012 – Roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches – Megan Driscoll of EvolveMKD

Founder and CEO of EvolveMKD public relations agency, Megan Driscoll discusses what drew her to a career in public relations, what the future holds for PR and marketing, and the interplay between media relations and social media.  She also provides frank advice to those who are starting (or thinking about starting) a career in PR:  “Roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches.”

Episode 012 - Roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches. - Megan Driscoll

Starting a PR agency:

Megan shares surprising lessons she learned from starting her own business three years ago, including the importance of rallying people around your effort, and the challenge of gaining access to credit to fund the business.

As a business owner, she likes controlling her destiny, choosing who to work with and who to hire, how to invest in the business, and whether to expand.

Why a career in public relations?

When working on an internship, Meagan says that she essentially fell into a career in public relations after her boss suggested it as a good career opportunity.  She loves how dynamic this kind of work can be, as well as how you get a behind-the-scenes view of other industries and companies.

Advice for a successful career:

We have to continue to learn and grow, and we must be willing to always be challenged.  As technology changes, and we consume news and media in new ways, communications professionals have to adapt.  We also need to become adept at balancing the needs of our agency with those of our clients and the media.

Megan recommends that young PR professionals get well-rounded, diverse experience, especially early in our careers.  This will help us avoid getting pigeon-holed as having expertise only in one particular area, such as digital, media relations, writing press releases, handling budgets, developing strategy, and so forth.  PR pros need a wide range of tools and skills; developing them early and continuing to improve them throughout a career helps us be more effective at our jobs and provides a distinct advantage in the job market.

She also recommends taking writing classes (especially business writing) and paying attention to detail.  Megan noted that “if your best-foot-forward includes typos, that’s not good enough.”

In addition to developing solid writing skills, we should also “get comfortable with numbers” by taking classes in accounting, financials, and statistics.  “You have to have an understanding and appreciation for math,” Megan advises.

When speaking with new college grads, Megan tells them to “Be ready to work, roll up your sleeves, and get in the trenches.”  You grow and learn by having a lot thrown at you.

Some of the things that can be frustrating about working in public relations include a lack of education among potential clients, who don’t know what PR is now and how it has changed in a digital environment).  In addition to educating clients about the full range of benefits that PR can bring to the table, Megan also works with clients to broaden their understanding of what PR encompasses and how it can be a valuable voice of reason.

The importance of reputation management:

“Our job as communications professionals is to gently remind business leaders that you can say whatever you want, but if you don’t have the proof to back it up, you shouldn’t be saying it.”  As communication specialists, we help ensure they have thought through what they want to say and how they should act.

“Good PR people want their company or client to speak the truth; that’s an important part of the job.”

Megan noted that some clients can be short-sighted when thinking about the effect of their communication.  “The energy you put out there, the words you put out there, and the actions you put out there carry weight and have business implications.”

Advice to business leaders:

  • You can’t just talk the talk, you also have to walk the walk.
  • Think about what is behind a clever or fun campaign; what will you need to do from an operations perspective to reinforce the campaign’s message?
  • Media relations and social engagement must work together.
  • What do your leadership teams look like?  Do they reflect the consumers you’re trying to reach?

Understanding your customers:

“If you don’t interact with the people you’re trying to sell to, how can you have an effective strategy?”  Engaging your customers (and other publics!) and listening to them is a really effective way to understand their values, needs, wants, opinions, and attitudes.

Genius PR move:

Alyssa Milano’s (@Alyssa_Milano) support for the #MeToo movement on social media helped  drive real, meaningful discussion.

… and a not-so-genius PR move:

United Airlines’ handling of the removal of a passenger from a plane and the communications follow-up.  Bad operational decision made worse by ineffective communication afterward.  How could this have been handled better?

An example of a company making a mistake, but handling the aftermath well was Alaska Airlines’ (@AlaskaAir) prompt, on-target handling of Randi Zuckerberg’s (@randizuckerberg) complaint about sexual harassment by a fellow passenger.  The airline took immediate accountability, was open and public about it, and resolved the issue in a classy way.

