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What Is A Podcast & Why Does My Business Need One?

You may be seeing a lot about podcasts in the news and on social media lately. There’s good reason for it. They’re rapidly becoming a popular and effective means of delivering entertainment and information and they’re on-demand.

For those of you who remember the early days of television, imagine that we are in the era when black and white TV was the norm, but one or two families in the neighborhood had this exciting new color TV.  Some old fuddy-duddies might have said, “Bah! Who needs color? Our old Zenith shows the Colgate Hour just fine!” (My chronology may be a touch off in this example, but you know what I’m saying).  Podcasts are color TV, but BETTER!

Or maybe you go even further back and can remember the time when families stopped gathering around the radio and began to gather around the TV. Many people thought TV was a passing fad and it will never replace movies or radio. They were, of course, gravely mistaken as history has proven. Podcasts are any old TV, but BETTER!

In either case, you’re probably way too old to care about this article and are probably enjoying your retirement. Good on ya!

In the meantime, this article is geared towards the people who are still out there trying to make it in the daily grind. You’re a business owner. You’re a realtor, or personal trainer, or lawyer, or a tailor of custom suits, or a music teacher, or film buff, or whatever and you have a firm grasp on your industry and a personality to grab the attention of your target market. Or maybe you don’t, but someone on your staff does. Regardless, you need to understand the importance of adding podcasting to your existing social media marketing strategy.

podcast-statistics-2016-2-2

I know, “but why do I need a podcast?” or “what even is a podcast?” As my friend and creator of The Big Box of Magic, Jeff Burnett, said to me, “It used to be a badge of honor that I didn’t know what ‘Instagram’ meant or what a podcast was, but, now, as a business owner, shame on me  for not keeping up with the times.” Jeff’s right.

I’m not trying to shame you with this article if you’re someone who wears your ignorance of 21st century marketing as a badge of honor. Quite the contrary. I’m trying to open your eyes and help you navigate the rapidly changing and awfully treacherous waters of doing business today. There are two things that will become true with each passing year: 1) you need a solid social media presence and 2) podcasting has become an effective way to connect to your customers and is only going to become more effective and, by default, more necessary.

Let me throw some stats at you brought to us by Edison Research. (Read full report here. My comments in italics.)

  • In-home Ownership of Over-The-Air Radio receivers has dropped, with 79% of respondents saying they have a radio at home. That number was 96% in 2008. Among 18-34-year-olds, that number is down from 94% to 68% over the same time period. 18-34 year olds are future homeowners, business owners or people who just spend their money on hobbies, etc. Advertising to them on the radio ain’t gonna cut it for much longer. As the people who listen to radio as one of their main sources of information die off or tighten their belts when they retire, your customer base will dwindle. In order to reach the younger, up and coming generations, you must first identity how they get their information. (It’s not TV, Radio or Print like in the old days.)  
  • 50% of respondents age 12 and older listened to some sort of online radio in the last week, a rise from 44% last year. With 57% of Americans using online radio monthly, the conversion of monthly to weekly users is now 88%. See? It’s shifting
  • Mobility makes podcast consumption…well, mobile! In 2016, 64% of podcasts were being listened to on some mobile device. That’s a huge flip considering that in 2014 about that many were listening to podcasts on a computer. Your laptop or desktop restricts your movement thereby restricting your ability to listen. Your smartphone does not restrict your ability to listen. The train, the car, on your walk or hike, while you ride your bike, go boating, fishing, horseback riding… you get the point. Wherever a person goes, he or she can listen to a podcast…YOUR podcast.
  • Smartphone Ownership has increased from 71% to 76% of all respondents. Among 12-24-year-olds, smartphone ownership rose to 93%, while even respondents age 55 and older cracked the “more than half” barrier, up 45 to 51%. Is it sinking in yet?

We’re in an “on-demand” society. We want our content, be it entertainment or informational, yesterday. Smartphones have contributed to that impatience and enable it to grow. Unlike radio or television, the consumer does not need to have his or her butt in the chair at a certain time on a certain day in order to see the content they desire. With podcasts, the consumer can listen to you on their own time and at their own pace. For example, I know someone who listens to one of the shows we at the New Jersey Podcast Guys produce called “Checked Out In Jersey”. It’s a 90-120 minute show. He has roughly a 30 minute commute. He breaks up and episode over two days during his week and enjoys it in his car. Many, many other consume their podcasts in the same way.

