Aug 31

Longer Podcasts Are More Popular

2265202595_b41eda824d_mAfter listening to my favorite podcast, Hardcore History and hearing the host Dan Carlin guest star on Slate’s Political Gabfest, I started thinking about how popular the Hardcore History podcast is.  While many podcasts are 30 or 60 minutes, the latest Hardcore History episode is nearly 4 hours long.

That got me thinking about the intersection of quality and brevity.  Common wisdom in digital marketing is that shorter is better, no one wants to dedicate large chunks of time to a program, right? But is that always the case? And how does that reconcile with longer shows like Hardcore History? To investigate this further, I looked into the most popular podcasts as of 8-18-24 as ranked by Stitcher. I mapped out the top 20 listed podcasts and recorded their most recent podcast episode length.

The result, for the data set reviewed, longer podcasts on average are more popular as seen in the black trendline below.

Longer podcasts are more popular

Longer podcasts are slightly more popular

Longer podcasts are more popular

Focus on Quality

This is just one data sample, yet it shows that people find value in a quality program, no matter the length. So, go ahead create quality long-form content!

I’m a bit of a podcast junkie so let me know your favorite podcast in the comments…


Photo credit: Flickr

Aug 29

What? My wordpress site was hacked!?!

Cyber AttackIt was just the worst. I came back from a wonderful Costa Rican trip and our home was fine, but my wordpress site was hacked!

Gone!

Poof!

This post, along with those that follow, will tell you what happened, how I got the sites up and running and diagnosed the hack.  I’ll also share my lessons learned and bring in some WordPress security professionals to provide some expert advice. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 26

Secrets of a speedy sale via Twitter

Susan Weiner

Guest Blogger – Susan Weiner

From time to time I feature a guest blogger, this is one of those times.

I sent a tweet asking for new clients. It worked almost like magic. My tweet spurred a tweet from an interested individual, and then a phone call with the person who contracted for my services. This was one of the easiest sales I’ve ever made.

What can you learn about sales via social media from my experience? I’ve identified four lessons.

Lesson 1: If you don’t ask, you won’t receive

While you shouldn’t focus your social media content on promoting yourself, you must ensure that people know how you earn a living. This can involve an occasional explicit request for business, even if it makes you feel squeamish.

In my case, until recently I hadn’t done much to publicize via social media my availability as a speaker on effective financial writing. Not surprisingly, I’d never seen a direct connection between a single tweet and my getting booked to speak.

In the speedy sale that’s the focus of this post, I tweeted something like:

“Looking for more paid speaking gigs. Here’s where I’ve spoken: http://ht.ly/ujblY.”

What a thrill it was when one of my Twitter followers responded, asking for more information. He passed along the details to the person coordinating speakers for his chapter of the Financial Planning Association. The coordinator followed up quickly. Within one week, we reached agreement on a speaking date.

“I wish Twitter always worked this well,” I thought after landing this speaking gig. However, it’s not that easy. Indeed, what appeared to be a speedy sale rested on a relationship developed over the course of a year.

Lesson 2. You must establish trust

My seemingly speedy sale wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t built trust with my referral source. I achieved that by providing content that he found helpful.

Since my referral source subscribed to my e-newsletter about one year earlier, he had found useful ideas in my newsletters, blog posts, social media status updates, and, most recently, my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients. We’d even spoken on the phone once. Most of my social media content isn’t overtly promotional. Much of it offers practical tips that readers can apply right away. Without this history, my tweet would have yielded nothing.

If you ever despair about giving information away for free, remember that good content will pay off eventually. However, it often takes time to build relationships and establish your expertise. Plus, you must offer something your prospective clients desire.

By the way, you may ask, “Susan, couldn’t you have landed this gig without Twitter since you already had a relationship with your referral source?” Maybe, but it would have been hard since I didn’t realize that my referral source was in a position to recommend speakers. The beauty of social media is how it makes it easier for the right people to discover you.

Financial Blogging by Susan Weiner

Financial Blogging book by Susan Weiner

Lesson 3. Provide links that enhance credibility

My gig-seeking tweet included a link to a list of about 30 speaking engagements that I’ve delivered across North America for corporate clients and professional societies, including the CFA Institute and the Financial Planning Association. That experience spoke loudly.

If you issue an explicit request for work, you’ll probably benefit from including a link to prove your expertise. Your link could go to a bio, case study, blog post, white paper, or something else.

Lesson 4. Social media won’t always deliver immediately

Your timing has to be right. What works one time may not deliver results the next time. Thrilled with the results of my gig-landing tweet, I repeated it. My results? Zip.

That’s okay. I don’t think my second tweet was wasted. It may have raised awareness of my presentations across a broader audience. When those folks need to hire a speaker in the future, they may be more receptive to me. In fact, I’ve landed other clients from Twitter by developing relationships with them over time. Another presentation client of mine started following me after I retweeted some of his content, but months passed before he made direct contact and started a conversation about hiring me.

My experience also points to the importance of not taking a “once and done” approach to social media. Your social media tactics differ from your old media tactics, where you sent a newsletter once and then it disappeared into your archives. Today tweets, status updates, and other content can—and should—be repeated, tweaked, and recycled across different social media platforms over time. Remember that some prospective clients and referral sources may find your content—especially blog posts—long after you originally publish it. This helps you to reach the right people at their convenience. Just don’t go overboard in repeating the same content, or you’ll drive away your audience.

YOUR experience?

If you’ve landed new business via Twitter, I’d like to learn about the secrets of your success. Please comment.

