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5 Most Popular Podcasts of 2013

photo credit: Bill Selak via photopin cc

photo credit: Bill Selak via photopin cc

Podcasting saw a huge renaissance in 2013 as major content producers woke up to the ease or production and portability afforded the spoken word. It didn’t hurt that Apple made the podcast app a default app of the iPhone IOS either.

I’ve been podcasting since some time in 2006 and I still find it one of the best ways to gain access to people of influence.

In continuing my year end wrap up I present the most popular podcast episodes throughout 2013. These were judged most popular by virtue of the number of downloads each received.

1. People Don’t Share Brochures, They Share Stories – In this August episode author Jonah Berger talks about what makes something go viral – Contagious: Why Things Catch On

2. Reboot Your Business and Your Life – For this May show I spoke with Mitch Joel about the future of business – Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends

3. How I Podcast and Why I Think You Should – In May I did a solo show talking about how I do my show and why I think others should podcast – great tool for though leadership and sales! (You can hear a replay of this one by clicking the playing above.)

4. Nobody Talks About Boring Businesses – For this March show I spoke with Bernadette Jiwa about how to make your ideas stand out – Make Your Idea Matter: Stand out with a better story

5. How to Play More and Work and Why You Must – For this March show I spoke with Jonathan Fields – check out his The Good Life Project for some real inspiration.

You can find the entire year of podcasts here.

So, who would you love to hear me interview in 2014?

Office Not Required

Marketing podcast with Jason Fried

Remote office

photo credit: Michael W. May via photopin cc

My youngest daughter works for a tech start-up based in San Francisco. Only thing is, she’s never been to San Francisco. She lives in Spokane Washington and arrived home for Christmas this year to spend a full three weeks hanging out with her parents. Oh, and she’s busy working for that San Francisco start-up right now in the other room.

That’s the new world of work we live in and I for one think it’s an amazing time.

My dad still gives me a puzzling look when I quip that my office is anywhere I can get an Internet connection, but the reality is major, major businesses are being build on the backs of a remote workforce.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jason Fried, co-founder of 37 Signals (makers of Basecamp) and author of Remote: Office Not Required.

Fried and his business partner David Heinemeier Hansson have built a wildly successful company with offices in Chicago, but workers strewn about several continents. According to Fried work doesn’t happen at work in the traditional office setting and far too often organizations constrained by geographical hiring must compromise on the talent they can attract.

It’s pretty funny to see people who trek to coffee shops and libraries to get “real” work done because the interruption of meetings and availability in the office make it impossible to actually think about a project of any scope.

Of course, remote work requires a shift in culture, a new set of tools and more than anything, sharp focus.

You’ve got to work harder at staying connected with remote workers. You’ve got to work harder at reinforcing the culture of remote work and remote productivity. Fried talks about developing the ability to pick up when something isn’t quite right with a staff member from the tone of email.

Buffer, a social media start-up with a number of remote workers, posted this great advice on tools for remote work. Zapier, an API integration provider, also with a mostly remote workforce, chronicled their best practices for managing remote teams here.

The office of today just might not be an office at all. I for one would be fine with that little cabin in the Colorado foothills!

Why Audience Development Must Come Before Business Development

Marketing podcast with Jeffrey K. Rohrs

Click here to view a transcript of the podcast interview.  Audio file transcribed by Rev.com

I was recently asked to help a mid sized software company devise a marketing plan.

This organization claims they just don’t get marketing, and no one at the organization really owns it, so they struggle.

Audience

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Of course struggle is a relative concept. They have a head of sales, head of service and head of product – all of whom do marketing. In fact, I believe that’s the tricky part these days – it’s harder to determine where marketing lives because it’s really everyone’s job.

This organization, as you may have picked up, does not have a head of marketing and that’s an issue that’s starting to cause them some heartburn.

