How to Record a Skype Interview

woman on microphoneOne in every three customers over the last two years that Jontus Media add to their client roster confess to discovering the company through the podcast.

Podcasting need not be daunting. You can record an interview over Skype. Today we’ll discuss how.

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My Best-Kept Secret to Make Your Business Irresistible Online

jj jmJon and I have been friends for five years now (thanks, Twitter!) but it’s only in the past six months I’ve gotten the “behind the scenes” view of how Jon approaches his business and his client work.

Recently I asked him, “How do you do it? How have you made your business so irresistible online?”

His answer was so good I knew I had to share it with you. Here’s the conversation we had.

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Interview: Gini Dietrich Talks Business Podcasting

Despite the increasing prevalence of online video content in the B2B market, people are still podcasting.

To find out more about the whys and what-fors I interviewed Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich, an outstanding online communicator, PR-expert and blogger at SpinSucks.com (the Fight Against Destructive Spin). She also recently joined the mic alongside Joseph Thornley and Martin Waxman for InsidePR, a brilliant North American podcast, that takes up industry issues related to PR and communications once a week.

gini-dietrich on podcastingGini and I chatted via email between the US and Stockholm.

Jon: As a business owner yourself why are you so involved in podcasting?

Gini: I began podcasting for two reasons:
a) My philosophy is that we never recommend something to a client we haven’t tried ourselves, and have seen some success and return-on-investment. We have a lot of clients who want to provide rich content to their customers and prospects, but have no patience or skill when it comes to writing. It’s important that I understand how podcasting works in that realm in order to best advise them. I also have a need to understand the technical pieces of everything we do so I can explain it to another business owner in a meeting.
b) My podcast co-hosts are two of my favorite Canadians and we’ve been trying to find a reason for a couple of years to work together. The InsidePR opportunity arose, they needed a U.S. contingent, and it took off. I really love it because it allows us to create markets internationally that, as boutique firms, have never had access to before.

Jon: In the last year or so the rush has been to video. After all, YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the planet. So why should businesses persist with podcasting, especially given that fewer people subscribe to podcasts than watch online video? (i.e. the Is Podcasting Dead-question!).
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Johnny Spence on How to Start a Business Website

To succeed online you need a great business website. The trouble is it can be a minefield finding the right people to build it, the right content management system (CMS) to run it, and the right web strategy to help your business grow.

johnny spence

'There really isn't a wrong choice for a CMS,' says Johnny Spence

So to get the lowdown on buying a website and the more technical side of online communications, I talked to Johnny Spence, a web-developer who runs Oscarrweb! out of Barcelona.

As well as knowing his way around web code and developing great business sites, the great thing about Johnny is that he’s an awesome communicator and blogger. Vist his blog: The Freelance Rant

We chatted over email and twitter between Spain and Stockholm.

Jon: Getting started with online content marketing means you need a website. As a web programmer, what do you think a business should be looking for in a web site or CMS?

Johnny: There are thousands of possibilities for a business website with a budget to match. Rather than picking a CMS and going from there, you should ask yourself the following to start planning a website:

  • What is my budget?
  • What is the purpose of my business website (advertise, inform, both)?
  • Will I need to update my website on a regular basis?
  • Will I need to expand my website in the near future?
  • Will I need a blog?

Then the next step is to find a recommended web designer/developer and consult on a solution with the above needs in mind. Better yet, if you know of a freelance designer you communicate with on Twitter or other social media, hit one of them up.

Jon: There are SO many different kinds of CMS out there. How does a business user know what’s right for them? And how do they make the right choice?

Johnny: There really isn’t a wrong choice for a CMS whether it is a custom made or utilizes one of the widely available open-source softwares such as WordPress or Drupal. It does have to suit needs and for a website though. So, before deciding on one, you will want to have a test run with a similar CMS with a developer to see if you will be comfortable with what you will be using.

As a general rule, WordPress is great for a business website with an emphasis on a blogging platform and is the most cost friendly to implement since it is so popular. Drupal is good for a larger scale website, with or without a blog, but development costs can run higher. A custom CMS, however, can be made how you like it and is generally easier to use, not having all of the complexities of a commercial CMS.

Due to the custom and/or proprietary nature of a custom CMS, though, costs can run higher and, if you decide to migrate to a more commercial CMS in the future, you could incur more costs there as well.

Jon: Small businesses just starting out probably aren’t going to have a massive budget to develop their website. There’s always a battle between investing in the “visual stuff” and “technical stuff”. If you’re on a tight budget what’s essential if you’re looking to use a website as a place to market your company?
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Understanding Content Marketing with Sharon Hurley Hall

After talking blogs, Facebook, Vlogs, and the social communications scene in Sweden, I wanted to talk to a content provider.

content marketing sharon hurley hall

Sharon Hurley Hall

So this week’s interview is with Sharon Hurley Hall.

Sharon, who is from the UK, specialises in web content and search engine optimized (SEO) web copy. She also does a lot of ghostwriting and ghost blogging.

