Inside PR Podcast: I want content that's relevant to me. How about you?

I’m a big fan of podcasts. I listen to them in the car, at home, while I’m on the treadmill and on the subway. Thanks to podcasting, I can listen to my favorite programs when and where it’s convenient for me. But what’ s even better about podcasts is that I can find content that focuses on my interests. And my interests are much narrower than the general public’ s interests. This isn’t broadcasting. It’s content for me and my community.

Each week, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I record the Inside PR podcast. We talk about things that interest us as communications professionals who are also exploring the changes that social software and social networking have made possible in the ways that people find one another, form relationships and interact. We try to talk about what’ s really going on, not just what happened. So we look for the truths and trends that underlie the communications and technology developments of the week.

It’ s fun for us to share our thoughts. But it’ s even better when you tell us what you think. So, please do give us your ideas for what we should talk about on inside PR. You can reach us on our Inside PR podcast Facebook Group, by leaving a comment on the Inside PR blog, or by tweeting to @inside_PR.

Don’ t be a stranger. Don’ t be shy. Let us know what matters to you and what you would like Inside PR to talk about.

And because seeing is better than reading, here’s my video invitation to participate in setting the agenda for Inside PR.

Nora Young adds some Spark to Third Tuesday

norayoungNora Young is fascinated by how people adopt and apply technology in their lives. And she share her passion every week on CBC Radio One’s Spark. In fact, the program has been so well received that the corporation recently announced that it will be lengthened to an hour in the autumn.

But Nora’s Spark isn’t just a radio program. It’s also a much listened-to podcast that can be listened to at any time. And it’s a blog which offers subscribers a chance to listen to complete undedited interviews that were shortened to fit into the broadcast program. Even more, it’s a blog where Nora and the Sparks production team solicit community input on story ideas that they are developing. And of course, it’s also a Twitter ID that Nora and her team use to tell people about what’s happening with Spark and to have conversations with them.

Nora is truly the new generation of broadcaster. As the traditional model tumbles down, as newspapers are closed, as television stations are closed and as radio budgets are cut, one thing is for sure. Nora Young will be using the media that her community has migrated to.

ThirdTuesdayTorontoSo, I’m really looking forward to Nora’s appearance at Third Tuesday Toronto on June 23. She’ll be sharing with us the lessons she’s learned from her journey into social media. What were the bumps? How did she overcome them? What has been most successful? Where does she see things going in the future?

If you’re interested in celebrating the potential of new media and talking with someone who is showing how to bridge traditional media and social media, I hope you’ll join us on June 23. You can register online to attend Third Tuesday with Nora Young.

As always, I’d like to give a shoutout to our sponsors: Our founding sponsor, CNW Group has been joined by the Berkeley Heritage Event Venue to help us make this event possible. Thank you to our sponsors. We couldn’t do Third Tuesday without you.

Inside PR to kick off its Third Year at Third Tuesday Toronto

ThirdTuesdayTorontoWe’re planning a special Third Tuesday Toronto on April 2.

For the past two years, David Jones and Terry Fallis have recorded the Inside PR podcast every week without fail. That’s 104 episodes without a single missed week. And throughout this time, they’ve enlightened and entertained us with news, insight and humorous reflections on social media and the world of public relations and corporate communications. And not only are they still going strong, but with episode 101, Dave and Terry gave the podcast fresh energy by adding an Inside PR panel. So far, the panelists have included Martin Waxman, Keith McArthur, Julie Rusciolelli and Michelle Sullivan.

David and Terry also were among the original group of Third Tuesday Toronto organizers, along with Ed Lee and Chris Clarke.

Inside PRSo, what better way to kick off the Inside PR’s third year of podcasts than by recording Episode 105 live at Third Tuesday Toronto?

Register to attend to join Terry, Dave and the Inside PR panelists, for the recording of the 105th. episode of Inside PR. Bring your questions and comments and plan to participate in what should be a fun and memorable podcast.

As always, a special note of thanks to our sponsors, CNW Group. CNW covers the hard costs of Third Tuesdays, making it possible for us to stage these events free of charge to participants. Thank you CNW!

The First Podcamp Ottawa

Mark Blevis, co-founder of Podcasters Across Borders and Canadian Podcast Buffet is organizing the first Podcamp Ottawa this Sunday.

Podcamp is an Unconference. So, people who feel they have some knowledge or expertise they’d like to share with other participants can slot themselves into the schedule on the Podcamp Wiki. Speakers who’ve already indicated that they will lead sessions include Charles Hodgson, Tommy Vallier, Bob Goyetche and Mark.