I don’t believe I’ll recommend they create a CMO position, however. They actually have many core marketing functions successfully distributed across the organization. What they don’t have though, is what I might call a head of audience development. They don’t have anyone driving their CEO’s incredible thought leadership. They don’t have anyone in charge of owned, paid and earned media assets. They don’t have anyone who’s primary concern is building an audience drawn to their unique approach to addressing the challenges of a rapidly evolving industry.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jeffrey K. Rohrs. He is the Vice President of Marketing Insights for ExactTarget, a salesforce.com company, and author of AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers

In Audience, Rohrs boldly claims states that, “proprietary audience development is now a core marketing responsibility,” and I concur.

An engaged audience is an essential driver of value. Organizations that build, nurture and serve an audience will outflank and outprofit their competitors every time.

Your clients will likely come from your audience but so will your referrals, partners, shares, mentions and permission to pitch your goods.

An audience can elevate an organization’s brand by pushing their message through industry influencers. An audience can pull business through channels by clamoring for goods and services in social media.

Of course, Rohrs is also quick to point out that an audience is a gift and unless you treat it as such you will lose it.

“We don’t own our audiences. They can leave at any time. We cannot force them to engage in our content. They’ve given us a great gift… we must be sure to thank them every day with epic content marketing.”

Every marketer today must understand this significant shift in thinking and embrace community and audience building as a significant initiative – or perhaps even elevate audience development to a stand alone function.

Is Work Killing Us

Marketing Podcast with Tom Rath

By now you’ve read or heard one or more of the reports about the negative health impact of sitting hunched over a computer all day. No? Here’s one from the Mayo Clinic and here’s another from Lifehacker.

fitbikeWhile many in the medical profession seem content to pass out pills to treat symptoms, there’s growing evidence that many of the most commonly “treated conditions,” such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and even blood sugar related conditions such as diabetes are linked to sitting for long periods of time each day.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the double whammy that being overweight adds to the mix.

Several new business books have been written on the topic, including one by this week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast Tom Rath. Tom is the author of several incredibly popular business books, such as Strength Finder 2.0 and is also a lifelong sufferer of a rare disorder that led him to fight cancerous tumors his entire life.

Tom decided to write Eat, Move, Sleep – How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes to address many of the practices he has adopted, literally as a way to save his life, and address the epidemic of work related choices that are killing us all.

In Eat, Move, Sleep Rath links the need to move at work (even if you’re a serious workout type), eat like you’re fueling a high performance engine and get sleep like it mattered.

Rath cites the now famous K Anders Ericsson study that found elite performers logged more than 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in order to achieve elite status. While some might conclude this simply means working longer and harder the study also found that these elite performers slept on average 8 hours and 36 minutes a night. The average American sleeps about 6 hours.

The book is one of the best collections of somewhat common knowledge packaged in a way that addresses eating right, moving more and sleeping more in the proper context without hype and fad.

Several years ago I was diagnosed with a host of disorders that got my attention. Instead of taking the pill route I changed my eating habits dramatically and made exercise a daily priority.

While these have definately made a big difference in my quality of life and health I still have an ongoing battle with the fact that most days I sit for a living.

Over the last couple of years I’ve added a number of daily practices and tools to combat what I think is one of the greatest health challenges many entrepreneurs and business owners face.

Below are some of my office movement routines and habits.

Timed breaks – I’m a big fan of working by the hour. I plan my day around 45 minute bursts followed by 15 minutes of moving and recharging. I force myself to get up and walk the dog or just stretch. I use the Apimac timer on my computer but if you find this too hard to do consider the TimeOut app that takes over your computer until you take a break.

Phone meetings – I do a fair amount of meeting by phone. When I jump on a call I immediately put on the headphones and pace up and down the office during the entire call.

Different chairs – Since I do a lot of work on the computer I do need to be stationary for long parts of the day. In addition to a pretty ergonomic chair I sit for periods on an Isokinetics exercise ball chair that works glutes, core and lower back automatically and I recently added a FitDesk stationary bike to the mix. That’s the one in the image with this post. By the way I’ve tried several standing options, but I like the bike better for some reason.

