Podcasts and New Media Advertising

*This post is edited from the original, which was featured on Socialnomics.

I can personally say the way I consume media has drastically changed. I watch TV on Netflix or Hulu and don’t have cable. I enjoy original shows, clips, and programs on YouTube, listen to music on Spotify or Songza as well as one of the most unique new forms of entertainment; podcasts.

The podcasts I enjoy are simply digital copies of audio/radio broadcasts and interviews. My constant favorite for the past few years is the Nerdist Podcast which is great for entertainment purposes as well as stuff like the Smart People Podcast, Reply All, or Nerdette, which all have some great thought provoking content. What I think is the distinguishing feature of podcasts is how I am able to consume them. I can download them onto my smartphone, listen to them in the car or on the go with headphones while I work out for example. It’s awesome, original content coming out all year that is experiencing a boom recently, which in turn is a great opportunity for advertisers to create a unique relationship with their audience.

According to recent findings, at least 29% of Americans listen to audio podcasts (clumping in video bumps this number up), which is a sizable chunk consuming podcasts of all varieties on an array of topics. This means that consumers are getting on demand entertainment, news, and discussion on what they want most, creating a unique experience for them every time they listen. I know with the Nerdist Podcast, I feel like I’m catching up with friends when I listen to the podcast so whenever they talk about something, I follow up and heed their opinions. Check out these recent metrics that back up that sentiment:

  • 67% of podcast listeners don’t mind sponsorship messages and occasionally find them useful, compared to only 6% positive sentiment expressed for the advertising approaches of television or commercial radio.
  • Nearly 80% of podcast consumers (responding to the survey), agreed that “when price and quality is equal,” they “prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on or sponsor” the podcasts they regularly enjoy.
  • Ninety percent of these respondents indicated that they had taken some kind of action as a result of podcast advertising or sponsorship, and over 40% reported purchasing behaviors, which indicates that they are receptive to the right message, in the right context. (For the rest of the findings, click here)
Although I’m mostly highlighting podcasts here, it is clear that with this being a huge "new media" format, other mediums like music streaming sites and video streaming sites cater to the same sensibilities. We don’t want to be fed phony ads any longer. If I’m looking to buy a camera, I’m going to ask my friend who knows about cameras or reference customer reviews at the very least. Consuming is social and the advent of on-demand entertainment is linked with that. Advertisers should take notice and start to take advantage of this new possibility to create a more authentic, genuine connection with their customers.

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Organic VS Promoted Content: Which Reigns Supreme?

* This post is edited from the original, which was featured on Socialnomics.

So I am personally all about all-natural, organic, and sustainable stuff. Whether it is the toothpaste I use, the food I eat, or how I buy pretty much anything in my life, having something feel real and not artificial is important to me. This combines with my respect for authenticity and transparency in relationships. My overall preference for the "real deal" even comes into social media with the curious question I’ve stumbled upon when it comes to social media marketing; should one pay to promote or not?

Within the past year, both Facebook and Twitter launched the capacity for users to pay to promote their posts and tweets respectively. Facebook already had their “Ads” that would show up on the side of users’ timelines, but these two new functions put your promoted content right in the personal feeds of your customers. It comes, understandably, from the need to monetize these popular sites, but the real question comes in as to what is the best use of an organization’s money when it comes to engaging your audience; are you really getting what you pay for? Obviously, ideally your content will make it’s way out into the world on it’s own but usually, customers aren’t just following you, they’re following all sorts of different pages, even your competitors for business.

So it seems logical, you want the edge so you pay for promotion and you squash out the competition. Right? Well, the jury is still out on that. Not to say that promoted posts are not useful, but they also aren’t shown to be the way to go for every business and for every post. Social media is about engagement, and using paid promotion for posts can come across as spammy and inauthentic. Facebook paid promotions can be useful to get the word out about a new offer you have for your business or for an upcoming event since they only go out to those who “like” your page, as opposed to Facebook ads that go out to anyone and everyone. The same goes for Twitter. Think about what you’re posting and what is worth it to pay to get out to everyone and sort of muscle your way into their feed.

Another consideration to make is where you are putting this content. Are your customers even on Facebook or are they on Pinterest? Does your content make sense for the social media site you are promoting on? Facebook is different from Twitter which is different from LinkedIn which is different from Instagram (which also now supports ads). It is important to be intentional about the core what, where, when and why of posts in order to get the greatest results. From my perspective, the general logic here should focus on a few points: moderation (as with all things), organic engagement & paid promotion, and lastly, cater to the medium. For this last bit, whether that means you cover your basis on every social networking site or hone in on one, you can save a lot of money and time by knowing where your audience is and creating content for that particular venue. Doing all this will create an authentic aura that avoids the negative connotations of spam ads and allows for you to get the word out on all the great things your organization is up to.

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#sabrews, Comradery, and Idea-Sharing: Geeking Out Over Craft Beer

beer As a frequent contributor to the #sabrews hashtag, it’s absolutely no secret that I can appreciate a good craft beer. “Small batch” brews? Love them. Enjoying a flight of Birmingham-made beers? Fantastic!

