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The Essentials of Starting a Podcast

The Essentials of Starting a Podcast
20Apr

Does it seem like every brand and minor celebrity you know is starting a podcast? Now more than ever, audio is a thriving source for both information and entertainment—during the pandemic, nearly 45% of the WORLD has admitted to getting hooked on podcasts. The reason is fairly obvious: the relatively low production cost. If you invest $50 in a decent mic, $10 on a pack of beer, and manage to get two of your friends over to a make-shift recording space in your living room, you can start a podcast. 

Caveat: with very little effort you can start a podcast…but it probably won’t be a very good one. 

Think of the podcasts that you listen to, either for fun or for educational purposes. They have structure, research, good production, and a well-spoken host who can guide the conversation.

Even on relatively freeform, interview-based podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience or WTF with Marc Maron, have prepared topics and the host or a production assistant has done cursory research into the interviewee. As funny or insightful as you might think you are, the only people who want to listen to ninety minutes of you and your friends’ unstructured riffing and inside jokes are you and your friends.

This goes double if you’re planning on starting a podcast that’s tied to your brand. If your podcast is a professional endeavor, you’d better put the time and effort in to produce a high-quality show. It’s very easy to tell when something is just slapped together and reflects very poorly on you and your business. So how can you create a high-quality podcast that all of your LinkedIn connections will be tripping over each other to guest on? 

  1. Choose a name and a focus. I’ll use myself as an example. I wanted to create an educational, interview format podcast that talked about the various aspects of marketing, even if they were outside of the wheelhouse of The Go! Agency. So, I started The Social Marketing Academy. Everything you need to know about what the podcast is is in the title. It’s about social media marketing and it’s an informational show. Your focus can be as broad or narrow as you want. I talk to people from even the most niche corners of the marketing world, so my show is pretty broad. If you’re running a podcast that’s tied to your bespoke sneaker company, your focus will be considerably more narrow. And that’s ok!
  2. Have a format. Feel free to break the episode up into chunks. Back to your bespoke sneaker company, your podcast could be three regular segments: shoe news and rumors at the beginning, the main topic of the episode in the middle, and answering a few fan questions at the end. Come up with this and stick to it before you get too many episodes in.
  3. Invest in good equipment. Do not look for the cheapest mic on the market. This is an investment. You can get a great podcasting microphone for $150. Also, use professional editing software like Audacity, Garageband, or even Adobe Audition if you have it (this is kind of like killing an ant with a nuke, though, so don’t go with this option unless you’re already paying for the Adobe Suite.) 
  4. Vet your guests. If you have a lot of professional connections, a handful will crawl out of the woodwork and want to be on your podcast. Having people in your industry on your show is a great opportunity for cross-promotion, but unfortunately, not everybody has a meaningful or interesting story to tell. Do your research and familiarize yourself with your potential guests’ background, work, and accomplishments before you commit to a recording date. Cross-promotion is great, but it’s more important that you put out a good episode.
  5. Be consistent. As with any professional endeavor, commit to what you’re doing and if you’re going to stop, then stop. There’s nothing less professional than missing uploads and constantly making excuses for why your podcast has been MIA for six months. Also, when you have an episode in the can, get it out on schedule, especially if you recorded with a guest. They’re going to want to share it on all of their channels and it looks bad if you’re being transparently lazy about uploading. 
  6. Write a script and be prepared. Don’t try to wing it when it comes to asking questions or doing the opening monologue of your show. Have what you want to say prepared. If you’re a good improviser and can mix it up, then do so. If you’re not, practice your public speaking in front of a mirror. If this is your first rodeo, have a friend over and go through a mock episode with them.

Everything you produce, whether it’s podcast episodes, posts on social media, or blogs could be a potential customer’s first introduction to your brand. This is why, in every blog where I talk about the production element of marketing, I stress the importance of taking it seriously. You have full control over the image your brand projects.

I’ve given you all the tips to running a successful podcast from the comfort of your kitchen, but if you have the resources to call in the professionals, by all means, call on the services of The Go! Agency.

