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  • Starting a Podcast: Here’s What You Need To Know

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016 by
    Starting a Podcast

    Podcasts have come a long way since they first gained notoriety back around 2004. As a catchy combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast,” the podcast has defined itself as a more specific form of radio that can be streamed online (or from any of your personal devices) as .mp3s.

    Similar to how SoundCloud has given an opportunity for lesser-known artists to self-publish music and gain a more niche following online, podcasts have allowed independent speakers to build platforms that may not have gotten any radio play otherwise. This individualized approach has allowed listeners to really hone in on personalities that speak to them in the way of content, topics, and additional benefits like actually being able to get in contact with the podcast owner.

    Many podcasts have become successful enough for the creator to live off the revenue generated, while others use podcasts as a creative outlet, or as a marketing method for their brand. However you wish to go about using yours, here is what you need to know to get started.

     

    What Will Your Podcast's Topic Be?

    If your only reason for starting a podcast is to hear the sound of your own voice, you should probably reconsider this option. Podcasts amount to a lot of time spent with growth, modifications, and building an audience capable of monetizing your time.

    Ideally, your topic(s) should reflect something you're:

    1. Passionate about and feel will assist others by listening
    2. An expert or professional in the subject and have valuable information
    3. An excellent story teller and can entertain people
    4. A comedian and can use the podcast to reach a new audience
    5. Love music and want to run your own radio station (Careful, this requires licensing for radio play)

    Like any creative endeavor, you have to be willing to mold to what will get you subscribers, or will help your business. I'm all for staying true to your purpose, the main point is to pay attention to which content is working and which isn't by using analytics.

    Create Your Blog

     

    What You're Going To Need

    1. Artwork

    Every podcast is listed with an 'album cover' and usually the best podcasts also have professional artwork to get noticed easier.

    2. Equipment

    Audio production can be trickier than video simply because it's a method of recording most of us haven't done on a regular basis. Making your Podcast sound good comes down to clarity and editing.

    3. Computer

    Running a podcast requires a lot more than just your phone. If you're using a laptop look into what kind of audio ports are available in order to select your microphone. Common audio inputs include USB or Firewire.

    4. Portable Recorder (Optional)

    For those of you wishing to record your podcast anywhere, having a portable recorder is an excellent option. Many will also support XLR audio inputs for using professional microphones.

    5. Microphone

    Any microphone will work, but quality is highly important. There are many cost-effective microphones available in the market today.

    6. Audio Editing Software

    A good podcast requires recording multiple takes, and then selecting the best audio to edit into a final version. Some good software options include:

    • Audacity
    • Adobe Audition
    • Garage Band

    Once you have your podcast script, the equipment, and the editing software you're ready to start recording!

     

    What To Do Once You've Recorded and Edited The Podcast

    When it comes to running a successful podcast, there are two sides of the process to maintain: creation and marketing. Everyone would love to finish recording, upload, and allow the content to do the work, but like any broadcast you have to seek out new listeners by advertising your show. In order to attract the most listeners, implement the following strategies:

    1. Publish at least 3 times a week for the first two months

    iTunes will allow a new podcast 8 weeks to sit in the New and Noteworthy section, making it important that your content is consistent, and that you have enough volume to attract new listeners. Once you have some new episodes on iTunes, makes sure to get support from friends on social media by asking them to download your new episodes.

    2. Choose a title no one can ignore

    Think about it, every single article, book, news headline and Facebook status begins with a short phrase intended to captivate our attention. This is the first trick to getting listens in the Podcast world, and a skill you'll need to strengthen.

    3. Focus on iTunes, market on SoundCloud

    iTunes has terrible analytics: No clue where listeners come from, how many subscribers you have, all you get is total number of listeners over time. However, iTunes still controls the market on most popular podcasts and this is where you'll get the most listens.

    SoundCloud has continued to grow and will allow you to see where your listeners are coming from. It's a good idea to use both platforms and utilize SoundCloud's analytics as a way to see which social platforms help the most.

    4. Share, share, share

    Your Podcast will thrive on downloads and so take the ball into your court and share with as many people as humanly possible. Post on social media, send out email blasts, drop links on people's walls, etc. Attract more podcast listeners by creating a website for your podcast.

    Have you had success with a podcast? Share your tips in the comments below!

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  • How To Choose The Best Marketing Intern For Your Business

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016 by

    How to Choose the Best Marketing Intern for Your Business

    Hiring an intern is a lot like hiring an employee in that most companies want to use internships as an interactive method for future prospects. The difficulty with internships in general is that you're working with mostly college students, or entry level applicants that require a lot of training.

    Fortunately, hiring a marketing-specific intern has shown to be a much wiser investment as young and inexperienced interns have been exposed to marketing techniques and advertisements their entire lives. Between mobile apps, social media, blogging, and creative content production most of the younger demographics bring a fresh perspective your small business can greatly benefit from.

