What are The Best Tools for Podcasts?

What are The Best Tools for Podcasts?

What are the Best Tools for Podcasts?

What are the Best Tools for Podcasts?

Podcasts are the lovechild of radio and digital. They are the natural evolution of recording your favorite shows. Now you can just take them everywhere with you to enjoy at your own pace. Creating such media required expensive equipment in the past, but now the hardware tools for podcasts are just a laptop and a microphone.

We’ve gathered a selection of the latest and greatest (please read “free/freemium”) software tools you can use to give your business a voice through a podcast. The list is organized following the creation process: listing ideas, recording, editing, social media broadcasting, and auxiliaries.

Ideation & Organization

Of course, you could go old-school and just use pen and paper, but it would be a pity not to try modern tools. During brainstorming sessions, you could use a mind mapping software. If you have a more chaotic working style and would just love to drop everything in a virtual box and sort them later for inspiration, Evernote is the tool of choice for most creatives.  Lately, a merge between project management and ideation software emerged, which promotes collaboration, named Notion.

Recording & Editing

The sound is the lifeblood of a podcast. While most people can’t define what makes a recording excellent or unbearable, they know it when they hear it. Room acoustics are essential, but if you can’t have a professional studio, you’ll have to rely on editing to get it right. Audacity is a free, multi-platform tool to record and process sound files. If you are looking for a quick, one-stop-shop, with the recorder, editor, and publisher, there is Cast.

If you intend to have a live show, conducting interviews with guests, you can try ZenCastr which records on separate tracks, offers live editing, and integration with cloud services (Dropbox). To engage listeners, not just guests, work with SpeakPipe. They can ask questions, leave comments and be interactive.

Social Media Awareness

To extend your current fan base and connect better with existing ones, you could view Facebook Live as a way to podcast with video. If you re mostly a Twitter user, add Periscope to your tools for podcasts. The direct interaction could give you a few ideas about your followers’ interests. Turn these into new episodes.

Auxiliaries

To succeed in the crowded world of podcasters, you need to keep organized. Use a planner like Google Calendar. This will help you keep track of the themes and the availability of your guests.

After a podcast, you could think about transcribing the discussion to text. This is great for repurposing as a blog post. Publishing content helps you with SEO, as voice search is currently not an option. You could use dedicated services, but Voice Typing in Google Docs makes a decent output.

Did you know all of these tools for podcasts? What are your favorite tools that get you results? Be sure to comment with your ideas or share this article with someone who might find it useful.

How to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

How to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

How to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

3 Easy Steps to Create a Weekly Posting Calendar that Converts

Maintaining a corporate social media profile requires strategy and planning. People are creatures of habit and react best to things they can anticipate. Even though the age of TV series and radio broadcasts is almost gone, following a consistent posting calendar, both regarding themes and hours can be the key to long-term growth. It makes your fans anticipate and be curious about what you have to say next. Be sure not to let them down or waiting.

Let’s review the steps you need to take to have a clear brand voice and never be out of inspiration. The best blogs, pages, and podcasts seem effortless but are built with clock-wise precision.

Think Strategically

Although most companies maintain social media profiles only for awareness, you can think more specific. Attach financial goals to your posting, especially sponsored ones. Treat social media posting with the same respect as general business strategy and define yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Try to pinpoint areas such as the themes to cover, the number of followers to acquire or sales.

Research your audience and find out the relationship between demographics and the preferred content. Try to identify best posting time regarding weekdays and hours.  Save the best material for these times.

Define the (Seven) Wonders of Your World

Not all companies need to post daily, but to be consistent, it is helpful to define a theme for each day of the week. Try to avoid general topics like the Monday dread and #TGIF, rather be specific to your industry and audience. You can have “Tips and Tricks Tuesday”, “Delicious Wednesdays” or “Mommy’s Saturday Treat”.

Merge this personal blueprint with international and local holidays to capture more diversity in your posts. Also, practice consistency. For example, if you have a weekly funny posting every Friday, don’t come up with sad or disturbing industry news. Make few exceptions for major events.

Exercise Attention-Grabbing

Build your calendar like a cake. The strategy is the cake dough, the daily themes are the cream, and the content is the frosting. You should aim to make this as enjoyable, eye-grabbing and fun as possible.

Industry leaders advise to write over 20 titles for each post and pick the best one. There are even headline analyzers to help you choose the best one. This exercise will make you more creative and attentive to nuances.   

Do you already know what types of posts does your audience like? Would you be curious how a specialist can help you define your unique calendar? Why not drop us a line about your social media struggles?

