The Oscars are host-less

The news this week that The Oscars will not be appointing a host for the biggest night of the film industry for the first time in 30 years hit me hard.

Why do that?

Is it because they cannot find an extroverted celebrity in America that won’t shame them? Then look harder, and faster, Oscars, because you’re running out of time. 

Sounds superficial of me, I know. But, you see, an Oscars host has an important role to play well beyond the task of welcoming guests to an awards night. They must articulate and surmise what’s actually affecting the film industry right now: what they care about; who is in the limelight; who is at the centre of the scandals; and the deeper issues that are close to their hearts. In other words, in the opening address, the host reflects the sentiment of the industry in a way that, as a host for a podcast channel representing an industry, I’ve come to appreciate and respect. 

As a podcast host, agenda setting for the podcast is not easy, or random. It’s based on a lot of ground work. I am meeting people within the industry and listening to their challenges and successes to attempt to read the industry’s sentiment. It’s elusive and complex to synthesise and process without hours of listening and deep investigation and research into the audience personas. The Oscars host needs to be someone who is heavily involved in the scene to be able to articulate what we’ve come to expect.

The podcast channel I host, ASCI Lounge Podcast Channel is nominated for an award in the Industry & Careers category for the Australian Podcast Awards because we’ve been recognised for capturing the sentiment of the industry through our episodes - nailing the topics, guests and education that our 4,000+ listeners care about. I wonder who is hosting our awards night? Certainly not as big a gig!

The film industry has a lot of global influence. What affects them, touches them, or drives them, resonates with us - more than we may realise. Okay, maybe not the scandals, but you get what I mean! Apart from being entertained, we do feel connected, in a sense. That’s why The Ocsars’ host address always goes viral. It’s a certainty. In my previous blog, I talk about a common element that causes something to go viral - I think it comes down to a good read on sentiment.

The Oscars host address is worth staying up late to watch, to catch the sentiment before it deep dives into a viral vortex. That applies a lot of pressure on a host. I get it. It is a difficult task. It’s a tall order. The current sentiment of the film industry is so hard to read. there’s #metoo and there’s LGBTQI, there’s racism and there’s all sorts of fraudulent contracting - who’d want to go there! It could ruin your career! 

This got me thinking, does this fear explain some of your reluctance to be an industry thought leader? Does your potential talent as a go-to-commentator go under developed because you deem it too risky? In a previous blog, I share some very safe and viable options that help to give you a voice via a very cost effective platform: podcasting. It’s a lot less stressful than the limelight of The Oscars!

Unless The Oscars renege and find someone at the last minute, I will be left disappointed this year. Perhaps The Cookie Monster can step in and host? I’m sure there are many who are willing to write the script anonymously. Come on America, pull some strings and make it happen for 2019!

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No host for The Oscars?

No host for The Oscars?

Soliloquy, one two three

Do you have trouble finishing a sentence at the dinner table before one child or the other pipes up with their story for the day?

Hang on, hang on, let me finish. I was talking.

No, I started first.

Yeh but I hadn’t finished my story from before!

Air time in our home can be an issue, though I wouldn’t want it any other way!

This got me thinking about a theme for a blog this week because, many times, I am asked what’s the best approach to a podcast: is it one person telling a story, two as an interview or three as a panel discussion. And the answer really comes down to the topic at hand.

I ask my keen podcasters to think about their topics, because they can actually have a combination of these options for different series that they record. Let’s not be restricted by a format!

Here are my thoughts and some options for you to ponder..

1. One

If the topic lends itself to a range of academic references and is already stitched up as a topic that your customers will digest and accept as the preferred point of view, then a soliloquy-style podcast is perfect. In fact, you are better able to develop the story telling and build the excitement or complication effectively. The big caveat, however, is that you do not tempt yourself into reading from a script. Big mistake. Your listeners will lose you. Beware!

2. Two or three

If the topic is still in the process of being digested and churned by your customers, then a panel discussion with guests from differing opinions will be more appealing to your audience, helping them see various viewpoints on the topic. Remember, at MONIQUEPR, all podcast recording is done over the wire, so you can afford your guests from any part of the world providing they adhere to our time zones!

