#045: Jason Van Orden – Podcasting and Internet Marketing

Podcasting and internet marketing specialist Jason Van Orden, talks about podcasting, marketing and networking on the web. Jason lays out the nuts and bolts of how to create a podcast, and why it’s so important to see yourself as more than a podcaster or blogger, but a content creator. He explains why it’s so important to understand what your fans are looking for in order to engage them properly on the web. Do you have an podcasting or social networking tip or trick? Please share by either leaving a comment, or calling our listener line at 206-426-5683.

  • Very good interview.

    I’m definitely on board with the ideas in this episode. I really do need to get going on an email newsletter. I have a few hundred email adresses, but I have yet to decide on which service to use. I’ll have to check out what Jason recommended. If anyone else has suggestions, please let me know.

    In regard to the podcast section, I figure I can just share what I’m doing with mine: http://www.arthurpope.com/songfactory

    If anyone has any questions or comments (or suggestions, please) about what I’m doing with my Song Factory podcast, or how I am doing it, I’d love to share more, and help out whoever I can.

  • Jason,

    You’re a podcasting “expert” right? Then why do you always imply that podcasting is audio only? You’re doing none of us in the industry any favors by spreading this mis-information. For the millionth time I’ll post the definition of a podcast as listed on wikipedia.org

    A podcast is a series of AUDIO or VIDEO digital media files which is distributed over the Internet by syndicated download, through Web feeds, to portable media players and personal computers.

    When I started developing PodcastPeople in 2005 I made certain that video creation/distribution was a part of the platform. Why? Because the feed doesn’t care what it carries. Think of it this way, an RSS feed (which is the only thing that makes a podcast a podcast) is simply an envelope that carries a message. The technology makes no distinction between audio, video, or even pdf’s and neither should you.

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  • Doug,

    You seem a little defensive. I don’t think Jason would deny that podcasting also includes video. Since our audience is primarily musicians, they usually have lots of options for creating audio content, but aren’t as equipped for video. Also, producing an ongoing video podcast for the DIY musicians is very challenging. We featured a band in episode 10 that got noticed because of their video podcast. In the long run, they had a very hard time keeping the podcast going due to the extra production needed to create a quality video. It became very inconsistent, and eventually they just stopped. For people that have the ability, I think it’s an excellent option.

  • Doug,

    You are absolutely right, it does include all forms. In fact, Jason is in the middle of starting a new video podcast. This, however, being a site about music, it makes sense that Jason would focus on audio podcasting, which is the also the most popular medium for podcasting.

  • A great episode though I’m still unconvinced that fans really care that much about the minutia in a favorite artists life.

    For me personally, I really don’t care what my favorite bands or musicians are doing throughout the day but I do care when they have a show or new CD coming out.

    The twitter linking with facebook was a helpful tip though since I seldom visit my facebook page. Now I can update it kind of, via twitter:)

    I do a podcast myself **Shameless plug alert**

    It’s called Bands On Pod and is available through iTunes. More info is available at:

    Sorry about the shameless plug:)

  • Kevin,

    Just a tip for the listeners and you in case you aren’t aware. Most video podcasts are very short, 5 minutes and less in general.

    The reason is bandwidth. Video tends to be huge and podcast are generally not something people want to spend a ton of time downloading. In fact, iTunes recommends video podcasters keep them short for this very reason.

  • Robert,

    Yeah, I forgot to mention that, and that is exactly why I’m not really into video podcasts. They are typically 5 minutes or less. I usually listen to podcast while I’m working or at the gym. Most likely, I’m not able to look at the screen, and I don’t like the short format. I like the podcasts I subscribe to to be at least 10-15 minutes long.

  • @Doug,

    I don’t recall ever saying anything that implied podcasting was audio only. I’ll be happy to share my definition here (which I have given many times when doing seminars and presentations).

    A podcast is portable, on-demand, digital media that is serial in nature and offered for subscription through a feed.

    This is easy enough to remember with the acronym POD (Portable, On-demand, Digital). Digital media could include audio, video, PDF, images, etc.

    In teaching social media, I’ve learned the importance of keeping things simple, especially in a half hour’s time frame. Audio is just a nice place to start when explaining the basic principles of podcasting.

  • Jason, I agree that it’s always best to keep things simple however, I don’t feel that merely mentioning that podcasts can be audio or video would cause any confusion whatsoever. In fact, It may enlighten many that have been misinformed over the past few years.

    Regarding my “tone” (good call Kevin;-) I had just finished reading self proclaimed social media expert Chris Abraham’s post and was amazed that these “experts” still make a distinction between audio and video podcasts. On top of that, these people are using words such as vlogging, vidcasting, netcasting and any other combination of words that include “cast”. No wonder most people still aren’t sure what a podcast is.

