Podcasting Archives - Stephan Spencer

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Steve Spangler Interviewed

By | Blogging, Ecommerce, Online Retail, Podcasting, Social Networking, Web Marketing | No Comments

You gotta check out this WebProNews video interview at ACCM 08 of Steve Spangler – the science teacher turned catalog company CEO/Emmy award winner/keynote speaker/toy inventor:

In the video, Steve talks about how his Mentos + Diet Coke experiment turned into a YouTube sensation and how he was able to leverage it for his own marketing purposes. Steve is a client of ours and he even mentions Netconcepts (thank you Steve!!) as his experts behind the scenes helping him, which was really cool to hear. :)

Also in the video Steve shows off his cool flaming wallet, and how he is privileged to receive “special treatment” at airport security because of it. Um, yeah, that’s not the kind of attention that you want, Steve ;)

What you don’t see in the video is that Steve also has a flaming business card holder. It’s hilarious when he whips out one of his business cards and he has to put the fire out on the flaming card before he hands it to you. I’d LOVE to have one of those card holders and then troll the trade show floor and then hand over a flaming card to overaggressive, hard-selling vendors – but WITHOUT putting the fire out! hehe :>

An audio interview with podcasting pioneer Doug Kaye

By | Podcasting | One Comment

Doug Kaye, founder of IT Conversations, is one of the true pioneers in the area of podcasting. His IT Conversations site offers a large array of podcasts from many of the top-most thought leaders in information technology. Listen in on Doug and I discuss podcasting — its history, potential applications, challenges, and best successes to date. This podcast was done in conjunction with my article on podcasting for marketers, soon to be published on MarketingProfs.com.

What are Your “Must Attend” Conferences?

By | General, Podcasting | 2 Comments

Now that I’m back full-time in the US, it’s not such a chore to get to conferences. I can even attend conferences that I’m not speaking at, which is something I seldom (if ever) did in the 8 years I lived in New Zealand. Yet it can be an excellent opportunity to connect with really interesting people and to expand my thinking. Last month, I attended BlogHer, to listen to my daughter Chloe, and I also made the trip to San Francisco for WordCamp. This month, I almost went to Gnomedex, but I hadn’t acted soon enough and it had sold out by the time I went to register.

Here is a list of conferences that I haven’t been invited to speak at and would love to attend:

These conferences are exclusive and expensive — and worth even penny. For those who can’t swing the invite or the budget, there are free podcasts of past talks. Pop!Tech has their Pop!Casts, TED has their TED Talks, SXSW has their SXSW Podcasts, and IT Conversations has covered a number of conferences including Web 2.0 2005/2004, Accelerating Change 2005/2004, and ETech.

How does your conference schedule look? What are some of your important conferences that you feel you have to attend?

Screencasts by subscription?

By | Podcasting | 4 Comments

Some of the gurus out there are offering paid subscriptions to screencasts, podcasts and other educational materials. For example, Eric Ward recently launched a subscription-based service, The Ward Report — promising how-to podcasts, video training modules and other resources on link building, all at an annual subscription rate of $149. Debbie Mayo-Smith, in a similar vein, offers an annual subscription price of $395 for 3-minute-long weekly screencasts with productivity tips along with other educational resources.

I know I have been promising a regular schedule of 5 to 10 minute long screencasts and I have yet to deliver on that promise. (Sorry about that, folks!) I’ve been wondering if I would offer screencasts/podcasts by paid subscription like Eric and Debbie?

If I had a paid subsriber base like Eric and Debbie, I would force myself to get off my duff and produce at least weekly screencasts. So I wanted to throw this idea out to you Dear Readers and find out what your interest level is in a paid subscription service to podcasts and screencasts, in effect audio and video training on SEO, and perhaps other topics like email marketing and business blogging?

Or should I offer screencasts/podcasts occasionally for free as I can fit them in? After all, there’s already plenty screencast/podcast material floating around the Web for free, like the excellent content at Tubetorial.com, so why would people pay.

Your thoughts on the direction in which I should I go would be helpful. Thanks!

