Webinars have been around for a while and their popularity only continues to grow. In fact, this effective marketing tool is poised to approach $1 billion in the next decade.  And yet, webinars aren’t always treated with the attention they deserve. Sometimes they come across as overly scripted or just plain boring. So, the challenge for those looking to host a webinar becomes, how do you make your presentation more engaging, personalised and interactive? Here’s everything you need to know about creating a webinar.

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So you want to start a podcast. However, you are worried because you do not know where to begin and may be concerned that you are not “techy enough” to pull it off.  Isn’t podcasting super complicated? Let’s dive into how to start a podcast. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about starting a podcast is that you have to have an audio engineering degree. Or that you have to have the latest and greatest equipment, and know all the technical lingo.

I am not a super techy person and I work in the podcasting space full time. Hopefully that encourages you that if I can do it…you can too.

The number one thing that you “need” to start a podcast is the resolve to start one. Everything is “figureoutable” including gear, tech, and RSS feeds. I promise.

I hope through this post, to demystify some of the technical blocks that keep people from hitting “publish” on their show. It will hopefully encourage you that if hosting a podcast is of interest to you, you should give it a shot. 

You never know, you might love it, and it might just change your life.

Forming your show’s concept

Looking back, one of the things that I wish I would have spent more time on was forming my show’s concept. I knew that I wanted to talk about leadership but how was I REALLY different from all the other shows on leadership?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to start a marketing podcast. How will your show stand out from the rest? Can you explain in a few seconds the core philosophy of your show and what listeners will gain by listening to YOU?

When someone sees YOUR marketing podcast will they know immediately if it’s for them or not? Is it for women and men? Is it for beginner marketers or advanced? How is what you teach different from other marketing shows right next to it in iTunes?

Now when you start to dig in and research what is already being done do NOT become discouraged. The fact that there are other shows like the one you want to start is a great thing, it means that there is a market for it. Don’t allow fear to set in and think,  “There is nothing special about my podcast. My industry is oversaturated. I do not need to start a show.

This honestly is just a bad mindset. There are leaders who I ADORE (and follow all of their work) and I have friends who have NEVER heard of them. If leaders with HUGE audiences still have yet to reach everyone, there is surely plenty of listeners to go around.

If you struggle with separating yourself from other shows ask yourself, “What do I wish existed a few years ago that I did not have access to?” or “How can I add more of my story or personality into this show?”. We are all unique so do not be afraid to add more of YOU in your show to separate you from the crowd.

 

The break down when thinking about how to start a podcast

To simplify podcasting for you here are the most basic of steps. Of course, you can dig and learn/implement many more details to this process, but technically this is all you need to get started.

First, you need your audio, then you need to submit that audio to your “feed”, then that feed updates all the directories (iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc). That’s really it. Not as bad as you thought, huh!? 

Audio

Seriously, you honestly do not need to spend tons of money on audio equipment. There are actually many people who record a podcast simply from their phones. 

You technically only need a .mp3 recording of your voice (and that of your guest, if applicable).  As for equipment, you can always start small and build. Buy something to get you started and upgrade when you can.

Same goes with editing your show. You can download a free program like Audacity and watch tutorial on Youtube on how to perform basic editing techniques to your file (adding an intro/outro or taking out filler words like “um, ya know, etc”)

Hosting site

There are many, many, many sites that can host your podcast. You need these sites to actually “house’ your show and give your podcast an RSS feed that you can submit to directories like iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.

These hosting sites range from free to only 30 or 40 bucks a month. Usually, they charge for more space (how big is your file?) and how detailed the analytics you receive are.

The simple idea behind hosting is that you only have to upload shows to one place and it does all the heavy lifting for you (hold your actual shows and distribute them to all the directories).

Submit to the directories

Once you have your audio, upload it to a hosting site, you take the RSS feed that the site creates for your show and submit it for (normally) free to a variety of major platforms. No, you do not have to continually update these platforms, they pull information from your RSS feed, so when your feed is updated (shows added, cover art changed, etc) your show will be updated too.

Every once in a while you have to go in and manually update your show on some of these platforms however that is very rare. Normally hosting sites like Libsyn allows you to update your show in all the places right there on their platform.

Wait, no. Shouldn’t there be more?

There IS more you need to consider when starting and growing your show. We could go into things like branding, distribution, whether you should have a website or not, etc. etc. However, these things can be figured out and tested as you get more comfortable with podcasting. 

One of my favourite quotes is, “Action creates clarity.” and it’s true in podcasting too. Sometimes you don’t know “all the things” you should be doing until you simply START. When you have people listening, and you get more comfortable, it will become clear what you need to grow.

