Part 3 - Rinse and Repeat

I’ve been listening to Podcasts for a very long time.  Much longer than I have been creating them.  One thing is for certain, the format changes and adapts over time.  That is unless they are one of those episodic, story based shows.  For the majority however, the format will, and should change!


As you find your feet, develop your niche and respond to listener feedback you will inadvertently change up the format for your show.  So don’t be frightened to start producing even if you are not set on the final format.


Develop your listener base.


No show, no listeners.  End of Story.  If you don’t get your show off the ground you will not gain a listener base and I can tell you, there is nothing more rewarding or exciting in this game then watching those statistics grow.  Especially when you can see it’s no longer just your mum checking you out - mum was never allowed to listen to Voice of Chaos.


I’ve produced a number of podcasts for both personal and professional purposes and what I can tell you is that they never stay the same.  With every change more and more ideas are implemented and the show refined to suit the audience.  Sometimes things work, like adding more music and less talk to a music podcast and other time ideas miss the mark, like trying to deliver shows across three sub categories (a logistical nightmare that I don’t recommend).


The key however is to be consistent and regular with your shows.  Set a schedule and try to stick to it.  If you can’t or you need to change the schedule up, keep the listener informed.  Otherwise they may assume you’ve disappeared into the ether and unsubscribe.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this 3 part look into getting started with podcasts from my own perspective.  Over time I will continue to bring more insights from my own experiences but now it’s time for you to build your own.  Contact me today to talk about getting started with your own podcast. 

 

Learning on the Go!

Up-skilling our people is often a very time consuming and somewhat costly endeavour. We know we have to, if we want a knowledgable workforce, but you find it hard to justify the downtime of your workforce on top of the investment in developing the training.

For many years I worked as an L&D consultant and project manager, devising and implementing solutions with the intent on keeping existing employees on the top of their game and up to date on current changes. Often I would work with a business unit as they had ideas of grandeur, requesting the training to be more of an event with the purpose of engaging the learner. The punchline….
In most cases the learner would have just liked a quick update in some easily consumable form.

This is where podcasts can be a massive help. Given their on demand and easily accessible nature, if you don’t have mission critical visuals or an absolute need for hands on interaction (think systems training), then why cant you get the update across via one or a brief series of podcasts backed up up by updated process guides?

Not only will you save your employees time and reduce down time, but your development costs for training can be greatly reduced and the content can be reused repeatedly reducing costs for deployment. Why not give your employees the flexibility to learn when it suits them. Maybe on their commute, over a coffee or between daily tasks. Learning should happen when and where it suits the learner.

Admittedly, podcasts can’t be a substitute for all training delivery, but understanding your training needs and the needs of your learner will help solidify your approach. Your producer should also be able to advise you accordingly as to if the decision to use podcasts is a worthwhile one.

So why not give podcasts a go to keep your employees informed and up to date? You’ve really got nothing to lose and only time to gain.

Part 2 - Running Blind, Full Speed and with Scissors!

Like most of my ideas, the idea to get into podcasting could have very well ended up on the cutting room floor.  I needed to invest in some equipment, had no experience, was swamped with the 9-5 and knew this was not going to make any money.

But I couldn’t shake the idea.

 

After floating the initial Ida for my first podcast, Voice of Chaos, to my best mate and co host it was soon after I found myself picking up a mixer and mic to get started.  That initial kit consisted of:


  • Samson MXP124FX 12 Channel Mixer
  • 2x Samson Q7 Professional Microphones
  • 2x Samson HP10 Headphones (no longer manufactured)


This little ensemble set me back around $400 once I included a couple of generic boom mic stands and a couple of mic wind socks.  In a nutshell, cheap, but practical set up for the two of us that, apart from the headphones, is still being used to produce the show today!


Okay, so we had the gear.  We had the idea.  Let’s take this “easy”.


Ha! I put easy in quotes because ripping the band aid off was the only way.  Once I got the gear set up and decided on using Apple’s Garageband I just hit record and unbeknownst to my cohost created our debut pilot episode!  Had I gone into panning mode with him we may never have launched but by ripping the band aid off and driving the conversation we got a pretty decent pilot that served as a great way to set up and launch the show.