    Finding the right intern is as much about what you can offer them, as they can offer your company. Here are three primary steps to selecting the best intern to work for your company.

    Step 1: Should You Even Hire An Intern?

    Oh yes, step number one is all about determining whether a marketing internship program is even right for your business. Internships require a lot of responsibility, especially when it comes to the length you intend on keeping an intern busy. One and done assignments aren't fair to potential prospects, and it won't give your business a good reputation for future applicants.

    You should only hire an intern if you:

    1. You feel your business can benefit from the perspective of a younger demographic
    2. Have enough free time to train and educate them
    3. Can offer base pay, fulfill their college requirement, or both

    Do not hire an intern if you:

    1. Intend on having them do basic administrative work
    2. Haven't gotten your whole team to agree on the internship program
    3. Aren't willing to be open minded to their perspective.

    Step 2: Where To Find The Best Candidates

    Making it to this step means you're still ready to start looking for an intern that would mold well with your company. This step is also where many businesses get stuck as it's not always obvious where the best interns exist. Simply put, most interns will be waiting for you at universities and on the internet, but to be more specific:

    • College and university job boards - Every college and university in your area has specific pages on their website devoted to job postings and internship opportunities. Get in touch with the with the school to get your posting listed, which might require a small fee, but most are free.
    • Job Fairs - Job fairs are one of the best ways to meet potential interns because it requires face to face interaction. Marketing is all about interpersonal communication and being able to show up confidently, the same qualities should be present in your interns.
    • Resources On The Web - Young interns intuitively seek out all sorts of different mediums to find the right opportunity. Try and make a posting on Craigslist.org, SimplyHired.com, or Internships.com just so you know all of your bases are covered. Finding interns on the web is also crucial for towns that may not have a university or community college nearby.

    As you seek out your interns try to keep in mind that college students have limited availability during their semester's. If you can offer an internship full time over summer, especially if it is paid, you'll be much more likely to retain an intern full time.

    Step 3: What Qualities To Look For

    Marketing is a facet to business that has many parallels across different industries, especially when it comes to the tools and techniques responsible for an effective marketing campaign. All businesses have different needs, and so here are five basic traits to look for in your marketing intern applicants:

    1. Excellent Writing Capabilities

    Marketing nowadays involves a plethora of unique skills but one that has never changed is the ability to write effectively. The written word continues to power our blog posts, commercial advertisements and is a crucial aspect to communicating through email.

    Ask your intern to submit some writing samples, or prompt them to write something describing their outlook on your business and how they'd approach running a marketing campaign. A lack of writing skills should be an immediate red flag.

    2. Confidence and Extroversion

    There are many careers that allow us to be out of they public eye, but unfortunately marketing isn't really one of them. Look for applicants that look you in the eye, and can carry a conversation. Marketing involves a lot of interpersonal relations and the best marketing interns should be confident enough in themselves to help represent your company.

    3. Social Media Proficiency and Appearance

    Social media is constantly evolving. In order for your company to keep up with the trends you'll want an intern that knows how to use a variety of platforms front to back.

    In addition, marketing interns should apply to your business with the expectation that you might check up on their personal profiles. If anything stands out to you on their public profile as unprofessional it's wise to keep looking as your employees end up being ambassadors to your brand.

    4. Leadership Experience

    While it's unlikely your intern will be managing your marketing campaign, having leadership experience is a large benefit to working with a team and accomplishing goals.

    Leadership skills also teach us to act independently, while leading through example opposed to telling people what to do. Having an intern capable of self-motivation will greatly increase their value to your company.

    5. A Knack For Creativity

    Modern marketing tactics know no-bounds. Between video, photography, graphic design, writing, and music it's essential that a good marketing intern can chip in on creative projects. High-quality content should be one of your highest goals for your marketing campaign, and your intern should possess a few, if not many, creative skill sets.

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  • Why The DeadPool Marketing Campaign Did So Well

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016 by
    [caption id="attachment_10676" align="aligncenter" width="840"]Why The DeadPool Marketing Campaign Did So Well Image Credit: Hypable.com[/caption]

    In its opening weekend (Friday February 12th-Sunday February 14th) Deadpool set a number of box office records, including:

    • Biggest R-rated opening: With $132.7 million (Fri-Sun)
    • Biggest Fri-Mon opening: With $156 million
    • Biggest R-rated comic book superhero opening ever: $185 million worldwide
    • + Over a dozen very niche records, but you get the idea.

    Deadpool was able to do what nobody really thought would be possible: Set box office records with a superhero movie that most kids would not be able to get into (Or shouldn't for that matter). When it comes to marketing a movie, the ratings system plays a major role in how many tickets will be sold. If a movie is PG or PG-13, much more families are able to attend, selling nearly twice the amount of tickets.