The real reason that’s holding you back isn’t that you don’t know how to start a podcast

I think what keeps people back more often than not from podcasting is the simple FEAR of starting. Often we make things more complicated than they are and allow perfection to keep us immobile from taking action.

No matter how much you plan, your podcast won’t be perfect. Even more, your podcast is probably going to change as you grow your show and “find your voice” podcasting. 

Planning is GREAT and you should be clear on what kind of show you want to create and who it’s for (remember what we talked about with your show concept) but the actual tech side of your show is fairly simple. Remember that there is a natural learning curve to just about anything worthwhile and if you hang in there, producing your show will get easier and easier, I promise.

Let us know what questions you have and maybe we can answer them in upcoming posts!

Heather Parady should I start a podcastAbout the Author – HeatherParady

Heather is the host of The Unconventional Leaders Podcast. She interviews successful entrepreneurs who have overcome great adversity and built something great.

Creating a website, whether personal or professional, can take a lot of work. There is so much room to show your creative flair. However, you also need to consider the practical aspects, such as how to select hosting for your website.
There are a number of different options to consider, primarily determined by your budget, but also consider the specific requirements of the platform or content management system (CMS) you are using.

Where to start

Each CMS has a specific list of minimum hosting requirements. This will include the type of web server, the programming language or runtime that needs to be supported and the database it needs to use. Different versions of a CMS may also require a specific version of the language and that additional features are installed on the webserver.
Hosting a website requires a web server. You can choose between cloud hosting (public or private), dedicated hosting, virtual hosting or shared hosting.


Cloud Hosting

In principle, cloud hosting is the idea of hosting your website where it doesn’t exist on one specific physical server. Instead, you pay for a level of processing power, memory use and disk space.
Cloud hosting is best for websites that require a high level of availability and are available in multiple world regions. It does require a high level of expertise to setup correctly and optimise. However, you pay for the resources you use rather than a fixed amount. Cloud hosting can also be less performant but offers flexibility to increase the server resources available when required.


Dedicated Hosting

A dedicated hosting plan is where your website is hosted on physical servers with exclusive use. Dedicated servers generally offer the best performance and you have complete control.  Some hosting companies do offer managed VPS plans where they will look after the maintenance, backups and monitor usage and network availability.


Virtual Hosting

The virtual will have a dedicated amount of processing, memory and disk space allocated to it and often come in a range of sizes to suit small to large busy websites. In it’s simplest form a virtual server appears as if it is a single dedicated server but is one of many virtual servers sitting on one physical server.
A virtual server is a good option for small to medium-sized businesses. Maintenance and backups can be handled in-house or outsourced to a managed web hosting provider. As with a dedicated server, the virtual server will often give you full control over the environment.


Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the budget solution that is a great option suitable for small businesses.  It is a shared environment so your website can be affected by the other sites the hosting is shared with. This means selecting a reputable company is important.
Shared hosting is cheaper, you may pay $15 dollars per month, rather than hundreds for a virtual or dedicated server. However, shared hosting also limits your ability to run specific environments. Shared hosting is commonly used for CMS systems.

How to select hosting for your website

Small businesses

A dedicated server may be overkill and cloud hosting too unpredictable in cost for a small business. Shared hosting is most likely a good option for you however, check if your CMS has extensive functional customisations.


Medium – to large businesses

For a medium to large organisation, a virtual or dedicated server would be a better choice, especially if you’re running an online store or if you handle sensitive client data.
If you have a large customer base in other parts of the world, then a cloud solution may be better. This is especially true if your web site is duplicated across a number of regions but still appears as a single website for administration.

Considerations when migrating your website to new hosting

  • Your email may also need to be re-hosted. You could continue to host it yourself either in the same hosting environment as the website or on an in-house mail server. Many organisations are increasingly switching to third-party providers such as Office365 or GSuite. Whichever way you go, don’t, forget to run a back-up first and ensure this is copied outside of your mail program. For example, run a backup onto a USB just in case something takes an unexpected turn.
  • When updating your DNS records to switch the address from your old hosting to the new, there can be a period where visitors can be sent to either server. This is not a problem for information-only sites as visitors won’t experience any downtime. For an online store or custom application, this can be problematic should a customer place their order on an old website.
  • switching on the quietest day of the week, and possibly outside of business hours is beneficial.

