Starting the SocialImpactCX Journey: 5 Lessons Learned from My First 50 Days as a Podcaster and Vlogger
A few short months ago I never would have thought that firing up my iPhone and posting a couple of short videos online would result in more than 3,000 views across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been a customer experience, marketing, technology, and solution development leader for a long time, and it occurred to me that when opportunity crosses your path that you need to grab the moment. So, after contemplating what to do with those initial video views, a voice from somewhere deep inside my gut told me that this is the way forward. Online. Talking directly with my audience. Sharing my expertise with others. I’m now about 50 days into my new adventure as a podcaster and vlogger, and I’d like to share some thoughts after venturing into this brave new world of content creation online.
Lesson 1: The right content helps grow your social media footprint.
First of all, the activity growth I’ve seen on my social media accounts during the first 50 days has been more than a bit surprising. At least to me, that is. I’d been out there tweeting and posting somewhat regularly and giving it what I thought was a decent effort. However, it’s now clear to me that audio and video have totally changed the game. Since starting my SocialImpactCX podcast and vlog posts my traffic volumes have jumped from around 5,000 Twitter impressions each month to almost 300,000 per month. I’ve published 7 podcast episodes with accompanying one minute video posts and generated thousands of views online.
Keep in mind that just a few months prior to starting SocialImapctCX, no one had ever seen me post a video of myself online. I’d had my initial podcast experience —an interview on someone else’s podcast — less than six months ago. What could I possibly have to say that people would want to listen to or watch? It turns out that more people were more interested than I’d ever imagined.
Lesson 2: People want to learn from your expertise.
Most of us are experts in something. After serving as Vice President of Customer Experience for a major nonprofit organization, my area of expertise is driving social impact with CX work. Much to my delight, I’ve found that people are interested in what I have to say. There are almost 2 million nonprofits in the United States and about half of them have an operating budget of $1 million or more. There are many organizations working to better serve people in need of some type of help, assistance or service. That’s a big audience!
Let me point out what might be too obvious of a point for you to stop and realize. If you’re more than 20 years into your career, you probably have more subject matter expertise and insights to share than you realize. So, exactly where should focus as you get started in online content creation? Here’s a hint — wherever you have the most passionate is probably the best place to start.
Plus, you may not realize this either, but there’s a good chance that you already have an audience. Your carefully curated network of professional connections on LinkedIn and Twitter just might be the audience who is most interested in listening to what you have to say. After all, we all want to learn from our peers, colleagues and friends in the same professional space we inhabit, don’t we?
Lesson 3: Be open to learning from others & don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When getting started, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and don’t be surprised that help might come from some unexpected places. What did I know about setting up lighting and sound for video? Not much. But my 18-year-old neighbor knew how to transform my office into a vlogging suite. Exactly how was I to set up an RSS feed and get started with recording? I understood the importance of content syndication but I’d never done it for myself. It turns out that one of my former interns, who is now fully engaged in a media-savvy career, was happy to help me figure out what needed to be done. I had an idea of where to start in some areas but had much to learn elsewhere.
Remember that carefully curated network I referenced earlier? I can tell you that they’re worth much more than a view or a listen here or there. After hiring bright and exceptionally talented people to build great teams over the past couple decades, it turns out that all the additional expertise I needed for my new content creation adventure was just a text, call, or email away.
Lesson 4: Do your homework.
While I got help with some of the mechanics to start podcasting and vlogging, I never lost sight of the fact that the content would be all my own. My network of key connections proved to be a great sounding board for content. But finding my voice was my own journey. If you head down the path of podcasting and vlogging you may get great opinions from others about establishing your voice online. But I’d propose that establishing and refining the tone and tenor of who you are online and how you’re delivering information will be a key element in the journey that you must own in order to be successful.
However, I’d also point out that just like any major trip that you might be planning, there are great resources already out there to help you map your trip. I spent time checking out how other successful podcasters and vloggers were presenting content. What was their tone? How did they open a podcast? What’d they wear in a video? What was their pace in information delivery? I watched A LOT of Gary Vaynerchuk — or @GaryVee to those in the know. If you don’t know who Gary is, you should really check out his videos, books, podcasts and other media postings. It took time for me to figure out exactly how I wanted to present myself online, but the preparation and homework I did proved to be very worthwhile.
Lesson 5: Get comfortable taking risks.
I have much further to go until I rival major influencers on social media, but I’ve learned that a little effort and a bit of risk taking can produce surprising results. We’ve entered a new age where content drives results now more than ever. So if you’ve got content to share and you’re not already posting on relevant social media channels, you should consider taking the plunge.
If I can become people’s guide to driving social impact with CX, then what can you do?
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