    Marvel's The Avengers, for example, was rated PG-13 and has the 2nd highest opening weekend of all time with $207,438,708 million solely in the U.S. and Canada. That figure cannot be attributed to the rating alone; however, the marketing team for The Avenger's didn't have to work nearly as hard to sell a blockbuster, families were comfortable bringing kids of all ages to see.

    That's why we've chosen to look at Deadpool from the marketing perspective. Not only were they able to make the hard sell, they did so in ways most of us would have never thought to do.

    Putting Twists On Old Marketing Tricks

    To preface this section, I have to provide everyone some background into the creation of this film. Deadpool was arguably one of the most raunchy, adult-humored comic books to ever come from Marvel. Part of the reason it took ten years to begin filming was that the creators and producers could not come to an agreement about funding an inevitably R-rated comic book film. The money-people were worried that an R-rated superhero movie would flop, while the creators refused to compromise the real character (Welcome to Hollywood).

    [Fast-forward to the film's completion... May 2015]

    Deadpool's marketing team wasted no time advertising the film with the first image surfacing in March 2015 with Ryan Reynolds lying sensually on a bearskin rug. Not only did it set the precedent that Deadpool would remain true to its raunchy comic book personality, it also brilliantly ripped off Burt Reynold's nude spread in Cosmopolitan from 1972 (A bold statement of its own at the time).

    From that moment on, the marketing team took advantage of all sorts of old-school mediums, especially billboards. One of the most memorable was a combination of a skull, the 'poo emoji' and the letter L, creatively symbolizing Deadpool in a way that's slightly childish, but entirely memorable.

    [caption id="attachment_10677" align="aligncenter" width="652"]Deadpool Emoji Billboard Image Credit: Adweek[/caption]

    This trend would continue throughout most of the marketing material for the movie.

    Using The Disadvantage, As An Advantage

    Rather than trying to fool audiences into thinking Deadpool would be an R-rated movie you could bring your kids to, it owned up to the fact this was an adult film, and used satire to demonstrate the years of arguments that went into keeping it an R-rated film. Check out the video below that was released on April Fool's Day:

    In addition, the marketing team also released a series of other videos that had nothing to do with the plot of the movie. Ryan Reynolds even made an appearance on Conan O'Brien to promote the film in a nontraditional way.

    Unlike most Hollywood movies, Deadpool managed to release unique promotional material across all sorts of platforms, including Tinder and Snapchat.

    Social Media and Ryan Reynolds

    Social media is key for any marketing campaign, but how many companies have gone as far as creating a custom set of Emojis to promote their product? At least one...

    Although the emojis and social media posts were effective, the greatest asset the Deadpool marketing team had to work with was Ryan Reynolds himself. Why? Because no one was more excited than Reynolds about Deadpool becoming a feature length film, allowing for fans to be entertained by his social media posts for an entire year leading up to the movie. 

    The Takeaway

    More than anything the Deadpool marketing campaign managed to create a relationship with the people who ended up going to see it. They were honest, creative, and completely relentless. And rather than sticking to traditional advertising, they decided to put their campaign anywhere someone might be looking, even Tinder.

    If there's anything your company can mimic here it's the tenacity, the creativity, and above all be honest with what you're trying to sell. People will support you if they can see into what you're providing.

    The time to get creative is now. Take a look at your website and consider how you can update your marketing. If you’re looking for a new hosting provider, you can click here to sign up for a great deal. For new accounts, we’ll even transfer you for free! After you’ve created an account, you just need to fill out the form here.
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  • 5 Google Analytics Metrics Every Small Business Should Monitor

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016 by
    Metrics To Use in Google Analytics The Internet has made marketing easier than ever before with the abundance of tools that exist online. These online tools allow us to connect directly with potential customers without ever having to leave home. Since marketing is defined by the action of promotion and adverting, it's very important to know what's working, and what efforts are eating your time and budget. This is where data comes into play, and despite the ease in which we can share content, knowing which data metrics are important can be much more challenging. Why is this? Well, because there are virtually hundreds of ways you can examine how your content is reaching customers, but only a few measurements actually tell you what's providing returns on your investments. In this article I'm going to discuss five Google Analytics reports that every small business owner should be monitoring.  

    1. The Acquisition Overview

    To find this report in the Google Analytics dashboard select Acquisition > Overview. Reviewing Acquisition Overview in Google Analytics This report will break down how many people have visited your site within a given interval, and where they came from. The most important number within this report is search traffic, with a good rating being above 50%. This is because 'search traffic' is synonymous to how many people found your website using a search engine. If your website is optimized correctly, you should be appearing within the first couple pages of Google. 75% of people using a search engine won't look beyond the first page, and so if your search traffic is under 50% it might be time to work on improving your SEO.  