 

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The Subtle Equation Behind Going Viral

The Subtle Equation Behind Going Viral
14Apr

Content is fleeting. While your posts might get solid engagement, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anybody in your audience — even devoted fans of your brand — who give your posts much thought after liking and scrolling by. Winning brands aren’t only defined by being memorable but also being constantly present.

However, like most rules, there is an exception. Content is fleeting — usually. The exception in this instance is the rare but powerful phenomenon that occurs when a brand takes the internet by storm and becomes an inescapable social media epidemic.

Every brand wants to be at the center of a viral hit, but unfortunately, it’s not in the cards for most. You can’t make a social media epidemic happen; it’s a unique blend of the right content dropping at the right time and getting noticed by the right people at the very start. There is a way, though, to put the odds of going viral in your favor.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, on April 14, 2021. Read the rest of the article here.

 

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11 Possible Reasons For A Sudden Plummet In Business Website Traffic

11 Possible Reasons For A Sudden Plummet In Business Website Traffic
13Apr

by Forbes Agency Council | Expert Panel 

A business’s website statistics offer a lot of insight into its customers’ behavior, and analyzing this data can help show what it is doing right or wrong online. If your traffic seems to take a nosedive, there may be several different reasons for the decrease in visitors. Diagnosing the issue can be a time-consuming process, and even more so if you’re not sure where to begin looking.

Understanding how online traffic works can eliminate some of the guesswork. Below, 11 experts from Forbes Agency Council discuss common causes they would suggest looking into if one of their client’s saw their business website traffic suddenly plummet. Once you find the problem, you can make adjustments as needed and watch as the number of visitors starts to climb again.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, on April 13, 2021. Read the rest of the article here.

 

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You Need Facebook Dynamic Shopping Ads

You Need Facebook Dynamic Shopping Ads
6Apr

Here’s a hard truth about digital advertising: on their own, ads aren’t very persuasive or effective. On average, an ad on social media has a 0.1% click-through rate. Most people’s “solution” to this is to run a blitzkrieg of ads, but if an ad only averages a 0.1% click rate, investing in ten of them isn’t going to help you much. You don’t hit a bullseye by firing more arrows at it; you hit a bullseye by getting better at shooting. The arrow in this instance is dynamic shopping ads.

Dynamic shopping ads are ads targeted at shoppers based on products they’ve interacted with. Whenever a potential customer shows interest in an item from your shop, either by engaging with it directly or just not scrolling past it for a while, Facebook generates an ad for that same product that targets the shopper on all bases—mobile, tablets, and personal computer. The beauty of dynamic shopping ads is that they aren’t special or significant: they blend in with another style of ad found on Facebook so that the customer is gently reminded of the product and not made glaringly aware that they’re being targeted for the ad.

To set up a dynamic ad, you’ll need the following: Facebook pixel and a Facebook Business Manager Account.

Setting Up Facebook Pixel to Optimize Your Ads

Facebook Pixel is going to be integral to your success here because it will allow you to monitor how successfully your Facebook ads have been converting. Facebook Pixel can:

  • Track the number of conversions you’re getting across the board. We’re talking sales, downloads, sign-ups, whatever your end-product is.
  • Build WCAs or “website custom audiences” so it can gather intel on who’s visiting your site and retarget them in the future.
  • And most importantly, can optimize your ads for conversion. We’ll talk about this in a bit, this a big one.

In terms of tracking, it’s the most reliable and accurate way to get the metrics you’ll want to know. It’s in your best interest to set this up as it will be an invaluable tool going forward. Emphasis on “going forward”, though, as Facebook Pixel doesn’t work retrospectively. You’ll need to run ads after installing it to start seeing data.

To set it up, I recommend going in through the following sequence. Obviously, there are many ways to do it, I prefer this one…

Ads Manager > “All Tools” > “Pixels” > “Create a Pixel” (name it whatever you want) > “Finish Setting Up Pixel”

From there, choose to install manually and you’ll receive a box of code. This is your pixel. Copy it and install it at the top of every page on your site that you want to track. If you don’t know how to do this, give the code to your web designer or editor, they should know how to work the backend of your website.