I know it sounds like a scary, daunting, uncharted ocean for you to set sail on, but, fear not. We at the New Jersey Podcast Guys are going to help you through them and we highly recommend that you read more of the study by Edison Research.

Contact us today to find out which services we provide can help you fill your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

#21stcenturymarketing #podcastingtips #podcast #newjerseysmallbusiness

The Power of Human Voice

Our voice is  the most powerful and emotive tool we have as humans.  Whether we aim to inspire, motivate, energize, or educate, the human voice is unrivaled in its capacity to communicate a message, and arouse emotion.

In August of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. changed the course of history in the U.S. with his awe inspiring “I Have a Dream” speech.  People were moved not just by the words he was speaking, but how the words were being delivered.  In July of 1969 we listened to Neil Armstrong, as he spoke the first words from outer space.  These moments impacted history,  and moved people to do great things. They were driven by the power of the human voice.

Today, human interaction is being overrun by Social Media, with sentiments being imparted in under 140 characters, and pithy 3 letter acronyms.  Technology has allowed us to stop talking to each other, but merely shoot someone a text, or forward a funny meme.

The podcast, however, allows us to unleash the power of our voice again.  The Podcast gives us the medium to allow our message to be broadcast, using our own voice, to millions of people, on demand.  Let’s not forget the best part: ANYONE CAN DO IT!  The Podcast doesn’t require an FCC license, or a radio station, or expensive airtime on local TV. Best of all it helps to make a real human connection to your audience from great distances.

With a little know how, a small investment in equipment, and some time, you can let your voice be heard and we at the New Jersey Podcast Guys can help you do that! Contact us today!

A Cringeworthy Moment From One Of Our Shows

The Man of Style , starring Carmen Bucco, is one of the live shows we produce on Facebook. The trouble with going live for any amount of time without rehearsals, or even a script, is that sometimes we bomb. It happens to seasoned pros who are paid millions of dollars a year to what they do so, of course, it’s going to happen to amateurs who are NOT trained broadcast professionals. In this clip, Carmen is chatting about dating with an attractive young lady who was his guest that day. The topic is pick-up lines and, well, Carmen demonstrates that his need some polishing.

 

Be sure to follow The Man of Style on Facebook and catch the show Tuesday at 8pm eastern.

Podcasting Tips: 3 Studio Headphones For Under $100.00

As with all articles answering questions like this, the ultimate answer will always be “The best you can afford.” Some people will tell you whatever you can afford but I find that to be bad advice. People tend to go with the absolute cheapest thing they can buy and end up regretting it soon after because the quality is poor. So go with the best you can afford. Usually the quality is better, but, even still, a $100 pair of headphones won’t be as good as a $500 pair. It’s always good to read the customer reviews on sites like Amazon too. I have found that people usually give an honest and fair review of the products. You just have to be able to tell when someone is bashing the product because that person can never be satisfied. Ok, so let’s move on to the New Jersey Podcast Guys recommendations. These are all available on Amazon (links provided) and they are all under $100.00. You’ll note that these are Studio headphones and not DJ headphones or headphones designed to use for listening to mps’s while you work out. It’s not that you couldn’t use either of those for your podcast (use what you have available to start out). It’s just that Studio headphones are more suited for our purposes here.

Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones

These come in around $30.00. When we started out producing our own podcast, we bought three of these and were surprised at how good they are for a $30.00 pair of headphones. It wasn’t until about a year and a half of regular use that we noticed them starting to malfunction.

 

AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones

While we don’t use these at the moment for New Jersey Podcast Guys work, I have used a pair of these that were owned by a friend and found them to be very pleasant to use. A little clearer than the Behringer and a touch more comfortable.

 

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio Technica, like Behringer and AKG, produces high-quality products that are affordable. That’s key for podcasting. Check out the reviews for this one. Lots of happy customers.

 

One thing you will need if you have more than one person on the show, is a headphone amplifier. Each person can plug their headphones into this amp and be able to individually control their own volume according to their comfort level.

 

An important thing to note with headphones is that you should NOT rely on them for an accurate representation of what your final sound will be. They help you determine the right mix if your show has more than one person on it, but they won’t give you much more than that. That’s why you should learn to read meters, understand sound waves and how to set up your recording software, etc., and finally how to sweeten the sound in post. All of these things will help you set your mixer up (if you’re using a mixer) in order to achieve the sound you want. But that’s all for another article.