3. You and me

If the topic has more of an educational outcome, then an interview in a “how to”  series will go down well for your listeners and will be an opportunity to positioning you as the expert on the topic. The host (in this case me) will ensure that the questions give you the opportunity to share your knowledge and stay engaged with the listener. This is a safe place to start if you are new to podcasting.

4. Your guest and me

Lastly, if your guests have great stories to tell, and should not be interrupted (as I am at my dinner table), then a two way interview with a host is ideal. It adds to your podcast episodes and you don’t have to take time out to record. Your guests can be experts that you hire for the episode, your customers who have succeeded or who’ve had a positive experience with your brand, or anyone really who you think your customers would find interesting.

The key is that your podcast has regular episodes to keep your listeners engaged.

Series of podcast interviews are a great flexible option for podcasters because they allow you to trial different formats without pigeon-holing yourself into one.

Where to start?

A “How To” interview style podcast series is a MUST for those of you who have some education to offer customers. There’s also a fantastic call to action, allowing for you to send listeners to your landing page where you can capture details before giving them a free handbook, white paper, template or other free resource. This will also grow your subscription to your podcast, allowing for you to trial a few other formats as you grow.

Then, once you’re killing it, a series of soliloquies where you offer inspiration and motivation in episodes that go for a neat 25 minute commute is extremely powerful for your brand. It’s your soap box and can results in instant sales.

For me, there’s nothing like competing opinions and I enjoy being host to such scenarios with two experts challenging each other’s view with informed approaches to the debate. Here’s my favourite example where two experts - one from commercial property and the other from logistics - grapple with the future of the “last mile” which is an exciting topic with many possibilities for future solutions.

It can also drive engagement after the recording, in your chosen social media channels for podcast amplification. In my previous blog, I share the power of social media and how one little egg achieved as many likes as there are Australians. You never know where your podcast will travel when you leverage the power of the hashtag and social media.

The other great thing about podcast recording is that the time on air is your air time! No but-ins or pipe ups! Now that gives you space to share your story with the world! How liberating.

Keen to get started on your podcast but not sure how? Let’s talk.

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A winning niche

This month, the podcast channel I host, ASCI Lounge, was nominated for an award under the Industry and Careers category for the Australian Podcast Awards. Until the 14 February, the Australian public has the opportunity to vote. Whilst this is not as exciting as voting for the triple j Hottest 100, it is a worthwhile exercise if you are new to the enriching world of podcasts. Go on, support Aussie podcasts! 

Click here to view award nominees.

When you scroll through the nominees and the categories for which they’ve been nominated, you’ll be struck by the niche themes and topics on offer. For example, my channel, ASCI Lounge, is specific to experts wanting to build a career in supply chain management. Now that’s niche! However, with almost 4,000 downloads and over 50 podcasts, you quickly realise that it’s a “thing.” Here’s my channel on Apple Podcasts and on Google Podcasts.

What will also become apparent when scrolling through nominees is the soft news nature of these channels. Not many are news, but rather, informed views and fiction, based on compelling topics.

These “winning niche” characteristics are what makes podcasts so engaging, popular, and powerful. Podcast channels can even be the driving force behind creating a community, with some podcasters referring to their listeners as their “tribes.”

If you get one take away from this blog - it’s visiting the award website and selecting some podcasts for your own interest! I am honoured to be amongst these podcasters who have paved the way for the Australian podcast industry and I look forward to attending the awards celebration in May.

As a host of a podcast channel, there’s so much to learn from the community about the craft of podcasting. I think Australians are really drawn to its authentic format. I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge with my own clients wanting to podcast or build content for a podcast channel through my services at MONIQUEPR.

It’s an easy format to deliver too, making it a cost effective and time efficient production. Just check out my new price list and special introductory offer when you sign up to my mailing list. Could this be the marketing investment in 2019 that differentiates you from the rest? Let’s talk. 

 

The power of social media (and a humble egg)

This month, a new challenge was set for an Instagram post to achieve the most likes ever. This meant that the newcomer had to beat the record, already set by an incumbent, at 18 million likes. And the challenger post was a simple egg.

Not only did the post surpass the incumbent, world_record_egg, has taken the world by storm with a simple post picturing a humble egg, resulting in a flurry of media articles that PR experts only dream of achieving for their campaigns.