Exercise equipment – We keep a few weights and such around the office so that during my hourly breaks or on trips to get more water I’m reminded to do a set of kettleball swings. It’s a amazing what a little burst of exertion does for my creativity.

Foam roller – I’ve really gotten hooked on using a foam roller throughout the day. One of the things I noticed when I started getting back into lifting weights was how hunched over my posture had become. Sitting with your hands glued to a tiny keyboard in front of you all day pretty much forces bad posture. This position creates a lot of stress on the back. I find that rolling around on my back for a minute or two several times a day is great medicine for relieving this kind of stress.

I know all this stuff can get a bit goofy at times but the way I figure it is that being a business owner is demanding work and so staying at peak levels takes doing everything you can to stay sharp and focused. But really, I’m doing this now so that I get an  extra 10 or 20 years of trekking around the planet doing the things I love to do with my family.

Our Success Is Determined Largely by Our Habits

Marketing podcast with Tony Stubblebine

The subject of habits is something I’ve written about often. In past shows with Charles Duhrigg, author of The Power of Habit and Tom Asacker, author of The Business of Belief we hit this topic pretty hard.

lift.do

There’s a reason I talk about the impact of habits on a small business blog – I think to a large degree habits determine the direction and destination of your business.

Everyone uses habits as an operating mechanism. Drug dealers and millionaires are both guided by habits – they’re just different habits.

Habits either guide us in a positive direction or they hold us back. The key to success then in pretty much any area of business and life is to simply identify and adopt the most positive habits possible.

No matter what your goal, there’s a direct correlation between habits and routines and the behavior change they instill and achieving your goals.

My guest for today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Tony Stubblebine, Founder of a new community called Lift.do.

Why did Tony start Lift? “The genesis of Lift was the realization that we could all be super human if we could make willpower obsolete. I dropped everything else I was doing to follow this idea.”

Lift.do is a self improvement community featuring “plans” designed to help you change your habits in just about any area of life – health, productivity, mindfullness, communication.

You simply sign up, create goals, pick a related plan and track your progress either online or through the iPhone or Android app. You can also choose to get support and encouragement from friends or the Lift community at large based on your progress.

Habits are hard to form and hard to break, but in order to make progress towards our goals we often have to shake up our routine and get out doing the same things without though. Using tools like Lift.do and support of like-minded friends is a powerful way to started down the path to establishing behavior that will serve your business and your life in the long run.

Want to thank Tony for being my guest? Click here to say thanks on Twitter. (Stole that idea from Pat Flynn because it’s such a good one.)

Do Entrepreneurs Need College?

Marketing interview with Alexis Ohanian

Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman founded the social bookmarking site reddit shortly after graduating from the University of Virginia. They sold it a year later to media giant Condé Nast. You’ve seen the movie, that’s kind of how Facebook got started as well.

Alexis Ohanian

Alexis Ohanian

So, to answer the question posed in my title today – yes, college is very important as a vehicle for entrepreneurship, but not because the case studies used in Marketing 101 teach anyone how to launch a product. College for the entrepreneur has always been more about community and connections and learning how to try stuff out.

That’s why coworking spaces, startup villages, mentoring programs and incubators make so much sense for the aspiring entrepreneur.

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast I spent some time with Ohanian to talk about his recent book – Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed.

Ohanian has become a bit of a poster child for the under 30 entrepreneur set. In less than a decade his business accomplishments would make up a pretty solid career.

What I like most about his story though is that he’s thrown himself head first into causes that excite him (Stop SOPA and Mister Splashy Pants) along the way. That, I think, is the real promise of no permission needed. In fact, he describes himself as a start up guy with the aim of making the world suck less!

He’s currently on something like a 150 stop tour that includes a great number of stops at colleges where he is spreading a message of hope and inspiration and advice for how to take advantage of the opportunities present right now.

Today, anyone with an idea and some timing can disrupt an entire industry. Today, anyone can sit at a keyboard or draw stick like figures that incite a movement or create a business where nothing previously existed. Hugh Macleod of Gaping Void takes on the lunacy of work through what some might call doodles and millions join his community.