    Message to all new media consultants, please inform your clients that podcasts can be any digital media file whether audio, video, pdf, etc. The clarity and consistency of the definition/message can only be a good thing for everyone involved.

    Appreciate the feedback from the others that have posted. Thanks for contributing.

  • Tim

    Hypothetically speaking if I was in a band that produced a video podcast that hypothetically dwindled off into the dark recesses of cyberspace I would say this…
    Youtube has made it so easy to upload video these days its borderline ridiculous if you don’t have some form of video involved in your digital arsenal. And if you’re using video, why not podcast it? Sites like blip.tv make it super easy to make a video only podcast, and there are other services as well that make it relatively simple to set it up. With the hypothetical band that I’m speaking of the vidcast slowed down not because of the difficulty of producing it but more because of the absence of any sort of activity due to the exit of several members. We’ve started up a new project now and still get quite a bit of traffic from the previous vidcast that we did so even if the previous band never does anything else, its still driving people to our current project. Now in our podcast we use both audio and video and its been great. Audio downloads definitely get a lot more traffic than the video, but the video can be the extra little umph that helps differentiate you from the crowd. Then you just need to keep the band together :). Biggest benefit we’ve seen with having audio downloads for our podcast: iphone downloads

  • Peter

    Like Kevin, I have no use for video podcasts, since I listen to them in the car, or while cooking. If I have time to watch a video, I’ll pop in a DVD. The only video podcast that I’ve found worthwhile is the Lost podcast, but even that’s an audio podcast half the time.

  • That’s a very interesting “hypothetical” situation!

  • I’ll give you another hypothetical.

    Band A makes a video podcast, showing their growth from formation to stardom or as is the norm, break up.

    Band B doesn’t make a video but makes an audio podcast.

    Both bands have personel changes along the way.

    Band A loses audience when front man call him Jeff leaves.

    Band B loses nothing because new front man James sounds so much like the former front man.

    Audio, the audience has no clue who’s performing.

    Video, the audience associates a face with a sound.

    Milli Vanilli anyone?

  • Looks like I’m not the only one who feels strongly about communicating an accurate message.

  • I enjoyed this podcast. Best advice – see yourself as a content creator. I also listen to audio podcasts mostly. I do have one friend I know who does regular vlogs and it’s usually him playing in a club where everyone’s talking and the sound sucks lol.

    I want different things from different artists. If it’s Robyn Hitchcock, I want to be his best friend and would probably pay $1000 to have dinner with him. If it’s Bob Dylan, I am happy to just have the music and don’t need to see a blog of him eating breakfast (though I’m sure many would). If it’s Tom Waits, I’d enjoy Twitter, blogs, vlogs, etc. You get the picture. If you have the content available, it’s like bread crumbs leading to the gingerbread oven. Some will stay outside, some will climb right in and voila! Instant fan souffle. lol

  • @Chris,

    That’s a very poignant analogy. I like it.

    That’s another reason why having multiple modes of contact is important. Some will be content with the occasional email update. Others will eat up every Twitter post you make. Give them all something to chew on at their own pace.

  • Jason,

    While I agree, giving the fan multiple points to locate info about an artist can be a good thing, I must add, too much information is worse than no information.

    Take the Beatles. In 69, they embarked on a rather ambitious endeavor. Fool the fan. Paul is dead and has been replaced by a look-alike. Sadly, it served to ring the death knell of the Beatles, arguably, the biggest, most popular band in the history of recorded music.

    Multiple points of contact are fine. Even for a band but, too much information is like too much rain to the pollen attempting to seed a flower. Mystery is what SELLS a band.

  • As a follow up/explaination. The fan does not care where an artist comes from (not in reality). Only where they seem to come from.

  • @Robert Lee King

    You seem to be making a lot of ‘absolute’ statements, both in this thread and others. I’m not trying to be antagonistic. I also love how passionately opinionated you are. I am too, and it gets me in so much “trouble.” ;-b

    But saying absolutes and generalizations like “Mystery is what SELLS a band” is a very narrow field of vision. I’m sure mystery sells many bands. But for every absolute you claim, i’m sure i can find an equitable amount of examples otherwise.

    This is especially true when involved in music and the arts, fields that are only bound by the imaginations of those creating them. That’s why statements people make like “music should be…” or “what music is really all about…” or “how it’s supposed to be…” drive me mad. It amazes me that artists who would cry like bloody hell if someone tried to put a constraint on their art, could then turn around and put such constraints on both art and thought.

    Of course, to give parity, i do welcome constraints in art as inspirations to work around or as frameworks (ie: a haiku limits one form of freedom to force you to be creative in the 5-7-5 format.) But i think that amplifies my point. The second you declare on ‘absolute constraint,’ artists will find an infinite amount of ways around it.

  • Ian

    Great Episode!

    I just wanted to mention, that my band has started a podcast in conjunction with one of my band member’s old college. The have an radio show that plays music in our genre, specifically tropical music. They broadcast live locally (88.1 FM), as well stream online. Long story short… his old professor asked him if he wanted to do the show, how could he say no? We record the radio show, either at the radio station or other recording software to record the stream so that we can also podcast the show.

    Anyhow, what we do is not only advertise ourselves, but we advertise other bands in our genre in order to get everyone’s name out there… not just ours… although the favoritism happens to be there.

    We interview them see what they’re up to. Ask them about upcoming CD releases. Some live in places like Mexico or Florida so we get the “jealous weather report”, since we’re out of Chicago. At times we also talk about doing gig swaps over the air. We have even interviewed a couple people who are releasing books that have that tropical theme to it for those who listen to the podcast, but don’t have the musical ear.

    I just wanted to throw that out there as an idea to others for getting their band as well as friends of bands out there. It’s a big collaborative advertising effort, to help each other out.


  • @Robert,

    You make a valid point. When I teach more in depth about connecting with a community of fans, I talk about the balance between sharing who you are and at the same time preserving mystique. There is a careful balance when it comes to portraying your persona.

  • @Robert

    Having taken a college course on the Beatles, I can say that the “Paul is Dead” trickery had nothing to do with their demise. I would also say, that while you can still learn a lot from careers of people like the Beatles, the world just doesn’t work, function and communicate like it did in the 60’s. What was true then, in many cases, is no longer true today. You make a lot of references about how everything was better then, or artists back then knew better. Some things can only exist at one point in history, and will never be created again for numerous reasons.

  • Songwriting and performing aren’t a problem. I’ve
    always had a positive response when I played live.
    Now that I’m paying more attention to recording I
    need to know more about effective maketing.

    One thing I know from experience is you can’t fake
    a performance or your songs. If you try to do the
    things that aren’t in you it won’t work. It’s best to
    do the music that lives in you.

    What I’d like to know is where do you find the audience
    that likes your type of music.

    To Robert Lee King, don’t apologize for promoting yourself, let everyone know your around. Now I know.
    I need to do more of that myself.

  • Prophetnoise,

    Wether we like it or not, there are absolutes in this world. We all are born, we all die. What is popular today will be unpopular tomorrow and what was unpopular yesterday will very likely be popular today, tomorrow or a year from now.

    Music is not immune to this fact.

    What was old, is new again. Guitar Hero and Rock Band prove that.

    The fact that yet another boy bands is making waves (Jonas Brothers) proves that.

    The world has changed but not nearly so much as most would have you believe. People are basically the same as they have always been. We are exposed to more and more but still only touched by the same things that we as beings were touched by from the beginning.

    The Beatles could and in fact have happened again. Granted the careers of those who followed didn’t last as long but, the ferver with which the Beatles were met, was the same for many, Boyz 2 Men, Nsync, Backstreet Boys, Colour Me Bad, Jonas Brothers and so on. The key difference is today, the world is so small because of news outlets, internet and other media sources.

    In the 1960’s and 70’s it took days or weeks for that information to get around the world. Today it takes seconds. That, is the only thing that has truly changed.

  • @Jason,
    I really enjoyed this podcast and your information is a real motivator for me to get even more involved.

    I host a songwriting event and have for some time and have tons of video footage. I can tell you right now video takes a lot of work. Maybe not for just a single camera but for what I do audio is the easiest part of it.

    And you really hit home with me about relationships. I try to be very careful not to bombard my list because I would risk them not bothering to read them anymore. And I can tell when that is happening when people ask me questions about an upcoming event that was clearly in my last email and newsletter. But I know I can’t wait too long not to make personal contact with them because we need each other in one way or another.

    People do appreciate when spoon feed them with respect instead of shoving it down their throats.

    I learned quite a bit from this podcast and only wish there was a step by step process I could use to get myself organized not just as an artist (Which happens to be so far on the back burner) but also for my so many songwriters that would really love to have more to be interactive with.

  • I was looking back on this episode and trying to find the websites that Jason mentioned without having to go back and listen to the whole interview to find them. Specifically on the technical side of how to create a podcast. I think it would be a cool addition to have a list of the links that a guest mentions on the show for easy access. Thanks for all you guys do. I’m hooked on the podcast.