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Is your Show Advertiser Ready?


Over the past 6 years of working in the new media space the one thing I get asked as great deal by content creators is the question “Is my show advertiser ready?” The answer to that question is really multi-part, and I want to take a few minutes and talk about how to make sure your show is advertiser ready. There are some tips in this video that will put you in the front of the pack when it comes to getting an ad deal with companies like mine, and other firms in the space that help new media creators make a living.

I base this commentary on having executed over 100 podcast advertising campaigns in the past 6 years, with 1000’s of podcasters on advertising buys. Having a show on the web today is a lot more then just strapping on a microphone or flipping a camera on. Yet the steps to set yourself up for success is not that difficult.



The Professional Amateur Podcaster


To my mind, podcasting has matured significantly in the past few years. Production values are high. Money is being made. Big name people, companies and networks are producing shows. But… what about the individual? What about people like me, who don’t have a background in professional media like Leo Laporte or aren’t professional stand-ups like Greg Proops? Have you been to the podcast directory in iTunes lately? You’ll find podcasters that have A-list celebrities as hosts and guests, shows published by major universities on a variety of advanced topics, archives of TV and radio talk shows… and… us. The thousands of people that have produced amateur shows over the years.

For me, podcasting is where it’s at, baby. I’ve been doing it since 2008, and this is [briefly] my story, and the reason I’m here on the Blogworld blog to write, bi-weekly, about podcasting.

I’m what you might call a professional amateur podcaster. I started with one show, Geek Dads @ Home, with two partners. We went just over a year, then rebranded the show Geek Dads Weekly (with a few changes in the hosts along the way). I started my second and third shows last year, and my fourth – a Q&A show about podcasting – about a month ago. Those shows are produced under my QAQN banner. I’m a co-host on a fifth podcast, Road to Thin, as well. So, I’ve got chops. All in all, I’ve published a few hundred episodes – not exactly a world record, but nothing to sneeze at, either.

I don’t have $20,000 worth of equipment, but I use high-quality hardware. I don’t have a team of people working for me, but I’ve got co-hosts that I’ve been working with for a couple of years. I don’t have an audience numbering in the millions, but I do get emails when I miss a scheduled recording. I teach podcasting and I’ve made some money as well. Is that the definition of a professional amateur podcaster? To have good equipment, good people to work with, and a good audience with some income?

I’m looking forward to exploring the craft of podcasting with you here at the Blogworld blog. I’ll offer my experience and opinions as well as how-to’s and instructional material. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated; any feedback will help me make future posts better for you.

Hello, I’m Ewan Spence. You’ve Never Head of Me Before


Let’s start with a simple statement, as I stand and look at myself in a metaphorical mirror.

You don’t know me.

There we go, simple as that. I’m just a name, but think about this – you already know a lot about me. The first is that Rick and the team at BlogWorld must think I know something, because they’ve asked me to do not just one blog post here on the site, but a series of them on podcasting. I take it you trust the team here, which means that I’m now a name you’ve just heard of that has a little bit of credibility.

You’d probably head off to do a bit of searching online for me to find out if I have the experience to go along with that trust. I you do that you won’t find a wikipedia page (not enough people know me, remember?), but you’ll likely find a Twitter account (@ewan), a website (www.ewanspence.com), and the obligatory appearance on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ewanspence).

What about podcasting itself? Well I’ve done a few – there’s six years worth of unsigned and unknown bands over on TPC Rock, my annual “daily chat show” from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe picked up a British Academy BAFTA nomination, and the Eurovision Insight podcast is one of the leading shows based around the annual Song Contest.

Hopefully this gives you an idea that I’ve been around the block in terms of podcasting, and that I’ve experience in a number of different areas of production, using a variety of techniques, and monetised many of my shows.

I can also be subtle.

If I was handed your name, what would my first impression be? What would I find online, and how would it reflect on you? Would it make me curious, would it make me want to read your site, listen to your show, watch your videos? Or would it leave me cold, would it leave me thinking “there’s someone that missed something”, would there be something that would discourage people?

The old rule of first impressions counting applies equally as well online as it does in a real-life social setting. It was simple to look in the mirror before being introduced at a debutantes ball, it’s a lot harder to remember to hold up a mirror to your online self and see what is reflected back.