 

 

 

Interviewing Tips For The Newbie Podcaster

So you started your podcast and you’ve marshaled a few dozen or a few hundred listeners. You’re off to a good start. Now, you say to yourself “I’m gonna interview someone” and then you find someone to interview.   Now what?

Well, giving advice on how to interview is like giving advice on how to make love. Everyone has a different style and a different level of ability. So let’s start by breaking it up into two types of interview styles. We acknowledge that we’re over-simplifying things here, but this is for newbies and for that purpose we’re going to over-simplify.

The two categories are The Naturals, a la Howard Stern, and The Good Students, a la NPR/News people.

First, The Naturals. There are so few of this group who are famous. Howard Stern, I would argue, is the most prominent living member of The Naturals. Barbara Walters would be another one. Naturals interview without the listener or the interviewee knowing an interview is occurring. The Natural is, to varying degrees, a “personality” himself and he brings it to the interview which he conducts as more of a discussion or conversation one would have with his friend at a restaurant. The Natural may have questions prepared in advance, but rarely uses them. More likely than not, he has notes from which he formulates his questions on the spot. The reason he does that is because he is trying to find a way to connect to the interviewee. That needs to happen as immediately as possible. So, for podcasters, it helps to meet or, at least, talk to the person beforehand. Howard Stern doesn’t always have that opportunity and only has notes to go off of. Yet, he still conducts fantastic interviews. That’s why he’s one of The Naturals. He doesn’t need to do pre-interviews. You may think  you don’t need then if you believe that you are a natural, but even naturals need practice. It’s still true: practice makes perfect.

Now let’s move onto The Good Students. There are infinitely more of these than there are Naturals. Good Students went to school for broadcasting/journalism, etc., and did well enough to get out with a degree and a job. Their style and technique are run-of-the-mill and bland and that’s exactly why they’re hired. Unfortunately, run-of-the-mill and bland is what most of the public wants. It’s none threatening. The reporters/interviewers are like robots. Their personalities are irrelevant to the interview because the interview is about the subject, not the interviewer. Most podcasters that conduct interviews are Good Students, or, I should say, simply Students. There’s nothing wrong with being a Good Student either. People find a comfort in the standard question, answer, maybe follow-up, answer, question, formula. Those people are more interested in the interviewee and not the interaction of personalities between the interviewer and the interviewee.

So decide which personality you fall under. Regardless of which, if you’re just beginning, you should follow the advice below and ANY other advice you can find. Try them all until you find what works for your personality. Interviewing isn’t as easy as it sounds and without a team of producers and researcher, like the professional broadcasters have, it’s up to you to do your own research and formulate your own questions. Here are just a few things to keep in mind.

 