In my previous blog, I explain that content achieves high engagement when it is timely, relevant, accessible and is portrayed through the appropriate channel to reach its audience. 

But there’s one more vital element: capturing the sentiment of the customer. What are your customers currently thinking, feeling, experiencing, struggling to achieve? How can you address this to create a meaningful contribution? 

Orchestrating the right content, at the right time, via the right channels is not easy but it’s what will make you stand out in the crowd. Furthermore, identifying customer sentiment will put your campaign at the top of the social media feed through engagement (shares and comments).

This doesn’t mean that you have to solve all your customers’ challenges. However, the more you understand their persona (the profile that represents them) the closer you are to identifying the winning orchestral ensemble.  

The Instagram post was clever because its authors took a risk and chose a pure form to represent their product in amongst a plethora of highly branded and photoshopped posts on Instagram. It was innocent, yet bold, and it cut through the noise with minimal effort and zero cost. That’s the sunny side up from where I sit. What about you? Want to know how you can create compelling content that captures your customers’ sentiment? Let’s talk. 

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Repurposing for a purpose

We’re currently decluttering our home for more space which is a usual new year activity for our family. However, this time, we’ve pulled out the LEGO and are stock taking the pieces from each box with the purpose of on selling it for some cash for our son. It’s a painstakingly long process (with some outbursts of expletives along the way) but gives me time to think about the topic for my next blog.

What I see after 20 years of experience working with clients on content creation is the effort and expense that goes into creating content from scratch when there’s so much value in what’s already been created and stored or packed away to collect dust, just like these LEGO boxes.

Just last month I launched my new business, MONIQUEPR, a podcasting and content curation service for people who want to leverage the power of podcasting to achieve engagement with their customers. Podcasting is relatively new in Australia but has grown in popularity. Hey, we even have Australian Podcast Awards, of which I’m nominated for the Industry & Careers award as Host. So it’s gaining ground locally.

Further to its huge uptake in popularity and engagement, is the opportunity to offset podcast production costs with advertising revenue, which Forbes believes will grow in the US to $395 million by 2020, resulting in a strong business case for podcasting. 

Despite its appeal, I often get asked, “What will I talk about in my podcast?” Instead, I respond with a counter question: “What will your customers want to hear?” Keeping the topics and content relevant and engaging is most important. 

Just as we are wading through LEGO to seek value for on selling, you can review your content pool to determine its relevance in today’s climate, economy or season.

Select key moments to talk to your customers. Just as we identify the missing LEGO pieces to purchase to complete the set, your content needs a bit of investment to fill the gaps and can be tweaked and updated with latest statistics, news or can be aligned with a Timeline Moment in your industry such as EOFY, Valentine’s Day, Summer or other world days that celebrate your industry or topic to grow your audience.

If you are just starting out, content will need to be built from scratch. The best way to store it is within a blog. Blogs are a great treasure chest of content because tags of key words acts as a catalogue for repurposing content. Every podcast interview I record is transcribed and repurposed into a blog and edited for further reach. So, after time and initial effort, there’s no reason why you need to create content from scratch each time you want to talk to your customers. The key is that you make it relevant, helpful and timely.

So what are you waiting for?  Have a purpose this year and connect more deeply with your customers in a relevant timely manner with MONIQUEPR.

As we plough through LEGO pieces, completing sets and predicting their resale prices, we remember all the fun we had with LEGO and agree that it will bring the same joy to someone else. You too will rediscover the value of your existing content as you review it and bring it to life once again in a relevant and engaging way. Why not do that easily and cost effectively through the power of podcasts?

On selling LEGO is a tough gig but well worth it…..

On selling LEGO is a tough gig but well worth it…..

Why I’m on a high

In March this year, my family was invited to climb Mt Kosciuszko with The Rotary Club of Turramurra. Such an expedition mightn’t seem worthy of a blog but if I told you that my eight year old daughter was wheelchair bound would you lean in to read more? 

If you’ve climbed this mountain, all 2,228 metres, you’ll concur that the rough and steep terrain is not for the faint hearted, let alone those of whom are wheelchair bound. We got up there in the end, with the help of a very dedicated crew and the support of our family and friends who raised over $1K for SpinalCure as part of the trip’s Summit Wheelchair Challenge.

