Let’s begin with the problem. What are you struggling with in your business or your hobby content? For most, it’s two things: Reach and trust.
Reach, because we want more people to find out about what we do. Trust because, once they’ve found us, that’s what turns them into buyers. In this episode, we’ll cover how content can solve this. I’ll talk about the strengths and weaknesses of text, audio and video. Then, I’ll cover how to create a content stack of all three, and how it creates a funnel that grows reach, builds trust and leads to huge fans of your brand.
Colin Gray: Hey there, my name’s Colin Gray and I’m going to be stepping in to do a few episodes during Paul’s summer break. So I’m really pleased that Paul’s asked me to do this, honored, in fact, to step into the Boagworld Podcast. And when Paul asked me to cover something, it was pretty much … it was immediately obvious why I should do.
There’s a certain subject I talk about a lot. I’ve talked at a lot of conferences at different events and it’s all around something I call the content stack. So it’s a stack of content that helps you to build reach and build trust in your business. And it’s something that we do a lot at thepodcasthost.com which is the website and the business that I run as well.
So the aim of the whole thing, the aim of the content stack and what I really want to talk to you about over the next four episodes is how to become relentlessly consistent in your content. The aim of that being relentless consistency, the aim of that being to build an audience, to grow your audience, to build trust with that audience and to create absolutely fanatical fans of your work. It’s all about how to get a blog post, a video and a podcast every single week and to feel like you’re breezing through it as well. It’s not hard. It’s totally all under control, which if you’re anything like me, many times when you’ve been trying to do content, it feels like it’s far from under control.
And I think, for me, and I’ve seen evidence from this, not just with the Podcast Host that I run, but elsewhere as well. What that leads to is fans. It’s real. It’s fanatical fans. Fans come from good quality content that is put out consistently and content that encourages them to interact with it in different ways. That’s why I think that reading, watching, listening, all of those different actions, all of those different types of interactions, they build engagement in different ways. They built fans in different ways, they build that trust, that loyalty in lots of different ways.
The quality obviously as well. We want to make sure we keep the quality up, that attracts them. The variety, that hooks them in, and the consistency, that’s what nurtures their love for your stuff over time. For me, that is what makes a fan. So over the next few episodes, here are the three big ideas I want to talk about. First is how do we choose what we do? From text to video to audio and all the rest around that. Which ones do we work with?
Well, here’s a clue. They’re all great in different ways. I think we need to figure out how to make them all work together and how to find the time or not even find the time, but find the techniques, the approaches that, let us do all three in the time we have available and make them all tie really well together. So that’s the next idea, really. That’s the time. How do we put it all together? How do we make them all work together and still get the rest of your work done?
And then it means looking at the long game, how do you keep doing this every single week and squeeze as much juice out of those efforts as you can? So that’s what we’re going to go through. I hope that sounds good to you. Now, I want to make this as open as possible. I’m going to get into the weeds in quite a few places here. I love creating this stuff and even though we’ve got a team doing this at the Podcast Host now, I still do a lot of it myself.
So if something comes out that it’s too techie, that’s jargon, call me on it. You can contact me @thepodcasthost on Twitter. It’s probably the easiest way: thepodcasthost on Twitter. And I’d love to hear your feedback on this, all your arguments and everything. So yeah, stick up your hand on Twitter and we’ll have a good chat about it.
Just to give you an idea of how I really started to develop this and how I got into this approach for content, and maybe a wee bit of kind of credentials behind it all. I started podcasting and blogging in 2007. Now, for about six years from then, it was a part-time thing. It was something I did alongside a full-time job. Now, I dotted around a bunch of different projects, but the one that stuck was The Podcast Host.
I mean, that was partly because I was teaching at an university in Edinburgh at the time, Edinburgh Napier, and I mean, it was just something that I really got into. I was enjoying working at the university teaching it, but I actually just totally fell in love with the medium. I just loved the fact that podcasting was something that it’s quite intimate. You feel that you’re speaking one-to-one with people, but it lets you reach a huge audience if you can get out there. I love that combination of presenting, but that one-to-one personal connection as well.
So I kept at that part-time and by about 2013, I built the podcast [inaudible 00:05:20] to a few thousand pounds a month in income through affiliate, through advertising. So I decided to jump into it properly at that point. Now, I’ll admit, and I know this goes against some of the grain of the entrepreneurial wisdom you hear out there, but I didn’t have the nerve to jump in without a safety net at the time. So I took on a PhD and online teaching at that point. It actually gave me much more flexibility. But basically I planned to use that PhD to figure out much better ways to teach businesses and entrepreneurs on the Internet.