I mentioned earlier that Facebook Pixel does more than just track movement to your site and define your audience. It also optimizes your ads for conversions. Optimizing your ads makes them not only more effective but saves you a lot of money. AdEspresso recently ran an experiment by investing $1,000 into an ad that went onto have a conversion rate 3.4 times higher than unoptimized ads. In short, they spent $1,000 and got $3,400 worth of results.

Setting Up Shop

Your Pixel has been created, now it’s time to create your Facebook storefront. This will require two processes, setting up a Business Manager account and a catalog for your products.

To set up a Business Manager account go to business.facebook.com/overview. This will be fairly simple, just go through the steps (entering your business’s name, address, other important information) and finally click “Submit.”

From there, you’ll be sent an invitation so that Facebook can match your business with your identity.

  1. Go to Business Settings.
  2. Click Requests.
  3. Click Received.
  4. Accept or decline requests.
  5. Enter your password and click Save Changes.

Once you’ve accepted the invitation, Facebook will ask you to complete their verification process, to ensure that your business is real and legitimate. This verification process will seek to verify your identity, that your business is registered with local authorities, and that you have access to the account (they’ll send a code to your email address or cell phone).

Additionally, they may ask for documents such as a certificate of incorporation or a business license.

Setting Up a Product Catalog

Now, it’s time to catalog all of the items in your store. 

  1. Login to your account and go to the Commerce Manager. Because it’s your first time, you’ll click “Get Started.” For future catalogs, this button will be replaced with “+ Add Catalog”.
  2. Select “Ecommerce” and then click “Next”.
  3. Next, add items to your catalog. Select “Upload Product Info” if you want to add items manually or “Connect Ecommerce Platform” integrate your site with your account.
  4. Select the Business Manager account that the catalog you’ve created belongs to, name the catalog, and click “Create”.

To add products to your catalog, you can add them manually as I stated, you can upload a Google Sheet that will add your items in bulk, or you can use a Facebook Pixel to import products to your store (I suggest maybe contacting a web developer if this is your option).

Things to Remember

Dynamic shopping ads are a tool you’re using to get conversions but not the extent of what you need to do. They’ll help you run a successful ad campaign, but they won’t do it for you, to put it simply.

You’ll still need to keep tabs on your campaign by watching the link click-through rate, frequency, first-time impression ratio, and cost per 1,000 impressions. And be sure to turn off ads that no longer have the reach or effectiveness you desire. Personal philosophy, if an ad has declined in performance by 40% or more by week’s end, shut it off and start running a new one. Keep in mind, though, the decreased effectiveness of an ad just means audiences were getting tired of seeing it, not that it was a bad ad.

Be sure to avoid some of the common mistakes that I’ve noticed even clients who have invested a lot of time into their shop making. First and foremost, make sure your shop is pulling good assets from your websites. Clear photos, quality copy, present branding. Next, make sure to keep things orderly. 

If you’re checklist oriented, here are the top three challenges you’ll need to be aware of as you set up dynamic ads:

  1. Running too many ads on the same pixel.
  2. Formatting your catalog so it looks presentable and customer-friendly.
  3. Realize that this process takes time but is also critical to your success. Focus on and get it done right.

Why It Works

The secret weapon of dynamic ads is the ability for retargeting. You’ll be able to get your products in front of the eyes of interested customers all across the web, lead them through the ad to your store and across the transaction finish line.

How you define success will be up to the goals that you have for your business, but you should start seeing a much higher influx of good clicks (ones that end in transactions) if you’ve taken all the necessary steps and successfully set up dynamic ads.

 

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11 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Improve An Agency’s Workflow

11 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Improve An Agency’s Workflow
2Apr

by Forbes Agency Council | Expert Panel 

Artificial intelligence is an innovative technology that aids businesses worldwide in areas ranging from shipping and logistics to sales. In the marketing and advertising space, AI can offer crucial technological advantages. Given their ability to learn from mistakes and track records accurately, AI and machine learning are invaluable tools for collecting and analyzing data.

