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Audio holds unique advantages over other content types. We'll explore those advantages along with the ability of audio to create exceptional engagement with your customers. You'll discover what types of content are best suited for audio and how easy it can be to produce and repurpose audio into other forms of content.
Chris is a content marketing strategist and the host of Life Science Marketing Radio - a podcast featuring thought leaders from inside and outside the sciences to help you increase your marketing ROI.
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Harrison: Hello Everyone. It’s Harrison Wright from Affinity Biotechnology. Chris is going to talk about how audio content will amplify the power of your marketing mix. Now Chris Conner is the host of Life Science Marketing Radio, which is the podcast where both inside and outside scientists share their first perspectives, creative ideas and practical approaches to increasing their marketing ROI. Incidentally, before he was host Life Science Marketing Radio, Chris has led global marketing communication programs for Varian, Agilent and Thermo Fisher. Incidentally, if you have not listened to Life Science Marketing Radio yet, I very much recommend it. It’s a fantastic and very successful resource. It’s a very much a pleasure to introduce Chris Conner.
Chris: Thank you, Harrison. Can you hear me okay?
Harrison: We can hear you crystal clear, Chris.
Chris: Excellent. Thank you for the fantastic introduction and thanks for putting on this amazing summit. I mean a huge amount of value for everyone including myself in these talks. As Harrison mentioned, I am the host of podcast Life Science Marketing Radio but my business is all about helping life science companies with their content strategy, specifically around figuring out what their content should be. You’ve heard a lot about content marketing over the last couple of days and I’ve been in the situation that maybe some of you have been where you understand content marketing but when it comes down to just making the content, what should you create, that’s a barrier. And sometimes with a lot of people involved, it can take a long time to make those decisions. I help companies get together and figure out what exactly they should create and also help them figure out how to get it created more easily. That’s a little bit more of what we’re going to talk about today.
I did a webinar with Harrison a couple of weeks ago on mapping out the buyers journey which is really more about the what contents should we make part and today, I’m going to talk about just one thing that is a little bit different than most people are doing. If you’re here at the end of this, thank you for listening. This is going to be a pretty short session, pretty simple. I just want to introduce people to the idea of how they can use audio content and not just from a publishing standpoint. There are other ways you can use audio to create all of your content.
When we’re talking about marketing obviously one of our goals is to attract new customers and help them see your company has the right partner to help them solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. Another thing that we love to do in all of our marketing is to create an experience that makes people comfortable to do business with you. That’s a little bit about what we’re talking about today is that experience part and why audio is so important.
First I want to start with something not related in any way with what we’re going to do other than to give you a sample of what audio content can do. I’m just going to tell you a story in the hopes that you get a feeling for what it’s like to consume audio content.
Earlier this summer, I interviewed Adrian Pencak on my podcast. He’s from Icon Clinical Research. He has had a very interesting career. He did not start out in life sciences. In fact he started out as an engineering student at Rutgers University. His first job out of college was designing navigation systems for guided missiles. So it was as far from life sciences as you probably imagine. But he was very interested in all kinds of technologies and at the time that he was in this job, relational databases started to become a thing. He got interested in that and he actually realized how implementing a database could help them with a lot of the challenges that they were facing in their work, about delivery times and getting things together and so on. He went to his boss and said, I think this is a good idea. And his boss said, yeah. Why don’t we make a proposal? You’re going to have to shift positions so I’m going to lose you. I’m going to send you to another department but I’m going to support this idea. And he actually got a new job which was within the same company and implemented one of these databases. Now the company that was developing these at the time you all know now, as Oracle. Eventually, Adrian lands a job at Oracle and I don’t know what part of the company he was in at that point, but he eventually moves to the life sciences side or the health care side of Oracle. That leads naturally to where he is today. Long story short, he is now the vice president of Global business development for early phase services at Icon. So Adrian has this history of adapting technologies to his job and adapting his job to new technologies. But now he runs into a barrier in the CRO world. The CRO industry still relies a lot on paper records. It’s a very conservative industry so even though banks and other institutions have moved on to electronic records a long time ago and CRO World, still a lot of paper. They have concerns about protecting patient privacy and probably proprietary information from pharmaceutical companies and so on. So they’re slow to change. Adrian took a look at the future in my podcast and he said, in about 5 years, there’s going to be a switch that gets flipped and companies that don’t flip this switch are going to have a big problem.
