Updated: Aug 15, 2019
I have always been in the wholesale distribution industry since graduating college. I worked my way through the ranks of warehouse manager, counter sales, inside sales, branch management, outside sales, market management, outside sales management, director level management, and executive level management. I have always preached that as a distributor, we don’t manufacture anything. Without customers, we are nothing! Therefore, everyone in a company must live in a “culture of sales”. Like crewmen on a battleship, everyone has a job to do. When the bullets start flying, everyone must man a battle station and start to sell a product or service for the sake of the company. I think a podcast is a great tool or “battle station” to use.
As a lifelong entrepreneurial enthusiast and the Executive manager of ALTru Solution LLC, I have listened to well over one hundred podcasts since launching our company in 2018. Every day, I hear stories and testimonials through podcasts from small business owners about marketing, accounting, sales, web design, e-commerce, and every other aspect of starting, running, and growing your small business. I very much like the format and knowledge that these podcasts have to offer. Not only do I listen to these podcasts, but I also have years of experience in the business world and would like to help you navigate it’s complex inter-workings in the form of a podcast.
How did Podcasts start? According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_podcasting#The_first_feed “Podcasts began in the 1980’s with audio blogging. Before the world wide web, a company known as Radio Computing Service provided music and talk related software to the radio industry in a digital format.” It continues by saying “Several jukeboxes and websites in the mid-1990s provided a system for sorting and selecting audio such as music, talk, and other various digital formats.” Like so much of our digital history, it was computer enthusiasts who were the first users of this format. They thus named it “asynchronous” radio and allowed for users to listen to the audio from websites and early jukeboxes. Downloaded music reached a critical mass with the launch of Napster in the late 1990s. A company called I2GO launched a system for the downloading/storage of serial episodes and audio content on PC and portable devices for early MP3 players. I2GO introduced Audio News and Entertainment that could be programmed to automatically download the latest episodes from user selected content to a PC or portable device. I2GO folded after the dot-com crash. RSS connections began in 2000 and some 18 years later, there are well over 120,000 English speaking podcasts in existence today.
Podcasting is simple and inexpensive. Like my career in sales, I can’t sell a product until I can install it myself. We are discerning strategy to install a Podcast in the future. Here are my notes how to get started.
I really like a brief YouTube tutorial from Pat Flynn on the basics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIJpOcFf5h4&vl=en
I’m a an old techie, so I believe small investments for equipment is necessary. I recently listened to a podcast from a web coach who rushed into a podcast recording using poor quality audio equipment. (I wanted to strangle him.) His YouTube and web academy content are first class but his podcast quality is not so good. Flynn recommends a decent microphone for under $100, the Audio – Technica ATR 2100 USB. Also recommended, is a boom arm, shock arm, and pop filter/wind screen. Again, all are very inexpensive and are good investments to ensure minimum standards of quality. The mic ships with an XLR cable but for PC based podcasting, a USB to 3.5 cable is included so the digital audio feeds directly into the PC. Once installed, it is good to check systems, preferences, sound, and “microphone name”, to ensure the hardware is working properly.
Now, it’s time to decide on editing software. Many software’s use free platforms so most Mac users may want to use https://www.apple.com/mac/garageband/ and PC users may want to use https://www.audacityteam.org/ These platforms are free and are easily downloaded. I will probably use https://www.pinnaclesys.com. I have been using Avid software for video editing for many years after Avid purchased Pinnacle in 2005 and combined the platforms. In 2012, Avid sold Pinnacle to Corel, a reason for which I speculate was to concentrate on the company’s more popular software, https://www.avid.com/pro-tools . The big letdown was that Avid lacked tech support but I don’t really need the tech support as I have self-taught myself the video editing portion so the audio-only portion should be simple. Pinnacle 21 is loaded with much of the same technology as Pro-Tools and has the ability to go into great detail when editing MP4 and MP3 files.
Next steps for podcasting are;
1. Pick a name – This can be a brand name, name of your product, podcast show description, etc. My favorite Podcast is The HOW of Business. https://thehowofbusiness.com/ I don’t know the complete story, but Henry Lopez and David Begin started this around 2016 with each man bringing seasoned careers as entrepreneurs with broad experience to the show. Today, Lopez seems to do most of the heavy lifting with the interviews. I speculate they started the podcast to promote something other than the business of podcasting. Today, the only product is the podcast and all of the available services are through sponsors and hosts. It is wise to not name the Podcast anything too specific to your business for it may alienate future audiences. I now know that Lopez is in the carwash business but rather than call his podcast, The HOW of Carwashes, he calls it the The HOW of Business. Get it?
2. Show description – This is the pitch for why people should listen to your show. Read my blog on USP https://www.altrusolution.com/blog/finding-your-unique-selling-proposition. Begin by Listing your features and benefits and then zero in on the most sellable benefit and run with it as the USP! It can always be changed as the podcast evolves. Let’s face it, we have no clue where one’s business will go, but we do know that they first have to begin!
3. Podcast Artwork – This is a 3k by 3k pixel square image that carries your message. It must be simple and not too busy. Remember that 70% of podcasts are consumed on mobile devices and busy art work won’t get much notice.
Our business has taken many turns since its inception. What started as a conservative consulting agency (best illustrated on the home page https://www.altrusolution.com/) has shifted into blogs that have nothing to do with structured cabling and is now more about search engine optimization or SEO https://www.altrusolution.com/blog. Marketing and increased foot traffic have allowed for Kelbob cooking, an animated adaptation of myself and a goofy dog named Sherman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkEF0WXyUoY&list=PLXTisZDuKYfB8XfC40oTs12R4Lf0eRQBV