Sponsorship deal signals more than drive-by for Lexus

By | Podcasting | One Comment

Automotive company Lexus (more accurately, Southern California Lexus Dealers) has signed a 26-week deal to sponsor podcasts at public radio station KCRW in Santa Monica, California. The deal is based on CPM (cost per thousand) which means Lexus will be paying for the actual number of downloads the podcast will get. The company’s links and logos will appear on the KCRW podcast player, and the brand will be mentioned at the beginning of each podcast.

Lexus joins companies like Volvo, Audi and General Motors now using podcasts to appeal to a niche audience, specifically younger customers who use iPods. In fact many companies are tapping into the marketing potential of podcasting.

My article for MarketingProfs earlier this year highlighted opportunities for companies to sponsor existing high-quality podcasts.

Sponsorship allows you to associate your organization with a reputable podcast, and it gives you an instant audience. For example, sponsors of IT Conversations reach an audience of 14,000-15,000 listeners. Sponsoring others’ podcasts can also be a viable alternative to producing your own podcasts and building up the listener base from scratch, for potentially less expense and better ROI. Sponsor slots shouldn’t sound like commercial interruptions; they should be relevant to the listener and add value.

Interestingly, Lexus spots will be heard on feeds that are currently featured front and center on the iTunes podcast page. In podcast terms, that’s the equivalent of being featured on Amazon’s home page.

What happened when etailers dove into blogs, podcasts, and RSS

By | Blogging, Podcasting, RSS Marketing | No Comments

I’m finally getting a chance to blog my panel session which took place last week in Las Vegas at the Shop.org conference.

The session was titled “Alternative Marketing: What Happened When Etailers Dove into Blogs, Podcasting, and RSS”

Moderator:
(yours truly!)

Panelists:
Seth Greenberg, CEO, eHobbies
Pinny Gniwisch, Founder & EVP Marketing, Ice.com
Steve Spangler, Founder & CEO, Steve Spangler Science

You can download the Powerpoint slides here.

My esteemed colleague Brian Klais, one of our VPs here at Netconcepts, graciously took notes for me which I am posting below:

Stephan:
- Gave an overview of RSS technology and blogs
- 439 million Google search results for “blog”
- RSS is not the same thing as a blog, it is a way to deliver / syndicate content to consumers
- Search for “trustrank” in Google for an example of how RSS builds inbound links = top rankings
- Retailers can deliver news alerts, specials, new resources that have been posted to the site
- VMware builds customized feed around my interests
- Highlights of podcasting, moblogging, and a new buzzword “vodcasting”
- You don’t have to blog to benefit from blogosphere
- Voltaic has a solar powered backpack, blogging friend Treehugger blogged it, then picked up by CoolHunting then Gizmodo and sales skyrocketed
- Negative buzz for Kryptonite = blogstorm
- The power of link text from the blogosphere that contain your brand names profoundly impacts your rankings in Google, Yahoo, MSN. Just look at what ranks in top 10 for “kryptonite”

Seth:
- Blogs: ehobbies.blogs.com/sethgreenberg and ehobbies.blogs.com/rc
- Seth admits this is a new pioneering area and wanted to experiment with the channel
- Was able to “dumb down” the sign-up for RSS: the link to the “Bestsellers RSS Feed” beneath the Best Sellers sidebar takes the user to an instruction page.
- Launched the feeds just a week ago, so too new to reveal results. Feels similar to email channel.
- Affiliates could be a great application of RSS technology.
- Goal for blog: build trust, keep customers coming back, build loyalty
- Ran a promotion that resulted in 5% of all purchases redeeming the blogged “coupon”
- In June, added “blog” to the header navigation. 5% of sitewide traffic touched blog. Conversion of those who touch blog is 2x non-blog readers.
- Their “male nurse” collectible doll blog post was indexed next day by Google.
- Summarized experience as the good, bad, and ugly. The good: organic search results very good, personality, good press, effective for audience. The bad: more of a diary than a dialog with customers (message boards still have a proper place), has to convey an overall company strategy, has to be nurtured. The ugly: new technology is hard to pinpoint when things go wrong

