The Podcast Explosion is Coming, and the Big Boys See It

Podcast explosion comingWhat do you do if you think podcasting is just a charming little community of enthusiasts, not unlike ham radio, that isn’t growing? You ignore your podcast app; treat it like a novelty.

Now what do you do when you realize that people want info but increasingly don’t like to read, get downright uncomfortable when it’s completely quiet, have plenty of listening time, are almost always on a mobile device, are awesome at multitasking, and mostly want content customized to their interests? And oh by the way, 4G connected cars are just around the corner with the equivalent of an iPad in the dash.

If you’re Apple, a company that has a notorious history of getting it right and being ahead of every curve, you realize that your podcast app is just…eh. And then you buy a cool one like Swell for around $30 million to get ready for what you now know is coming.

Even in the year 2014, it is amazing how well broadcast radio still does. Advertisers have been edging away from it, but they’ve been doing that despite the fact that listeners have not been abandoning it en masse. Why not? Because it’s so free and easy. You get in the car, turn on the engine, and there it is. Don’t like the song? Just hit a button.

Now take that ease of use, add mobile and cross-platform portability, add the elimination (yes, you can add an elimination) of all content you aren’t interested in, add the ability to stream vs. download, add the ability to hear full programs from the start when you’re ready for them, and then you’re drifting into “everybody gets their audio information/entertainment from podcasts” territory.

And smart people see it coming.

Apple will shut Swell down and use it’s people and tech to kick their podcast app into higher gear to meet rising podcast listenership. But what will brands do? Are they seeing, and preparing for, the same thing?


Most brands have happily shelved podcasting into the “well there’s at least one thing I don’t have to consider including in my content strategy right now” column. They’ve been getting bombed by “thought leaders” and mega-consultant authors that they should be doing video. I’m 100% in favor of video. That medium is awesome and it does work…IF…

…you can finish what you start. The random, unpredictable, occasional, one-off video is not going to get anyone in a consistent habit of consuming your content. Audio is faster, easier, and cheaper to employ, giving you the ability to put out a consistent “show.” So you might start thinking about what that show is going to be, because there’s about to be a lot of ears out there searching for something worthwhile to listen to.

@brandcontentst         @mikestiles

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4 Reasons Your Content Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working on Social Media

4 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working on Social MediaStiles Says: The day your brand decides to obsess over what content customers want instead of what ad you want to push will be the day your content starts working.

The Bullets:
*We are now forced to change from “hunting” down potential customers to cultivating them.
*If your content isn’t getting any love, it’s possible it doesn’t solve a problem.
*If your content isn’t getting any love, you might not be using images correctly.
*If your content isn’t getting any love, you might be putting out content your community doesn’t care about.  Learn who they are.
*You need a distribution strategy with who they are, where they are, when they do things, and where they do them. 

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12 Maneuvers for Your Twitter Content Strategy

12 Most Clever Maneuvers for Your Twitter Content StrategyStiles Says: Too many people don’t consider tweets content. They treat it as a throwaway and invest no creative or strategic thought.

The Bullets:
*You can insert a URL into Twitter search and see related tweets, top tweeters and responses that share the URL.
*You can create a custom segment in Google Analytics to isolate your Twitter traffic.
*Add commentary to your retweets.
*Track your click throughs and keep a report.
*Include links in your bio.
*Promote others 80% of the time, self-promote 20%.
*Respond when people reach out to you.
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Facebook Penalizing “Low Quality” Content

Facebook Begins Penalizing “Low Quality” Content on PagesStiles Says: I never thought engagement should be the whole game anyway. Just because I don’t give my TV a thumbs up doesn’t mean I didn’t like the show I just saw.

The Bullets:
*Many use “meme” and other such posts to generate engagement & increase Edgerank so other posts will get seen.
*Facebook is changing its News Feed algorithm to fight that.
*Author asks how Facebook can know if a post is a meme, and why should it be deemed “low quality”?
*Is Facebook disregarding engagement?
*The News Feed is supposed to surface what people interact with.  Now FB is saying all the people are wrong about what they like.

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Why You Don’t Need A Content Marketing Agency in 2014

Why You Don’t Need A Content Marketing Agency in 2014Stiles Says: You’re going to get pitched by all kinds of agencies, which you may or may not need. Get the RIGHT content director in-house and you’re golden.

The Bullets:
*62% of marketers outsource their content marketing
*Why use an agency if you have all the skills to be a quality content house?
*Move from push to publish.  Get a content director with that mindset.
*Combine your internal know-how with a willingness look at it with fresh perspectives.
*An SEO provider may not be the best content creators. Focus on the consumer, not Google.
*No one knows your brand like you do. Combine that knowledge with your content director’s ability to present it.

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New York Times Will Feature Branded Content

The New York Times Will Now Feature Branded ContentStiles Says: Maybe the public wouldn’t pay for objective journalism because the journalists stopped being objective and lost their credibility anyway.

The Bullets:
*The New York Times will start featuring branded content in January.
*It’s to “restore digital advertising revenue to growth.”
*Branded content will only be in the digital version.
*The newsroom will have no part in creating branded content.
*Branded content will feature a blue border, a mark of “Paid Post,” and a different typeface.
*Branded content is now an integral part of digital publishing.
*The media landscape is changing, but it’d also change if The NYT went belly up.

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Trigger an Emotion and Your Content Gets Shared

Trigger an emotion and your content gets shared and retweetedStiles Says: For the love of God stop boring your audience. If what you’re writing doesn’t even fire you up, you’re about to lay a great big egg.

The Bullets:
*We’re overloaded with messages, so we won’t easily share
*It has to be interesting, give us a chance to win something, or triggers an emotion
*People share items that amaze them
hink about emotions next time you write

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Content Marketing the Google Hummingbird Way

Content marketing the Google Hummingbird wayStiles Says: Bye bye commoditized, low-ball blog farms. Google learned your crap is just crap. 

The Bullets:
*Hummingbird links queries so you get more pertinent info based on your prior search.
*Numerous articles that repeat keywords used to be rewarded. Google learned top rankers often lacked value or quality.
*Content should address WHY people are looking for something.
*To please Hummingbird, logically, sequentially get users where they want to go.
*They shouldn’t have to “hunt” or run into dead ends.
*Content that answers specific, niche questions should perform better in search.

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10 Content Marketing Statistics Every B2B Marketer Should Know in 2014

10 Content Marketing Statistics Every B2B Marketer Should Know in 2014Stiles Says: Only 1/4 of B2B uses content for retention. They’re already customers so screw ‘em, right? Unbelievable.

The Bullets:
*LinkedIn creates more leads for B2B but only 47% of B2B marketers actively use it.
*B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average those with no blog.
*Half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year.
*62% of companies outsource content marketing.
*2/3 of B2B marketers’ biggest challenge is engaging decision makers.
*61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that produces custom content.
*Only 25% of B2B Marketers use content marketing for customer retention

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Why We’re Setting the Bar Way Too High in the Content Marketing Industry

Why We’re Setting the Bar Way Too High in the Content Marketing IndustryStiles Says: Are self-promoting content marketing “gurus” out there scaring smaller brands out of taking the first steps?

The Bullets:
*Since the beginning of time, what was “good content” for some was “bad content” for others.
*Some leaders in this space are pushing the expectation bar too high.
*Anyone should feel they can take part.
*Content marketing is an equal opportunity employer.
*We need to shine more light on the “little guys” doing big things.
*Business owners should read about it and say, “We can do this too.”
*Let’s be willing to embrace imperfection.

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