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.

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

*Featured Resources*
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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

CCM002: Does your email list have a name?

Random thoughts about podcasting, blogging and other internet stuff

Today's thought is ... Does your email list have a name?

I was recently privileged to have a coaching session with Erik K. Johnson, the Podcast Talent Coach, regarding my audio drama fan podcast, Audio Theatre Central. During the course of our discussion the topic of an email list came up. Now as an online content creator, you may know that a mailing list can be an essential part of your marketing efforts and a good source of revenue. You can market your own products or affiliate products via your mailing list while at the same time providing high quality, valuable content to your subscribers.

Erik was asking me about the size of our email list. At the time it was pretty small in comparison to other's. When I let him know that, he asked me, "what are you calling it and how are you presenting it to your listeners?" I told him we were just asking listeners to subscribe to our newsletter or email list. And that is when Erik told me that the terminology used can greatly affect the outcome of having a listener subscribe to your list. The word subscription carries the connotation of having to pay for it. And the words "newsletter" or "email list" can come across as just being a bothersome thing or a nuisance; things are just clogging up your Inbox. He said that coming up with a creative name for your list can entice people to sign up.

Since Audio Theatre Central is all about going behind the scenes with audio dramas I gave it careful thought and decided to call our mailing list ATC Insiders. Since making that change our subscriptions have increased about 20%. So what do you think? Is it worth it to think about how you're branding your mailing list? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

*Podcast Recommendation*
Erik K. Johnson - Podcast Talent Coach

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

CCM001: What is Content Creation Musings all about?

Today's thought is ... What is Content Creation Musings all about?

In each episode JD will dive into one single topic regarding podcasting, blogging, new media, and online content creation. It could be about an article he's read, a piece of gear he's recently acquired or just anything that's on his mind at the time, but each episode will be under 10 minutes; quick and to the point.

This show is also an experiment for me. I'm using this show as a test of the audioBoo platform also it is a test of the short form podcast as well as I'm going to be attempting to produce as much as possible of this show from my mobile devices. It will be unedited.

I'm also a bit of a contrarian. I like to try things that are out of the norm. So I won't be talking about WordPress or MacOS. I might mention the Blogger platform, Android apps, and maybe even Linux. You can expect some outside the box thoughts on this show.

On occasion, I may also give a recommendation for a podcast that I am currently enjoying.

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