Over the next weeks and months, I want to explore podcasting with you, here on the BlogWorld blog. But to do that I need you to be willing to join me on that journey. No matter what you want from an online presence, you’ll likely want people to join you, be it through a story, to buy a product, or to engage with your media.

They’ll pick up on clues around your site, around the internet, and around what you do. Are you leaving the right clues for your audience?

Image Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

MTV’s OMAs Digital Music Awards Open For Voting Today!


MTV announced their new O Music Awards earlier this year and now they’ve revealed their slew of nominees. The first event is set to be held on April 28th, and will occur across a variety of websites, including MTV.com, VH1.com, and the big social networking sites. Voting is supposed to begin today online here.

Among the odd categories are:

  • Innovative Music Video
  • Fan Army FTW
  • Must Follow Artist on Twitter
  • NSFW Music Video
  • Most Viral Dance
  • Best Independent Music Blog
  • Best Animal Performance
  • Best Fan Forum
  • Best Music Hack
  • Funniest Music Short
  • Favorite Animated GIF
  • Best Music Discovery Service

Various groups up for the awards include mainstream artists like Lady Gaga, Kanye West, The Flaming Lips, Nicki Minaj and Radiohead – as well as online artists Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator, Antoine Dodson/Gregory Brothers, and Funny or Die.

The award show is designed to celebrate digital music and is an attempt to connect with the “Net Generation” (those in their early-30s or younger). It will be a multi-platform program where fans can chat online via Facebook and Twitter.

Dermot McCormack, evp, digital media for MTV Music and Logo Group, reveals, “We want to reinvent how award shows work. I’m sure it is going to be weird for some people. But this is about a confluence of events, and music as a category is at the center of this.

But what’s the O? “The O in O Music Awards has been purposely left open to interpretation to generate a reaction and spur conversation, and can stand for any myriad of words that the audience can choose from that captures the essence of the show in their minds such as open, ongoing, online among countless others,” MTV said in a statement.

Will you be tuning in?

Why I Don’t Listen to Your Podcast


I’m not a big podcast person. Oh, I think they’re great for blogs to have and I’ve even done podcasts in the past. I just don’t listen to them often. Why? Well, I’m working much of the time and I don’t really like having any noise while I am. I listen to podcasts occasionally when traveling, but since I have no commute, it’s rare that I actually have car time that I need to fill.

Because my podcast time is limited, I only listen to the best of the best. If I listened to one bad episode, I probably won’t be back. It sounds harsh, but my time is limited and there are a lot of interesting podcasts out there.

So what makes me stop listening to yours?

  • Too much “intro” material

It’s okay to introduce yourself and talk a little about what you do, but if you spend tons of time talking about yourself rather than the topic at hand, I’m out. It just starts to get boring. Sure, your mom might be interested to hear about your day, but there’s a line you have to draw between personality and TMI. Make sure you stay relevant to the listener.

  • Too many ads

We all gotta pay the bills. I understand that, my friend, but do we really need a 10-minute commercial break? If you have to fill tons of time with ads, that might be an indication that you’re not charging enough for the slots. Increase your prices, have fewer ads, and stop driving your listeners away.

  • No structure

I’m not a fan of conversational podcasts that have absolutely no structure. I don’t think you need a rigid schedule to follow, but if you have no direction, there’s often a lot of boring crap that’s irrelevant to the listener. Before you start each episode, make sure that you and your fellow podcasters have a run-down of the information you want to cover on the show – and make sure that you (or a co-host) takes a leadership position to keep everyone on point.

  • A face for radio

People often joke around, saying that someone has a “face for radio” (i.e., they’re ugly), but sometimes I think that phrase is relevant when listening to someone. Although you might be looking at something on your computer, it’s not good to include anything visual, even if you do give your readers the link in a show note. If you do, make sure you describe what you’re seeing really, really well. Not everyone has the ability to click a link or type in a URL while listening, since people listen when driving, jogging, etc.

So, those are my biggest four podcast pet peeves – boring intro info, too many ads, lack of structure and relying on visuals during the show. What makes you groan most when you listen to a podcast? What are your favorite podcasts (other than your own)?