And that would tie into The Podcast Host because that would help me turn The Podcast Host into an education business, selling courses based on the people that came to visit The Podcast Host, the free blog content. Plus, it was a bit of a backup plan in case the business didn’t work out. I could try and get a teaching job again with my doctorate. Anyway, that’s of course as you’d imagine when it got busy. Trying to keep up the content, trying to keep getting stuff out regularly, alongside doing a PhD as well and developing the business side of things.
Plus, at that point, I took on a few clients as well doing podcast production, so I was figuring out how to keep the content regular. The content marketing, it’s still until very recently, it’s still being the biggest source of income for The Podcast Host. We started our app, Alitu, Alitu.com, which is an app, a tool for helping people make podcasts. That’s a software as a service tool. We started that a couple of years ago, and now it’s claiming up to sort of overtake the marketing … Sorry, the content income these days. But even now, content still is one of the biggest sources of income for us. So it was essential to keep that coming out regularly.
And obviously that client work as well. I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there that do client work on an agency as part of Paul’s audience. You’ll know the time. I mean, you’ll know that it’s one of the biggest barriers to getting content out there regularly, isn’t it? Trying to keep up with that client work, trying to help your clients, give the service that you really want to give those clients, while still developing your own content, your own business. So that’s the tricky part.
And that’s when I started to develop content stacking. My thinking behind it is that podcasting is great. I’ll explain about more why in a bit. But I figured out over time that nearly always podcasting works better when it’s supported by blogging and video. But how do I manage to do that? Blogging on its own, podcasting on its own, video on its own. Those things are all hard enough, but all three? That’s why I had to figure out how to tie them all together, but in a smart way. So this was something I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to do just straight content repurposing, just copying from one place to the next. I don’t want to just copy the podcast to a blog or the blog to a podcast or y all that way around.
I had to figure out how to do it in a smart way. Smart repurposing. For me, smart repurposing also includes time and with other mediums, like Ebooks, audio books, email courses, video courses. It’s all a huge big ecology of content from me. And it’s all possible, I think. It’s not much more time to create this content stack than it takes right now for you to create a great blog on its own. So I believe that just by adding a little bit extra, definitely not double, definitely not triple, just a little bit extra, you can create podcasts, blogs, and videos.
So that’s the whole point of this series of four podcasts. I’m going to look at how the heck we can create brilliant content on a really regular basis and to look at how we can squeeze as much value as possible from that content, both for ourselves and for our audience. So let’s start with the big problem that we’re going to solve here, and then I’m going to talk about how text, audio and video all work together, how we should be putting it all together to create the best solution to the problem.
So the problem for me is really so many businesses come to to us and say … I ask, “What are you struggling with just now?” And I’ll ask this to you. You’re listening. What do you struggle with most just know in reaching new customers? Well, reach, that’s the first one, so reach. Actually, reaching new customers, finding new customers, getting yourself out there and visibility. That’s the first one. That’s the biggest one that always come up.
But the second part of that is engagement. So you can reach people, but how do you actually then engage them? How do you get people to go from a casual reader of your blog to actually engaging with that blog? Either interacting with it or just starting to get to know you, starting to get to like here. End result of that is trust. So we’ve got three parts of it there for me. You’ve got the visibility, the reach. You’ve got a bit in the middle. I didn’t say it specifically there, but that getting to know you, getting to like you. For me, that comes down to differentiation.
When they know you, when the like you, you differentiate by that, by your personality, by your values, by your culture. So they know what you’re all about, what you stand for. And that’s why you’re differentiated from your competition. That’s why they’ll come back to you as opposed to all the other widget companies out there. So the second part is differentiation. And the final part is that trust.
So obviously that people dealing with people thing. People like to deal with people, people like to deal with people that they know and that they trust. They’re actually going to hand over their money, buy your products, take your services when they trust you. And they trust you when they get to know you, when they get to like you and they spend a long time with you. And I’ll get into how that ties into the medium.
So let’s get into that. So text. Text is the first step in this. Text is great. It’s quick, it’s easy, you can practice, you can edit it, you can hide behind that page, you know? It’s really low barrier, so that’s a great way to start: just writing blog posts. The benefit as well is that it hits that first thing that we’re talking about is the biggest search medium out there. Still, nothing beats plain text search.
I mean, I know voice search is coming up. You’ve got different ways to be searched. You can search on video. YouTube is a huge search engine, but plain text, it’s still the king of search. Still the king of reach, so it’s the biggest way that you can reach people. People are typing into Google and Google search engine is a way for you to be found to get that reach grown.