Pinny:
- Blogs: SparkleLiketheStars.com, JustAskLeslie.com, Blog.ice.com
- 10 commandments of corporate blogging
1) Editorial – uses blog for editorial to converse with customers on jewelry advice
2) PR – PR blog talks about charity events
3) Current – hired a writer to talk about the stars and current events, talks about style, and then promotes similar products available from ice.com
4) Promotions – targeting “ice discounts” etc to target discounted jewelry
5) Customer feedback – customers can provide feedback
6) Natural search rankings – links from blog improved rankings over 2-6 weeks time
7) Sales – low volume but acquisition clear
8) Company vibe
9) Being at forefront – press is good and easy to get
10) picture of him with Beyonce

Steve:
- Blogs at SteveSpangler.com
- Steve pulled out his flaming wallet
- Steve played a funny video clip showing Diet Coke + Mentos explosion, and later gave the recipe. Was an example of a video podcast.
- One of Steve’s products, “Instasnow,” got posted onto BoingBoing popular blog, and created a 3x sales outcome. Record high for that product sales.
- Steve was sold on blogs, and launched
- Steve had the audience rolling over with his stories of Instasnow and related fun science products.
- Sales spikes were directly related to blog posts.
- Played an experiment: Can I own a search market by blogging it? Tried it with “launching potatoes.”
- A blog post can be 3 sentences.
- Result = top 10 rankings.
- Steve says to blog best selling products, behind-the-scenes information, “Did you know?” product information, lets him voice his opinion and feelings on subjects.
- Podcast – can talk about what he is doing by speaking it, not writing it.
- Has learned the art of linking to other blogs, and filling his posts with links.
- 13% of online sales attribute to blogs
- Closing tip: 1 roll mentos, 2 liter bottle of soda for the explosion experiment!

Q&A:

Q: How do you calculate ROI?

Pinny: Don’t look at blogs from ROI perspective. Low cost. Took time to get system in place, difficult to calculate actual cost and therefore ROI. Looks at it as free money.
Steve: Maybe 30 minutes per post, tries to blog a few times per week.

Q: Are blogs being commercialized?

Seth: They tend to be more informational
Pinny: Not done for sales, more for info.
Steve: Blog is a soft sell, a sense of authority, people enjoy it

Q: Do you need special skills or expensive software to blog or just use Typepad or similar?

Stephan: Advocates just download software (eg WordPress) and install on your webserver – free, functional.

Main takeaways:

1 – Have the proper motivation of trying to provide useful customer information and sales follow – often with dramatic though unpredictable results.
2 – Experiment with the technology and gain some learnings
3 – Check out Steve Spangler’s funny science videos!

Podcast listener adoption predictions

By | Podcasting | One Comment

Forrester Research makes some exciting predictions about future uptake of podcasting by media consumers:

“Podcasting, which is the newest entrant into the digital audio mix, will see significant growth by 2010 – reaching 12.3 million households – as MP3 adoption climbs and broadband reaches 62 percent of households.”

If you want to learn more about what podcasting is and how to use it in your own company’s marketing, check out my recent MarketingProfs article.

Business blogging best practices: when and how often to post

By | Blogging, Podcasting | One Comment

The podcast I mentioned in my last post about recommendations on blog posting frequency has arrived! It is the inaugural podcast of the Business Blog Roundtable. It will be a weekly podcasted roundtable discussion with 5 business bloggers, covering various business blogging best practices. Download the MP3 file (12 megs).

Tris Hussey has already blogged it, so I won’t bother restating what he’s already said, beyond what I’ve already discussed in my last post.

If you have a business blog or are considering having one, this podcast is essential listening. It is rich with practical advice on increasing readers, retaining them, search engine optimization (SEO), and more.

Podcasting and SEO: How to SEO your podcasts

By | Blogging, Podcasting, Search Engines | 13 Comments

There has been plenty of discussion in the blogosphere about blogs and search engine optimization (SEO). Google in particular seems to love blogs. Blogs are rich in content, heavily linked, with links that tend to be contextual, and without much in the way of code bloat or gratuitous flash animation. In short, blogs are search engine friendly out-of-the-box.

