How to grow your audience and market your podcast #Blogworld

blogworldPresenters: Cliff Ravenscraft (Podcast Answer Man), Father Roderick

26 things that will help!

1. There is power when your show has a narrow niche focus. The more focused on a niche you can be, the better. It will actually help you find a larger audience.

2. Only podcast about things for which you are passionate about.

3. Before you record your first episode, you should know why you are podcasting in the first place. Have a mission/purpose for your show. ANd – is a podcast the best medium for your message?

4. Become crystal clear on exactly who your target audience is! Imagine your occupation was that of a bounty hunter.

5. Build it and they will come does not, often, work in podcasting! Creating an amazing show is about 30% of the equation. The other 70% is marketing and relationship building. Go read the book “How to win friends and influence people.” Actually schedule time to promote your podcast, answer emails, etc.

6. You should submit your podcast directories like iTunes, Zune, Blackberry, and Stitcher Radio. Customize and brand those sites if you can. tweetadder.com – Cliff used this to follow 500 people a day that were interested in the topic his podcast focused on. You can do this manually too – just follow people that talk about the same things you are interested in. Cliff has some helpful info/submission tools on his podcast website.

7. Content is king! Create high value content that people can’t live without. It’s an added bonus if your content is so great that they are compelled to share it with others.

8. Entertainment goes a long way. Don’t be boring! Make your enthusiasm show through your voice.

9. Keep it positive. The world is seeking hope and encouragement. Give it to them! Sell hope – this keeps people coming back.

10. Be enthusiastic! Don’t do it more than what is natural for you though.

11. skipped this one

12. Audio quality is queen! Remember that there are times when the queen will trump the king! Many people will not listen to your great content if your audio quality is not that great. Both said don’t use USB mics of any type. Better to get a real mic, a mixer, etc and sound professional.

13. Build relationships with your audience! Learn the first name, last name, and a minimum of at least one other personal fact about as many of the people who download your show as possible. Wow.

14. Include the voice of your audience in your show.

15. Thank members of your community publicly, both in your show and in your online efforts. Give praise! DOn’t just focus on yourself.

16. Establish and build meaningful relationships with other content creators in your niche/industry.

17. Create keyword rich titles, show notes, etc for your podcast. And all that other SEO junk.

18. Make yourself newsworthy! (http://podcastanswerman.com/newsworthy)

19. Interview others in your show.

20 – 26. Went over time, so I didn’t catch these. Either way, these were all great suggestions!

Communicating with Our Customers

new catalog signageDuring my library’s ILS (library catalog) migration project, we wanted to make sure our customers knew about it. It’s not usually a good thing to have your customers show up the day after we go live, thinking “what in the world happened here?”

Communicating with 170,000 people is no easy task! Here’s what we did:

Signs in the building: We had signs everywhere in the building (check out my Flickr set to see some of our signs), including:

  • huge banner in our entryway
  • images pointing out the new catalog was coming on our digital signs
  • small stand-up signs on tables and at the service desks
  • signs on all the catalog-only computers
  • a HUGE sign at the circulation desk

digital branch signageSigns on our digital branch: if you visited our website in the past month, you knew about our ILS migration! We used one of our big ads on the main page of our website to point to an article and video about the change. People actually read the article (judging by our Google Analytics numbers) and we received 38 comments on the article (some from me, answering questions).

We actually used that article and the big front-page ad as a countdown of sorts, too. Every day, we updated the ad (i.e., 3,2,1, it’s here! type stuff) and updated the article with a “tip of the day” for the new catalog.

Social Media: We shared about the project widely via social media. For us, that meant pointing to the article and answering questions about the project using Twitter and Facebook. We also made a video about the project, and dumped it into Youtube and on our website.

Traditional Media: we have a good relationship with local media, so we were able to tell customers about the new library catalog via a local TV station (they do a “Library Tuesdays” segment during their 4pm news show) and through an article in our local newspaper.

And now, the big question – did all that communication work? I think so. While I’m sure there are people showing up at the library or at our website, thinking “what the heck? Why does this look different all of the sudden?” I also know that customers knew about our project. Why? Because they told us. I had more than one person come up to me, find out I worked at the library, and said “how’s that new library catalog project coming along? We love the library!” Other staff told me they had a similar experience.

That says to me that our customers, for the most part, got the message. So – mischief managed!

Have you ever had to communicate with a large group of customers about a project? Did you do something I didn’t list? Let me know in the comments!

Hey Milwaukee, You’re Doing it Wrong!

Milwaukee Public Library billboard

Milwaukee Public Library is running an interesting billboard campaign right now. See the image above – that’s the billboard – it’s being displayed on digital billboards “throughout Milwaukee County at no cost” (from their press release).