The trouble is, it’s hard to get your personality across in text. It takes a really, really great writer to incite emotion, to convey personality in the written word, so people don’t really get to know you very well. So while text is brilliant for visibility, for getting yourself out there, for being found, it’s not such a great medium for engagement. It’s harder to engage people to get them to know and to trust you.
And that’s when we bring in media. Obviously, media has a huge reach now, too. Like I said, YouTube, one of the biggest search engines out there, so you can be found that way. But the biggest benefit for me is that people start to get to know you here. So as soon as you can put yourself in front of people, that’s a huge benefit. Say they’re reading through the blog, but actually you record a video clip that goes alongside that. You know, there’s a video clip embedded into that blog. People are reading through and suddenly they can press play on that video clip. They can see a little bit about you. You’re speaking through this topic. Maybe you’re covering a highlight of that blog post.
Again, we’ll get into more of this how to actually create this stuff later. But let’s just imagine that the moment you’ve got a clip in there, people can quickly press play. Such easy access. That’s the benefit of video. High impact, easy access. People can just link off to YouTube or it can be embedded right in your blog and they can press play, they can get two or three minutes of high impact media. They can see you, your personality, they get to know you, and they get to trust you and that’s great.
So you’re out there in front of them. That starting to build that engagement as how to bring video in, it builds engagement, builds a little bit of personality. The trouble obviously with media, with video, is that attention span. We all know what it’s like on YouTube. You get into YouTube, you watch two minutes of one video, and then suddenly see another video in the top corner there and it’s like a cat playing with a little dog and you end up clicking that and then two hours later, you’re down the YouTube rabbit hole toward distraction.
YouTube, video online is in a place where we’re so easily distracted. We’re on our computers. There’s emails coming in, notifications, all that stuff. So attention is just horrible. It’s partly the fact that it demands all of your attention. You’ve got to be watching, you’ve got to be listening, and therefore you’ve got to be totally focused and concentrate. So that’s why video has such a low attention span.
Now, this is where audio comes in. Audio brings in even more personality, but the important part it brings in is attention. Firstly, let’s look at the personality. So the difference between audio and video for me is it’s that personal connection. It’s that intimacy. Video, you’re there in front of people, but it’s almost like video is like you’re in front of a lecture hall. You’re in a conference stage. You’re speaking to a huge group of people. There’s all the visuals there. There’s some kind of a barrier between you and that person because there’s this screen there. It feels like there’s something, you’re a crowd watching this video.
Podcasting is a really weird thing because you have yourself plugged into your listeners’ ears. You’re talking through the year buds, directly into their brain and you can speak much more one-to-one. I can see you. I’m speaking to you personally into your brain right now through your headphones or your speakers. It’s much more intimate one-to-one. It tends to be a bit more easy to be informal to be friendly as well. I’m just sitting here speaking into my microphone quite kind of relaxed.
Whereas when you’re on video, you’re looking at this screen, you’re talking to the camera. It just feels a bit more staged. There’s just something about more informal about podcasting as well. Podcasting just tends to create that impression that your listeners are friends, and often I’ve had an experience where people have come up to me at conferences or events and they’ve said, “Oh, hey, Colin, I listen to your podcast.” And they just chat away as if they know me straight away. That’s the great part of it. They get to know you.
And that is why podcasting for me is the ultimate medium for growing real trust, real fanatical fans. The kicker on that is the attention, of course. The thing that really grows trust and fanatical fans fast is the fact that you’re lucky if you can get people to watch two or three minutes of a video, but you’ll get people listening for half an hour, for an hour, for two hours in a podcast. They’ll listen for absolutely ages on a podcast, and that’s because they are listening during otherwise wasted time.
They’re listening during moments where they wouldn’t be doing anything else like driving a car, like walking the dog, like ironing. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I’m cooking, so I’m cooking for the family. The half an hour or something it takes me to make dinner, I’ll listen to a podcast while I’m doing that. And because I’m doing something else, I wrote task. My attention isn’t so easily swayed. I’ll happily listen to something for half an hour or an hour and really get to know that presenter, that topic during that time. That’s why you get huge attention in podcasting.
You multiply that attention, people listening to you for an hour by the fact that it’s really personal, it’s really intimate. There’s loads of personality in that. Those two multiplied together. That personality times attention, that equals trust. That equals trust. That really grows trust in such a great way for podcasting. That’s why I think podcasting is a lower volume medium. You’ll have lower listeners, you’ll have less people listening to your podcast than you have reading your blog, but they’re much more actionable. They’re much more trusting, they’re much more likely to actually do what ask.
So a hundred listeners of a podcast, you may actually convert a third of them into clients. Even a half of them or even more. You can convert a huge proportion of your podcast listeners into either buyers, clients and people that help with your cause. Whatever it is you want your podcast to do, it’s such an actionable medium. Whereas with a blog, for example, conversion rates in blog, getting people to just sign up to an email list is hard enough, never mind buy something or use your services.