Now I’m hoping as a sample of audio content, that you could kind of follow that story. You could picture Adrian in his career, working at his desk and thinking about guided missiles and so on. And now you’re wondering what is this problem that the industry is about to face. I’m hoping that content is at least as a quick sample pre-engaging has you wanting to know what happens next. I’m going to give you the answer then we will get on with the rest of the webinar. The answer, which I thought was fascinating, was that, if companies continue to use paper, they’re not going to be able to hire anyone. They’re going to have a hiring problem because no one graduating from college in the next decade is going to work at a company that still is using 20th century technology. These young people that have grown up with an IPod in their hands or IPads since they were 3 and they probably don’t even know how to write cursive, so why would they want to work for an industry where paper records are still a dominant form of communication? So that’s that story. I just thought it was an interesting story in and of itself and I’m hoping that it’s a good example of one way you can tell a story in audio content and there are many other kinds that we’re going to talk about today.
I’m talk about three things today. I’m going to talk about the advantages of audio content. We’re going to talk about different ways to use it and then a little bit about how to create it. We’ll start off with the advantages.
Audio is an intimate form of content like no other, even being on video. When you’re listening to an audio program, it feels like it’s happening to you right now. It’s a very one on one experience. If you’re listening to a single person speaking, you feel like that person is talking directly and only to you, if they’re doing their job well. If you happen to be listening to two people having a conversation or an interview through an audio program, you might feel the same as if you were in a coffee shop eavesdropping on a pair of people sitting next to you. So this is how we humanize content. It’s a conversation. There’s a magical component to it. And we’ll talk about that a little bit later but it’s a differentiating experience and it’s a very human experience. Having someone’s voice in your ear is a very powerful thing. In fact if you were here yesterday, David Chapin mentioned that humans are pattern matching animals and if you haven’t seen a picture of me or if you have forgotten what I look like if you had seen one, you are creating a picture in your head right now of what I look like based on what I sound like, the cadence of my voice and so on. And because that image is part of your own making, it becomes a somewhat more believable way to consume information. It’s a more trusted source. Now, I promise you that I will only use that power for good but I can tell you that there are cases and some evidence of where audio content has been used for some very bad things because it is so powerful.
I recently in July went to a podcasting conference where the level of geekery matches any life science conference you’ve been to because we all love our podcasts. We love talking about them. It’s a special group of people. There was a session. They were talking a lot about journalism and audio programs in journalism and sponsorship and whether that was okay or not and so on. I met a woman there. I listened to her talk. She was on a panel and her name is Rupa Shenoy and she has been a journalist at many large media companies whose names you would recognize and covered stories that you’d know about. She recently started a podcast called Otherhood. It is about the first generation children of immigrant parents in America. At that point, she had only published seven episodes but in her talk she said that she felt like, and she was confident of this that those seven episodes of her podcast had made more of an impact on her audience than all of her years as a writer, seven episodes, more than all of her extensive experience as a writer. I wasn’t sure I had heard it correctly so I went up to her after her talk. And I said, is this what you meant. And she said, yes, absolutely. That is true. It’s a very powerful type of contact. You’re not going to hit the biggest audience without air content but you will get a very engaged audience. These are the people that want to interact with you, who are going to be your advocates. These are the people that are going to be champions and you want to reach out to them.
The next advantage of audio content is that it’s portable. You can listen to it on demand. So you all know that you shouldn’t, hopefully you can’t and you know that you shouldn’t be watching a video while you’re driving a car and reading a document whether it’s on a screen or on a piece of paper while you’re walking the dog isn’t a very pleasant experience either. Because many of us have smart phones and can store that audio content and listen to it whenever we want, it’s very easy to listen to while you’re mowing the lawn, commuting or doing some other routine chore. The advantage of this is this is the time because we know that all of our audiences or scientists are busy, and they don’t have a lot of time. They’re not looking for extra content maybe. This is the time that you can reach them. They’re not doing anything else. They can’t do anything else but drive and listen for example and they’re in a free thinking, creative space. This is that time that new ideas come to them, when they’re open to new ideas, when they can process them. Imagine a person is in their office and they’re watching a video on their computer or reading a PDF. It’s highly unlikely that they’re going to be interrupted by a phone call, an email or someone asking you a question. And even if they manage to get through whatever it is that they’re looking at or reading, it’s also probably true that they’re going to rush off to something else as soon as they’re done, right? So there’s not a lot of time to absorb what they’ve just heard or watched or read. But if they’re doing some routine task when your mind flows freely, ideally we’d be giving them audio content in the shower because that’s where most creative ideas happen, right? They’re in a rush. They’re able to capture that, capture your message and your ideas and turn it into something that they want to use. That’s hugely valuable.