But this blog is not about the expedition. It’s about the “no barriers” mindset that my family has adopted since my daughter turned six. She entered our lives, born with profane physical and developmental delays which remain undiagnosed to this day. It has been a hard slog but we’ve come a long way in therapy, building a support crew and landing the perfect school.

It was through the school that this mountain trip became available. We were given two weeks’ notice, leaving no time to plan or ponder too long on every possible thing that could go wrong, 2,000 metres above sea level with no medical services for our daughter. But we took the plunge in any case.

That’s what we call the “no barriers” mindset. I first took it on two years ago when I realised that I needed to make a choice whether I sink or swim in my adversity. Living daily with disability is beyond your worst nightmare. It breaks families apart. It causes poverty. It brings on grief and depression. It makes you isolated. 

So my husband and I chose to swim. And I chose not to be a victim of my circumstance. A friend said I make disability look easy. Well, it’s not easy, but another friend said “it’s about 80% mental and 20% physical.” It is for me. I cannot imagine life any other way and I love my daughter and all that she has taught me.

Now, two years since the switch to a “no barriers” mindset, I can reflect and smile. The most amazing thing about this mindset, besides seeing our daughter do all the things that every other nine year old does, is that you attract like-minded people who spur you on for more. 

In order to lift our daughter on a daily basis my husband and I train in the mornings at CrossFit2147. I never thought I would like high intensity sport and risk lifting 50kg over my head but I’m doing just that and we have amazing coaches to get us there. It includes a fitness community that encourages and lifts each other up to achieve our goals. We’re strong enough now to be able to take our daughter everywhere we go (beaches, waterfalls, even Kakadu).

On the hike up Mt Kosciuszko I met a woman who also exuded a “no barriers” mindset. Sam Bloom had a horrific accident in Thailand that broke her back, resulting in a wheelchair bound life too. She tries her hand at Olympic kayaking and just competed in the Adaptive World Surfing Championship in San Diego, taking first place. In her book “Penguin Bloom” (a story about her recovery now being produced into a film) she says “surround yourself with a supportive inner circle.” That’s very true and it’s what we’ve done to survive, in addition to our belief in the grace of our Lord who gives us daily strength and wisdom. 

Sometimes, we encounter negative people. And it’s about navigating away from them before you lose sight of yourself. 

Hence, now, as I embark on my first new business venture, despite having my hands full as a mother and primary carer, I take on the “no barrier” mindset once again. I hope that this will open opportunities to meet more amazing people.

When we reached the top of Mt Kosciuszko we let out a “coowee” which was a huge relisation that we were heading in the right direction on life’s journey. Do you have a “no barriers” mindset? Want to gain one? My advice is to set some life goals that benefit your loved ones. From there, you can apply the same tenacity to another area of your life. Here’s some further advice from Elenor Roosevelt that I adopt: “Do something everyday that scares you.” That way, you’ll know you’re pushing a barrier that will fade over time and one day soon you too will coowee from the mountain tops! 

The most engaging blog I have read this year

It’s difficult at the best of times to engage an audience with a software solution but to do this successfully in the midst of the busy silly season warrants double the recognition. Such a blog is: Supply Chain Wars Episode IV - A New Hope. It certainly grabbed my attention and not because I am a Star Wars fan but because it was a solid argument for continuous planning presented in a compelling way by a global software provider, Logility. Here’s the video introduction to the blog (note, it’s a short video within a blog - another tick from me).

The blog includes best practice advice from Gartner to propel into the right continuous planning processes. This addition not only adds credibility to Logility but also offers readers some quality and sought-after advice for free (a must-have in every blog). It’s author does a great job of encouraging readers to take the next step in their planning and offers insights into the end results (also theme related): “to restore peace and order to the entire supply chain.”

Furthermore it has the famous dead man’s quote (in this case, from Yoda - Already know you that which you need.)

Lastly and importantly, it ends with a call to action for feedback.

My only disappointment was that the video did not include the Star Wars theme song. Royalties got the better of them, is my guess.

Luckily, there’s promise of another episode of Supply Chain Wars coming soon. I’ll be sure to share it with you. Until then, be an Jedi content curator.