How many of you listen to podcasts? I have a half dozen or so that I download regularly and listen to. I listen to them when I am the gym, on long car rides, plane flights, or just when want to sit out on the deck with a drink and be entertained. In simple terms, an audio podcast is made up of digital media files that are released episodically and downloaded through the web.
The content of the podcasts varies. Some are like a radio show with guests and music. Others are more informational and walk the listener through steps on how to do something. Still others may feature an interview. Basically, if the content is something that can be recorded as audio, it can turn into a podcast production.
Why Small Businesses Owners Should Podcast
Check Price Now!Personally, I think podcasts are hugely underutilized tool for small businesses. Why is that? Well, podcasts have the power to let you engage with your existing audience (or client or customer) in a different way, spread your brand to new prospects, drive traffic to your website, and to also differentiate you from your competition. Let me explain.
Expanding Engagement with Your Current Audience – Most likely, your audience is engaging with you through your webpage or email newsletter. A podcast production is the next step to raise your game. Never underestimate the power of your voice. It conveys your message in a way that is much more powerful than the written word. Your voice lets your personality shine through and make a deeper connection with your audience. While your audience may know you are human from you photo on your webpage, hearing you voice makes it clear that you really DO exist.
Gaining New Prospects – Podcasts can help you find new prospects and expand your audience, as it serves as another medium of people to find you. There is a huge audience of people who listen to podcasts and regularly search out new ones that might be a fit for their interests. If you can connect with a new listener via your podcast, they will naturally want to head to your webpage as well. This gives you an opportunity to further engage them with your services or products.
Driving Traffic to You Webpage – Podcasts can enhance the material on your webpage and your podcast should be directing people back to your webpage to expand the engagement with your brand. For example, let’s say you are a professional event planner. You may come up with a podcast in which you talk about the three ways that an event can go wrong. You may go into detail on what went wrong and why. You may then tell your listener that you have a simple checklist for them to use as they think about their next event and that they can find it on your webpage. This is an example of using the podcast to get the listener to your webpage to further engage with your services or products.
Podcasting as a Differentiator – Depending on your industry, there may not be a lot of people creating podcasts. Thus, making the leap into the world of podcasting can serve as an instant differentiator. You can send people to your podcast from your webpage and vice versa.
It Is Fun – Randy Murray is a writer who runs a blog at www.whowritesforyou.com. He candidly notes that “writing is hard work. So when I get the chance to record a podcast or appear on a radio program, I’m all over it. Talking is easyEASY compared to writing”. How is that for a fun way of thinking about podcasting?
3 Reasons You May Not Be Podcasting
So, doesn’t this all sounds pretty good? Providing information to your existing audience, finding new prospects, and driving traffic to your webpage – wow, what is not to love? I have brought up the idea of podcasting with my business associates and there is some genuine reluctance on their part.
The reluctance to start podcasting seems to run the gamut. From not feeling comfortable hearing a recording of yourself to feeling like you may not have topics that are of value to your listeners to not having the technical know-how.
Your Voice – OK, your voice. When we hear our own voice, it does sound different than what is recorded. However, I assure you that your recorded voice sounds the same as what your friends and family hear every day. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but you can move beyond this. Wasn’t there some discomfort in starting your business, or starting your online presence? Those fears eventually went away. It will be the same with podcasting. I know you can move beyond that barrier.
The Content – Perhaps you feel like you do not know what you would podcast on. If you maintain a blog on your website, most blog posts can serve as a starting point for a podcast. You can expand with additional personal stories, references to related stories, or even interview someone who has used your advice or product. Remember, there is no set time limit on how long your podcast has to be. It could start out being 10 minutes, then you can expand it as you gain more comfort with it.
The Tech – The big reluctance that a lot of people have has to do with the technology itself. There are some package podcasting equipment kits that make it very easy. The offer “out of the box” usability and will have you making your own podcasts in no time.
Package Podcasting Equipment Kits
A great starter podcast equipment kit is the Podcaststudio Firewire Bundle from Behringer. The kit contains everything you will need to create professional podcasts. It can also be used for music production and digital home recording. The kit includes *everything* you need to get off to a smooth start including a FireWire interface, mixer, microphone, headphones, professional podcasting software and more.
The reason that I like this podcasting equipment is the same reason that so many others do. First of all, it has a reasonable price compared to other packages out there. Also, it contains everything you will need to get started. No add on items are needed for the typical user. I find the quality of podcasts that I create from this kit is excellent for the price.