I definitely recommend you follow Sharon on Twitter. She also blogs at Get Paid to Write Online.

Questions

Jon Buscall: What is the best way for a new business looking to embrace content marketing to get started?

Sharon Hurley Hall: The best approach is to forget about the idea of marketing in the traditional sense. People are tired of having the same old stuff pushed at them via the same old channels. Think instead about what you can provide that’s relevant to your customer and that your customer will find valuable. In a sense you are not selling your product, but showing off your expertise.

If your customers find value in the content you provide, then you will become a go-to resource – and *then* they may buy your product or service.

Jon Buscall: Do you think that a comprehensive content marketing strategy can completely or partially replace traditional advertising and marketing?

Sharon Hurley Hall: I’m not an expert, but there are lots of online examples of people who have built successful businesses simply by marketing content. Consider Brian Clark’s Copyblogger blog, for example, where valuable information is given away free every day.

As far as I can tell – and I speak subject to correction – Brian has built a following by giving away good free stuff, so that when he’s got something to sell, people are falling over themselves to sign up.

That can work for any business, if the business knows what information the customer wants and can provide it.

Jon Buscall: I see you’ve written an E-book. Should E-books (still!) be a core component of a small business marketing strategy?
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Annika Lidne talks Social Media and Online Communications

I wanted to go Swedish with this week’s Online Communications interview and I immediately thought of Annika Lidne, CEO of Disruptive Media.

annika-lidne

Annika Lidne (photo: Björn Falkevik)

Annika is one of the most well-known people in the social media industry in Stockholm / Sweden.

I first came across her when I attended one of the Disruptive Media events she organised last year.

As well as being a very knowledgeable and popular figure inside the industry, advising large companies and organisations about social media and digital business, she’s also a very passionate and eloquent speaker about social media and online communication.

Each month Annika also organises the Stockholm Social Media Club that meets for a Friday lunch and networking get-together.

The next Disruptive Media conference is on Social Cash and takes place on March 25 in Stockholm. I hope to see you there!

Jon: One of the courses you offer through Disruptive Media is “How to Create a Successful Blog”. What do you think makes a successful business blog ? And is there anything that Swedish business bloggers are doing differently that people can learn from? Examples?

Annika: Successful blogs are like any other successful content; interesting, relevant and entertaining. To be successful in a business setting, you also have to be useful, very up-to-date and on-topic. The problems many corporate bloggers face are over-selling and over-promotion. Instead of thinking what is interesting for your readers, you want to promote what is interesting for your company.

To make your company blog rise above the level of every other company blog you have to move from just writing about your company, to writing about the topic of your niche i.e. report news and user cases from the area your company works in (Well, unless you are Google. Then you can get away with being very company-centric!) .

I can’t really think of any advice gathered from Swedish business blogs, per se. It’s more the reverse: Swedish business bloggers can learn much from international business blogs on how to select a niche and promote your blog.

Jon: A lot of Swedish businesses are increasingly active on Twitter and Facebook. Some post in English, others Swedish. How would you describe how we’re using these channels in Sweden? or Stockholm? Any trends you’re seeing? Is this a possible route for Swedish businesses to make international connections ? And how do they best achieve this?

Annika: Right now, ordinary Swedes haven’t discovered Twitter. They are on Facebook. But, if you want to connect with journalists, politicians and other people involved in the media, Twitter is a good service. More and more companies and organisations are on Twitter so I think we will see an increased adaption from the general public, especially with the live Twingly channels from the Swedish semi-finals to the European Song Contest and the upcoming Swedish general election. Twitter is getting a lot of media attention right now.

I think that Twitter can be a great tool for Swedish businesses to make international contacts, especially for start-ups in the fields of IT, Web, and Media. If you’re selling industry production, however, I think it’s harder because the audience isn’t there in the same way. But to make worthwhile contacts, you have to start by reaching out through Twitter, reading that person’s or company’s blog, starting a dialogue and then perhaps meet up at a conference.
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Michelle Chmielewski talks vlogs, YouTube and B2B

This week’s Online Communications Interview is with Michelle Chmielewski, by day Community Manager for Synthesio, a French company specialised in monitoring and analysing online buzz in the B2B market, and by night The Observing Participant, a vlogger on all things social media.

Michelle Chmielewski

Michelle Chmielewski

Originally from Upstate New York, Michelle has spent the past five years living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Paris and Lower Normandy, France, and Salvador and Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is “passionate about being able to create something each day, no matter how great or small”, and, in her own words, “loves finding out about what makes other people tick.”

I first came across Michelle when I saw a vlog she’d made for Mark W. Schaefer. The energy and tone of Michelle’s piece and focus on B2B prompted me to connect with her.

We talked via email and Twitter.

Make sure you follow Michelle on Twitter or @synthesio.

Jon: At the start of the year a lot of people were touting 2010 as the year when online b2b blog video content would really break through. Were they just getting carried away?