Mark and I bumped into one another on Parliament Hill where he took a few minutes to discuss his plans to make Podcamp Ottawa a special experience for participants. Toward the end, he also provided a preview of this year’s Podcasters Across Borders.

You can watch Mark’s discussion with me by clicking on the image below.


If you can make it to Ottawa this Sunday, sign up to attend PodCamp Ottawa.


Terry Fallis talks about Inside PR

Inside PRTerry Fallis and David Jones have been nominated for a Podcast Award for their work on Inside PR.

Inside PR is part of my weekly listening routine. The guys are always interesting and entertaining. You can tell that they are true friends with great personal chemistry. (Disclosure: Terry co-founded Thornley Fallis with me and I’ve worked with Dave both as a colleague and a client.)

I get to see Terry every day. But the vast majority of Inside PR listeners have probably only heard his voice. So, I decided that Inside PR’s nomination would be a good reason to conduct a video interview with Terry.

Terry talks about the history of Inside PR, its content and focus, some of the lessons he has learned from the experience (If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, this section is a must-watch) and the challenge of keeping it fresh after more than seventy weekly episodes.


I didn’t have a chance to arrange for David to be in the room with Terry. But I’ll try to make it to his office at Fleishman Hillard in the near future to get his perspective.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of Inside PR like I am, don’t forget to cast your vote for Inside PR.

Managing Your Social Media

We are becoming overloaded with a surfeit of social media sites and tools. We can either break under the load of options or we can find ways to cope, to manage our social media.

Bryan Person came all the way from Boston (6 hour drive) to talk to Podcasters Across Borders about how he manages these tools – and we’re glad he did.

Bryan Person-1 First, you have to make hard decisions. Make choices among the essential tools.

Develop a routine to allow you to cover things quickly. For example: Email; Twitter; Facebook; Calendar; Blog Reader. Then you’re good to go.

Using Tagging to save items associated with terms that are meaningful to you.

Prune your feedreader subscriptions. In fact, think of deleting all of them. You’ll quickly re-subscribe to those feeds that really matter to you.

Trust your network for recommendations. You don’t need to subscribe to or read everything. If one of your friends spot something that he or she thinks is important, they’ll pass it along to you.

Finally, be prepared to step away. Turn your computer off. Enjoy life. Then you can come back to the computer refreshed.

Getting your podcast seen as well as heard

To find information, most people search for a term on Google, Yahoo or MSN. And these Search engines don’t really care about sound. They care about text.

So, how do you, as a podcaster get Google to notice you?

Julien Smith-1 That’s the question that Julien Smith provided a practical, straightforward answer to this question in his presentation at Podcasters Across Borders.

First, podcasters need to become more than just a podcaster. You need to be Web producers. That means communicating through a blog, communicating through Twitter, through forums, through a variety of channels and media.

Second, you must pay attention to the keywords that people are using to find you. Subscribe to sites like SEOBook and SearchEngineLand to learn basic Search Engine Optimization techniques.

Don’t forget to post show notes for all of your podcasts. Use key words that describe your content.

Julien has many more tips. But, he only had 30 minutes for his presentation. So, if you get a chance to attend a session with Julien, grab it. You’ll learn a lot.

Creative Commons Licensing in Canada

Andy Kaplan-Myrth and Kathi Simmons from the University of Ottawa’s Law and Technology Program spoke at Podcasters Across Borders about the legal regime that podcasters and bloggers in Canada must observe.

Kaplan-Myrth outlined the fundamentals of Creative Commons licensing in Canada.

Traditional copyright seeks to reserve all rights to the author other than those that she specifically surrenders.

Creative commons has been developed to encourage sharing of information. It has several different licences that allow sharing based on a selection of different elements:

  • Attribution: Content may be used and redistributed, but the original creator must be given credit for it.
  • NonCommercial: The content may be used and redistributed only for noncommercial purposes.
  • NoDerivatives: People can use and redistribute, but not modify the work.
  • ShareAlike: Users can use, redistribute and modify your work. But if you do modify it, any work that you produce based on these changes must have the same ShareAlike condition.

In Canada, there are over 300,000 works licensed under the Canadian Creative Commons. This Canadian licences have been customized to reflect Canadian laws, so Canadian bloggers and podcasters who use a non-Canadian CC licence should switch to a Canadian licence.

Kathi Simmons unveiled the Canadian Podcasting Legal Guide. It has been prepared by the Law and Technology group at UOttawa to provide Canadians with the basic information they need to understand the law that applies to authoring and using content for social media in Canada. 

Hard copies of the guide were distributed to PAB attendees.

The Canadian Podcasting Legal Guide will be available for download form the Canadian Creative Commons site.