Lesson: 

Just because you make a mistake, doesn’t mean you’re doomed; you have to own the problem, proactively acknowledge and solve it, and communicate with clarity and compassion.  Showing you genuinely care in this way keeps a mistake from turning into a crisis.

Megan noted how most “PR crises” actually start as operational issues that are mishandled.

What does the future hold for PR and marketing?

From Megan’s perspective, PR and social media are so intertwined that they will require integrated communication strategies.  Communications must be integrated and consistent for an organization to truly have a positive reputation.

Megan’s must-have tools:

  • Cell phone (it’s an appendage!)
  • Laptop
  • Mophie battery packs to keep mobile devices charged, so you can keep working and also stay connected
  • Cision, to create media lists, identify journalists who might be interested in covering your story, and keep track of your history of engagements with journalists (using Cision as a Customer Relationship Management tool)
  • Access to social media platforms

Speaking of using social media for research:

Megan uses social media tools like Twitter, which provides a great resource for understanding what stories reporters are working on, what competitors are doing, and for following the news

In addition to using Twitter for research, she uses groups on Facebook and Instagram to stay engaged with other communication professionals and journalists.

Helping clients avoid the shiny object syndrome:

With new social media platforms appearing almost daily, it seems as if everyone wants to be on Snapchat, or whatever the new hotness happens to be.  But just because it’s new, doesn’t mean it will fit.  Unless you’re trying to reach teens and those in their early 20s, Snapchat probably is not right for you or your company.  As Megan put it, “Snapchat is not the tool to sell anti-aging products.”  Truly.

Facebook might not be cool anymore, but it might be a great tool, depending on who you’re trying to reach and to what effect.

Megan noted that, “Having great media relationships isn’t enough to be a great PR person, you also need to understand the consumer your client is trying to reach.”  That understanding will help identify the appropriate media and engagement activities you should pursue.

EvolveMKD projects:

One of Megan’s clients, Lia Diagnostics, won TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2017 in Berlin with the first major update of the pregnancy test since it was created in the 70’s.

EvolveMKD also is working with Merz USA, another client, on a partnership with Christie Brinkley.

Finally, look for Megan’s new book, which will come out in Spring 2018!


Before closing out this episode, I want to give a shout out to Sam, who recently rode to work with me and shared her inspirational story. I wish you luck and I’ll be looking for you on House of Cards!

I’d also like to dedicate this episode to Lou Williams, who was a guest on episode 4, “What’s Wrong With PR?”  Sadly, Lou passed away recently.

Dr. Tina McCorkindale, President & CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, said,

“Over the holidays, we lost a great leader and friend to the field … Lou Williams was an integral part of the Institute for Public Relations.  He served as an IPR Trustee starting in 2002, thanks to being recruited by his friend Ward White, who passed away in 2016.  In 2007, he became an Honorary Trustee and continued to be engaged until his death. Lou made tremendous contributions to the IPR Measurement Commission and served as an IPR Research Fellow.  When I first started my role at IPR, Lou told me his call to action would be how to better interest, educate, and engage practitioners around research.  He started doing this more than 30 years ago with a two-day conference he created in the 1980s, along with writing his best-selling book Communication Research, Measurement and Evaluation:  A Practical Guide for Communicators.

Speaking personally, I can honestly say that we are all much better for having known and worked with Lou, and we will miss him greatly.  I first met Lou as we enjoyed a lobster feast at Katie Paine’s farm in New Hampshire years ago. He was a kind and generous soul with a brilliant intellect.  Lou, this episode is for you!


Thank you, my wonderful listener, for spending this time with me and for being an important part of this community!  Please let me know what you think by leaving a rating and review on iTunes, by dropping me a line, or by sending a voicemail with that handy little orange button on the right (yes, that one).