And finally, the last advantage that I really want to talk about is the advantage of using audio content for other content creation. So let’s talk about how to use audio just for creating content and a little bit about that. So imagine this scenario. As marketers, we all rely on subject matter experts, maybe it’s a scientist in R&D or a product manager or even a busy executive to create some of the content we need for our marketing programs. The last thing we want is for someone like us to come to them and say, can you write me three or four pages about this topic. That’s not their usual job. It’s not what they enjoy doing and anybody, even professional writers, fear the blank page, right? It’s hard and no one because we’ve grown up in this educational system, wants to hand over a written document that isn’t well thought out, outlined, “I’s” dotted, “T’s” crossed, paragraphs indented, the whole thing and laid out really nicely. It’s kind of like you’re evaluating a painting that they would make. It’s personal. And yet that barrier doesn’t exist if you were to just have a conversation with that person. The busy executive or the R&D scientist, they have a lot of information sitting right behind their eyeballs and between their ears that you could easily get out through their mouth for sitting down with them at lunch for example, and putting your phone on the table and hit record. If you know the right questions to ask them, you can get all the information you want. You’ll probably have a hard time to get them to stop talking about it. So this is where I think is the highly overlooked opportunity to gather content without relying on a keyboard. Joe Pulizzi has talked about this for a long time. I’ve heard Jay Baird say it as well. Think content first, format second. You don’t care how you get the information you need. You just want to get the information. Then you can do anything you want with it.
Yet another advantage is that there’s no travel required for production for example. I know many companies will send a crew across the planet to Europe for example, to get a video testimonial about their product. And those are hugely powerful and are very well received. But not every company has the budget to do that. That’s not a cheap thing to do. But there’s no reason why you need to be stuck with just a written testimonial that someone sent you through email. Why couldn’t you call that person up and record their voice which contains so much more richness and real information in the tone of their voice and the way that they say it and talk about your product and again creating that more believable experience, because you’re hearing the person actually use the words and the inflections that they use when they say it. I think it’s just a great way to stop you from taking that and using that print wherever you need to but wherever you have the opportunity. Why not give prospects the opportunity to listen to your actual customers?
Then repurposing. I’m all about repurposing and there’s so many ways to do it. I’m going to give you my plan for this webinar. When we’re done, Harrison, and we can consider a webinar as almost audio content, right? It’s audio with some slides but the large component of it is my speaking and you can certainly do almost all of it without any images whatsoever and I’m trying to do that. So he’s going to send me a recorded version of the webinar. I’m going to take a modified version of the slides that I’m showing you with a few more bullets that what I’m subjecting you to and put it up on slide share. I’ll take out the recorded movie and strip out the audio, a very easy thing to do and I will turn that into a podcast. I’ll take the audio file and send it to an online service that will send me back a transcript for a dollar a minute. And because this webinar is broken into three sections, I can use that transcript as a starting point for creating separate blog posts. So I’m creating seven pieces of content out of this webinar, all because we have audio and sound. I’m going to get a lot of mileage out of that and it’s going to be very easy to do.
