15 Jul 2022

Community Cultivations #3 - The Power Of Your Online Voice

Danny Freeman

Union Realtime

Have you been looking for efficient and inexpensive new methods of promoting your brand on social media? Are you bombarded on an almost daily basis with sponsored ads littering your Facebook feed from self-proclaimed ‘marketing experts’ and ‘gurus’ who you’ve never heard of before but who promise to deliver you the world after you sign up to their new course? We feel your pain! We may also actually be able to help you - let us tell you about two promotional methods that you can employ for your brand without breaking the bank or in some cases, completely for free - because we believe when it comes to your brand, nobody knows your content better than you do.

Podcasts

We all have a voice - so, why not use it? If you’ve been paying close attention over the last couple of years, whilst many markets and platforms suffered, one of those was definitely not the podcast industry. In fact, rather than being a part of a shrinking market, podcasts (at least for now) appear to be part of an ever expanding marketing and promotions bubble - however, like all bubbles in all industries, eventually this one too must burst - so the time to make the most of the market and audience is now before it gets completely saturated and you’re competing for people’s ears post-bubble pop.

Besides being a potentially very effective weapon in your marketing arsenal, podcasts are also not going to empty your pockets and pour your money down a seemingly bottomless pit - in fact, you can actually get started completely for FREE. All you need to get one launched is a microphone of some sort (this could be everything from your inbuilt Macbook mic, right up to a professional grade Shure SM7B microphone - depending on your preferences and budget), a device on which you’ll be recording and editing (PC, laptop, tablet etc), some audio editing software, a set of speakers/headphones for playback and a subscription to a distribution service (see Acast and Anchor for free options) that will push it out to Spotify, Amazon, Apple etc for you - that really IS it. Below we have outlined what we believe to be 4 of the most important podcasting principles.

Tone

When it comes to putting your podcast together, the most important thing to consider is the experience your listener is going to have when they tune in. Basically, if you sound bored, switched off or just generally uninterested, then that is exactly the kind of feeling that you will invoke in your listeners and they’ll switch off - however, if you sound upbeat, captivating and genuinely happy to be hosting, then that is how you’ll keep their attention and even potentially earn yourself future subscribers.

Length

To begin with, try not to make your podcast too short or too long. In other words, don’t create a podcast out of a 5 minute clip that could have just as easily been a quick Instagram or Facebook story post update, but equally don’t create a 3 hour long omnibus that includes your entire life story - try and hit that sweet middle spot, at least to start off. When you are quite some time down the line and you have a few thousand subscribers then the occasional short or long podcast episode won’t hurt you too much, but whilst you’re in your launch and growth phase, you need every listener you can get and keep. There are exceptions of course, like for an introductory episode/segment or an urgent update or announcement, but generally you’ll find the best retention using this method.

Consistency

Once you have your podcast launched and running and especially if you start off by saying that new episodes will be out every week or every month, then do your absolute best to keep to that. The danger of falling short and missing occasional weeks/months is that your listeners will not believe your podcast to be consistent, this in turn could very easily and rapidly lead to a loss of retention - and if that happens, you’ll be left fighting hard to turn the situation around. If you drop the ball, you not only risk losing your consistency but potentially your audience’s trust, and as with anything, trust is extremely hard to win back once it has been lost - so be as consistent as you possibly can.

Planning

Some of the best podcasts in the market sound as natural and free as they come. Authenticity is priceless - being able to effortlessly have a back and forth conversation with your guests as if they were sitting in your living room with you is worth more than money can buy - but this doesn’t mean that they didn’t have any planning whatsoever. We’re not saying that you need to go out and script and storyboard every episode of your podcast, but equally you don’t want to be going into it blind without any clue of what you’re going to talk about or say - because that only leads to one thing, awkward silences.

You can do a lot by doing the bare minimum. Confused? Don’t be! What we mean by this is that even by doing a few very small things as prep, you can create a BIG impact and your show will look just as professional and put together as the best of them. If you’ve got a guest coming on your podcast, take 15-20 mins out of your evening to do a little digging into their background and current projects - you don’t need to tell them your favorite chapter within their latest book or profess your undying love for that new range of watches they just released to market - but it doesn’t hurt if you can namecheck at least one or two of their current projects and then ask them how things are going - 9 times out of 10, this will then lead to them passionately and expressively talking about that project anyway and TADA, an organic natural back and forth conversation ensues. In this process you have impressed your guest by showing your recognition of their endeavor and work and very probably impressed your listeners too, by showing them that you’re one of the hosts who actually looks into their guests and listens to what they have to say.

Be sure to also check out Jack Raistrick’s recent blog, How Podcasting Can Benefit Your Self Storage Business.

Livestreams

If podcasting isn’t your thing or if you don’t have the time or extra effort available to you to be able to plan out regularly running episodes or sequences of something like that, fear not, livestreams are here to save the day.

So, what is a livestream and how can it help? Well, a livestream is very much what it says on the tin - it is the ability to stream audio and video live at any moment of the day or night completely spontaneously, with no limitations. Now, with that said, our recommendation is that as with podcasts a little planning goes a long way with prepping for a livestream, but we just wanted you to be aware that the option is always there to do something in the spirit of the moment if you should want/choose to. That’s what a livestream is and what it does - but how can it help YOU?

Let’s say that you’ve just received a very exciting piece of news or you have a big new brand announcement that you know your audience and clients would love to hear about. Wouldn’t it be a great thing if you could share that moment with them immediately in real-time, instead of posting it up on your story or grid and waiting to respond to comments about it after the fact? Wouldn’t it be awesome to get their feedback, reactions and opinions about that announcement LIVE, literally as you were talking about it - perhaps even leading to a Q & A type scenario where they could ask you some questions that you’d be able to answer right on the spot, instead of 2 hours later? That’s exactly why a livestream is so valuable - in the same way that it’s such a valued asset to be able to answer somebody’s FaceTime video or audio call to you right in the moment as it comes through, so too is the ability to do that but to your entire client base or audience - because in that moment, whoever is tuned into that livestream and watching you has as much interaction with you in that time period as is digitally humanly possible and that is yet another asset that you cannot put a price tag on.

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We recently launched a community space for our property management platform ManageSpace using the third party provider Circle - here we utilise methods mentioned in these monthly articles and more on a week by week basis, you can check that community out if you are interested in doing so here.