How to contact Megan:

Instagram:  @megankcraig

Twitter:  @mkdrisco

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EvolveMKD/

Website:  evolvemkd.com

EvolveMKD main number:  (646) 517-4220

Media inquiries:  media@evolvemkd.com

Jobs at EvolveMKD:  careers@evolvemkd.com

New Business Inquiries:  info@evolvemkd.com


About Megan:

Megan Driscoll is a sought-after strategic media and communications professional with nearly 16 years of experience in healthcare, aesthetics and dermatology, and prestige beauty.  Key to her success is Megan’s ability to always find a way.  She finds potential in every opportunity for her clients through determination, relationships, agility, and sound strategy coupled with a creative spirit.

Megan has cultivated relationships with physicians, consumers, key opinion leaders, and taste-makers to gain her clients national  recognition.  At the end of the day, Megan wants to surround herself with smart, passionate people who value integrity — people who are serious about their work, but don’t take themselves too seriously.  This philosophy is at the heart of founding EvolveMKD, where Megan provides day-to-day client counsel, strategic direction, and a savvy eye for what makes news and who can make the news happen.

About EvolveMKD:

Evolve’s chief capabilities range from traditional public relations (PR) campaigns to social media content creation, platform management and metrics reporting to physician and influencer relations.

EvolveMKD is a tight-knit collection of storytellers, brand builders and caretakers, data crunchers, media hounds, digital strategists, and collaborators.  They operate as an extension of your team, getting to know your brand, your work, and your customers.  They will work directly with you to develop an effective campaign to meet your brand’s needs and strengthen the connection between you and your customers.

011 – Why PR and Marketing might become synonymous – Doreen Clark of SmartBug Media

Episode 011 - Doreen Clark

Doreen Clark, Director of Public Relations at SmartBug Media, shares some of her secrets to generating great press coverage, coaching executives to communicate more effectively, and the intertwining of PR and Marketing.

Media relations:

According to Doreen, public relations is a powerful tool and that we should, “Communicate in a way that is not just beneficial for us, but also for the people we’re reaching out to.” This forms a trifecta of solid media relations that comes together when we understand and communicate:

  • What our audience needs to learn,
  • The information reporters need to know to cover the story, and
  • What we want to deliver for our company or client.

She notes that, for media relations professionals, it’s easy to deliver the facts that journalists need. But journalists also need us to offer an opinion, because that helps them craft stories with perspective and emotion.

Media training:

Doreen has trained a lot of senior executives to be better spokespeople for their organizations. When she provides media training for senior executives, some of the key lessons include:

Coaching leaders on speaking to the common person, by using language they can understand. Executives are used to speaking with other experts in their industry; they frequently use jargon and technical language that the man on the street might not understand. Shifting their focus to be able to communicate with those who are not experts in their industry takes work, but helps them be much better communicators.

Helping executives learn to speak in soundbites during interviews. Long-winded, detailed explanations allow the speaker to be precise, but they run the risk of losing control of the messages that will come through in the final news report. Making the information digestible by giving clear, but concise quotes, helps ensure their most important messages are included in the story.

Everyone is a spokesperson:

In an age of social media and 24-hour news cycles, everyone connected to an organization essentially is a spokesperson. Having a strategic plan, in which everybody knows their role and what they are expected to do, is key to success in public relations. Doreen also recommends that we identify the subject matter experts in our organization, train them to be effective spokespeople, and that will lead to more opportunities to engage the media. It’s important for communication in an organization to be “by all, for all” and not just downward from managers.

Working with freelance writers:

When asked what she is most excited about, Doreen said that working with freelance writers has become a secret weapon. Her force-multiplier tip is to build relationships with freelance writers. It’s common for them to write for many different media outlets, both online and off. These relationships can help us get more coverage, if they are willing to share the work they do for us with their contacts in these outlets.

Merging PR and marketing:

Looking into the future, Doreen expects that “Public relations and marketing will become even more intertwined and might become synonymous.” She sees a blurring of the lines already, with paid advertising taking the form of earned editorial coverage. She sees a future in which PR will have more pay-to-play coverage, as advertising does now. While such changes could present signification challenges for those currently working in both PR and marketing, it could have certain beneficial effects, as it will drive improvements on both sides. For example, she notes that, “PR measurement tools are getting better and will eventually be on par with marketing measurement.” “

Doreen also sees a future in which podcasts and videos that are engaging, but brief, will become more important. After all, journalists need things to write about and to share as examples within their articles.