So that is the stack for me. Text is for reach. Text is to get yourself out there. That’s the first contact people find you via your blog. They take a step up in engagement when they watch your video. That starts to build the trust. And once there’s a tiny bit of trust there, they are listened to your podcast and that’s when they really get to know you. That’s when they become fanatical fans. Okay?
So that’s what we’re going to go through. We’re going to go through how those three are created. That’s how I think they work. That’s how I use them within our company. But next we need to go into how they’re created. How we’re actually going to create all three of those things every single week because I know it’s not easy. It’s hard enough sometimes to get a blog out, to get a podcast out, but I want to go through the process that we use, that I use, to create all three of these bits of medium every single week. And I promise you it’s not as hard as you think when you think about it the right way.
Okay, let’s go to a wee challenge. I want to give you something to do at the end of each of these episodes. Remember, I mentioned I’m a teacher, sorry. I can’t help it. So I’ll give you some homework. So your first challenge is, this is a personal one. This is more of a main set one. Accept that your customers want to know more about you. They want to know more about your company, about the people behind your brand.
A lot of people balk at this because they think, “Oh, this stuff we do. It’s kind of boring. We help our customers, but nobody wants to read about it or hear about it.” Well, that is not true. If you have customers, if you have people that engage with you, if you have people that work with you, they care about what you do, they care as much about your topic as you do. So whether you’re doing something really exciting, you’re a river rafting brand and you can write about outdoor adventure. Yes. Obviously you can create great content about that.
But even if you like doing law. So we worked with an employment lawyer very recently to create a podcast. Employment law. You’d think, “Oh …” Nothing more dry than that. But they put a bit of thought into it and they created something really nice and creative, and they put it out there and their clients loved it. They engaged with it because that’s what they work with that solicitor for. They want to know about that. They want help with that and their work. So they care about it, and therefore it’s worth putting out.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, except that your customers want to know more about you, about your company, and about your brand, and particularly about the people behind that brand. We’re going to get you to open up a bit, reveal a bit about yourself, and then start to build your way up that engagement stack. So your first task leading on from that is thinking about who that may be. If you’re a one-person company, it’s pretty easy to know who is going to be on that media, but who is going to create this?
If you’re a larger company, this is a bigger question. If you’ve got 50 staff, who is going to start to help create your medium? Who is going to be part of the personality? Thinking about Paul and Marcus when they started this podcast in Netscape, it was the two of them, but they weren’t the only people in that team. There was a big team behind it, but they represented that team. Their personality represented that team. So who is going to represent your team? Again, if you’re a one-person company, easy enough, it’s going to be you. But if not, how do you put together a team that represents the culture, the personality behind your behind your brand? So start thinking about that.
Next, leading on from that, do you know who you are? What is the personality you want to communicate behind your company, behind your brand? Even if you’re a one-person company, what is the personality, the culture, the values that you want to put across? If you’re a larger company, this is even trickier. What are the brand’s values, the brand’s culture? What is the brand’s uniqueness behind your company? Once you get a good handle on that, you’ll have a better idea of what the flavor of the media is going to be, what you’re going to create exactly, what the video is, what the podcast or the blogs are going to be.
Okay. That’s it for this week. Now, I’d love it if you check out … I’m just going to mention a couple of the things we did. I’d love it if you check out our site, so if you are looking into podcasting, do check out thepodcasthost.com which is our main site and we blog about a lot of different things related to content stacking, related to running a podcast. Lots of stuff I’m going to direct you towards over the next few episodes.
And if you do want to make podcasting easier too, if you’re going to experiment with podcasting during the time we are going through this content stack series, please do pop over to alitu.com. A-L-I-T-U.com. That’s our web app that helps you create a podcast. All you do is upload your raw recordings, so you just create that recording, you upload it to Alitu and we’ll process it so we make it sound good. We level off all the volumes, noise reduction, hum reduction, we make it sound great. We add your music, we piece all the different sections together and we publish it for you. So actually, most of the technical parts taken care of for you. So if you do want to check that out, go over to Alitu.com, A-L-I-T-U.com. Thank you for that.
Now, this is going to lead onto another three episodes. In the next episode, what we’re going to do is go into how do you actually put together this content stack? So how can you produce podcasts, blogs, and videos all in a reasonable timeframe? How do you put [inaudible 00:23:48] and not the take over the rest of life? I hope you join me again for that. [inaudible 00:23:52]. A big thank you for [inaudible 00:23:56]. We’ll talk to you again.
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