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

How to Identify a Real Instagram Influencer

The notion of social media influencer is either embraced or bashed by marketing professionals. In an age where user-generated content is about to replace traditional advertising, influencer collaborations were able to attract over $ 1 billion in 2017.  The real problem is to identify those accounts which are genuine, have loyal followers, and the ability to generate ROI.

The Plague of the Fake Instagram Influencer

In 2017 a marketing agency created an experiment with two fake Instagram accounts. The goal was to get paid advertising contracts for these fictive influencers who only had purchased followers and comments. The real aim was to show how vulnerable are the platforms to false content. While calibeachgirl30 featured photos of the same model girl, wanderingggirl‘s profile contained only stock photos. They secured contracts with apparel and beverage companies.

So, as a marketer, what are the signs you should pay attention when choosing an influencer to act as your brand ambassador?

Hashtag Hunting

The recent changes in Instagram allow you to follow hashtags much in the same way you followed accounts. By consistent scouting of top posts for your range of interests, you can identify those accounts that are consistently having excellent results. Make a list of the top 20-50 potential influencers that you would like to reach out to. Use the next step to narrow down the selection.

Show Me the Numbers

A marketer is a strategist, and you should act by looking at business indicators, not tempting pictures. Disregard the visual coordination and harmony and go behind the scenes, since you should always choose quality over quantity. The total number of followers does not tell the whole story. You should dig deeper and ask for additional information and look at some industry-specific ratios.

  1.     Follower growth.

Some tools give a sneak preview of the backstage. The aim is to see a steady, linear growth of followers. Any sudden spikes could be an indicator of purchased followers. Only an occasional spike could signal viral content, but those are rare.

  1.     Engagement ratio

Industry standards define 5% as an average for likes/comments, while a rate towards 10% is extraordinary. Another study shows that once an account is over 10K it has a hard time sustaining a high engagement rate, even if it is a real Instagram influencer.

  1.     Video views

Fake accounts and bots don’t bother to watch videos. A clear indicator of the genuine people who engage with a page is the number of video views. It should be around the same value as the previous rate.

Remember these rules when choosing an Instagram influencer. If you have a hard time finding the right one for your brand’s voice, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Best Tools for Social Media Scheduling in 2018

Best Tools for Social Media Scheduling in 2018

Best Tools for Social Media Scheduling in 2018

7 Affordable Social Media Scheduling Tools to Take Your Marketing to the Next Level in 2018

Over the past few years, the marketing world has welcomed social media with open arms and it seems that each week a new social media platform is being touted as the ‘it’ place to be.

While it’s hard to argue the value of having a strong social media presence and the positive impact it can have on your business and brand, most marketing professionals don’t have the time or capacity to adequately spend posting on all the various platforms.

This is why having a go-to social media scheduling tool is vital to staying on top of your game.

Saving time and resources doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – we’ve rounded up seven affordable social media scheduling tools that are sure to help you take your marketing to the next level.

All of these tools offer social media scheduling so we’ve highlighted the additional features that set them apart from their competitors.

1. Buffer

Buffer allows you to schedule content through their integrated browser extensions and mobile apps. They also also have RSS feed capabilities, streamlined analytics and an image creator to make your posts pop.

Free options available, paid plans start at $10 per month

Integrations: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram  

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite’s key feature allows you to follow conversations and mentions by setting up social streams based on keywords, hashtags or usernames. You can even search by location and in multiple languages. Analytics, RSS integrations and social sweepstakes are also available.

Free options available, paid plans start at $19 per month

Integrations: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

3. MavSocial

MavSocial has a built in RSS feed for content curation, access to a stock photo library with free photos, cyclical and repeatable posts and a drag-and-drop calendar for easy scheduling.

Free options available, paid plans start at $19 per month

Integrations: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr  

4. MeetEdgar

Meet Edgar’s unique feature in the social media scheduling tool world is its ability to recycle social updates automatically. They pride themselves on being able to ‘set it and forget it’ with new posts, one-time promotions and evergreen content being shared and reshared at the pace you choose.

Paid plans start at $49 per month

Integrations: Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn

5. CrowdFire

Crowdfire is unique in that they find content your audience will love by taking you through a few quick tasks that are personalized to whatever your goals are. Then it posts to your channels at the best times.

Free options available, paid plans start at $9 per month

Integrations: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

6. Friends + Me

Friends+Me touts its Instagram posting capabilities without the post reminders and within Instagram’s terms and conditions. They also have bulk scheduling, a browser extension and link shortening capabilities.

Free options available, paid plans start at $7.50 per month

Integrations: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram

7. Social Pilot

Social Pilot focuses on increasing efficiency by providing a multitude of features at an affordable price. You’re able to connect up to 200 social profiles from a single account, create custom short URLs, schedule tweets and posts in bulk and receive content suggestions as well as connect RSS feeds.