Lesson learned:

When asked what she knows now that would have been good to know when starting her career, Doreen said, “You don’t have to be everything to everyone; hone your craft; it’s okay to specialize.”

Quotable quotes:

“If you really pay attention, you can become an expert in anything.”

“Relationships are everything.”

“Stay up to date on your craft; you have to always be a learner.”

“PR is necessary, 100%.”

“PR is about elevating reputation and building credibility.”

“When you decide to do PR, make sure you’re starting from a strategic perspective.”


Contact Doreen:

If you are the Founder, CEO, or Marketing Director of a company that is looking to add public relations to enhance your 2018 goals, contact Doreen at dclark@smartbugmedia.com or connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/doreenclark

About Doreen:

Doreen Clark is the Director of Public Relations at SmartBug Media.  She has worked in PR and communications for more than a decade, on both the agency and the corporate side, and across multiple industries.

Doreen has created strategic plans to increase visibility, build credibility, and promote thought leadership through targeted media relations.  She also is  a member of the Forbes communications council, and a contributing writer for Huffington Post.

About SmartBug Media:

SmartBug is a leading intelligent inbound marketing agency that assists businesses in generating leads; increasing awareness; and building brand loyalty through inbound marketing, digital strategy, design, marketing automation and Public Relations.

SmartBug is a certified “Great Place to Work,” an Inc. 5000 company, and is the winner of 36 MarCom awards in 2017 alone.


Some of the resources Doreen uses:

Cision‘s database of media contacts.

CoverageBook saves time in compiling media reporting.

HubSpot to identify which articles have created the most traction based on links within the article.


Let us know what you think about this episode. Click that orange button on the right and send a voicemail.

006 – Why can’t PR researchers communicate with practitioners?

Researchers are studying public relations and presenting their findings at academic conferences and in the top academic journals.  PR practitioners are members of professional associations (PRSA, IABC, NAGC, and so forth), are attending professional conferences, and reading professional publications.

So why do we still have such a disconnect between scholars and practitioners?

In this episode, Professor Dustin Supa of Boston University‘s College of Communication explores the gulf between communication researchers and practitioners.  He explains how scholars can translate and present their findings in ways that are accessible to practitioners.  He also discusses the importance of using statistics in research (hint: providing journalists and bloggers with information they can use helps get media placements, which highlights the scholar’s work).


What do think about this issue?

How serious is the gap between researchers and practitioners?

How would you bridge this gap?

Click the orange tab on the right and send a voice mail.

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005 – Steal the PR Secrets of These Podcaster Rock Stars

005 – Steal the secrets of these podcaster rock stars from Podcast Movement 2016 in Chicago

Mark recaps the public relations lessons, insights, tips, and tricks he learned at Podcast Movement 2016.

Transcript:

Hey, this is Mark Phillips and welcome to another episode of Better PR Now. I’m just back from Chicago where I just attended the Podcast Movement 2016. What an amazing experience, about 2,000 maybe more participants, crazy good speakers, all kinds of positive energy. And I’ll tell you what; there was more support and love there than any conference I’ve been to recently.

Oh, and when the conference administrative notes, which are pretty boring like where the bathrooms are and what to expect on the schedule, when they’re delivered as a slow jam by three really talented performers, you know you’re in for something great. So, Podcast Movement was fantastic!

I’m not going to do a recap of the whole conference, what I wanted to do though was pull out some of the lessons and some of the tips and tricks that the speakers shared that could be really good PR lessons that we could apply in our practice every day as professional communicators.

So, setting the stage:  Why would we even want to consider using podcasting for public relations? Well, Jay Baer, who is President of Convince and Convert, also a keynote speaker, a podcaster, and an author of five books (including Hug Your Hates; How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers) puts together some 2016 podcast statistics and I think they’re pretty convincing, so number one:

Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016. So 21% of Americans over age 12 have listened to a podcast in the past month, and that’s up 17% since last year. Monthly podcast listenership also increased 75% since 2013

The second statistic:  the overall podcast audience really is bigger than you think. The same number, and this really floored me, the same number of Americans listen to podcasts as those that use Twitter:  21%. So, I know what you’re thinking, there are way more people on Twitter than listen to podcasts.