About the author

Katrina O’Connell is the Managing Director at kmo. Having started her career in the early days of web, Katrina was a part of a team that was one of the first to build a multi-currency payment gateway for both real-time and batch payment processing. In 2007 Katrina started kmo, a web development agency located in Brisbane and works with both clients and agencies throughout Australia. Read more about their work at kmo.com.au


I don’t know about you, but it seems as though every day someone announcing that they started a podcast. From big brands to small business and even those trying to build a personal brand. Podcasting seems to be becoming a more and more attractive means to deliver your message. Which leads many to ask, “Should I start a podcast?”.

Podcasting began to catch fire around 2004 and has only increased in production and consumption since then. According to Edison Research [1] there are more than half a million podcasts and more than half of Americans have listened to podcasts.

I am a huge fan of Gary Vee, who is a digital marketing guru and advocate for content marketing. He is constantly hypothesizing that content that is consumed passively (like audio) is more appealing to the general public. Why? Well, because we are busy.

As a culture, there are many things pressing for our time. Stopping to read a blog or watch a video is becoming a commodity. However, we can more readily tune in to a podcast on the go or while we are multitasking.

Considering that this is how many of your potential clients are consuming content it is probable that as a leader and small business owner the thought has crossed your mind, “Should I start a podcast?

Should I Start a Podcast?

Yes.

Well, no.

Okay, maybe.

See how much help I was there? Before we can address whether or not you should start a podcast, let’s first talk about what podcasting is and isn’t.

Without getting too technical (I am not the most techie lady) a podcast is simply an audio show that listeners can download a single or multiple episodes of.

Itunes, Spotify, Anchor, Google Play, Stitcher, are just a FEW of the major podcasting platforms which can stream your show for little (or sometimes) no cost. After your show is “aired” there are opportunities to repurpose content across your social channels. This provides valuable content even to non-podcast listeners.

What I have loved most about podcasting is its ability to connect with people from literally all over the world. It is also an incredible way to bring a more relational element to your brand. You are actually SPEAKING to your audience. It is a cool way for them to “get to know” the person behind the product or the brand.

You Should Not Start a Podcast.

Whoa. What?

I just spent several paragraphs raving about podcasts and now I am going to tell you not to start one? Well, no.

I like to end on a high note, and tell you all the benefits of YOU starting your show. However, it would be a disservice to you if I did not share the not-so-pretty side to podcasting. My goal here is to paint a broader picture and help manage expectations.

Okay, ready for the cold hard truth?

  1. You will not get immediate results.
  2. It is a lot of work.

Sounds like fun right?

The reality is that ALL content marketing doesn’t yield immediate results and is a lot of work. So this should not come as a surprise to you to hear podcasting is the same way. However, I am still surprised at how many people start shows and get discouraged when the download number is not as high. Like with anything else, content marketing or not, results take time.

Of course, there are new tactics you can learn, and ways that you can improve your show, but more often than not it comes back to good old fashion grit. Another difficult aspect of podcasting is getting feedback from your audience. Unlike blogging or social media posts, it is harder to interact with listeners because they are consuming your podcast a variety of different ways through different apps, most of which do not give the option to comment on individual episodes.

The investment of podcasting

One more thing worth mentioning is the potential investment of podcasting. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on equipment, make SURE this is something you are committed to for at least a year before you quit.

Besides the investment in a good microphone and potentially recording and editing software (you can edit your shows for free using audacityteam.org)  you may decide to hire an editor, someone to design your show’s artwork and outsource promo material for your show.

You can, of course, do it yourself. I recommend doing it yourself at first just to learn the basics even if your long term plan is to hire out. Reason being, in the event that your assistant quits suddenly or is unable to produce your show, you are not left hanging and can still deliver your show on time.

Not to be discouraging, but realistically these are things you need to consider before taking the leap!

You Should Start a Podcast

Okay, here is the fun part, the reasons why you should start a show.

As mentioned before this is an INCREDIBLE way to connect with your current audience and be discovered by new audiences. Again, it is a long-term marketing strategy but has the potential to add SO much to your brand and reach.

If you decide to host solo episodes it can position you as an expert in your field. You can also share about your services (not too much because no one likes feeling sold to!) and even grow your email list by mentioning any free opt-ins that you have.

Interviews are also very popular among hosts for a couple of reasons. One, it is another resource to provide incredible value to your listeners. Second, it gives you an excuse to talk to really cool people in your industry and ask them any question you want. Let’s just be real here, that is pretty cool.

Lastly, it is A LOT of fun. I know I went on about how much work it is, but if you enjoy listening to podcasts you will likely really like hosting one. It feels really good to put together something that you are passionate about and have people actually listening to YOUR show.

No, really? Is podcasting right for me?

All in all, I am an advocate for podcasting. To say it has changed my life is an understatement. It has connected me with amazing people from all over the world and helped me build a platform where I can share my message which I am passionate about.