So where can we use this audio content that I’m so excited about? We can use it in almost any part of the funnel so let’s start at the bottom. We’re sort of talked about this already, maybe a three to five minute interview. This is really a testimonial or it can be as detailed as a case study at the persuasion stage when people are close to being ready to buy. They’d like to know from other people they recognize or at least can find something out about, that they’ve been successful using it too. That’s one way to do it. A little farther up the funnel, we’re in the education stage. Maybe it’s a short series of how to’s. Maybe you’re talking to that R&D scientist and they’re answering questions about how certain things can be done or new applications that it could be used for. This is all perfectly good, educational, mid-level content. And of course at the top of the funnel, anything goes. When we’re creating awareness, it doesn’t have to be awareness about your product. Just like if you listened to Hamid yesterday, it’s a recognition of a problem or a need. And so creating a podcast which is at least a series of audio programs on any topic that’s relevant and of interest to your audience can be valuable. At this stage, you just want people to know that your company exists and kind of what you’re all about. So lots of different ways to tell stories or interview people or create interesting content that people want to come back to again and again. Of course at the end, you can always put in a call to action to something relevant. Maybe you’re going to a trade show or you have a new launch coming up and you want to drive people to a page. Get people on your email list. This is a great opportunity and the possibilities here are endless.
I’m going to talk to you a little bit mostly from now on about creating a podcast and how simple it is and why you shouldn’t be intimidated by it. Even though it’s not for everybody, it’s certainly, I don’t recommend it for every company, but there are many opportunities for companies that want to consider and that there is an audience out there.
First of all let’s talk about podcast listenership which has been growing year over year. One in five Americans listened to a podcast within the last month. Last year it was one in six and this is anyone over the age of 12. For we people who listen weekly, the average is five podcasts a week. So they listen to one every working day perhaps. Maybe it’s one ever day on their commute. Again this is a highly engaged audience. People who love podcasts, love them a lot. They are really into their topic and they want to know everything about it. That’s why that can be so valuable. They come in all kinds of format. So for example, you could have a single person speaking on any number of topics. It could be a recognized authority. That’s one way to do it. Probably the easiest day to produce a podcast is to simply an interview. That’s what I’ve chosen to do with Life Science Marketing Radio and I’ll tell you a little bit about how that gets made in a moment but it’s pretty natural to have a conversation between two people and it brings new ideas in all the time. There are popular podcasts that have two people talking about current events or trends. So Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose do a podcast called Pulizzi and Rose or P and R. Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster have a great podcast. These guys are funny and brilliant. I’ll call them Marketing Companion. I recommend both of those to everybody that is listening to this. And it’s just two people talking but it’s always interesting. Some are every week. Marketing Companion is every other week. And at the top of the food chain if you get into the highly produced story telling format which I would probably not recommend for anybody unless they’re really bold and want to take a big chance and do something spectacularly different, is the story telling type. Maybe you have heard this American Life or the start-up podcast. Both of those are produced by Alex Bloomberg, who is brilliant. It doesn’t have to be all year long. It doesn’t have to be every week. You could do it twice a month. That would be sort of a minimal thing. It doesn’t have to be all year long. A lot of these podcasts are doing seasons like you would for House of Cards or Breaking Bad. They might do ten episodes on a topic, take a break for a few weeks, get another one together, ten more episodes on a different topic. I really like that idea for Life Science companies because many of them have lots of topics to cover and you wouldn’t want to delete them out in a way that is interspersed, so if you kept them together and said, alright. We’re going to talk about ten people or do ten episodes on this topic. Then we’re going to completely shift gears. We’re going to do ten episodes on another one, maybe a whole new audience. You’re out there. You’re doing it.
Then on the far, far end of the spectrum, GE, who is a recognized leader in content marketing, everybody looks to them for innovations in content marketing, they have actually produced a podcast called The Message. It’s a sci-fi fictional story that takes place in the future but it references the kinds of technologies that General Electric is developing today. So they’re building an audience. Getting people engaged. Getting them thinking about new technologies. So I don’t want you to be afraid of this idea. I want to tell you that it’s actually easier than you think.
This young gentleman on the left is Nate Butkus. Nate started in the first grade a couple of weeks ago. But he started his podcast called the Show about Science last year when he was in kindergarten. Nate is a very bright young guy. He’s really curious. He asks great questions and he’s funny as heck. He is a joy to listen to and I highly recommend you check out this show. It will inspire you and it will show you that it is possible to create interesting podcasts around anything. He covers all kinds of things about science, alligators, radiation, Isaac Newton, the whole deal. I had a chance to interview him a couple of weeks ago for a different project that I’m doing at toolsofscience.com. The day before I interviewed him, he interviewed this gentleman on the left. His name is Cliff Tabin. He is the Chairman of the Genetics Department at Harvard Medical School. Nate is able to ask great questions of these brilliant scientists and create a podcast that not only is educational for kids like Nate. It’s educational for all of us. So I want to encourage you to think about the unlimited possibilities of things that you can create. There is someone in your company unless you have three people in your company. That would probably be, enjoy this and be really good at it. That person might surprise you. They probably are not in your marketing department. A little thought there. Cliff Tabin was brilliant. Nate interviewed him and it was great. And he gets a lot of great scientists on his show. So I’m sure we can all do that too.