Well you’re right, there are more than 57 million Americans who listen to podcasts, and they consume, on average, five podcasts per week per listener. Twitter has many more members signed up than that. But the actual number of people who are active users of Twitter is still about equal to the number of people who listen to podcasts. So, when you consider that, podcasting has the same footprint as Twitter.

The other thing that you need to take into account is that podcasts are enduring. When you record a podcast or interview on a podcast, or your company or brand is featured in a podcast, that stays in iTunes; it stays on the website; it stays on all the distribution platforms for perpetuity, as opposed to Twitter, where it goes out and it’s quickly buried by other tweets. So the long term value of being in a podcast is actually much greater than Twitter and the reach ends up being even better.

The third statistic is that mobile is driving podcast growth. This year, 64% of podcasts are being listened to on a smartphone or tablet; people are listening on the go. And this consumption creates opportunities for us to engage our public during their commutes, working out, walking the dog, or in other places where they’re not in front of their computers. And, of course, they can actually still listen on their computer; it’s just most people are starting to listen on mobile devices.

Alex Blumberg at Podcast Movement 2016 in Chicago

So, to get this started I would actually like to go to the very end of the conference. Alex Blumberg who is probably somebody you heard of provided the closing keynote. And you might have listened to some of his work on NPR as he produced This American Life. He also cohosted the the Planet Money podcast and cofounded Gimlet Media, which has launched some of the most popular podcasts around.

During his talk, Alex shared incredibly poignant examples of the power of audio for both good and evil. He discussed the use of radio and the Nazi raise to power in pre-war Germany, and the role of radio in driving genocide in Rwanda.

He also shared how audio can bring people together, how it can create empathy and a sense of community. He talked about audio being the most intimate medium; much more so than print or video. Why do you think this is?

Well, in print if you’re reading a novel, your mind fills in the blanks and you sort of paint a picture, a mental picture for yourself. In video you don’t have to do that; it’s right there, so you don’t feel as much of a connection. Just like with print, when you listen to audio, your brain fills in the details. You get a mental picture, but you’re also hearing the voices, hearing the emotion, you’re hearing the breath, you’re hearing things that give you more clues than you get just reading.

And there’s a psychological dynamic that’s going on, where the sound of the voice and the more you listen to it ends up creating a sense of intimacy. And so it’s very real. You feel like you know the people who you’re listening to. And so what happens when people listen to audio, particularly a podcast, the listener fills in the blanks and they hear the voice. They hear the breath. They hear the pauses. They feel the emotion, and they come away with a sense that they actually know the speaker.

That’s why it’s so powerful when you’re looking to build relationships with your publics, looking to build a sense of community. If you’re considering using podcasting for yourself, for your own brand, for the company that you work for, or for your clients, podcasting really is a great way to start building a sense of community and build engagement with your publics.

So, let’s dive into some of the other key points.

Another of the keynote speakers was Kevin Smith, who you might know from having produced movies such as Clerks, Mallrats, and Jay and Silent Bob. He is also comic book man on AMC Network and so much more. What you might not know is Kevin is also a longtime podcaster, being one of the early adopters of this new medium.

Kevin created the SModcast Network, which delivers a really crazy range of weekly podcasts from Kevin and his friends including Hollywood Babylon, SModcast, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, Fatman on Batman (that’s one of my favorites), Edumacation, Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs. The network also features Tell ‘em Steve Dave, FEAB, I Sell comics, Waking from the American Dream, Net Heads, Nooner, Secret Stash, The Wayne Foundation, The Last Week on Earth with Brian Gleib, and Pod U. These guys are just crazy prolific.

Kevin delivered a really incredible keynote, he was booked to speak for about an hour, but he went 90 minutes. I don’t think he took a breath and it was just absolutely amazing. Some of the key takeaways from his discussion of producing podcasts, as well as working with AMC on their series and with writing, directing, and producing the movies that he worked on was, do what you love doing and express yourself.