MTV Launches OMAs Focused on Digital Music and Social Media


MTV has announced that it’s launching a new awards show focused on digital music and social media. The show, called the O Music Awards (or OMAs) will air on Thursday, April 28th. What does the O stand for? Well, they’re leaving the ‘O’ open to interpretation from viewers!

The network said the awards “honour the migration of music to the digital space, and celebrate the art, artistry and technology of digital music.” and they hope the show will do for digital music what the Video Music Awards did for music video.

The goal is to present a heavily interactive awards show – spread across the internet, social media, and mobile applications.

Categories and nominees haven’t yet been announced – but MTV plans to announce a hub for the event. What categories do you think should be included?

Srinivas Rao Talks About Podcasting for Bloggers


Srini Rao and I didn’t cross paths at BlogWorld 2010, but after the event, we found ourselves connecting on Twitter, since we had mutual friends. Along with Sid Savara, Srini runs BlogcastFM, which is a great site for new and experienced bloggers alike, since he posts podcast interviews with awesome people who are willing to share their blogging secrets to success. Srini was nice enough to let me pick his brain a little about podcasting, so if you’re thinking about adding a podcast to your blog, check out what he had to say:

Allison: How did you get started as a blogger?

Srini: Like most great things in life it was a fortunate accident. However, the story goes quite far back. In 2000 when I graduated from a college a friend of mine created a newsletter where people would send in contributions about what they were doing during the summer. I had a column called “summer of Srini” that actually became quite popular among my small group of friends. So that was really the start of it long before blogging even existed. In April 2009, I graduated from business schoool and couldn’t find a job. So I joined Yaro Starak’s Blog Mastermind program in the hopes that starting a blog would help me find a job and give me a project to keep from going nuts while I was unemployed.

What made you move from writing a blog to running a podcast about blogging? How did that evolve into a membership site?

This was yet another fortunate accident. One of the lessons in the Blog Mastermind program was to interview people. So I started a weekly series called interviews with up and coming bloggers. Roughly 13 weeks into the series one the guys I interviewed, Sid Savara actually pitched me on the idea of taking the podcast and putting it on a separate site where all we did was interview people. As far as the membership site goes, we pack our interviews with TONS of information, almost too much. We wanted to provide people with another way to digest the information, that made it easier to take action, especially when they might not always have time to listen to a 45 minute interview. People had been asking us for transcripts of the interviews, but that would more or less be the same thing our podcasts have just on paper, and we wanted to cut all the fluff. The membership site is still evolving and we’ve been doing a weekly u-stream chat and live webinar for the BlogcastFM community.

How do you find guests for your podcast?

In the beginning it was basically leveraging the relationships we had. Fortunately Sid Savara (my blogcastfm partner) was more established than I was and he had relationships with some well known bloggers. But that wasn’t the only way we found people. We looked the blogs we read. I look for two things in a guest: an interesting story and something they can teach our audience. For example, I interviewed Shannon and Kristin, from All of us Revolution. They were only a month old when I interviewed them, but I liked their story and I thought they could teach our audience something. Today, we actually are in an interesting position in that we actually get contacted at least a few times a week by people who are interested in being guests or have been long time listeners. But I am always on the look out for interesting guests. I also will occasionally put out a tweet asking for recommendations from people. I love it when a long time listener has become successful enough to become a guest and I’d like to think we played a role in that process.

What kind of prep work do you do before your interviews? Do you think it’s easier or harder to prepare for your podcast because it’s in interview format rather than talk show format?

This is an interesting one because it will probably shock some people. I’ve done this so many times at this point I can almost do it in my sleep. There are times when I have about 5 minutes to look at a person’s story and that’s it. That being said, I do take a look at the guests blog, try to find out what their most noteworthy accomplishments are, and read a few of their posts. I think the interview format actually makes it easier because I know what I need to ask in almost every interview and even though I have a structure it’s really loose and allows for things to flow.

Do you have any advice for bloggers who feel too shy to podcast?

This is a tough one. I wish I could say that they should just start. But there are some people who won’t naturally be good at things like this and I don’t recommend forcing square pegs into round holes. On the flip side of that, if it’s just nerves, then it’s about just taking the plunge. There’s no way you’re going to be perfect the first 50 times you do it. After 130 interviews, I’m always looking for ways to to improve. Sometimes I’m blown away by what I can get out of a guest and others I’m amazed that it doesn’t go as I’d like it to. One thing that helps is finding somebody to record it with.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see (or hear) other podcasters making?