But what about SEO’ing a podcast, the blog’s newest cousin?

Podcasting (where anyone can become an Internet radio talk show host or DJ) presents unique opportunities to the marketer/content producer that blogging does not. I expound on this a bit more in my recent MarketingProfs article but the benefits of podcasting from an SEO standpoint wouldn’t seem as obvious. Podcasts are usually audio content, so you don’t get all this rich textual content that the search engine spiders can snarf up. You also don’t get the rich inter-linking that happens with blogs because you can’t embed clickable URLs throughout your MP3 files.

Nonetheless, I believe you can SEO your podcasts. Here’s how:

  1. Come up with a name for your podcast show that is rich with relevant heavily searched-on keywords.
  2. Make sure your MP3 files have really good ID3 tags — rich with relevant keywords. ID3V2 even supports comment and URL fields. The major search engines may not pick up the ID3 tags now, but they will! And besides, there are specialty engines and software tools that already do.
  3. Synopsize each podcast show in text and blog that. Put your most important keywords as high up in the blog post as possible but still keep it readable and interesting.
  4. Encourage those who link directly to your MP3 file to also link to your blog post about the podcast.
  5. Consider using a transcription service to transcribe your podcast or at least excerpts of it for use as search engine fodder. Break the transcript up into sections. Make sure each section is on a separate web page and each separate web page has a great keyword-rich title relating to that segment of the podcast. And, of course, link to the podcast MP3 from those web pages. There are many transcription services out there, where you can just email them the MP3 file or give them an URL and they send you back a Word document. Here’s a partial list of transcription services .
  6. Submit your podcast site to podcast directories and search engines such as audio.weblogs.com.
  7. Let people in your industry, such as bloggers and the media, know that you have a podcast because podcasting is quite new and novel. It will be more newsworthy and linkworthy than just another blog in your industry.
  8. Don’t just get up on your soapbox. Have conversations with others, in the form of recorded phone interviews, and podcast those as well. Pick people who have great reputations on the web and great PageRank scores, and ask that they link to your site and to your podcast summary page.

This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of tactics. It is simply meant as a catalyst for creative thinking. SEO, in particular the link building aspect, isn’t about just following a set list of formulae. It is about creatively thinking outside the box and differentiating yourself in ways that make your site eminently more linkworthy than your competitors.

Lifelong learning

By | General, Podcasting | No Comments

I just got an email from one of my (Netconcepts’) first clients (circa 1995) that he’s now completed his MBA, doing it while still working full-time as a marketing exec. It takes a lot of courage to get an MBA after being in the workforce for several decades. Way to go, Greg!

Lifelong learning is where it’s at. Even if you don’t go back to school, you need to keep developing your brain and your skills.

Once you stop learning, you become a dinosaur, unable to compete in this increasingly complex world. This has never been truer, considering that technology is advancing at an exponentially faster rate.

Simultaneously, technology — such as the Internet and podcasting — is breaking down barriers, making it easier than ever before to access knowledge and information once only available to the priveleged elite. For example, MIT are making publicly available course materials and videos of lectures — for FREE! It’s not just MIT, there are Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA lectures and UC Berkeley lectures too, for example.

If nerdy professors aren’t your cup of tea, then how about business leaders and technology pundits? IT Conversations offers some amazing material, again all for free. Such as talks from Malcolm Gladwell and Tim O’Reilly. And entire conferences such as Web 2.0, PopTech and Accelerating Change, all of which I highly recommend.

The way I make time for learning is by subscribing to podcast feeds of this material and having it download to my iPod. Whenever I work out at the gym or go for a bike ride or drive to the office I’m listening to gurus rather than singers or DJs.

Speaking of gurus, here are two to definitely listen to: Steve Jobs (from his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005), and the Dalai Lama when he was a visiting lecturer at Stanford. Download from here (iTunes required).