Podcasts and Podcasting

You’ve probably heard about the recent changes at Facebook to show more content from friends and family and less content from publishers and brands. Arrrggghhh! Well, even without the constant algorithm changes by the various services, there are (at least) two things that are incredibly hard about social media and I’ve got a fix for one of them!

  1. It’s hard to create compelling content on a continuous basis. By “compelling” I mean content that is of value to your target audience. Think about it. They don’t care about you and your company (sorry to be so blunt). They’ve got their own goals and challenges. Put yourself into their shoes and create content that will help them get what they want, otherwise, why would they devote their time and attention to you? Right!
  2. It’s all but impossible to get your audience’s attention. It’s fair to assume that they’re in information overload – 110% busy – just like everybody else. If you want their attention, you have to displace something else that they’re already focusing on. Or do you?
  3. Anything that requires our eyes, say reading or watching videos, requires a singular focus because that’s how our eyes work. However, sometimes when our eyes are busy, our brains are not 100% occupied. Think driving, exercising, mowing the lawn …

Everybody has lots of this physically-but-not-intellectually-occupied time in their life. This is when our ears provide an opportunity. Yes, audio content can be multiplexed with such activities. If you provide your content in audio form, you don’t have to compete with your audience’s existing foci. Ah ha! Podcasting! (And yes, that is the plural form of focus; I looked it up.)

Podcasting? Did you ever wonder why they call it that, rather than something like “smartphonecasting” which has such a wonderful a ring to it?

Way back in 2005, I starting a company called TalkShoe.com, introducing perhaps 10 million people to podcasting at the dawn of the social media revolution. Back then, there were no Androids or iPhones – just iPods – hence “podcasting”. The name stuck, even as the technology evolved.  Does anyone still use an iPod anymore?

But podcasts, “suddenly” in 2018, they’re everywhere. According to PodcastInsights.com, Apple alone features more than 500,000 active podcasts. Roughly one-quarter of the US population listens regularly (at least monthly) to podcasts.

Given that it’s increasingly hard to keep up with everything that we need to know in business and in life, podcasts present an awesome opportunity. I think that business leaders should listen to podcasts … and create them too.

A few of my favorite podcasts, ideal for any business professional aiming to become a more effective contributor, leader or visionary include:

  • “How I Built This” with Guy Raz
  • “The TED Radio Hour Podcast” also with Guy Raz (this guy is good!)
  • “Exponential Wisdom” with Peter Diamandis and Dan Sullivan
  • “Science Friday” with Ira Flatow
  • “99% Invisible” with Roman Mars (start with Episode 110 – Structural Integrity – and you’ll be hooked)
  • “The Tim Ferriss Show” (of 4-Hour Work Week fame; start with Episode 60)

Even if not one these, I recommend that you find a few podcasts to subscribe to, to enhance your brain. For some hometown Pittsburgh flavor, search for “The No B******t Marketing Podcast” with Dave Mastovich. You’ll find at least 222 episodes of marketing wisdom.

After listening and learning, consider this: You can create your own podcast to reach your most important target audience, say your potential customers. Compared to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, with podcasting it really is easier to get their attention because they’ve got time to listen.

How do you make a podcast? I no longer have any ownership interest in TalkShoe but 13 years later it’s still going strong. If you have a computer, a telephone, and a good idea (meaning content of value to your target audience), all you have to do is go to TalkShoe.com, pull out your credit card, and then put away your credit card … because it’s still free to use.

Every month the TalkShoe crew offers free training. Just click the banner on the homepage, sign up for a session, and learn (among other things) how to:

  • Set up your hosting account
  • Schedule your first podcast episode
  • Control your show/call from your phone

Yes, it’s still hard to create compelling content on a continuous basis. But at least with podcasting, it’s a little bit easier to get your audience’s attention.

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