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.