While workflow processes can be improved by leveraging AI, doing so requires a clear understanding of how the system would work. Below, 11 experts from Forbes Agency Council weigh in on how an agency can improve its workflow by using AI to bolster existing processes.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, on April 2, 2021. Read the rest of the article here.

 

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Outrage Marketing

Outrage Marketing
30Mar

Psychologically speaking, human beings enjoy feeling angry, especially when the brunt of the anger can be directed at something amorphous. Admittedly, it’s not much fun to get into a spat with a close friend or coworker, but directing your indignation at a faceless corporation? That’s satisfying. It makes us feel like an underdog as if with every withering tweet or acidic Yelp review we’re taking down The Man. What happens, though, when brands learn to weaponize our outrage?

You’re likely aware by now of the Burger King tweet that went viral on International Women’s Day that read “Women belong in the kitchen.” This tweet was the first in a series that went on to detail women’s exclusion from the restaurant industry and the launch of a program Burger King had devised to fix the imbalance, but that’s not what anybody remembers. 

This is called “outrage marketing”, and it wasn’t invented by the Home of the Whopper. They’re just the first in a long line of brands to use mankind’s inability to stop tweeting against us.

Why launch your feminist campaign with such an incendiary statement? As predicted, the impressions on the initial tweet were through the roof, an outcome that Burger King knew they could depend on before they hit “send”. The sources vary as the tweet has since been deleted, but screenshots show the tweet receiving as many as 300 thousand retweets and over 600 thousand likes. “Women belong in the kitchen” wasn’t the result of a rogue intern, but likely the outcome of several meetings determining how they could get optimal response numbers. Of all 300 thousand retweets, one thing is true—a third of a million people were talking about Burger King. 

While Burger King is far from the first company to benefit from outrage marketing, they are among the first in a new trend of brands that is intentionally triggering audiences by manufacturing outrage, rather than profiting off of a collective social media tantrum that sparked accidentally. In 2019, Gillette released a two-minute “short film” called “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” that touched on toxic masculinity and men’s mental health that elicited a tidal wave of bad reactions, making it from the darkest corners of Twitter all the way to multiple nights worth of content on Fox News. Was this intended? Likely not. Was Gillette going to intervene and stop the “negative press” that their product dominating the cultural conversation for an entire week? Well, would you? According to a spokesperson from Procter & Gamble, Gillette’s parent company, the ad brought “unprecedented levels of both media coverage and consumer engagement,” very little of which they had to pay for.

There are a few things that aspiring edgy brands should take into consideration before attempting what we’ll call “The Burger King Gambit”:

  1. Burger King is a bulletproof company. There’s almost nothing they could say that couldn’t be smoothed over by ignoring the situation or, at worst, showing contrition and publicly letting a few high-ranking people go. 
  2. All things considered, “Women belong in the kitchen” isn’t that offensive, especially since it was immediately made clear that it was a joke. Ill-advised? Sure. Brand suicide? Not really.

So ask yourself: “is my company a Burger King?” If the answer is no, tread lightly, and probably go back to the drawing board. If your brand isn’t strong enough to weather the potential backlash, some overzealous Twitter users are going to have it their way and get you “canceled”—which, if you’re a smaller company, will affect your reputation and your bank account.

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15 Ways To Show Marketing ROI Beyond Sales Revenue

15 Ways To Show Marketing ROI Beyond Sales Revenue
25Mar

by Forbes Agency Council | Expert Panel 

Some agency clients may think that an immediate bump in sales revenue is the only way to gauge the ROI of a marketing campaign. Of course, measuring the results of any campaign is more complex than simply tracking conversions.

While agency professionals might be focused on other positive aspects and developments, the real key to success lies in making sure the client understands the value of these less obvious metrics. But aside from increasing sales, what’s one method agencies can use to show clients the ROI of their work when it’s not apparent to the client?