________________________________________________

Susan Weiner, CFA, is the author of Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients, which is tailored to financial planners, wealth managers, investment managers, and the marketing and communications staff that supports them. Read her blog or follow her on Twitter, Google+ or the Investment Writing Facebook page.

 

Mar 12

TREND: Small is the new Big

omlet logoAlthough I sat out this year’s SxSW interactive (I miss Austin, but I don’t miss the douchey-narcissism that comes with SxSW), recent news out of Austin caught my eye. A Stanford professor, along with some of her PhD students, have launched a new app called “Omlet Chat.”  Omlet is a new app focused on maintaining privacy in a social network and demonstrates the trending interest in smaller, more private social networks.

TREND: Small is the new Big

Let’s look at some of the driving factors driving the Small is Big trend:

  1. As widely reported, teens are leaving Facebook. This may or may not be true but what is true is that people don’t necessarily want to share everything with their entire network.  People want to share information selectively and they don’t want the information shared to live forever.
  2. Growing privacy concerns as seen by Edward Snowden’s virtual visit to SxSW where he shared his belief that governments are hacking internet communications. More and more individuals are realizing what they are giving up in terms of their personal information.
  3. The publicly traded “Big 3″ of social media networking are focused on driving revenue – not user privacyt. And on Facebook, Google and Twitter, the user generated data is the source of monetization, don’t look for real privacy options there.

TREND: small is the new BIG. <<< click to tweet

Social Network Privacy Apps on the Rise

We’re seeing more social networking apps with increased privacy controls ranging from anonymous to semi-private.

  1. SnapChat, once seen as the “sexting app” now reports it is sharing more pictures per day than Facebook (these numbers are self-reported so apply a grain of salt here)
  2. Secret, is an anonymous social network, allows you to anonymously learn shared secrets from your friends
  3. In a relationship? Check out Couple, an app for two

How will the “Big 3″ respond to privacy?

  • Facebook will likely continue to buy its way into new trends (e.g Instagram, WhatsApp)
  • Google+ has Circles which provides sharing controls, of course they still own everything shared on their network
  • Twitter has built it’s network on open communication. Normally I’d say they’d stay out of this space but with increased concerns on revenue, look for them to make a move if the privacy trend continues.
A social network built on privacy

A social network built on privacy

More on Omlet

What’s interesting about Omlet? Omlet promises not to monetize your information and it allows you to keep your files and photos on your cloud storage provider like Dropbox or Box.net.

Learn more about Omlet here.

 

Mar 03

The Foxes of SXSW and Grapes of Wrath

Today's guest blogger - Jeff Cutler

Today’s guest blogger – Jeff Cutler

From time to time I feature a guest blogger, this is one of those times.

South by Southwest (SXSW) comes but once a year in March and social media practitioners and fans are drawn to it like addicts to free heroin. Except SXSW isn’t free and the range of excuses for not attending is starting to resemble a dictionary of denial. Were Yogi Berra commenting on it, he’d surely say, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

But I digress into fun quotes and my own grapes of wrath. To be clear, lots of people still attend SXSW, and their reasoning is widely varied. The festival (and that’s really what it is) seems to be less about valuable networking these days and more about getting drunk, being seen with celebrities (or micro-celebrities of the social media world), and creating some content so you can convince your boss to pay for your trip.
Before you think I’m the fox lamenting his inability to get a reward, realize that I’ve been to SXSW repeatedly and actually have been paid to attend. In these visits I’ve made valuable business and social contacts that have sustained my food and tech-toy habits well beyond the five days in March during SXSW. I’m not attending the conference this year because of three reasons. Let me know if you’re staying home or going and what your reasoning is.

No SXSW this year – and here’s why…

schwen1 – There’s no All-Hat!

A big component of SXSW is networking. Whether you sit in the Austin Convention Center hallway and meet folks as they walk by, or attend two parties each night to shout over loud music and free booze to solidify your relationships, SXSW is about meeting people. The best event within the event for doing so is All-Hat. Take a look at some photos from a recent All-Hat brunch meeting in Austin and you’ll see faces of genuine, helpful and intelligent people from all over the world. This year, All-Hat is on hiatus and that’s reason one for not attending SXSW.

reff and gorgone2 – Nobody is paying my way!

Past years have been financed by large technology companies, news outlets and even some brands that wanted to have me on the streets of Austin sharing content for them. This year, the budgets are tighter and the need for quality content has subsided a bit. Therefore, the big name companies that might have paid my flight, hotel and expenses at SXSW didn’t reach out in time to get me to attend. Perhaps they’ll move faster for SXSW 2015.

   

3 – I’m too busy to attend.

If the goal in attending a conference is to make connections and find work, then you don’t need to go if you’ve got other obligations. My speaking schedule this spring is such that I’m in that boat. While I could use a bit more content creation work and a few keynoting gigs, the work I do have is directly in conflict with the SXSW 2014 calendar. I’m speaking five times in four weeks and a few of those are actually during the festival. Perhaps next year the stars will align and set my work up on the weeks AROUND SXSW so I can attend.
That’s it. If you think SXSW has jumped the shark and isn’t relevant, I’d love to hear from you. If you think the show is still as important as it’s ever been, I want to hear from you on that too!
Thanks for reading.
#####

 

Jeff Cutler is a content specialist who regularly trains people on the use of social tools to share their message(s) and reach audiences. Jeff has written for NPR, The NY Post, Technology Review, Gatehouse Media and others. Find out more with a quick click on his site http://jeffcutler.com - connect with Jeff via SocMed (links at the top of his site).

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