Let’s talk a little bit about the work flow for creating a podcast. So this is how mine goes. A little bit of planning. I typically when I invite a guest, we schedule a quick 15 minutes call to outline what we’re going to talk about and that’s important because if we just have a wandering conversation, it makes it really hard to promote the content by saying, you listen to this. You’re going to learn A,B and C. So it’s good to have a plan, have a point in your time then you can go anywhere you want. But you have to make sure you cover that plan. Then we schedule it. I use an online scheduling service so it’s very easy. So at the appointed day and time, I call that person using Skype. I can either call their Skype account or call them on the phone if they don’t use Skype. Another piece of software I use, I hit record and it captures both sides of that conversation. When I’m done, I take the audio file and I’ll tell you a little bit about editing at the end of this. It’s a very simple thing. I typically only have to cut off the end of the chit chat at the beginning and the end of the podcast. Occasionally if someone wanted to answer a question a little differently a second time around, I just tell them to pause if you don’t like your first answer. Start over. It’s very easy to find the one you didn’t like and throw it out. And it sounds seamless on the audio. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s how it should be. Then I take the audio file and I send it off to get transcribed. That takes about a week or less. It comes back to me and I go through it to correct any misunderstandings in case the transcriber didn’t hear a word correctly or if someone masked a few words together and couldn’t figure it out. I do that and at the same time, I’m picking up highlights for the notes that I will put on the web page where the podcast is published. I spend a little time after that making sure the audio sounds good. I level out the volumes and make sure that the voices sound nice and rich as much as possible. I tack on a prerecorded intro and an outro which is just like a copy and paste in Word. Then I publish it to my website. It’s that simple. It probably takes me I want to say, six hours of work to create a podcast. Now that might seem like a lot for a 30 minute show but I can promise you that if you think about it, a written document that gets passed around your office numerous times, takes more than six hours, worth of man hours, person hours to produce, way more for much less rich experience.
Let’s talk about creating audio content. If you’re with me still, you’re thinking this sounds pretty cool. We’ll talk a little bit about the hardware and the software and the online services that I use to create this audio content. So it’s a funny thing that very simple equipment can produce professional sounding audio. We’re all comfortable using digital cameras or digital video recorders and processing that video or editing those images a little bit. It seems a very natural thing to us and yet audio seems to be a mystery because you conger up pictures of the Muscle Shoals recording studio or your local DJ with a big panel in front of him. It doesn’t have to be that way. Audio is simple. You might not have recorded audio since like I did when I was a little kid using a cheap cassette recorder to pirate songs off the radio because you were too cheap to buy the album. It’s actually quite easy. So the simplest thing you can do is pull out your IPhone or whatever Smartphone you have and get a recording app on it and hit record. This is what I highly recommend if you’re just interviewing those subject matter experts and you can get perfectly publishable audio out of it, if you do it right. But if you’re just looking for content from the busy executive or the R&D scientist or the product manager, sit down at lunch, pull out your phone, put it on the table and have a conversation. If you want to go up a level, this is it. Plug your phone into your laptop and you’re on your way. The rest is all software. So for recording, the way that I do it is I am using Skype for my calls when I interview someone. So I’m interviewing people all over the place. I’ve interviewed everyone you have listened to in the last two days with the exception of Andy Bertera and it was all on Skype. I use a software called Evayer, which costs $20. It does a great job. It records both sides of it. It automatically knows when Skype is being used and it says, do you want to record and I hit yes and it records both sides of the conversations. It will record video as well if you are using a camera. It creates a very nice output. If you ever go to webinar or Go to Meeting subscription at your company, make the call and do it with that and you’re done. Then you can use some audio processing software like Audacity to pull the audio out of that file. So I used Audacity for my editing and audio processing. It’s free software. It’s available on PC and Mac. If you’re using Mac, you might use Garage Man. You use that for editing. And if you’re not comfortable with audio processing, the kinds of things you need to spend a little time learning to make your sound great, there’s a website called Alphonic and you can upload two hours of audio free per month and they just keep track. So that could be four 30 minute sessions of audio and it will clean up, level out and make your conversations sound really good. And you’re there. For transcription I send all my audio files to a site called Speech Pad and for $1 per minute, they will send me back a transcript in a week. If I want it tomorrow, it’s $3 per minute. As a side note, I highly recommend if you’re doing webinars, you should be getting those transcribed anyways. If you’re paying $15,000 to get a hosted webinar from a large media company, why wouldn’t you spend $60 to get a transcript that searchable to put on a website? Because not everybody has time to watch it, right? If you can pull out the audio and let them listen on the way home, that’s even better. Huge value of getting a transcript for every webinar you do. That should be the minimum.