There have been times, especially at the beginning when I felt discouraged and wanted to quit, but I think anything you do that is worthwhile will have those moments where you question yourself and wonder if it is worth the effort for you.

Not everyone is going to enjoy podcasting or would necessarily benefit from it. I think all in all it is a personal decision and ultimately needs to be something you would enjoy. If the idea of starting a podcast sounds daunting and you already struggle with being overwhelmed, and time restraints, it may not be the best idea right now.

However, if the thought excites you and you are willing to keep a big-picture perspective and have reasonable expectations with starting one, I encourage you to try. You never know what might come from your show.

Heather Parady should I start a podcastAbout the author

Heather is a regular Leaders in Heels contributor and host of The Unconventional Leaders Podcast. She interviews successful entrepreneurs who have overcome great adversity and built something great. Read more about Heather Parady

 

[1] https://www.edisonresearch.com/infinite-dial-2019/


Whether you’ve been naughty, nice or somewhere in between, you deserve to treat yourself to something – anything! – this Christmas.  For many, 2014 has been a year of growth and development, for others, a battle beyond belief.  You may have switched careers, started families, changed family dynamics even, but whatever it is that happened to you this year, when December comes around, it’s a time for reflection and assessment.

Here’s our Christmas Gift Guide to help you get productive in 2015 … and beyond!

LifeProof cases for Smartphones and tablets

Prices start from $79.95.  Stockists found nationwide. For more information visit www.lifeproof.com/en/

If you’re a complete klutz, these are just the thing for you.  These sleek cases for smartphones and tablets offer full functionality and interactivity under any condition, whilst still staying stylish.  Juggle work, play and even sleep and keep your techo-bits life-proof with LifeProof!

LifeProof offer protection for Apple’s range of iPhones and Samsung’s range of Galaxy phones.  Choose from the following two styles:

LifeProof nüüd: with screen-less technology, the nüüd case lets you touch the actual screen whilst still keeping the phone waterproof

LifeProof free: with a build-in scratch protector, the LifeProof free; case completely safeguards your touchscreen, so you won’t have to worry about any nasty scratches across your phone screen.

LifeProof cases for Apple and Samsung

LifeProof cases for Apple and Samsung

Acer Notebooks and Tablets

Priced from $199 to $1,999.

This range of handy notebooks and tablets are techie toys that are out of bounds for the kids and your partner.  No, not because they’re for both work and play, but because they are just for YOU.

Choose from any one of the following notebooks or tablets below:

Acer Iconia One 7 Tablet: This 7 7-inch tablet, with Intel® dual-core processor, is the ultimate device for anyone who wants to enjoy mobile entertainment in a stylish device with multiple colour options. At $199 rrp, it’s perfect for those on a budget.

Acer-Iconia-One-7-Tablet-Leaders-in-Heels-img1

Acer Iconia One 7 Tablet

Acer Aspire Switch 10: This device offers both notebook and tablet capabilities, with 4 flexible modes for touch, typing, viewing and sharing.

This two-in-one device is perfect for those looking for style, substance and flexibility in their gadgets. The magnetic detachable Acer Snap Hinge™ has two hooks to firmly connect the tablet to the keyboard and a two-way connector holding the tablet for convenient two-sided viewing. Priced at $599 rrp.

Acer Aspire Switch 10

Acer Aspire Switch 10

Acer R13 and R14 Series: Both models are designed for those who don’t want to give up a traditional notebook design, but are seeking greater flexibility and bang for their buck. The R 13 Series features Acer’s unique Ezel Aero Hinge™ that allows the display to rotate into six different positions, while the R 14 Series features a 360 degree dual-torque hinge that allows it to be used in four usage modes. The R13 Series is priced from RRP $1,999 and the R14 Series is priced from RRP $799.

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Acer Aspire R13

Acer Aspire R13

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Acer Aspire R14

Acer Aspire R14

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MacBook Impact Snap

Priced at $99.95 rrp for MacBook cases, and from $39.95 rrp for the iPad Mini

Tech21’s MacBook Impact Snap cases and iPad Impact Mesh cases are ideal for those who are looking for a stylish yet light and practical case not only for their office, but also for when they are travelling or commuting for work or holidays. Featuring a layer of Flexshock and D3O impact material, these cases absorbs, dissipates and repels the shock away from the device when it is accidentally dropped or bumped.

Both the MacBook and iPad cases are sold exclusively at Apple stores or via the website at https://www.tech21.com/apple-macbook-cases and https://www.tech21.com/apple-tablet-cases.

