Showing posts with label podcasts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label podcasts. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29

Mixing Media: The Recruiting Animal

Last March, the unabashed shock jock of recruiting, best known to the industry as the “Recruiting Animal,” launched an online radio talk show. Since, the show continues to capture growing interest, maybe even contributing to his recent win as the “Best Recruiting Blogosphere Personality” gratis Best Recruiting Blogs Of 2007.

You think? No way, says Animal.

“I feel guilty about the prize because David ‘Bull Doza’ Mendoza of Six Degrees From Dave put me on his slate of candidates and sent a request to his super huge network* to vote as he advised,” explains Animal. “I have to assume that most of the voters didn't know anything about me.”

Whether they did or not, I doubt he feels guilty. At least not since the contest organizer stripped him of one coveted treat. There was no Starbucks coffee in the prize package.

“Have you ever heard the word schnorrer?” asks Animal. “Jay Dee (Jason Davis of is my friend, so he thinks that what's mine is his.”

Adding Practicality To Punch Lines

The Recruiting Animal is not the only one to add podcasting to his repertoire. Since August 2006, BlogTalkRadio has added thousands of shows, including several authors and celebrities in addition to bloggers. It makes some wonder. Is it worth it?

“I think it is easier to get other people to contribute their expertise because they don’t have to write anything,” says Animal. “But it does take preparation to do it well. Writing a good intro for the show is as time consuming as writing a long blog post, but you don't do it every day.”

In addition to the introduction, good online radio hosts have to spend considerable time researching topics and giving the information advanced thought. And, a blog or Web site is important for show promotion.

There is also considerable effort in developing a workable approach. While Animal says he is still in the process of formalizing his interview approach, there are a few things he has learned along the way.

• Always research the featured topic and examples
• Always plan questions thoroughly, including follow ups
• Sometimes pre-interviews can make a huge difference

“I did a pre-interview this past week and it made a big difference,” says Animal. “If I know something about the answers in advance, then I don’t have to struggle to get a clear statement from my guest.”

The pre-interview technique also put him in a position to clarify answers without losing the spontaneity that keeps the show fresh. And, he says, they are more appropriate than supplying advance material or scripts.

While advance material has been helpful for what he affectionately calls “The Animal Panel,” guests tend to know their subject and need more flexibility. On one occasion, he did plan a show with a guest and it backfired, with the guest refusing to stick to the script. Animal filled in some blanks, but the interview seemed like guest baiting to industry insiders as opposed to a fun show.

Balancing Acts For Guests And Listeners

Even with some tried and true tips, there are no hard and fast rules. One of the challenges Animal faces on a weekly basis is finding the right mix for guests and listeners. People don’t necessarily want a plodding question-interview session, but rather a fast-moving, entertaining, and informative show.

If he is too polite to guests, he says it makes for a less interesting show. Most people want what they are used to: blunt remarks, raised voices, and interruptions that sometimes have nothing to do with the subject. So Animal is always looking for balance between his colorful— sometimes snarky — blog persona and a radio show host who doesn’t frighten guests away.

“Since I know that I can find people to interview, I'm probably
better off telling guests that it's going to be a rough ride,” says Animal. “But if I don't sober up, I wonder if it might be hard to get certain interesting, but straight-laced types, on my show.”

Somewhere in between entertaining and outlandish seems to be the answer for him, even if it means losing certain guests to someone else. If he plays it too straight, his listeners let him know. Great introduction, they might say, but what a dull interview.

Live Listeners Are A Fraction Of Audience

Many online radio talk show hosts avoid answering questions related to live listeners, but Animal helped put this into perspective. He says live listeners aren’t as important as some people might think. While he would like more callers because they add value to the show, the bulk of his audience comes from people who download podcasts.

“I derive a lot of benefit from my regular callers. You meet a lot of intelligent, talkative people in blogging. When people like Maureen Sharib, Harry Joiner, Dave Manaster, or Jason Davis call in, they ask good questions that I wouldn't think of,” says Animal. “They also make good remarks and add a lot of variety.”

The show itself, much like The Recruiting Animal’s blog, is geared more for recruiters in the business than it is for recruiting clients and candidates. As a result, readership and listenership tend to be more narrowly focused. However, Animal is still surprised by how many people listen or write reviews of past shows, making podcasts a better measure of his reach.

“I do get the odd review in which someone I don’t know says they find it entertaining,” says Animal. “That’s a real treat.”

Currently, Animal is working to build a subscription network and that might give him a better idea of who and how people listen to the show. This may eventually help produce a show with online sponsors that will keep his Starbucks cup full.