  1. Remember your audience-  When we started podcasting, a good week brought us 75 downloads. Hardly setting the world on fire. We did a weekly show and put out two episodes a week. We recorded at my co-host’s house back then and one time the issue of him going away for a week and a half came up. He was rather nonchalant about it. I nearly lost my mind. We had to be consistent in out releases for our audience. Not the audience we had at that moment, but the audience I was trying to build for today. While podcasting should be fun and satisfying for the podcaster, you really should be thinking about your IMG_0095audience. Does my guest make sense to my audience? Does he/she have anything to do with the subject matter of my show? Will he/she be an entertaining AND enlightening guest for my audience? While it’s good advice to think of your audience for everything you do on and with your show, you should especially keep them in mind when choosing guests. Your mom might be friends with Madonna and Madonna has agreed to go on your show, and, yes, your listeners will think it’s cool that you got Madonna. But your show is about crocheting. What does Madonna have to do with that? Oh who am I kidding? You’ll get huge numbers if Madonna came on and you’ll make the news.
  2. Pre-Interview- While I won’t for a second suggest that I am on Howard Stern level, I would argue that I have always fallen into “The Naturals” category. Everywhere I go, I interview people who I encounter and who I find interesting. And it’s hardly ever recorded! I have always loved to hear people’s stories. That’s what life is, really. One giant story with smaller, more interesting stories in it. Now I will sit down and do a cold interview on my show any time I have to, but, when possible, I talk to the interviewee before their interview on the phone. Usually within a half hour conversation I can get enough of a feel for them as I need. What I look for is something interesting other than what they’re known for! Let’s say you’re interviewing someone who just recorded his first album in a professional studio and paid $50,000 for it all out of his own pocket. That’s great! Very impressive. And super BORING! Even his music will be boring, even if it’s good (but still get him to perform if possible). Unless he’s famous, no one will care about his writing process. Even his small legion of fans. They will, however, love that you got him to divulge what makes him crack up or if he Dutch Ovens his girlfriend. These are human things and audiences relate to them. His fans will share your interview with him because you did something all the other podcasts he went on did not do: you talked with a human being. Still, you probably wouldn’t have done so well without a pre-interview. A pre-interview is a time when you can get the details about what HE wants to talk about, while fishing for something more humanizing that YOU want to talk about. This will create a better portrait of the person and, I guarantee you, a much better and realer interview than 90% of the podcasts out there.
  3. Be Prepared, Then Forget It- I forget who said it. It could be Eisenhower or it could be some ancient, but always remember this, the #1 rule of warfare (and show biz): “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. Who is the enemy in show biz? Everyone! Your equipment, your crew, your audience, and your guest! But for our purposes here and now, we’ll focus on the interviewee. So have a list of prepared questions (or bullet point notes) and then forget you have them. I mean it. Forget you have them and if you can’t,IMG_0065 don’t hold them in your hands. Here’s what I mean: the act of writing them will reinforce the thought in your mind, especially if you hand write (who remembers how to do that these days?) them. Just doing that can help you go into the interview with confidence. Now, why should you forget them? Because once your interviewee answers the first question, your plan has gone out the window, meaning that list of questions is virtually worthless. The answer to question 1 might not lead to question 2 and, in fact, may be worthy of a follow-up, which will now take you off the course you think you’ve prepared. Don’t fight it! Ask the follow-up. If the guest is in studio with you, make eye contact. Staring down at a page while they speak to you is not only rude, but throws them off too. Engage them with your eyes. Show them they have your attention, tune out anyone else in the room (even if/when they speak) and let every word your guest says sink into your brain. Give them room to breathe. Don’t say “uh-huh” and yeah all the time. Interrupt sparingly. NOW! if the guest is so boring; so bland; so horrible at being interviewed, then you might need to revert to those prepared questions just to move the interview along and end the awkwardness. On the other hand, had you done a pre-interview, you would have already known that the guest is a snoozer and changed your mind. Don’t ever have a guest for the sake of having a guest if he or she will bore your audience to tears and away from your show.
  4. Don’t Phone It In!- I don’t actually mean don’t use the phone. I mean be present in the interview. I’m kind of repeating myself here, but it bears repeating. Don’t marry your eyes to the prepared questions on the page in front of you. You’re a human being. So is your guest. Connect with them like you would anyone else in any other circumstance. Converse!
  5. Don’t Act Like You’re Interested; Be interested- Not everyone is interesting. They may do interesting things that you want to expose your audience to, but then when you meet them, they are just as interesting as your 10th grade algebra teacher (and with the same coffee breath too!). IMG_0070But you’ve invited them and the show must go on. If your guest is boring, try to remember what was interesting about them in the first place that caused you to invite them on. Keep that in mind as they answer questions and let your own curiosity lead your follow-ups. Try to find something about your guest that interests you and then lead them down that line of questioning.
  6. Treat Them Like People– This seems obvious since they are actual people, but interviewing someone you barely know or don’t know at all can be a bit nerve-racking and awkward. An interview by phone/skype is a very popular way to do link-up with the guest and can take that interpersonal connection out of the equation. Whether in-studio or on the phone, try in whatever way you know best to make the person feel comfortable and on the same footing as you. Even big stars get uncomfortable when people fawn over them or act awkwardly. I’ve noticed that when I’ve addressed a celebrity as I would my oldest, closest friend, it throws them off and they let their guard down to talk to me person-to-person. Do you know why? Because they’re also PEOPLE! Understand people and treat them as such, and you will create a better environment for your interview.

Ok, those are six tips. I only planned on giving you 5. You’re welcome for the extra one.

Of course there are many more tips that I and other veteran podcasters can give you. I’ll occasionally do follow-up articles on this subject. Please like and share this article and comment below if you have more tips for newbies.

HAPPY TAX DAY! Your Podcast Can Be A Tax Write-Off

Ok, there isn’t an IRS-recognized “podcast” expense, but there are, however, marketing expenses and podcasts are used for marketing. See what we did there?

Now, let me first begin by saying that I, nor anyone else at NJ Podcast Guys, is/are tax attorneys or accountants. So, do your own homework. But, we’re pretty sure that if you are using our services for the podcast that you are doing to propagate your company’s message, then you could AT LEAST make a good argument that you can write us off as a marketing expense.

Again, not we’re experts in taxes. Just podcasts.

Now let’s suppose you are a hobbyist-podcaster, but you have a sponsor or two. Well, you can write-off our cost against the income from the sponsor. At least, we think that’s how it goes. Only your accountant or tax laywer would be able to answer that question. SO TALK TO ONE OF THEM!

NEVER look to us for tax advice. DEFINITELY talk to us for podcasting advice.

What’s our point in writing this if you shouldn’t take our advice on taxes? Our point is to say that if you’re considering doing a podcast, then you probably should, however, if you’re someone who needs a little push or doesn’t know where to start, we want you to know that we are here to HELP YOU make your podcast a reality. We just won’t go near doing your taxes.

HAPPY TAX DAY!

I Want To Start A Podcast! What Mic Do I Use?

One of the more common questions we get asked by new podcasting clients is “What mic should I get?” Well, that’s a loaded question. There really is no right answer. If the person asking is a client of ours, the answer is typically, “don’t worry about it. We have an array of mics and we will find one that works for your voice.” However, if the person asking is a man or woman off the street, the simple answer is “the best you can afford”. There’s also a more complicated answer, but I won’t burden you with that right now.

All microphones are not alike. Many may look similar, but that is not a true indicator of what it does and how well it does it. Price is a slightly better indicator, but even then, you’re only getting an idea of the craftsmanship or sometimes you’re just paying for the brand name– like buying a plain T-shirt vs. a T-shirt with the Nike logo on it. There are decent microphones out there for under $100. There are great ones for under $500 and there are fantastic ones over $1000. But this article is directed at the newbie. It’s more important for you to JUST GET STARTED rather than have everything perfect. You can make it perfect as you go.

The person who doesn’t know the difference between a condenser microphone and a dynamic microphone. This article is so much for the newbie that I won’t even bother getting into the technical weeds of what the difference is between the two. Instead, I’m just going to list three microphones that come in under $100. Each microphone has a USB connection that goes right into your computer. Therefore, there is no need for any type of mixing board or interface. All are available on Amazon and a link will be provided. So let’s go:

 

The Audio Technica ATR2100USB Dynamic Microphone

When we got started in podcasting, we used two of these and were shocked and very pleased at the quality they gave us for the price. The beauty about this mic is that, because it’s a USB mic, it also has headphone input and volume control built in. But that’s not all! If you ever upgrade to a mixing board or interface that requires an XLR cable, this microphone has that output too. Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

Audio Technica AT 2005USB Dynamic Microphone

This one is essentially the same mic as the one above. The main difference is the look of it and the extra things this link leads to.

 

 

Audio Technica ATR2500USB Condenser Microphone

Personally, I think condenser microphones produce the best sound. But they have their limitations and drawbacks that are directly related to them being condenser mics, as opposed to dynamic mics. But that’s for another article. If you have a deep voice an really want it to cut through and have a warm low-end, condensers are usually the way to go. Also, if you don’t like to “eat the mic”, meaning putting your mouth right up to it, and would rather be able to sit back a bit and move freely without the volume of your voice going in and out with your movements, then a condenser is the way to go.

 

Now, while these are fairly good mics for the price, they do have their limitations and weaknesses, but I assure you, they will give you better sound quality than your gaming headset or iPhone earbuds. If you want better quality than these mics can provide, stick around. We’ll have an article on those mics very soon.

 

For more podcasting tips and services, follow the New Jersey Podcast Guys on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Audacity For Beginner Podcasters

Starting your first podcast is both exciting and daunting. You have an idea in your head as to how it will sound and what you will do on it. For the people who are doing a straightforward podcast, this may not be as daunting a task to tackle. For the “artist” podcaster, who wants to have room to create or emulate a show that he or she has heard elsewhere, this may be more complicated.

Regardless of which category you fall into, one thing remains constant: you have to record the show! So, we will make the guessing game easy for you. You want to use Audacity. Why? Because it’s easy to use (once you’re shown how to use it) and, best of all, IT’S FREE!

You can download Audacity here

Be sure to book mark our website and follow us on Facebook for tutorials and more “how-to” advice.