In preparation for a new Government 2.0 podcast I’m planning with Steve Ressler, Steve Lunceford, the FutureGov team, Ari Herzog and Meghan Harvey, producer (live demo Monday at 8 p.m. PST – please tune/call in), I was able to grab some of Amy Domestico’s valuable time to get her thoughts on effective podcasting. Enjoy!
Q: Amy, thanks for reaching out to me on Twitter (that kind of marketing endears me to your company) about doing a Government 2.0 podcast show. Let me ask you, how much audience interest do you think there is for a podcast on populist gov reform and social governance trends?
A: With the new administration that is looking for more transparency in government I believe the interest will be tremendous and I will tell you why. Social Media has changed the landscape of mainstream media, what I mean by mainstream media is TV, terrestrial radio, and in print publications, the shift is massive in the way people are receiving their information.
It has happened and will continue to happen.
People are tuning in to get their news from their favorite live Internet radio show, podcast, website, blog, or microblogging site. Our government has the opportunity right now to educate the American public on subjects we never would have heard about before due to the big networks simply just not reporting things, because those issues were simply not sensational enough for main stream media to talk about.
BlogTalkRadio has given the people of the world a platform to use that allows anyone to talk about the anything. The government has a real opportunity to bring to the people the things that we “need” to know to make educated decision about our daily lives and not only our future but the future of our children, whether it has to do with voting, bills going before congress, government spending, military, and even local government.
Our citizens are starved for information and want to know what it is that our government is doing. We want to be able to make educated decisions on our own and not go by what some overly zealous reporter tells us on TV.
This is why I feel a BlogTalkRadio show that talks about what is going on in our government today is going to allow the Government 2.0 movement to speak to the people real time and to be able to interact and get feedback from the citizens. Empowering people with information and getting real time feedback is going to help this country be what it was intended to be and that is, it brings me to the first line of the United States Constitution because it talks about “We the People.”
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Q: I understand that a good show might have call-ins. What can a host expect when opening up the lines on a controversial topic like gov reform, and how do you handle contingencies?
A: Well there are two things, the first being you can opt in to one of our premium features and have call screening or if something does get out of control the option to politely tell the person you are hanging them up and thank you for calling in is there. I am sure with government reform you will have many debates, and heated discussions over different topics and I do think you need to be careful to allow everyone be able to voice their opinion, within reason of course. I will say BlogTalkRadio does not allow or support hate mongering, so those very few people we do run into are not encouraged to have a platform to spread hate.
Q: I have a very niche following for my blog and social media presence. Have you seen people expand their reach using BlogTalkRadio? Can you share a few success stories?
A: I have many and could talk about this subject all day long, I will give you a broad overview though.
We have a few networks on BlogTalkRadio that have a very vast and dedicated audience. I have been listening to a show, maybe a new show, not quite popular yet, a few people listening and I take note of that person’s audience. I go back to that very same show a few weeks down the road and the chat room is full, people are calling in, and the show is hopping, and a lot of those listeners I notice are dedicated listeners of some of BlogTalkRadio’s bigger networks.
BlogTalkRadio is a social community and I must say the members of this community are dedicated and a big part of helping in the social media movement.
Q: We met on Twitter, so obviously we both understand at least a little about using social media channels. What are the best practices you’ve seen for people growing audiences? (On my end, I recently learned that a top conservative blogger gets online readers by passing our flyers at events).
A: On BlogTalkRadio there are a few ways to grow your audience and I think you will be surprised by how easy it is.
The first thing is “consistency.” What I mean by that is, you should pick a time to be on the air that will cater to your already built-in reader audience and one you can stick with reasonably, stick with that time week after week, people will get used to you being on at that time and hurry over to take part in your discussions. If it is not, no fear as they can download and listen later, from the player you will have on your blog that will always play your last show, by subscribing to your iTunes feed or your RSS, or just simply coming back to BlogTalkRadio and listening from there .
The second one being round table discussions.” Round table discussions with people who have a Web presence already is what I like to call our “just-add-water audience.” You host a round table discussion on a subject, invite four other people who have a popular BlogTalkRadio show or blog and supply that guest with the widget to your show, encourage them to twitter about it, blog it, etc., and they will in turn promote that show and bring to you their audience. It works both ways though as they will also draw a bigger audience to their blogs, etc., from the other round table participants, so it’s a win-win situation for you all.
These are always great to do periodically, maybe once a month in the beginning, or once every six weeks, or maybe your guests have so much fun they try to talk you into doing it weekly, and yes I’ve seen that happen. The Pentagon, for instance, does quite a few round table discussions and they are always very very informative and the time seems to fly by when listening.
The third is promoting on other social mediums, GovLoop, Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, your blog, Myspace, mailing lists, and whatever other forms of social networking you use. I’ve also discovered family and friends are great for WOM marketing.
The last thing is “content”. I have seen hosts go through a lot of work to create what is going to appear to be a great show, they have graphics made, do press releases, blogs, etc., and they get on the air and struggle.
What you can do to avoid this is have an outline of what to talk about so you don’t have a lot of dead air, supply two times the amount of subject matter you think you will need, because once you are on the air, you don’t realize how much you can cover even in just 30 minutes.
Have a good co-host if possible. Conversational shows are interesting and will also cut down a lot on trying to fill time on the air. I once did a show with a host and we had page of things to talk about and never got past the first few things as the information we were both able to provide was extensive, and oddly we were only going over that day headlines.
As easy and free it is to use BlogTalkRadio, it is just as simple and free to promote your show, all it takes is a little time and what I like to call elbow 2.0 grease.
Q: I’m most comfortable in the written medium. What are some of your tips for translating those skills into an effective podcast?
A: I myself was a very prolific blogger who never did radio or podcasting before. I won’t even tell you about my first time on the air alone way back at the beginning of my time here (I had stage fright), but what I learned quickly is like what I had stated before, writing up an outline with two times the amount of information you think you will need is the best way fill a show with content. If you have a piece of paper in front of you with 15 topics on it you think are important to discuss and the key points to each one, you do fine.
When having a guest, do not just read questions off of a piece of paper, it begins to sound robotic and uninteresting, always conduct your interviews in the way of a conversation. Jot down your questions in the form of key points and let the conversation take its course, you may walk away from your interview with information you never dreamed of having by doing it this way, rather then sticking to a Q & A session.
I have also noticed your guest will almost always either give you more time than first agreed or express they wish they didn’t have to go because they were enjoying the conversation and of course the feedback from the audience.
I always tell our hosts, if you have never done this before you will sit down one day after you have a few shows under your belt and listen to your very first show and then compare it to a show you did that day or week, and you will see a vast difference. You will learn in the first few shows your own rhythm and what works for you or for you and a co-host. You will learn to overcome the “um”s and the “ah”s and you will also learn that your audience will be your greatest source of feedback.
Listen to them, listen to what they would like to see you do and let them participate and like with any social medium, you will never, ever be on your own if you need help. #