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, on March 25, 2021. Read the rest of the article here.

 

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When Clients Attack: What To Do When A Client Flies Off The Handle

Untitled design
24Mar

It’s 8 a.m. You’ve just arrived at the office, made your coffee and sat down to check your inbox to find that a client went on a virtual tirade at 1 a.m. and emailed you a list of previously unknown grievances. “What am I paying for?” “All this work is terrible!” “I’m wasting my time and money!” This is not the way you wanted your day to begin.

The above probably sounds like the kind of client any sane person would tell you to let go of. “The nightmare client,” the one who has constant unreasonable demands and frequent mood swings. But things aren’t always so black and white. Instead of “good clients” and “bad clients,” I prefer to think of things like this: inside every client is the potential for a ticking time bomb, and we as marketers have no say in what sets it off. What we do have full control over is how we choose to respond.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, on March 24, 2021. Read the rest of the article here.

 

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The Benefits of Keeping Your Company Small

Untitled design (1)
23Mar

When I tell people outside the industry that I run a marketing agency, I can’t help but think they start to imagine an elaborate, Mad Men-style operation, which couldn’t be any further from the truth. Far from the sprawling secretarial pool and the creative team having wet bars in their office, The Go! Agency is a relatively modest operation.

Big companies are great for tackling big projects, but they can quickly grow too big and leave you feeling disconnected from your workforce. Have things gotten to the point where you think your business could benefit from being a little tighter? How do you go about accomplishing that?

“Tightening” does not mean that you should draw names out of a hat and start firing people. That’s actually, if you can believe it, a terrible idea because it does nothing but spawn severe anxiety in the employees you do keep who think they could clock in to find a cleared-out desk any day now. There’s actually a much better way to scale down your business without having to let anybody go: you let them walk away.

Very few people at any company are “lifers” who are going to stick around until retirement. People will naturally move on due to financial reasons, family reasons, or maybe they just want a career change. Turnover will happen, so if you’re looking to pare down you’re the company to just a tight core team, wait for people to leave, and don’t replace them. See what responsibilities you can divide between yourself and the remaining staff.

Having a small but dedicated team makes the business of running your business flow so much easier. “But aren’t you concerned that you’ll only be able to take a set number of clients?” No, because I’m confident that my team and I can create such high-quality work that the clients we do have will be willing to pay the price that I set. At a larger agency, a sizable portion of the client’s bill will be used to cover the overhead of having an office in the big city and in-office perks like a luxury game room and vending machines full of White Claws; the kind of things big agencies use to try and make up for not giving their employees good benefits. The Go! Agency isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but I can confidently tell prospective clients that they’ll get every dollar’s worth out of our work and know that our Go! Agents will be able to deliver.

Communication is key, and communication between you and your employees gets a whole lot harder when you have a sprawling company and just you in charge of it all. I’m not just talking about missing emails. In a large company, you’re the big, ominous boss who’s too busy with calls all day to talk to his employees. In a pared-down team, you can more easily incorporate yourself into the team and sniff out problems much sooner, because your employees have less anxiety about coming to talk to you.

You don’t need to have a big team to generate success. Having my own very effective, efficient, and engaged Avengers line-up has helped me both refine what The Go! Agency is as well as made me feel confident that I’m truly working with the best people.

 

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Need To ‘Break Up’ With A Client? 15 Tactful Strategies For Parting Ways

Need To ‘Break Up’ With A Client_ 15 Tactful Strategies For Parting Ways
18Mar

by Forbes Agency Council | Expert Panel 

Strong relationships with clients are a main component of any agency’s success. However, there may come a time when a client no longer fits with your agency’s direction or end goals, and you realize that you need to “break up” with them.

When ending a client relationship, it’s important to do it carefully and respectfully. Terminating your professional arrangement is a delicate task, and if it’s done poorly, it may cause unnecessary reputational damage to your agency.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com, on March 18, 2021. Read the rest of the article here.

 

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