    2. Social Reach and Engagement

    To find this report select Acquisition → Social → Landing Pages. How To See Social Reach in Google Analytics Social media metrics, while they're straightforward to get, can be difficult to correlate between reach, engagement, and action. However, the best figures to pay attention to are which Social Networks are sending you the most visits. If you're using more than five different platforms, this report will show you which platform deserves the most attention. If Facebook is driving the most traffic, you can then head to Facebook Insights and see what type of content is producing the best returns.  

    3. Total Conversions

    One of the biggest mistakes most businesses make when reviewing their reports, is strictly looking at site averages, and not setting up any goals. Without setting up goals you won't be able to see whether or not your visitors are taking actions to complete conversions, i.e. making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter, or signing up for a service. Setting Google Analytics Goals To start setting up your goals:
    1. Go to your Google Analytics standard reports
    2. Click on the “Admin” button in the top right.
    3. Click on “Goals”
    Here you can create a number of customized metrics to account for specific actions that take place on your website. Common goals include: Tracking specific URL's, visit durations, sign-ups from specific URLs, and conversions from social media advertising.  

    4. Bounce & Exit Rates

    You've probably heard the statistic before, but for the emphasis of this metric, as it has been shown you only have three seconds to capture a visitors attention on your website. Therefore, it's highly important to trace which pages are bringing them in, and which are causing them to 'bounce' in search of more appealing content. Bounce Rate - Bounce rate measures the number of visitors who landed on a specific page and then left without visiting any other pages on your site. Exit Rates - Exit rates will show you visitors who landed on your site elsewhere, viewed two or more pages, and then decided to leave. This is equally important as it also indicates a page where your visitors tend to lose interest.  

    5. Conversion Rate By Channel

    Measuring conversion rates by specific channels will assist you in determining your ROI. Google Analytics has a campaign tracking tool that monitors specific URLs attached to Ad campaigns. For example, by running a Facebook Ad campaign targeting a product, or landing page for a service, you'll be able to analyze meaningful data on how well that campaign is performing independent of other campaigns. Learn more about monitoring performance by channel in our video below:
    If you have any questions on how to set-up any of these metrics, feel free to leave it in the comments!   Screenshots provided by Jeremy Jensen 
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  • The Importance Of Professional Photography On Your Company’s Website

    Thursday, March 24, 2016 by
    Why Your Products Need Great Photos Everything on your website should serve a purpose, from the design and navigation, to the photography. Far too often, companies fail to invest in the crucial elements that lead to business success. Sixty five percent of our entire population identifies as being a visual leaner; therefore, the majority of people who visit your site will have a strong inclination towards your visual elements. If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, and you have outdated or poor photography, you're website may be telling the wrong story. Here's why having professional photography on your company’s website is so important.

    Create A Favorable Perception

    Like it or not, humans are incredibly conditioned to make snap judgments, sometimes only on a subconscious level. When it comes to the appearance of a business website, cleanliness and a professional appearance makes us feel like we can trust the company. As an example, think about searching for a restaurant in a town you've never been to. If the photos on their website are blurry and were clearly taken without effort, subconsciously we may think the restaurant doesn't value quality. Would you want to eat somewhere your perception is telling you is low-quality? Probably not. The same concept translates across any industry. The way people perceive your website through imagery can determine whether or not they commit to your service.

    Strong Photography Creates More Conversions

    Looking beyond the perception your photos create, good photography is also incredibly important on a practical level. Many of you may be running an ecommerce store, in which the only way a customer will be able to know what they're buying is by having high-quality photos that will make them feel confident in your items. If you've ever tried finding something on Craigslist that either didn't have enough photos, or you couldn't tell what was being pictured, then you've already experienced how bad photography can lead to lost customers. In order to convert the most sales, we recommend hiring a professional that can effectively capture your inventory. However, if you feel like you want to try the DIY approach, remember to do the following:
    • Capture Your Items At All Angles: Since online shoppers lack the ability to hold your products in their hand, take as many photos as possible, at all angles, close up and far away
    • Get Set-Up With The Right Equipment: In order to make your photos stunning, check out our post on Effective Product Photography.

    Improve Your Website's SEO

    Image searches on Google can be a major source of traffic for your website. According to an in-depth study of search traffic generated from image searches, results showed that up to 60% of web traffic can come directly from Internet users finding your images first. The trick to making that happen is having images which captivate potential visitors while they browse through hundreds of results. By stocking your website with only professional quality images, you'll greatly increase your odds of getting noticed. For further tips on how to properly optimize your images for the web, check out our post on optimization for the web. Does your business place a strong emphasis on photography? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!  
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