Then for publishing, most podcasters use something called Libsyn, which is a way to get your audio content published and hosted on your site. Then you submit your RSS Feed, or your podcast feed to ITunes and it will show up and will be searchable on anybody’s Smartphone or their computer and they can subscribe so new episodes will show up on their phone every time you produce one. How great is that?
This is it. You’re looking behind the curtain at the Life Science Marketing Radio studio right there. That’s where I’m sitting right now. I’ve got my laptop. The microphone is in the middle. Let’s see if I can get a pointer here. Let’s do the spotlight. This microphone is a dynamic microphone. It’s the one I’m talking through to you right now. The advantage of this is that it doesn’t pick up much background noise so it sounds very quiet, but I have to be very close to it for you to hear me. But it’s great because it eliminates all the background and has a nice rich sound. This is a pop filter. It’s just a piece of cloth stretched out on a ring and that keeps the P’s from going POW when you pop them. This larger mike is a condenser mike so if you were recording someone across the table or having a conversation in the room, that would pick up everybody’s voice, kind of like your audio conferencing software does. I used this when I interviewed Joanna Redneck at Lioness. I went over there and we recorded that one live or face to face I should say, with that microphone. And then just a set of headphones to monitor the whole thing I will talk a little bit more about this software in a moment. This stuff is not expensive. Like I mentioned, Skype is free. Evayer software is $20. These microphones range in $25 to $125. I send all my podcast guests one of these as a thank you. It creates great quality sound and it’s a nice way to say thanks for taking the time to be on my show. This dynamic mike in the middle that I told you about, that’s about $50 on Amazon and this blue Yeti, the condenser mike, is $125. So we’re not talking about $1,000 video equipment. We’re talking about very inexpensive tools such that you could equip multiple locations with these things to create your content.
Finally, this is what the audio processing software looks like for example. What you’re looking at here is part of the audio file from when I interviewed Olga on my podcast earlier this year. So this top track is me speaking, those wave forms and the bottom ones are Olga speaking. It’s all the usual buttons, pause, play, record and so on. Editing is super easy. You can actually magnify any part of this so you can listen and figure out which wave forms are the words you are looking for. But editing is as simple as dragging your mouse across the section you want and doing a cut and paste just like you would in Word. It’s that simple. It’s completely simple. It’s completely visual and it’s very straight forward. You shouldn’t be intimidated. It’s not some big mystery. Its software that’s just like everything else you use and very easy to do. So don’t be afraid of what’s behind the curtain because there’s just no mystery to it.
That’s about all I want to say. If your company has something to say, you should let them hear your voice and whether you publish your audio content as audio or use it to produce something else, consider sitting down and talking to people as the best way to generating the content that’s going to build an audience for your brand. If you have any questions, I am happy to help.
Harrison: Hi, Chris. Thank you for a very informative overview. I think your talk is a brilliant note to end on actually because it’s easy going. It’s informative, I already said that but the manner in which you conveyed it is very easy to listen to for us in the audience, which I guess is part of the point considering we’re discussing audio content.
Chris: Well, yes. I really didn’t think of it that way but honestly that’s why I created my podcast. Personally as a marketer, there’s just value, I mean it’s the humanizing part, right? So, now you know a little bit about who I am and if you are creating a podcast for your audience, and I mean the people listening to this, there’s somebody in your company that is an ideal spokesperson that would convey the essence, the architype of your company, if you will. And create the experience of, yes, I want to work with those people. That’s what it’s all about.