As I mentioned above, listening is key. Another thing I would say is finding a subject matter that works. If you’re starting a podcast just for the sake of having a podcast and you’re not saying anything useful, that doesn’t help you or your audience. One thing that drives me nuts is when people treat interviews like interrogations. I tend to be fairly critical of interviews as you can imagine. If your goal is just to get through a list of questions, it just kills the flow of conversation. In order to make your podcast useful and entertaining the key is to let the conversation flow.

Is podcasting something all bloggers should be doing? How should bloggers decide whether or not to podcast?

I don’t think it’s something all blogggers should be doing. You really need to understand your audience and whether or not a podcast is right for them. Yes a podcast can do wonders for your personal brand, but if you’re awful at it, it’s going to actually hurt your brand. As far as deciding whether or not they should podcast, I think they need to figure out if they’ve got enough material to keep an audience’s attention for at least 30 minutes a week. Having material is really key.

For bloggers who are starting a new podcast, what’s the single best piece of advice you can give them?

I’d say to have fun with it. Podcasting is a blast for me because I get to talk to so many interesting people. It’s probably one of the greatest relationship building tools in my personal arsenal. I’ve made some amazing friends, found people to collaborate with and learned an absolutely insane amount of blogging knowledge because of having a podcast. People shouldn’t sweat the results of their podcast as much as they should on providing value to their audience. Once you start focusing on the creation of value really amazing things will start to happen.

Thanks for your great advice, Srini! Readers, make sure to check him out at The Skool of Life and BlogcastFM

12 Days of Blogging 2010: 4 Podcast Hosts


Written content isn’t your only option if you want to be a successful blogger. In fact, those who are taking the initiative to work with other forms of media have a much greater opportunity for success in many cases, since there are fewer people doing podcasts and video content. For today’s 12 Days of Blogging 2010 post, I wanted to feature four people who are awesome podcasters – and some of the advice they have for others interested in this form of blogging.

1. Brilliant Marketing Tactics: Podcasts and Interviews by Srinivas Rao at The Skool of Life

Srini, along with Sid Savara, runs BlogcastFM, and it’s no secret that I love this site. BlogcastFM posts multiple podcasts every week with awesome bloggers who have something to teach us about making more money, finding more traffic, and so on. Who better to speak on podcasting than someone who’s done dozens of them with some of the most respected bloggers in the industry? Writes Srini:

People always ask me how I come up with so many ideas  and I guess it would be appropriate to say  “I don’t. These are just combinations of hundreds of people’s ideas that I’m putting together.”  I learn something from every single person I interview whether they are big, small, have 100 subscribers or 1000.

Head to The Skool of Life to read more advantages to podcasting, as well as find links to useful resources on getting started. You can also follow Srini on Twitter @skooloflife.

2. How To Conduct A Quality Podcast Interview by Yaro Starak at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com

Yaro’s done countless interviews with industry professionals, and since he first started podcasting, he’s learned a lot about what works and what does not – at least for him. In this post, he talks about how he does interviews with guests for his podcast and why these techniques work. From the post:

To this day I still listen to podcasts, and especially love interviews with experts (and music of course too), however I’ve noticed that many podcast interviews are just not well done. While I don’t consider myself the best of the best when it comes to podcasts, I’ve done over 60 of them in the last five years and I thought it was about time I wrote something on how exactly to conduct a quality podcast interview.

You can read more from Yaro at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com and follow him on Twitter @yarostarak.

3. The Selfish Art of Podcasting by Mitch Joel at Six Pixels of Separation

Mitch has done over 200 podcast episodes over the past few years, and in this post he reflects on the reasons why he loves this medium for blogging. Writes Mitch:

While it’s humbling to know that people like (and listen) to the show, it really is a very selfish act. I use the platform of a Podcast as a gateway to meet people who are smarter than me and people who I want to learn from. I use the platform of a Podcast as a gateway to connect and learn from some of the brightest minds in Marketing and business. The bonus of all of this, is that I can publish these podcasts for anyone and everyone to listen to, but I don’t do it for the listeners or the community. I do it because I can get people like Seth Godin, Don Tapscott, David Weinberger, Sally Hogshead, Charlene Li, Steve Wozniak and many others all to myself for a brief moment in time.