Michelle: I actually did not hear too much buzz about this, but I would be willing to bet that they’re headed in the right direction. The fact is, there is still a large percentage of the global population that is not online (25.6% in 2009, according to InternetWorldStats.com), but the rate at which that is changing is phenomenal.

The beginning of 2011 may provide us with vastly different demographics, and while online videos may still only reach a certain percentage of global consumers right now, it will be interesting to see how different businesses use a video format to translate their message.

A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? At 24 frames per second, times 60 seconds, that’s 1440 pictures per one one-minute YouTube video.

I learned how to use Final Cut Pro by watching YouTube videos made by kids younger than me — and I’m only 24! Check out this kid, for example – he’s incredible. If my generation doesn’t bring videos to the business world, the next one will, for sure.

One of Michelle’s personal vlog’s on social media

Jon: When I encourage clients to vlog or incorporate video content on their site, they worry that it has to be “slick” or “professional”. What’s your take on this?

Michelle: I think that every time you make a video you have to be aware of who you are representing. Wanting a more “slick” or “professional” video on your site is perfectly understandable.

When Synthesio decides to make a video to let people know about our latest happenings, interviews, etc, and I am on-screen, I have a different approach than for the videos that I put on my own personal blog. The videos we make for Synthesio represent all of its employees, clients, and partners, past, present, and future, whereas my blog is just.. me.

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Annette Schwindt on Facebook for Business

This week’s Online Communications interview is with Annette Schwindt, a Bonn-based accredited PR consultant, and author of a German ebook-introduction to Facebook that’s been getting a lot of attention. Later this year Annette is set to publish a print book about Facebook with O’Reilly Verlag, Germany.

The more helpful and interesting content you share and the easier your fan page is to find, the more fans you will get.

I wanted to talk to Annette because business clients can’t seem to get enough Facebook at the moment; however, from the conversations I’ve been having many aren’t sure how to use Facebook.

I’ve been watching Annette do interesting things with Facebook for several of her customers so I was delighted she took time out from her hectic schedule to share her thoughts with me.

Jon: You’ve been doing more Facebook work for clients recently. What do you think makes a Facebook presence so useful for business users?

Annette: Facebook is the mash-up solution for your communications. Which doesn’t mean it can substitute a website or blog. But it can help you create a platform (profile or fan page) where people can connect with all your communications activities in one place.

On Facebook you can easily:

  • share any web content (and make yours shareable)
  • implement your feed content in Facebook
  • use all kind of applications that will even allow you to use other services right there

and the other way around: create a livestream for your website or blog by using the Facebook fan box.

That way you can create your individual mash-up for your communications and build community.

Das Facebook-Buch von Annette Schwindt (schwindt-pr) bei O_Reilly Verlag

Annette's German Facebook-book blog

Jon: Clients seem to be increasingly keen to explore how Facebook can work for them. How does a business really get started on Facebook? And are there any major traps to avoid?

Annette: Ooh, there’s no short answer to this question!

Starting with Facebook is like starting with any other social media tool. Go there and watch first. See what others are doing and how you like what they’re doing. Is their fan page helpful? Do they provide the information you’d be looking for as a client and is it easily accessible? And in what way do they communicate? Is their fan page easy to find at all?

As a business I’d hire a professional to help me get started with my own fan page because, yes, there are traps you can easily fall into if you’re completely new to this platform (starting already with the question: business or personal account?). There’s never just one way to get something done but there are always several options. A professional will find out which ones are right for you and save you time, effort and money.
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Kirsten Wright – The Online Communications Interview

Today sees the launch of a series of interviews here on JonBuscall.com – Communications Consultant.

I often write interviews for other outlets and thought it was about time I talked to some of the interesting people around the globe who work with online communications.

'A blog manager has zero additional costs'

First up is Kirsten Wright, a very creative blogger, who juggles Blog Management, Design, and Copywriting Services out of her base in Orange County, CA.

I first came across Kirsten after she left a comment here on this website. Ever since then I’ve followed her daily positive posts and sound advice with interest.

Kirsten and I chatted over email between Stockholm and California.

***

Jon: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing business bloggers just starting out today and why?

Kirsten: Consistency. Most of my clients, and those who I talk with about blogging find that trying to get 4 posts a week written is almost impossible. But it needs to be done if the blog is to be successful in any way.

We all keep our schedules so full that the idea of adding in something else, especially something that takes focus, concentration and time, is too difficult to comprehend. But if they can get past the consistency and dedicate themselves to writing, the next hurdle is the content.

We all run out of ideas (even me) and it can be disheartening to sit in front of a blank screen and try to come up with something to say. Lastly, if you can get past the amount of writing, come up with plenty of content, there is still the comments (or lack thereof) to deal with. For businesses who are used to easily getting a response, and believe they have interesting things to say, it can be frustrating to receive no comments. Most bloggers don’t receive comments right away, and some it takes months before they’ll ever see participation. Keeping motivated beneath these 3 things (consistency, content and comments) is the hardest part of blogging.
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