Harrison: Absolutely. And incidentally, we do have a few questions. If anyone else has any questions, we’re not under a time pressure. We’ve got a little bit of time to go through things. Don’t be shy. If there’s anything at all that you want to know, no matter how crazy it might seem, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Feel free to type your question in the box. First question, Chris, I’ve got one for you. And I think I know the answer to this but for the benefit of everyone else here, what benefits have you realized from embracing audio content?
Chris: I just find that I get much more engagement. When I was doing a blog primarily and I’ll do some more blogs in the future, I’d get the occasional comment where I’d post it for example in Carlton’s Group and get some nice discussion going, often with Carlton, but also with other people as well. But now I find that people, marketers, are excited to find that there’s a podcast that they can listen to about a topic that’s important to them. Fabulous connection with individuals and that’s as I said, you’re not going to get the biggest audience with your podcast but you are going to get the best audience. You’re going to get great engaged people who want to interact with you and I think that’s an opportunity to pull them in to maybe get some more user generated content that people who are excited about being a part of your vibe, for a lack of a better word.
Harrison Thanks for your answer, Chris. You know what I like about it as well, on the one side of things, it’s humanizing, and a lot more easy to apply in different formats than other forms of content. But, and I’m sure you can relate to this Chris, but if you run a small business or if you have a small marketing team, then I like things with interactive podcasts. With a guest, it’s a lot easier to create then other forms of content because I write a blog or articles at least and it takes a huge amount of my time for me to write a blog, insanely so sometimes. I really think it’s appealing from that prospect as well.
Chris: Absolutely. That’s really the most important take home for most people is that it’s just speaking to people and recording it, makes content production so much easier whether or not you chose to go all in and produce a podcast, it’s so much easier to get information out of people. It’s more fun. It’s more engaging. You probably get more insight because you can ask those follow up questions that you would never think about if you ask someone to write something down for you and you came back. Then you’re just critiquing the writing and so on. But you never have a real conversation. It’s fantastic and as you say, blogging is hard. Regardless of what anybody says, to create a blog that’s worthwhile and people want to come back to again and again takes time and effort and a lot of skill.
Harrison: Yes. For sure and I’ve noticed just even in the last couple of years, I know this is a topic that’s been touched on the last couple of days but it’s much harder to get peoples’ attention through the written word than it was not very long ago.
Chris: I think that’s right. People scan, they’re busy. I mean audio as I mentioned earlier there’s a window that people are open to listening. As marketers, we have an opportunity to communicate with them in a way that isn’t annoying or interruptive. They’re seeking it out and it’s pleasurable. I mean if you’re not creating an experience that they want to listen to, they’re not going to. But if they do, they will love you.
Harrison: Exactly. Thanks for the back and forth on that, Chris. I’ve just had a really interesting question through from Margaret. Margaret says, sometimes it’s hard to get researchers to sign a release form so that you can use the content across multiple venues. How do you approach this? Have you found this to be an issue?
Chris: I have found it to be an issue not so much specifically with my podcast. People have been pretty willing to do that. I mean, that’s a perennial challenge I faced when I was a marketing director is getting scientists to say, yes, you can use this. In some companies in certain applications are harder than others. Obviously you’re talking to people in pharma, they’re highly protective of even what they are doing. I think if [inaudible 45:09.2] promise you in order to create this kind of content and get some people going on it, that other people could see that they don’t have to give away any secrets to come on and have a conversation with you. It doesn’t have to be about what they’re doing or how they’re using a product. There’s all kinds of interesting things you could do. But Margaret, I completely understand the challenge. Several years ago I did a project called the Varian Experience where we tried to get lots of customers submit videos. Some were willing and we got some great things and then others very hard to get people to talk about partly because they have relationships with multiple vendors so they don’t want to annoy one by talking about the other or their proprietary concerns with their business or they’re just afraid they have to run it through legal and so on. That is a challenge.
Harrison: Thanks for your answer, Chris. I hope that answers your question as well, Margaret. One other question for you, Chris, this time from Jamie. Hi, Jamie. How does it [inaudible 46:17.6] tune the audio file and is it easy to make a mistake that can’t later be fixed?