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Podcasters Across Borders

Podcasters Across Borders brought together about 125 podcasting enthusiasts for two days to talk about everything podcasting.

Some fresh voices that I’m not used to hearing at the standard conferences I attend.

Ted Riecken delved into podcasting as a community.

Communities exist as an expression of shared interests, similar backgrounds, shared needs. Podcasting exists as a liberatory space – a place where many people on the periphery can share in the common wealth of knowledge. As a communication medium, it serves as a gathering place.

Podcasting provides a means for people to tell genuine stories to a community with common interests in a largely unregulated environment.

Podcasting has many of the characteristics of a frontier culture. It is transitory, emergent and constantly evolving. Like a frontier economy, there are still limited and alternative forms of commerce. The discussion of “how do I monetize my podcast?’ does not yet have a universally accepted answer.

The podcast culture places an emphasis on freedom, opportunity and growth. Much of the content originates on the edge and reflects niche interests.

Podcasters place an emphasis on freedom of speech, thought and expression. They prize real people telling authentic stories about lived experience.

The echo chamber effect presents a challenge to the evolution of the podcasting culture. To overcome this, it is important to emphasize diversity, critical inquiry and thought, to offset the positive feedback loops.

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Making Audio Stories that Don't Suck

Tod Maffin entertained and educated the Podcasters Across Borders attendees with his From Idea to Air presentation.

Tod Maffin From Idea to AirIf you haven’t seen Tod give one of his keynotes or workshops, you absolutely have to. The best presenter bar none.

I’m not going to be able to do justice to Tod’s full presentation. He’s much better than I make him sound. And sound is the operative word. Tod doesn’t just offer sage advice in an entertaining way. He peppers his presentation with sound clips that make the points he wants to convey.

So, how do you tell great stories?
Off the top. If you want to tell good audio stories, don’t be predictable. Don’t follow a formula. Don’t be boring.

Start with an idea. And remember, that YOU are the content. Look around you for story ideas. Ask family. Ask friends. Never throw away clips. The bloopers and off-story clips may let you approach the story from a different, more playful angle.

Revisit old stories. Epilogues to past stories can be poignant and compelling.

Look for inspiration in wallpaper – the stuff all around us. The commonplace. Those things that are part of our routine and that we take for granted. Like ordering a cup of coffee leads to a story on oversized servings. Why the close buttons on elevators never work.

Use comparisons to create images in your listener’s mind. Like …a 20 oz. drink? You can buy 20 oz. baseball bats.

Take your recorder everywhere. You never know when you will encounter a great opportunity to capture a story as it occurs. And things captured as they occur have an emotion and an unpolihsed genuineness.

Don’t overedit. Sometimes the raw tape – with the pauses, the sighs, the silence – can be much more arresting than any edit or voiceover.

You can structure you story around several different devices.

The universal truth: It throws something into relief that strikes a chord with us and causes us to nod unconsciously. You can lead into this with the phrase, “There’s something about…” This sets up the listener to listen for something more profound.

The anecdote and reflection: This is the basic essence of storytelling. Bringing meaning to what you’ve just heard. Tell a little of the story. Reflect. Tell a bit more. Reflect. Dip in and out of the story. The audeince will follow throughout.

Bob Goyetche, Mark Blevis & Mitch Joel listen to TodSixty second scenes: Actively listening requires the brain to compose images. Allow time for this to happen. Provide audible “audio on-reamps” – music, an audio effect or even silence – to signal to the listener that they should be ready for a change of scene.

Emotional charges: Modulate the emotions through the story. Unrelenting seriousness is unlikely to sustain an audience’s attention in the way that a story that alternates poignancy with a lighter mood to bring balance.

Scoring: Use music. But don’t use music to comment on the story. It can be hackneyed (Pink Floyd’s Money in a story about the rich). Or it can actually pull the listener out of the images they have created in their mind.

There are three critical values for a compelling character.

  1. Your protagonist must be on a proactive quest toward a goal (love, redemption, money)
  2. Something is preventing him or her from achieving that goal (“force of antagonism”)
  3. The protagonist is risking something to achieve the goal. Risk is the secret sauce in making people care about a character.

Tod Maffin speaks at PABThe quest should have not be linear. There should be progress followed by setbacks followed by progress. Drama and comedy rest in the “Gap” between what a character expects to achieve and what they actually achieve. This gap provides reason for the protagonist to attempt a different approach to achieve their objective. And at each turn, the risk increases.

If life would go back to normal if the character failed to achieve her objective, then the story is not worth telling. It fails the risk test.

Tod presented much more on how to do this. But I’m not going to cover that here. You simply have to see Tod live to get the rest. And trust me. It’s the best presentation of this material you’ll ever see.