So is it worth it? It seems to be for Animal. But like all online tools, it’s best to match what you do best with the available applications. If you have a good speaking voice and can dedicate time to online radio, it provides a richer experience and relationship than other formats. Animal is a natural for radio, and he didn’t pay me to say it. Listen for yourself.

You can also catch an essay discussion opener on BlogStraigthTalk on adding podcasts.

*note comments: Animal was dreaming.

Thursday, May 17

Adding Content Value: Social Media

It seems almost too fitting that the same day I was discussing digital media on The Recruiting Animal Show, Alexandra Berzon, writing for Red Herring, reported Technorati, the blog search engine that tops Google, is sending more and more users to photos, videos, and music instead of blogs.

Some people like Greg Sterling of Sterling Market Intelligence think that Technorati risks diluting its value proposition. I think it is part of the natural evolution of social media, adding content value beyond a well-written post.

Does that mean everyone should abandon their blogs and skew toward digital media? No. It simply means that communication is becoming more integrated and better equipped to deliver content in different forms and on different formats.

With that change comes the increased potential to turn the content value of a blog into tangible income generation (or income marketing as I like to call it). Sure, doing so does not come without risks. It seems relatively easy for social media to become a distraction for executives and support staff. But to me, that seems more like a time management challenge than a problem with social media.

Revenue Potential

As social media evolves, it seems almost certain that blogs, podcasts, and video will develop new ways to generate income beyond Google AdSense (not that there is anything wrong with it) and ad banners. Specific, but not necessarily exclusive, to digital media — pay-per-click advertising on original programming; pay-per-download or direct purchase of compilation sets; on-demand show merchandising sold over the Internet; and the potential for platform distribution syndication — all seem like obvious solutions.

Considering Risks

Of course, that is not to say that digital media is the best use of social media for everyone. As Harry Joiner, Marketing Headhunter, pointed out on the radio show, there are potential barriers for bloggers hoping to shift to digital media: technological constraints, content development, and time famine among them (eg. when will I have time to sell my product or perform my service?).

They are very valid points. As I said, it's certainly not for everyone. If you (or your consultants) are more comfortable with blogs, podcasts, or video, then by all means, add that in the mix for consideration. No content is often better than bad content.

Communication Strategy

There are solutions if you think strategically. After all, smart business communication always means that your tactics are dictated by strategy and not the other way around. Social media, let's never forget, is a communication tactic (not a strategy).

Two great examples come to mind. Check out Carl Chapman's post, "Why I Do I Blog?", and you'll see what I mean. ($170,000 in business seems to suggest that he is getting the right visitors.)

Now imagine what that draw might be with worthwhile video content to augment it. Certainly, the best shows with the most potential will require some planning and care. But employing video to add value to blog content doesn't have to be rocket science. David Maister recently demonstrated that with a well thought out video presentation on his Passion, People and Principles. (To me, the topic even provides a loose link to this subject. Time investment in non-billable hours can increase sales.)

In both cases, their businesses or professional expertise drive the content. It more than makes sense, it's strategic. Maister does it especially well given his mix of products and services.

Finding Solutions

For individual recruiters or other independent professionals, teamwork may provide some solutions as social media moves forward. For instance, The Recruiting Animal Show seems to drive the point home. As a host, Animal brings an infectious, often funny, always compelling format to the forefront. (As a side note, he recently earned national exposure in Canada as a recruiting expert because of, in part, his blogs.)

Sure, he has a show and it's his show (and his alone). Yet, other recruiters also benefit from the show through their participation and the show benefits because of their willingness to lend expertise.

David Manaster, CEO of ERE Media, Inc. and Jason Davis, who recently launched RecruitingBlogs, a social network for recruiters, often ask great questions and provide experienced answers on the show (they certainly did yesterday).

There was some question about ROI, but I think it's unfair to simply count callers. Given the show can be listened to any time after its first run, traditional ratings just don't seem to be the right measurement. Not to mention, when it comes to social media, the number of visitors pales in comparison to capturing the right visitors.


As Albert Einstein said: imagination is more important than knowledge. This certainly seems to apply to social media. After all, imagination in marketing has been the deciding ingredient for hundreds of companies throughout history, much more than any winning formula followed by others.

Come up with an idea (or let us help you discover one), temper it with strategic communication, and then fine tune what will make the right mix of content and business communication. For big companies, it might even be easier than for small companies. But then again, nothing makes a small company look big than its own show.


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