I’ll go into further details in future posts on how to get your show online and learnings from that but for now I hope you feel just as motivated as we were to just get started.  In all honesty your first show will probably sound pretty awful but don’t let that discourage you.  Your format may not be fully refined, again don’t let that stop you.  Rip the band aid off and make have a go.


Then rinse and repeat…

Part 1 - Welcome to the Jungle

Over the next few weeks I am going to share my journey into the world of podcasting. It will be a warts and all account as I take you through both mistakes and successes but most importantly the learnings from producing this fantastic medium.

So you’ve decided to join the hundreds and thousands of creatives that deliver their stories over this wonderful medium of podcasting.  Well done and welcome!

I myself kind of stumbled into podcasting as a way of staying a part of the Aussie Heavy music scene I love.  After hanging up my bass and stepping away from the live scene for a spell I decided, along with a mate of mine, that we talk enough about music, why not just put mics in front of our face?  With that, the Voice of Chaos Podcast was born (listener discretion is HIGHLY advised).

My mate and I had no radio or audio recording experience and I had no money to throw into this little project so with a few JB HiFi vouchers and about a half a days research I went out, brought a USB mixer and a couple of mics and ran head first into the podcasting world learning along the way.  To be honest I am still learning and I am sure I always will.

You see, whilst there are hundreds of really professional sounding podcasts out there earning huge money, there are probably twice as many from amateurs and hobbyists who just want to share their passion and thoughts around a particular topic or interest.  They may or may not make some coin out of their endeavours but it doesn’t phase them.  The real joy is in building a base of solid like minded listeners who share the passion and look forward to each and every episode.

With that, I welcome you.  Welcome to a fun, interesting, sometimes frustrating, but entertaining world where with a few bucks and a lot of passion you can create something that is uniquely you.  Most importantly though, you’ve wound up here and if you would like to stay with me I will help you find your way and keep you moving.  Learn from my experiences as I lay them out warts and all.


Happy Podcasting!

Getting into their Ears and Minds... with a Podcast

Ok, so in the interest of total disclosure this post may have a little bias because I am an avid fan of podcasts and podcasting.  If that hasn’t turned you off, please read on. 

The early days recording my Aussie Heavy Music Podcast

The early days recording my Aussie Heavy Music Podcast

So what is a podcast? Podcasts are like talk radio but available on demand through the internet.  There are podcasts on just about any topic imaginable and listeners can subscribe to a podcast to ensure they get access to new episodes as they go live.

 

What drives my love for podcasts is the variety of topics that are covered and the expertise and passion that comes from a wide variety of hosts and guests.  In fact, in a lot of cases the hosts, particularly when starting out, have not built a name for themselves yet and build a following as they demonstrate their passion for the subject matter.   

Which leads me in to why Podcasts can be the perfect tool to share the knowledge that comes from your business.  Everyday you and your team develop ideas, concepts, best practices and experiences giving you a unique view towards the industry you work in.  In a world with so much competition how do you show to your potential customers and peers that your organisation has the growing knowledge and skill to deliver?  Through a podcast that can be easily accessed you can get into the ears and minds of those that matter most. 

Using a podcasts to discuss a burning topics impacting your industry, address issue, explain concepts and promote your business can be an extremely powerful tool.  I am reminded as I write this of the time that a client I was producing a podcast for, shared with me an experience he had at a recent meeting.  He spoke of how at this meeting,he was commended on sharing his, not his company’s, ideas on a topic, as it helped his client know that he was the right person to listen to on a particular topic.  They new he had the knowledge to assist them as opposed to simply being across the product.

Podcasts are also extremely accessible and their audio nature (whilst video podcasts also exist my focus for this post is on audio) means they can be consumed on a commute, at the gym, on a walk or anywhere else when someone has some downtime.  This means that a podcast can be consumed without being a burden requiring further attention in an already busy day. 

 

Why not consider launching a Podcast for your business or brand.  Black Onyx Digital can help you make this a reality through our consultation and production services.  Get in contact with us today and get in the ears of your next potential customer. 