That really was the foot-stomper for him: Express yourself. Be open for unexpected opportunities. So many of these opportunities came up and they were not planned. Only one of the movies they intended to do. The rest just sort of emerged organically. The same thing with their involvement with AMC. So be open for the unexpected and be willing to put yourself out there. That means being exposed to ridicule, running the risk of failure, and putting yourself outside your comfort zone.

A number of the speakers talked about real growth coming when you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone.

Two other speakers were the ladies from BuzzFeed and Another Round, Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton.  They also really stressed that it’s important to be yourself. The key thing, and this is really important for public relations and other communications professionals, is to ask the questions that you really want to ask, don’t beat around the bush. For example, they revealed how they got Hillary Clinton to get off script, get off the talking points and simply connect as a regular human being. It’s an incredibly insightful and funny listen. Check it out here:  http://bzfd.it/2wRSY5T

Pat Flynn, founder of the Smart Passive Income podcast and a really amazing guy in his own right, stressed the importance of relationships. We get really wrapped up with how many downloads we have, how many visits we have to our website, how many followers we have on Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. And Pat’s message was that downloads are people, they’re not just numbers. Downloads are your community.

He said that if you only have 100 downloads, imagine, that’s 100 people gathered in one room to listen to you. One hundred downloads as a number on your screen doesn’t look like much, but 100 people gathered together to listen to you is incredibly powerful and that’s where your community comes from.

So Pat’s point about podcasting is that it can be a platform for creating and engaging a community of people that you’re connected to, or are connected to your brand or connected to your mission. And speaking of Pat, he said something that also struck a chord with me. He said, “To change someone’s life, first change their day.” Well, how do you do that? In Pat’s words, “Give them something of value. In fact, give value first, whether it’s a few minutes of entertainment or a helpful tip to make their life easier.”

It’s a simple idea that we so often forget; give first. That’s right in line with Gary Vaynerchuks advice to give, give, give, before ever asking for anything.

Jessica Rhodes, host of the Rhodes to Success podcast said to leverage podcast just like you would any other media outlet. Make it easy for podcasters to feature you on their shows. Reach out with a one-sheet that includes a good headshot. A bio written in the third person that the podcaster can use as an introduction on the show, linked to your online presence, whether it’s websites or social platforms (ideally both), your contact information (including your phone number and Skype), and make sure that your client or content is a good fit for the shows audience.

Josh Elledge of upendPR in Orlando also provided some great tips to launch your own podcast and leverage the channels that others have created. Josh highlighted the importance of building relationships with podcasters before asking to be on their show.

For anyone who has worked in media relations, you’ll recognize a familiar theme:  It’s important to build relationships with journalists, editors, and producers before you need them or they need you.

The same is true for podcasters. Follow those who cover your industry or interests, and connect with them on Twitter or other social media platforms. Like and share their shows and comment on their material.

You know we’re all looking for feedback and engagement, so proactively reaching out to them will go a long way towards building a mutually beneficial relationship. As Josh said, “Give freely and allow influencers to reward you freely.”

Josh recommended making sure that your profile is up to date on all platforms including Twitter and LinkedIn in particular, so podcasters and journalists can find you easily.

Speaking of Twitter, this is a terrific platform for making initial contact and providing support to podcasters you would like to engage. Follow them, retweet what they tweet, and throw some love in promoting their podcasts. You’ll be surprised in how grateful they’ll be.

Okay, here’s a key piece of advice from Josh and I’m going to really foot stomp this, use HARO, it’s also called Help a Reporter Out. It’s owned by Cision and it’s an essential way for journalists and podcasters to find you or your clients.

Once you sign up, you’ll get three emails a day between Monday and Friday, and when you see a request that fits with your business, send them a pitch. It’s that easy. If you’re a podcaster, register as a journalist and you’ll be able to use the service to find experts to interview. Be sure to follow their rules for journalists though. If you’re not already registered on HARO, hit the pause button right now and go to www.helpareporter.com and register yourself or your client. Its okay, I’ll wait, go ahead.

Okay, great, so we’re all back.