Chris: Yes. When I make edits, it’s very easy to do the editing. Like I said, it’s nearly as easy as documents. You just have to figure out what you want to remove for example. Then it’s as easy as dragging your mouse across the section that you want to remove and then you can delete it, copy and paste. In Audacity, you select a section you think you want to edit and you hit the letter “C” on your keyboard. What it does is play a couple of seconds before and after your edit so you know exactly what the [inaudible 47:07.0] and that tells you, you got it right and it sounds perfectly seamless that way. So it’s very easy. Then when I’ve made a couple of major changes, what I will typically do is [inaudible 47:22.3] save so it’s not too far back that I can go to because it doesn’t auto save. If you’re careful about it, it’s pretty hard to make a mistake that can’t be fixed. You can always go back to your original file. That might mean you’ve wasted some time but if you stay on top of all your changes and save then it’s pretty straight forward. It’s extremely straight forward.
Harrison: That makes sense. One other question for you, Chris, this time from Tanya. Do you have to use ITunes to publish a podcast and what does it cost if so?
Chris: It’s free to publish on ITunes. You do not have to. You could just publish your audio on your own site. You can just upload an MP3 file and have it right there. To publish on ITunes, you submit a feed URL and they actually review all the podcasts. They’re manually reviewed to make sure that they are not inappropriate and somewhat what you say they are. That takes about two days and it’s completely free. So it’s a very simple thing. You don’t have to use ITunes. You can publish your podcast on Sound Cloud. This Sound Cloud file you can share on Twitter and someone in Twitter can play the audio right from their Twitter stream. They don’t have to go to another page or go to your podcast on a different app. Or you can cut out snippets of your audio to publish on Twitter and use those as teasers to drive people back to your site to listen to the whole thing for example. That’s what I really like about Sound Cloud. And people can comment at the point in the timeline where they were said in Sound Cloud. So there’re a lot of neat things about that and there are other platforms that you can publish on as well.
Harrison: Well thank you, Chris. That’s all the questions we have. Is there anything you wanted to add.
Chris: No, I don’t think so except if you have other questions that come up or you’re curious about this or you just want to talk about something related to content marketing. I’ll tell you what. If you know somebody who should be on the podcast that you would love to hear from, maybe there’s a marketer or someone who knows a lot about a trend, we’d love to hear them talk. Send me an email or reach out to me and I’ll try to get them on the podcast. That would great but if I can help you in anyway with your content marketing planning or if you just have questions or need a couple ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Harrison: Brilliant. Chris, would you mind sharing a little bit of information about the workshop you’re going to be holding at the ACP annual meeting and perhaps a little bit more about the annual meeting too.
Chris: Yes. Thank you for that. What Harrison did mention is that I’m the marketing director for the ACPLS and really excited about the upcoming meeting. We may not have covered here. Lots of workshops. Some of the people who spoke in the last two days will be giving workshops, so face to face more detailed time. More time spent with them digging a little more deeper into those things which will be great. Also some brilliant keynote speakers. [inaudible 51:25.0] who is a VP of bioscience marketing at Thermo will be giving a talk. Tom Sellig, who is a VP of sales at Paytheon will be giving a talk on networking and how that can help you in your career. Dory Clark who is a world renowned speaker on personal branding will be there giving a keynote as well as David Chapin doing one of the keynotes as well. Then the workshops, lots of different topics, skill building sessions. My workshop will be much about the webinar that I gave with Harrison a few weeks ago on mapping out your buyer’s journey. Figuring out what do they do? What is the process and the questions they ask as they go through your buyer’s journey and then figuring out based on that, what content you can create them through your funnel. Then lots of networking. Your one chance to meet other marketers not at a trade show for your customers but just us, all marketing and sales people in life sciences, share your challenges, meet a bunch of new people that have passed in another trade show but have never got a chance to talk to.
Harrison: Well thank you again, Chris. I hope everyone here has enjoyed the session and enjoyed the summit as a whole. Thanks especially to those who have been here the whole time.
Chris: My pleasure and thank you for putting it on.
Harrison: You’re more than welcome, Chris. Thanks again for coming.