Thursday, September 25, 2014

What Can I Do For National Podcast Day? - CCM005


You may have already heard that September 30th has been named as National Podcast Day. Steve Lee from netcaststudio.com and a team of other great folks are heading up this initiative. The goal behind this project is to bring more awareness to this medium. But you may be thinking, "What can I do for National Podcast Day?"

Before I answer this question let me clarify one thing. Just because this initiative was started by podcasters in the United States doesn't mean that it is ONLY for folks in the US. It was founded by a team in the US and they cannot speak for citizens in other countries. So if you live elsewhere in the world, whatever nation that is, make September 30th National Podcast Day a success there as well. Jump on the bandwagon and spread the word in your corner of the globe.

Now here are three things you can do for National Podcast Day.

Podcasters
1. Talk about it on your show
2. Promote it on your website
3. Share pictures of your studio #podcastday #shareyourstudio

Listeners
1. Review your favorite shows on iTunes or Stitcher
2. Send a piece of feedback directly to the shows you listen to
3. Tell a friend about the shows you like

If you fall in both categories; a podcaster and podcast listener, then choose a few of these ideas and do them to help spread the word. These are things we should probably be doing all year round, but NPD kind of gives us a kick in the pants to get them done. Visit nationalpodcastday.com for more ideas about how to celebrate. You can also learn about podcasting history and take the Podcast Pop Quiz.

Send your feedback to show@jdsutter.me.



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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Should a podcast cover art design be more like a logo? - CCM004


If you've been podcasting for very long, you've probably realized that you need several different variations of your cover art for different purposes. You need various sizes for your iTunes image, your .mp3 metadata, your website, social media accounts, etc. But have you ever considered podcast branded items for your show as a means of monetization? You know, coffee mugs, t-shirts and the like. If so, then carefully examine your artwork before just slapping it on any old product in Zazzle or CafePress. Not all podcast artwork looks great when used in this manner.

The reason this issue has come to my mind is because I have been considering the podcast merchandise revenue stream lately myself. And I came to the conclusion for the podcast in question, that while our artwork looks pretty good in iTunes, etc. it won't look that great printed on a t-shirt as-is. So that brings me to the question: Should a podcast cover art design be more like a logo? Or at the very least have certain elements that can be removed when you want to use the art for the purposes of printing on a physical product?

I see lots of podcast artwork in iTunes or other podcast directories which really do look great; when used for it's primary purpose, to act as an album cover. But that same artwork would really look terrible if it were printed on a t-shirt.

I know that most of us online content creators are not professional graphic designers ourselves and we're most likely going to hire a designer to create our podcast artwork for us. And if that is the case, then we want to get the artwork done right the first time so we don't have to keep going back to the designer to make changes since that costs us both time and money.

So what do you think? Should we be thinking about other uses of our podcast artwork? Or should we just approach it for what it is and have separate designs created for our branded merchandise? I haven't reached any concrete conclusions on this thought yet so I'd really like to hear what you think.

Send your feedback to show@jdsutter.me.

Podcast Recommendation
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere - hosted by Scott Monty and Burt Wolder at ihearofsherlock.com.
Full disclosure: I did some consulting for Scott, but I was a fan of the show long before he was a client.


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Do you follow other creators in your niche? - CCM003


Are you familiar with the term "market research"? It's a pretty common phrase in the business world. It refers to the practice of checking out the target demographic for your product or service. This is an over simplification of the concept, of course, but it'll do for now. There is another component of market research that I want to hone in on today and that is competitor analysis.

When planning and strategizing your approach for your blog or podcast I think it is extremely important to not only research your target consumer, but also to scope out the competition. I realize that many in the new media space would rather not think of fellow content creators as "competition", but prefer to look at it as more of a cooperative. Even if you take this approach, I think it is still vitally important to the success of your venture to do your due diligence. And not only is this market research important during the planning stages, it's my opinion that you must continually keep a finger on the pulse of what's going on in your niche. Remember that whether you like it or not, you're a salesperson for your brand. The more you understand your market and industry, the better you can serve your community.

With that being said, I want to share with you my approach to ongoing market research in one of the niches that I'm active in. There are three main components that I focus on; websites and blogs, other podcasts, and general goings on around the web in my niche of the audio drama world. I follow all of the major websites, blogs and wikis, and a few of the small ones too. Many of these sites have RSS feeds that I can subscribe to which makes it pretty easy to follow their content. I also subscribe to the podcasts in this industry as well. And lastly, I use Google Alerts to keep an eye on what is being said online about my brand, target keywords, and the industry in general. I use feedly for blogs, Pocket Casts for podcasts, and as I said before, Google Alerts for keeping an ear to the ground.

Why do I do this? Because I want to super serve my community. I want to be able to offer the best value to my podcast listeners and blog readers that I possibly can. By consuming content from others in the niche, I can see what they are doing that is working and what is not. Not that I'm going to turn around and copy what is heard on another show because I felt like it was working for them; I have my own approach and voice to how I present content, but when I'm more aware of what is happening in the industry I feel that I'm better able to address the wants and needs of my community.

I think that idea of competitor analysis is something that is often overlooked in the new media space. And as a result, there are many mediocre podcasts and blogs out there that cannot gain traction simply because they haven't done enough research into how to approach their target demographic, and more importantly how to retain the ones that they attracted initially by staying tuned in to what other folks in the niche are doing. There is a lot more that could be said on this topic, but the bottom line for today is: check out the competition. Be aware of what is going on in your niche. Sure there may be opportunities to collaborate, but don't just scout out the landscape at those times. Keep abreast of what others are creating at all times. It'll make you better at what you do.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Send your feedback to show@jdsutter.me.

*Podcast Recommendation*
The Classic Tales - hosted by B.J. Harrison at thebestaudiobooks.com

*Featured Resources*
Feedly
Pocket Casts
Google Alerts
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Microphone Stand Adapter for the Roland R-05 Digital Audio Recorder


I would have never believed that one small piece of gear would make such a big difference in my podcasting studio. But the Roland OP-MSA1 has made a huge positive impact on my podcasting workflow. What is the OP-MSA1, you ask? It is a microphone stand adapter (or adaptor, as the box says); a simple little device made by Roland especially for the R-05 Digital Audio Recorder. It allows me to connect my digital recorder to any standard microphone stand. In my case I have it attached to a regular three-legged floor boom stand.

The reason this little device has made such an impact is two-fold. First, it allows me to get one more piece of gear off of my desktop which gives me a bit more room. I really don't like a cluttered desk so this is a bonus for me. The second reason is that with the recorder attached to the boom stand, it is now at eye level which makes it much easier to monitor audio levels during recording. I can also check the duration of the recording session at a glance and perhaps most important, I can see that I have indeed hit the "record" button. Come on, you know you've forgotten that before too.

The adapter comes with it's own little 5/8" to 3/8" adapter for the mic stand as well, so you can be sure it'll thread onto almost any microphone stand. The head of the adapter has a ball-joint so you can place your recorder in any direction you wish. The adapter end which connects to the audio recorder is a standard 1/4" male connection so it may work with other recorder models in addition to the Roland and Edirol ones that it was designed for.


You can grab the OP-MSA1 Mic Stand Adapter from Amazon.


The OP-MSA1 with my R-05 Recorder in my studio