Allie Brosh shares her simple drawings and amazingly dry sense of humor at Hyperbole and a Half and writes about very real things like her very real battle with depression and routinely draws thousands of comments with each submission. Her book Hyperbole and a Half was an instant best seller!

Like so many other institutions the higher education system in this country is under assault. The same permissionless innovation that allowed Ohanian and Huffman to create reddit is poised to tear down any industry that won’t tear itself down and embrace the fundamental shift in the way people learn, create, build and grow.

I believe we are headed into a generation where entrepreneurship will be the defining attribute of society.

Can You Build a Business Today Without Social

Marketing Podcast with Jeff Korhan

divide

photo credit: mdmarkus66 via photopin cc

See, I still get asked that kind of question pretty much every day. “You know, that social media stuff is important, just no one in my industry is using it.”

I stopped being geeked up about social media some years ago, but that’s because about then I realized social media had firmly become a behavior instead of a tool or a tactic.

It’s no longer what you do, it’s part of how you do everything.

I for one don’t think you have to concede that social media is hip and important and all that, but you can’t really build a business today without employing it.

Let me restate that not for emphasis, but for clarity.

A great deal of what goes on in social media is silly, pointless and wasteful and yet you can’t survive without it. Oh I guess you can survive, but is that really the point?

Your customers need you to use social media to serve them, figure out how to deliver what they need and communicate in real time.

Your employees need you to use social media to connect them, keep them informed and allow them to participate in building the brand.

Search engines need you to use social media to demonstrate authority, network, share and  attract links so they can figure out where and how to index your content.

This week I visited with Jeff Korhan, author of Built In Social about how social media use has evolved to the point where it’s not something you consider as part of your marketing or business plan it’s something that just is – it’s like the oil in the engine – you must add it in, the only consideration is the weight and the maker.

When you look at social media as a tool to do what you’re already doing, better, faster and in a way that benefits the customer, I think it’s pretty clear how important it is in the process of building a business.

Once you can move past the hype, move past the resistance and move past the tool of the week thinking, you can begin to bake social media behavior into your marketing and business building in ways that simply serve the customer. Do that and you’ll come to realize you cannot live without social.

What Happens When You Cross Social Media with Stand Up Comedy?

Marketing podcast with Scott Stratten

So here’s the money question really. Have we gotten more stupider or has social media just made it seem so?

qr codes kill kittens

photo credit: Merlijn Hoek via photopin cc

I think it’s the latter. People, and by that I mean me too, have always done silly things in the name of marketing, but now they do silly things, get caught and are subject to global public humiliation at the hands of YouTubers and Twits.

One person who has dedicated some portion of his life to cataloging many a really bad idea gone worse is Scott Stratten.

Stratten is my guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. He is the founder of the Toronto based firm Unmarketing and author of the book by the same name. Scott and I chatted about his most recent book – QR Codes Kill Kittens: How to Alienate Customers, Dishearten Employees, and Drive Your Business into the Ground.

Stratten spends most of his time these days presenting his findings before audiences of marketers and social media addicts. His presentations come off more like stand up comedy than your traditional business presentation although the message is real and useful. He blends is personal ability to add humor to material you really couldn’t make up even if you tried.

In QR Codes Stratten highlights how many businesses get online marketing so very wrong, mostly by trying to do something that no one, not even the perpetrator’s mother, would approve of.

I think that’s the greatest lesson contained in studying how people abuse marketing. Much of what works and what does not work is common sense, good manners and reasonable taste. Where people often cross out of bounds is when they forget that any form of marketing must be useful in some way for the customer or prospect or it will miss the mark.

Your marketing must inform, provide insight, entertain and educate. It must not boast, criticize, self-congratulate, shout or kill kittens.

It’s not really that hard, although sometimes we make it seem so.

Reader note: Get Scott’s book and prepare to laugh out loud while being reminded just how fragile our seemingly good marketing ideas might be. I read a lot of books on my Kindle but this is one I would suggest you invest in the paper.