I want to talk a little bit about emotion, and storytelling and how critically important they are. Daniel Lewis of the Audacity to Podcast podcast pointed out that it’s important to keep things positive, because the emotion you convey through your podcast’s appearance is the emotion you’ll attract.

If you’re going to start your own podcast, or one for your organization or client, it would be a really great idea to pay attention to Gretchen Rubin’s rules for creating a podcast. You’ll know Gretchen from her books, The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better than Before and others, as well as her conversation with Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday.

One of Gretchen’s key points was being clear about what we’re doing, whether we’re entertaining, informing, teaching, advocating, or something else. It’s important to understand and keep in mind what our main purpose is.

She also said to remember that our listeners have four basic desires that we can fulfill:

  • They have a hunger for stories.
  • They have a desire for companionship.
  • They also have a desire to learn, and that’s where research, books, and vocabulary can come in.
  • And she said that they have a desire for ease of listening, so make it sound good. She urged content producers to be approachable and transparent, and that the more we reveal ourselves, the more others will want to engage with us.

Gretchen also advised podcasters to show some vulnerability. She said to let your freak flag fly. Be specific about your experiences and really share and play to your own idiosyncrasies. After all, that’s what people identify with and that’s how you draw them closer. She said to build and engage community, it’s good to have fans, but it’s so much better to have a community of people who like what you do, care about you, and engage with you. This really is true for business and for life.

Gretchen recommended connecting with listeners in as many ways possible. She said that a strong voice repels as well as attracts. Essentially, you’re not going to appeal to everybody and that’s okay, as long as you appeal to, and are able to communicate with and build a relationship with, those who are more interested in what you do, what your business does, or in your mission; that’s what’s most important. She said we should try to leave people wanting more, and she reiterated what Alex had said about podcasting creating a deeply intimate connection.

Toward the end, Cliff Ravenscraft podcast producer, consultant, and coach, and host of the Podcast Answerman podcast gave some really great words of advice. He focused on strategies to ensure that your podcast ranks highly on iTunes and other distribution channels.

He said to have a clear message; the example he used was the Ray Edwards Show. He said to create consistent, compelling content and suggested that we publish at least once a week to keep our audience engaged. Like many of the speakers, Cliff urged everybody to be passionate about the content we create. “Don’t just go into an area because somebody said you ought to. Go into it because you really, really are passionate about it.” Focus on quality, sound, and art work, and be yourselves.

Cliff also advised podcasters to build relationships with their audience. It really is all about relationships. Cliff recommended engaging with your audience by asking questions; ask for their tips, their ideas, and their criticisms. The more you understand their pain points, the better you’ll be able to engage with them about things that are most important to them.

Finally, he said to provide hope, encouragement, and feedback to others who are in your line of work or who share similar interests.

Business and life coach, Dani Garrison said we should be willing to move outside our comfort zone. We’ve heard this as well from other speakers and it really does apply. In fact, Dani wears a set of cat ears at all of her public appearances as a reminder to herself to always be willing to step outside your comfort zone. This applies to starting a podcast and it also applies to experimenting with live video streaming or pretty much any part of life.

There was so much more information shared at Podcast Movement 2016, but I do want to keep this short and driveable, so I’ll wrap it up. I’d love to hear what you think about the ideas I shared in this episode. Give me a shout by clicking the orange ‘Send Voicemail’ tab on the right side of every page of the Better PR Now website. It really is a quick and easy way to participate in this ongoing conversation.

If you’re enjoying the podcast, please subscribe and tell a friend who also might be interested. One last note on Podcast Movement, this was an incredibly helpful experience for me and I was blown away by the sheer volume of information that was shared there freely. Everyone there supported each other and it was incredibly positive. If you’re podcasting now or considering starting, I’d highly recommend that you attend next year’s Podcast Movement.

And one more thing, I’d like to ask a personal favor. My wife and I are expecting the birth of our first grandchild in a few weeks, so will you keep our daughter, her baby, and her husband in your thoughts and prayers, I’d really appreciate it.

That’s it for this episode. Thanks for taking this journey with me. I’ll catch you on the next episode.

 

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