Choosing a different beer to try during each of my grocery shopping trips is a highlight of my week, and visiting local breweries and hole-in-the-wall pubs with large taprooms are some of my favorite parts about traveling. While my friends complain about the long, drawn-out tours, I savor observing and learning about each step of the brewing process before tasting the final product.

How does geeking out over beer relate to my work in higher education? For starters, my institution does send students to local breweries to learn more about the brewing process in addition to being immersed in the world of small businesses. Our students love working with Good People Brewing Co., and they get a lot out of the experience. It’s an internship opportunity for a certain type of skill set, and I am fortunate to have some great students to support our community as well as learn a great deal over the course of the term.

But I’d argue that the connection between student affairs and craft beer is far stronger in my own journey as a new professional. Navigating the world of higher education can be daunting, especially for professionals who are just beginning their careers. How do we “break in” to national organizations? In what ways can we network with and learn from professionals and students from our own region? How can we get to know our great colleagues outside of student affairs, beneath the surface level? For me, craft beer has been the answer. A week before I left for New Orleans to attend the NASPA annual meeting this year, I reached out to my colleagues on Twitter to gauge interest in meeting up at a local tavern to try some Louisiana-made beers and swap favorite craft breweries. I never expected any sort of response, but almost immediately colleagues from all over the country jumped at the opportunity for the #sabrews crew to meet up and talk higher education over good beer.

I made good on my tweet, and met up with some fantastic professionals to discuss our work and swap ideas on how to better impact areas such as advising and experiential learning. In one instance, I had the opportunity to finally meet with Sara Ackerson, a good friend from Twitter and fellow advisor. We frequently updated our Untappd accounts – an app dedicated to exploring the world of craft beer and sharing thoughts about different brews with the community. (In fact, I learned about the world of Untappd through a colleague from the #sabrews community!) We tried some great local brews in the Warehouse District while discussing different aspects of academic advising – in particular, triage and productivity. I came away from our time together with a lengthy to-do list of things that would benefit my office, including appointment calendars and referral sheets to make sure that students were aware of other experiential learning offices.

Sara and I had a fantastic meeting, but I learned so much from my colleagues over the course of the conferences. Better yet, I further developed relationships with a network of great people, got to know them as individuals within and outside of the context of their work, and the entire experience made the conference feel more personal. Professional development opportunities like national conferences can be overwhelming, but through exploring a shared love for craft beer, I was able to find a niche within a crowd of over 7,500.

Kimberly White is a 24-year old student affairs professional living in Birmingham, Alabama. She serves as the Internship Coordinator for the rise3 Initiative at Birmingham-Southern College, an experiential learning and critical reflection opportunity for students in the domains of faculty-student research, internships, and service-learning. She is also a BSC Campus Advisor to the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, Alabama Alpha chapter. Kimberly's blog can be found over at Leadership Development and Life in the Yellowhammer State or on Twitter at @whiteoi.

Pocket These Podcasts: What I'm Listening To Lately

SCOI0065-summary-icon-100x100 Podcasting has been experiencing a renaissance recently. With the continued success of some foundational shows and the current breakaway success of some few shows, podcasting has become more mainstream in a big way. The quality is increasing, the topics or more nuanced and deep, and the audience is growing exponentially. I've been a fan of the medium for years now, and I'd like to share a few of the awesome new shows I've been listening to lately.

Startup Podcast

I was recommended this show by the incomparable Tom Krieglstein and have enjoyed following along with the story. It is basically the journey of a guy (Alex Blumberg) following his heart, starting a business (podcast network in this case) and his trials and tribulations. He is authentic and reflective throughout the whole process. He makes some mistakes, fumbles a bit, but eventually reaches his goal. It is a great look into how a startup might come to be today, and has some great tips for those interested in doing the same. Even if you're not thinking about starting a business, the story is still entertaining to listen to, so I definitely encourage you to check it out.

Invisibilia from NPR

This is a relatively newer show compared to the others on this list. As the name might suggest, the show examines the invisible forces that influence our lives. While there have been only two formal episodes, you can find a guest episode on This American Life and the two episodes that have been released are fascinating. The premiere episodes was on thoughts, their power, and the history of our understanding of them. The most recent episode is about fear. I'm really intrigued to see where the show goes from here!

Nerdette Podcast

I'm not sure how I originally stumbled across this show, but I'm glad I did. It's a NPR podcast out of Chicago that is a short snippet of interviews, nerdy Q&As, and their signature segment, nerd confessions from their audience. The confessions range from the humorous to the deeply emotional and are amazing since their listeners feel comfortable enough to share them out with the world on their show. If your into smart, nerdy things and good conversations, check this show out. It's light, engaging, and perfect for a listen on your commute or during your lunch break.

Honorable Mentions: Serial (obviously), Nerdist, How Did This Get Made?, School of Greatness, Smart People, This American Life, Freakonomics, Invisible Office Hours, Reply All