It’s an interesting benefit to podcasting that you may not have considered in the past. I love that it opens up a discussion too – why do you podcast? To read more (and listen to his podcast of course), head to Six Pixels of Separation. You can follow Mitch on Twitter @mitchjoel.

4. A Voice For Your Vision: How to Make Podcasting Work for Your Business by Doug Heacock – guest post for Freelance Switch

What I like about this post on Freelance Switch is that it goes over both the advances and disadvantages of podcasting. While podcasting can be beneficial for many bloggers, it certainly isn’t right for everyone. From the post:

If you’re passionate about what you do, you have already fulfilled one of the first prerequisites for podcasting: you have something to say. Like good blogging, good podcasting is all about the content. If you have quality content to share, and if you can learn how to produce, distribute and promote your podcast effectively, people who are interested in what you have to say will essentially give you permission to speak right into their ear(bud)s, and that’s a privilege you should take seriously. If the content is lame, they might listen for a while, but sooner or later they’ll move on.

Head to Freelance Switch to read more, and follow the blog at @freelancesw. Doug’s blog is found at Underpants Office.

Have you written about podcasting? Do you have a podcast on your blog? What tips do you have for new podcasters? Leave a comment below with links and your best advice!

Check out the rest of the 12 Days of Blogging:

12 Writers Writing
11 Tweeters Tweeting
10 Guests a-Posting
9 SEOers Optimizing
8 Affiliates Selling
7 Facebook Users Updating
6 Launchers Launching
5 Golden Rules
4 Podcasting Hosts
3 Ebook Tips
2 Ethics Debates
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (ebook coming soon!)

Dave Hamilton and Jean MacDonald Talk About Podcast Sponsorship


Dave Hamilton and Jean MacDonald as a team for a panel about podcasting is genius, simply because Dave sells ads and Jean buys them. So, attendees got to see the business of podcasting from both sides. I’ve dabbled in podcast with my blog Binge Gamer, but never really thought about monetizing it in any way. For me, this panel was an eye-opener.

Like with all the sessions I’ve been covering while at BlogWorld, there was so much packed into this hour that I can’t possibly convey it all here to you. I highly recommend picking up a virtual ticket to BlogWorld to see the entire discussion. One thing I did want to touch on here that Dave and Jean covered is finding the right sponsor, since this applies to blogs just as it applies to podcasts. It boils down to one rule of thumb:

Do what is right for your listeners (or readers).

Think about the topics you cover. What products or services would you naturally talk about on the show, even if you weren’t being paid for it. Think about your medium. Some things are just better to promote with visuals, while other things are better to promote with a vocal blurb. Think about what your listeners need. Give it to them. This is as important with sponsors as it is with your podcast (or blog) content.

Once you’ve found the right sponsors, getting them to consider your sponsorship package is a lot easier. Identify the sponsors you want and half the battle is already won!

Evergreen vs. Expirable Content: Make them Come Back


BlogWorld 2010 Speaker: Jeffrey Powers
Evergreen vs. Expirable Content: Make them Come Back
Friday October 15, 2010
2:45PM – 3:45PM

@ Tradewinds E&F 7

As a podcaster, I notice a lot of shows I listen to or watch has a clock ticking. The second it’s done it needs to get out the door. News grows stale and within a week, the show will have expired.

Evergreen content is different. It becomes as important 3 months, 1 year or longer as it was the day you created it. When you see your stats on the website, these items will pop up from time to time. Some of them go viral and you get some pretty good traffic because of it.

Jeffrey Powers from Geekazine and Mignon Fogerty of Grammar Girl – Quick and Dirty Tips go through what is Evergreen, what is expirable and even give you some ideas as to how you can use your content to the best of your ability.

Mignon has some great insight on how to re-use content and why scripting is important. Jeffrey will talk about some cool opportunities coming up, including the upcoming HTML5 standard, to put your shows out. Together, they will give you an insight on how to make content people will come for – whether today or 5 years from now.

One thing you might even want to think about: taking your existing content and re-using it for a whole new episode. Jeff will talk more about that at the

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