Leave the Road Warrior Title to Mad Max

 Tired of being a Road Warrior?

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 For many, to get in the ears and eyes of potential clients you need to be on the road constantly.  From meetings to presentations so much time and productivity is lost as we present our thoughts, products and services in person.  Problem is, all this effort doesn’t necessarily convert to sales.

 

The solution to this has been under everyone’s nose for some time, but if you haven’t given it a chance, now is the time.

 

With improvements in technology, the internet and hardware, video conferencing platforms have become more accessible and more cost effective than ever before.  The ability to meet online, with video visibility, one one one or with multiple participants from our laptops, tablets or even mobile phones using a standard broadband or 4G internet connection is a reality today and should be considered a regular tool in any small to medium business toolkit. 

Even cost is no longer a major barrier to entry with most platforms offering a free tier or a monthly subscription for a negligible amount.  In addition to this, your participants don’t need to sign up to anything to attend.  Even if they don’t use the same platform as you, or anything at all, they get provided with a direct link to join for the duration. 

 

Travel is costly.  Flights, accomodation, food, connecting transport and that’s even before you lock in a venue.  If you’re presenting you’ve now got a much higher break even cost meaning you’ve got to charge more, which may limit participants, or just not go ahead  if you don’t hit a minimum number.  As for meetings, well, you could invest all that time and money to feel a client out only to find out that a deal is just not going to come to fruition.  Avoid those unnecessary costs and deliver over a video conferencing platform and take advantage of the added benefits of being able to record, poll, offer downloads of materials, demonstrate a range of visuals and most of all present and meet from wherever and whenever suits you and your audience.

 

Video Conferencing, Webinars and Virtual Classrooms are all fantastic ways to reach a large audience without geographic restriction.  We will explore them all deeper in further posts but why wait?  Contact Black Onyx Digital and let us help you reduce costs and save time using this fantastic tool.  

 

Small Business Infrastructure Checklist
  • Office
  • Furniture
  • Phones
  • Printers
  • Fax Machine
  • Server
  • Computers
  • Stationary
  • Kitchen Supplies
  • Software
  • Internet

Whoah, have I missed anything?  Hmm...

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It was not too long ago I would say that the above list is the bare minimum to set up an office for your average SMB.  Times have changed and so has technology and I put it to you that in reality most SMBs could startup with a few mobile phones and laptops.

How?

Simply put, cloud computing.  You see, most of the software programs and applications SMBs require in order to do business have been moved to the cloud (click here to read about ‘the cloud’) and the need for expensive Servers has gone the way of the dodo.  Now with a solid internet connection you can use a laptop, or in some cases a mobile device, to connect and carry on operating from anywhere in the world.

What about phones, faxes and printers?

Phones are still a necessity, but the need for fixed infrastructure has been removed and there are a wide variety of options out there. 

Faxes are a dying technology.  With the introduction of email the need to send faxes is extremely minimal and where whole documents need to be printed and faxed, well scan and email works just as well if not better.  Besides what is it you need to fax or scan and email?  A signed or annotated document?  Most PDF or word editing packages will enable this functionality digitally.

Printers are still needed in some situations but the need for huge commercial offerings for most SMBs is so minimal outsourcing is often more cost effective.  Then it just comes down to what you are printing and why.  In most cases it will just be old habits that can be changed with a digital solution or when paper is needed a small LaserJet that can sit on a desk.

But I still need an office for my staff?

Why?  Unless you have a physical requirement for your staff, the need for an office is an overhead that can be cut significantly.  Remote access, in conjunction with internet enabled hot desk facilities, business centres and cafes offer an alternate solution to a fixed office.


Technology, aided by the internet, has changed the game for business.  In particular, small businesses have greater opportunities and options available to them thanks to these changes.  So why not take advantage of them?


At Black Onyx Digital we understand that changing the way you operate and implementing new technologies can take time you can not afford to lose.  Let us take care of it and concentrate on working on your business.  Contact us today to see how we can help you break free of old constraints.