Free options available, paid plans start at $8 per month

Integrations: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr

How Internal Benchmarks Help You Set Realistic Business Goals

How Internal Benchmarks Help You Set Realistic Business Goals

How Internal Benchmarks Help You Set Realistic Business Goals

How Internal Benchmarks Help You Set Realistic Business Goals

As a business owner, it’s important to be aware of the industry benchmarks and where they’re trending. Knowing the competition and industry helps you know what your organization is doing well and where there can be some improvements made.

It’s common to base your business goals off of these external benchmarks and it makes sense; you want to stay competitive in the market and grow at a similar pace. However, what happens when you’re significantly above or below the market? Does it still make sense to set your business goals based on the external benchmarks?

Another consideration is if you have no direct competitors. Industries are becoming more and more niched-down, which means the target audience may not be the same across the industry. Given that, does it still make sense to create goals for your organization based on external benchmarks?

The next time you sit down to map out a business goal, first ask yourself these five questions and then consider basing it off of your own organization. Benchmarks that are based on internal performance are more realistic because they’re coming directly from the source.

As a business owner, you know that the best way to determine where you want to go is to have a clear and accurate picture of where you are starting. Internal benchmarks allow you to do just that – identify your precise starting point in order to create realistic and achievable business goals.

If you’re not sure where to start, outlined below are three quick and easy steps for setting up the right internal benchmarks to create realistic and achievable goals for your organization.

The first step is to determine what the proper benchmarks are – is it your mailing list, follower count, page views or product purchases? The key is to clearly define what metrics are important to you and why they matter.

After knowing what you’re looking for, it’s time to dive into the analytics and record the results. These numbers are your standard or benchmark. If you’re looking for a metric that isn’t clearly or accurately recorded, you will first need to record the data for a set amount of time to get an accurate benchmark.

Once the standard metrics have been establish, you can now create your business goals based on these numbers, knowing they are realistic and achievable.

Still not sure where to start? We offer strategic planning services that specialize in setting the right goals for your business! Contact us today to get started!

5 Ways to Set Realistic Goals in 2018

5 Ways to Set Realistic Goals in 2018

5 Ways to Set Realistic Goals in 2018

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Defining Your Business Goals

As we begin the new year, it can easy to get bogged down by the endless goal setting rabbit hole and find ourselves picking a goal just to be able to write something down. However, when you make a goal for your business without actual thought and planning, the likelihood of achieving that goal drastically decreases and your motivation to see it through will only last you to February, at best.

Setting goals for your business is something that should be done with intention. If you’re not sure where to start or if the goal is right for you, ask yourself these five questions to bring more clarity and purpose, so you can knock those goals out of the park.

What can your past teach you?

Looking at your past experiences and goals has the ability to show you what works, what doesn’t and what you can change to succeed in the future. Sit down and reflect on your past year, or two, and write down your successes and failures. Being able to adequately and clearly define what your strengths and weaknesses are will help set you up for success when creating a new business goal.    

How does it align with your company’s mission?

When your company’s mission or ‘why’ is clearly defined, you’re able to establish a hard-and-fast rule on whether or not that goal is a good fit. For example, if you sell food products with a mission is to distribute to underserved and low-income communities, having a business goal of selling products to Whole Foods might not align well with your mission. Also, having a clear understanding of your ‘why’ will help keep you focused after your goals are set and you may find yourself lacking motivation or clarity. Being able to go back to your mission is a great way to gain momentum to reach your business goals.

Is it realistic?

When you’re thinking about your business goals for the next year or however long you want your goal length to be, the initial reaction is to shoot for the stars. There’s a fine line between having a stretch goal and picking something that is not feasible. Realistic business goals (even one that stretches out of your comfort zone) is great for motivation and growth. However, if you’re concerned that it’s too much of a stretch, look back at the last few years and make sure you’re on track with what you’ve been able to accomplish. That being said, we would encourage you to create a goal that might seem unrealistic at first because it doesn’t hurt to at least try.

What are the specific milestones to reach this goal?

Writing out your business goal is great, but to actually achieve it, you need to set small, actionable goals. Breaking the big one into smaller, bite-sized pieces will help stave off overwhelm, anxiety and unneeded stress. Having smaller goals will also help you stay motivated – when you’re able to see the finish line it’s a lot easier to keep going. If you only write down that one goal without a clear understanding of how to get there, you’re more likely to derail from the plan and focus on something else when you lose steam or don’t see results.

What will be the next goal once this is achieved?

The wonderful thing about goals is that once they’re achieved, there’s always another one waiting to be reached. Being able to look ahead and decide what your next step will be is a great tool for business growth. As a business owner, you’re never done. There is always more to do and having a clear understanding of where you’re going will help keep you focused.