled with really good stuff. I have action items from all of them. I was enjoying Jeff Browns talk until I got an emergency call from home (sorry to leave mid-talk Jeff). Maybe because I don’t do a show with him (and wasn’t sure what to expect) Tim Paige caught me off guard his presentation I had the longest list of action items. I really felt inspired after watching Tim. Did I attend any “clunkers”? Well there was one session where a panel tried to make their sessions interactive by asking the audience for their ideas on the subject. In my opinion, I flew across the country to hear your opinion. As someone who is in a classroom five days a week I understand that different styles of teaching fit with some, and not with others. For me, it didn’t click.

How Did They Do?

For the things they had control over (speakers, hotel, environment, setup and layout) they did an excellent job. For a first time event, it was better than other events I’ve attended that have been going on for years. A+

Room For Improvement?

If you listen to the Podcast Review Show, you know I feel there is ALWAYS room for improvement (and I include everything I do in that statement). So here are some things that could easily be improved.

Side Presentations

 I’m not sure what to call these. There was a comedy show, a game show, and other live events during our lunch time, etc. The problem is these were held in the “long hall way – showroom” area and the people on stage were ignored. This was really a bummer. I was privileged to room with Daniel J. Lewis and I got to hear his routine before he delivered it. It was hilarious, and unfortunately the sound system would’ve had to been set to “Deafening” to grab people’s attention.

Solution: Much like the comedy shows at NMX, put them in their own room. Don’t make is a small room. If it’s the only thing going on, put it in the big room. At NMX the room overflowed. This way those that want to network can network, and those that want to see these side presentations can attend without having to strain to hear them.

Lighting: 

I’m not looking for a spot light, but it seemed that all the stages could’ve moved the dimmer switch up a bit. I could see everything, and I understand this was not PM’s issue but the company that was doing all the audio/video, etc. I’m going to be curious to see how the videos come out. This is probably under the category of “nick picking.” It wasn’t a true problem, but (for me) the speakers were a bit in the dark.

SolutionTurn up the lights on the stage

“The Big Party”

They did a GREAT job of having a cool venue (house of blues) and free food (WOA! COOL). They provide transportation (again – nice job).  We all like to have fun, and where there are people and booze there will be loudness. I loved that they had a singer/guitarist (that one would think might be a bit quieter) but in the end we were all straining our voices to talk. This again, this was a party not a networking event. This was held on the evening before the last day (Saturday). This means people (like me) who spoke on Sunday have an audience that is hung over and tired. Now for the record, it doesn’t matter if there was an “official” party or not. If we are all in the hotel, the bar will be full. So I’m not sure if we moved the part to the last night of the event if it would make a difference.

Solution? Put the party on the last night of the event (as a sendoff) and let people “Sleep it off” on the plane ride home. I did enjoy the challenge of presenting to people who were tired (and tried to be extra animated to keep people’s attention during my presentation).

Mission Accomplished

I would call PM14 a Giant Success, and today I was lucky enough to receive the following email about my presentation:

Dave,

 Just a quick note to congratulate you on your presentation at PM14. I’m not one to give automatic standing ovations or to toss out praise mindlessly, but I really thought your session was one of the top two presentations I attended at the conference. The distinguishing features that I appreciated:

  • Packed with great content;
  • Presented in an interesting and entertaining way (but not goofy);
  • Short on ego  (“This is why I’m so great and the leader in my field…blah, blah blah.) and excessive self-promotion; and
  • Short on chit-chat (because every second in these short sessions is precious).

 I felt that every minute of your presentation gave me something I could use to better my podcast. 

Bill