The kit has 4.25 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.com with multiple reviewer speaking to the ease of set up and use and the quality of the recordings. Speaking of Amazon.com, I love the convenience of secure online shopping with Amazon and that it comes straight to my door. I don’t have to hassle with driving around town to find the product. Also, Amazon has a great return guarantee.
So please, I want to encourage you, from one business owner to another, to do yourself a favor and consider podcasting as a great way to raise the game for your business. It is a wonderful way to connect with your current audience, expose your brand to new prospects and to differentiate yourself from your competition.
Notebook Computer Stands – Looking Cool and Staying Cool – select equipment
Many people love the convenience of a notebook computer, but find it awkward to use as their desk computer because the monitor sits low and results in uncomfortable head tilt.
I use my notebook as my only computer for my business. I love the convenience of being able to take it to client meetings to show presentations, collaborate on documents, and to take notes. When I come home, there is no transferring of files, as I just plug it in and use it as my office computer. When I am using my notebook computer in my home office I do have a few components that I use with my notebook to make it a more enjoyable experience. These include a keyboard, mouse and a high-quality notebook computer.
Let me quickly talk about the keyboard and mouse and then we will jump into the meat of this, which is Notebook computer stands.
I have a keyboard that I plug in to one of the USB ports on my computer. I like a full size split-design ergonomic keyboard for home use. Some days I will have a lot of documents to prepare, so I like the comfort that a split keyboard provides to me. Plus it allows me to have a 10-key number pad on the side for when I need to take care of business accounting tasks. I don’t have that with my notebook.
Check Price Now!I also use a wireless mouse so I don’t have to use the scroll pad mouse on my notebook. I find I have more accuracy with a traditional mouse. Additionally, the mouse I use has a wheel for easy page scrolling and an ergonomic design, so there is less wrist strain.
Notebook Computer Stand
A notebook computer stand has saved me neck and back strain. You may not realize it, but if you are using your notebook at your desk, you are probably leaning down and forward to see your screen. If you have a lot of work to do in one day on your computer, this can result in shoulder, neck and upper back strain. I know, as I have experienced it personally.
Rain Design mStand – Notebook Computer Stand
Rain Design mStand – Notebook Computer Stand
When it comes to laptop computer stands, there is one product that keeps appearing on lists as being one of the most well-design and nicely crafted product in this category. It’s the Rain Design mStand (above). In a nutshell, this computer stand for a notebook has the following features:
The ability to raise your screen height by up to six inches
Tilt design to bring the screen closer
Design increases airflow to your computer
Single-piece stable design made of aluminum
The design of this product is really nice. It has an elegant curve and the silver anodized finish on the aluminum gives in a modern look that will work with a variety of office décor. If you have a MacBook, you will notice the finishes are very similar. They look like they were made to go together. This is the perfect laptop computer stand for Mac lovers.
Aside from looking cool, it also helps your notebook stay cool. By elevating your notebook off of your desk surface, you increase airflow which helps keep your hard-working computer cool. Also, the stand is made of aluminum which attracts the heat from your notebook, further increasing its ability to cool.
Notebook overheating is a real concern. With the computer chips packed in tighter and tighter to accommodate more power in smaller notebooks, it is important that there is proper air circulation to keep your notebook operating at peak performance.
Between the power cord, mouse cord, and keyboard cord, there can be a big mess on your desk. This notebook computer stand has a cable organizer behind the stand which helps corral the cords and make your work space cleaner.
What Others Say
I am not the only fan of this product. The Amazon reviews for this product are outstanding. There are over 275 reviews of this product and they are overwhelmingly five stars. Reviewers of this project consistently remark about the sleek design of the notebook stand and the solid construction.
One reviewer, the IT manager at his company, noted that this notebook computer stand was standard issue for all the employees at his company that were issued notebook computers. Reviewer also talked about the superior cooling ability of this product compared to other ones. You know, I got the feeling that this product needed its own little fan club.
Speaking of Amazon.com, I love the convenience of secure online shopping with Amazon and that it comes straight to my door. I don’t have to hassle with driving around town to find the product. Also, Amazon has a great return guarantee. So, now you know how I comfortable work from my home office with just my laptop. Using these products help me streamline by having all my data on one computer.