My three thoughts upon seeing this:

Thought #1: “Yikes! They’re showing their print book bias.”

Thought #2: Looks to me like the public library is telling Milwaukee social media users that they’re doing it wrong. In essence, they’re saying “reading books is better than what you’re doing.” It’s sort of a negative message.

Thought #3 (a bit more here): Two of the three messages don’t really make sense, and one seems format-specific. Here’s what I mean:

  • Putyourfaceinabook and 140 characters? try millions (book vs. Facebook/Twitter): these two don’t really work for me. Twitter and Facebook are online social communication tools; books are, well … things you tend to read by yourself. It’s an apples to oranges comparison. Reading a book is great – but not if I want to chat with a friend, or do some work, or, say, run a revolution in the middle east (all things that people do via Twitter and/or Facebook).
  • You Could Be Reading (book vs. Youtube): To me, this message makes the claim that one form of content is better than another – i.e., books are better than video-based content. Books certainly work well for some content, but a book isn’t always the best choice! For example, books aren’t the best choice when I want to watch the new Van Halen video, figure out how to install a storm door, or watch a full-length movie (all things I can easily do via Youtube).

I get that the billboards are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and that many online types think they’re witty and clever. And I think books are wonderful – no problems there. But I also see a lot of libraries taking wistful looks into the past, rather than actively planning to navigate our emerging digital content future. To me, these billboards are looking into the past.

Things aren’t going to go back to the way they were, no matter how many times we tell people they should be reading a book instead of watching a Youtube video or hanging out on Facebook. Is this the message you want to send to your community? I’m not convinced it is.

Then again, I could be way off my rocker. What do YOU think about these billboards?

Update – Check out Will Manley’s post for a historical perspective on a very similar issue … with the same library, no less (ok, and I’m blushing a bit, too – thanks for the kind words, Will!).

Youtube – Calls to Action

next stepsStill reading the Youtube Creator Playbook … do you include a Call to Action in your videos?

Being successful in online video, especially in Youtube, includes being able to build community engagement and an audience (which is done through subscriptions to your Youtube account). There’s quite a lot of potential community engagement built right into Youtube. Things like comments, likes, favorites, sharing, and subscribing.

Not getting those? maybe you aren’t asking.

Which leads us to creating a Call to Action in your videos. You could also think of these as Next Steps. Basically, your goal should be to tell people watching the video what to do next – give them something to do (something that actually relates to your organization).

Here’s what Youtube suggests:

  • Decide what actions you want your viewers to take for each video.
  • Use Youtube annotations to ask, or have the host in the video ask for it (I’ll talk more about Youtube Annotations in a future video).
Two simple steps! Some Youtube-ish calls to action might include:
  • asking people to subscribe to your video channel
  • asking people to like or favorite the video
  • asking a question, and then asking them to answer it in the comments box
  • asking them to watch an older video (and providing a link to the video)

This works on your website, too. Embed your video in your website, then ask viewers to leave a comment on your organization’s blog. Or point out an organization-specific action, like checking out a book or registering for an event. You could include a link to the event in your blog post, on your website, or even in the Youtube description box.

Either way – don’t waste your time creating a video if you don’t have a next step or a call to action. Give your viewers at least one “what should I do next” instruction, and see what happens. They just might actually DO it.

So here’s YOUR next step – tell me what types of next steps might work well in a video for your library or organization in the comments. That’ll give readers a great list of ideas that they can use next time they create a video!

Next Steps pic from Bigstock

The Creative Group

Creative Group
The Creative Group

In my last blog post, I mentioned my library’s Creative Group. What is that, exactly?

My library decided that Public Relations and the web team did a lot of similar things, and needed to work together. PR routinely creates print ads, newsletters, posters, banners, and PR campaigns. The web team does much the same thing, just online. Why not collaborate up-front, so the message online and in-print is the same?

And hey – while we’re at it … both teams are highly creative. What’s not to like about schmushing two creative teams together into the same physical space, to see what happens?

So we stuck both teams into the same work space. We also started holding regular weekly meetings. So every week, our three PR staff, two web developers, me, our Programs Supervisor, our Digital Content Librarian (new position that’s part of Public Services), the Deputy Director, and sometimes our library director meet. Anyone else in the library is invited, too.

What do we do? We talk about projects. Last week, we talked about our Personalized Reading List service – we’re reworking the form and the page the form lives on. The staffer in charge of that service and the Public Services Manager came for that part of the meeting. We also talked about creating some database widgets (did you know database vendors like Gale and EbscoHost have widgets now? Who knew?), guest posts for book reviews, and a new blog we’re creating.

So what do you think? Is it helpful for PR and the Web team to meet regularly? It’s sure been helpful for us!

And – boring pic by me, using my Instagr.am account. Follow me at davidleeking on instagr.am if you’re interested!