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MacBook Impact Snap

MacBook Impact Snap

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iPad Impact Mesh

iPad Impact Mesh

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Wireless Plus

Priced from $219 for the 1TB and $279 for 2TB . Stockists: Dick Smith, Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Big W and http://www.seagate.com/au/en/store/ .

Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to access and enjoy your files while you’re away on business or holiday. That problem flies right out the door with a Wireless Plus gadget, featuring its own Wi Fi network. Wirelessly stream your files to your laptop, tablet or smartphone on the go, as well as bring your files stored on Dropbox or Google Drive with you and sync them without the need for a connection. Featuring the Seagate Media app, you can easily navigate and enjoy your content across up to eight devices, and with 10 hour battery life you can carry it in your bag and efficiently work wherever you may be.

Wireless Plus

Wireless Plus

Check out Get Your Life Back ebook by Kasia Gospos, founder of Leaders in Heels, on how you can streamline and automate your business and life so that you have more time for what you really love.

Featured photo credit: JuditK via photopin cc

EricaEnriquezPhotoErica Enriquez

Erica is a Sydney-based writer and digital marketer, and can often be found pounding away on a keyboard, writing about everything from travel, lifestyle, well-being and anything in between. When she is not writing, she is STILL writing, developing copy and content for websites and marketing collateral. Erica is passionate about film, literature and culture (high brow and low brow), as well as pro-social causes supporting cultural engagement (counting travelling as one of them). In her spare time, she loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book, go for a nice dinner with friends or spend time with her partner.


This week, Megan Iemma continues her ‘Technology Around the Home series’, covering new and upcoming technology for your study and lounge.

Being the ‘geek girl’ in our house, I am always browsing through websites and catalogues to keep abreast of the latest innovations. This doesn’t mean I can buy them all – in fact we still have my husband’s grandfather’s television (One of those large boxes circa 1998)!

I think the biggest trend for technology in your study and lounge areas is increasingly automated and interconnected products, especially via your mobile devices.

Mounts for your devices (iPad or Android Tablets)

twelvesouth_hoverbar_hanging_hires

There is nothing worse when working with your tablet, than having it sit flat on the table, where in reality you need it at the height of your computer monitor. There are two types of products on the market where this can make a difference.

There are stand alone mounts for your device (mounted to a flat surface). These can be adapted for both Android or iOS and should allow you to charge your device at the same time. More specific products such as the Belkin Express Dock are specifically designed to hold your iPad in a portrait mode.

There are also mounts that can be attached to your desktop monitor, such as the HoverBar3. You can even use it in your kitchen, as it clips onto any surface up to 1 inch thick and comes with 3 clips.

Smart Plugs

wemo

There are some fantastic products on the market that help automate your lighting, heating and appliances. An example of this is the WeMo Switch. It plugs into your power point and can monitor energy use (great for heaters in winter), turn devices on and off (think television for saving power) and help prevent your devices from overheating. Everything is controlled from an app on your smartphone.

The Power of Great Sound

Photographers | We Are The Rhoads | Chris & Sarah Rhoads Client: Bose

Like with any entertainment area or lounge, great sound is a must. I have a sound system where my iPod Touch lives (and charges) which plays my music. When looking for products that can stream your music, also look for apps that integrate with these devices so you won’t need an extra remote control.

Speakers that use Bluetooth or AirPlay are standard, but find speakers that can charge a device if necessary. I would love a Bose SoundTouch™ 20 Wi-Fi ® Music System as it would allow me to stream my music via our Wi-Fi system (via iTunes) and Internet Radio.

Wishlist items (yet to be released in Australia)

Cube Sensors

cubesensors_hires_1cube_gramophone

This product helps you to understand how your home or office is affecting your health, comfort and productivity. You place one cube in each room and they monitor the following: air quality, temperature, humidity, noise, light, pressure. Shake them, and they glow, identifying the ‘health’ of the room. Of course, there is the smartphone/tablet integration which you can access from any web browser to see the status and make a change.

Smartthings Hub and App

smartthings-devices-2

Like with many of the devices we are using, it is great to simplify, rather than having one remote or app for each appliance or device. This is a hub which connects to different appliances from different companies and controls them via a Hub. There is then one app to control each of these appliances from the Hub dashboard. It is available for both Android and iOS.

As more products are developed, there will be greater collaboration between companies to innovate and invent products that will communicate and respond via home automation. At the moment, cost is a factor as most appliances require an individual device for each separate room of the house, making it more expensive to set these systems up. Until then, I suppose will just have to remember to turn the heater on when I get home.

What technology do you use and love in your lounge and study? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Featured Image: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast