03 November 2009

Building the Brand

It's been several months since my last post here, however, as most of you would be aware, my online time has become completely hijacked by the podcast. To be honest, it's been a lot more work than I'd anticipated, but I've become completely engrossed in the project and it's been a total blast.

Being a self confessed podcast junkie, I listen to a variety of different styles each week. What I find most interesting is the variety of attitudes toward editing and production quality. Some do almost no editing at all, right through to those who go "all out" to get the show wounding as professional as they can. Me? I like to put myself closer to the "all out" side of the ledger. The down side of this means that the edit can take hours & hours & hours to complete. At some point, I know I'm going to have to accept that "Um" & "Ahh" isn't such an evil thing, and that some are OK to leave in.

My latest experiment has been to vary the bit rate on the mp3 files in an attempt to reduce their sizes. Initially I'd planned to release shows of about 30 - 45 minutes in length. However, to date this has only been the case on the first 4 shows. The rest are an hour or longer, and at 128kB, this makes for huge files. Our last show went out at 96kB with no discernible reduction in sound quality. I have noted that nearly all of the shows I listen to are released at only 64kB, so I may experiment next week with that rate and see how it sounds.

At this point, we have released 15 episodes. Most are news & comment, some include short pre recorded inhterviews, and others are "In Profile" episodes where we have focussed on local aviation identities. This has been the absolute highlight for me. Meeting people such as Owen Zupp & Matt Hall has been just amazing. Their knowledge & insight has been fascinating to soak in, and their willingness to appear on the show has been wonderful.

Now comes the next challenge. To build the brand and increase our listener base. Marketing is an area in which I have virtually no experience, so it's yet again something new to learn. Do we fork out a bucket load of cash to advertise in the aviation press? Probably not in the short term. Google ads perhaps? Or is the maxim true about just focussing on producing quality content and letting things build by reputation? Owen & Matt have been more than generous in promoting our show on their websites and Twitter feeds, and we are very appreciative for that.

We spent last weekend handing out some hastily prepared business cards at Moorabbin & Albury, so we'll see what becomes of that.

This process has been so positive in so many respects for me on a personal level. It has allowed me to re-engage with the aviation community, and often in ways I'd never thought I would. Moreover, we have started to build a community of our own, and many new friendships have already ensued. The standout of all of them is my podcast partner, Grant McHerron. His energy & enthusiasm seem to know no bounds, and he's become a good friend in a very short time. Without his constant energy & positive attitude, this project would never have made it past the first couple of shows.

To to Grant, I simply say thank you & long may the show continue. To the 300 - 400 people who take the time each week to listen to our show, I can only say that I feel truly humble and I hope we can continue to live up to your expectations.

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