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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Web Tool Wednesday: Podcast Listening for Fun and Profit

A person who does field repairs can spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Some people use that time to make calls. Studies show that even using a hands free cell phone can impair your driving significantly. That alone means I wouldn't recommend using your drive time for phone business. Another option to fill that time is enjoying some radio programming. Music is a great way to take your mind off the tensions of traffic and the frustrations shared with you daily over the timing of the customers appliance break downs. Others use the radio to listen to news and talk shows. This is a great way to stay up to date with current events. However, some of these shows can be pretty emotionally charged, and you are probably not doing yourself any favors if you arrive at your next call infuriated over some political or cultural issue.

Image courtesy of Aniie Roi on Flickr
While I will use the car radio for music and news, I have also had great results using that time to increase my knowledge. I listen to podcasts. What is a podcast? A podcast is an episodic radio (or sometimes video-not for automotive use!) program that listeners can subscribe to in order to be advised of each new episode. If you use iTunes you are already a good chunk of the way to listening to podcasts already. Many podcasts can be found in the iTunes store. They are free and if you click on the subscribe button you will find new episodes synced to your player the next time that they are released. Another tool for listening to podcasts if, like me, you are not a iTunes user is with an app called Stitcher. The app isavailable on both Apple and Android and the offer a desktop web player as well. The site offers you a menu of literally thousands of programs that can be subscribed to and listened to in the player. I mention that I like the Stitcher app, That is not a paid endorsement in any way, I just like the app. There are plenty of other podcast programs and apps available if your preferences vary. Most podcasts can also be listened to by visiting the webpage of the podcast. Obviously, that method is not very compatible with listening to on the go.

As I said, I am an avid podcast listener and listen to several podcasts to try and learn more about social media marketing and the appliance industry. Not everything that is covered on these programs applies to our industry, but one of the beauties of a podcast is that I can fast forward past irrelevant stuff, or if you need to hear something again to understand it easy to rewind and replay. Also, podcasts can be saved for future reference if desired. Here are a few of my favorite podcasts to get you started. I am linking these to the websites associated with the program and from there you can generally find a link to subscribe.

  • The FixItNow Podcast is the most appliance oriented podcast I have heard. A product of the web famous Appliance Samurai, his  podcast is a technician talking to do-it-yourselfers about appliances and their repairs. Unfortunately, it looks like they have stopped producing new episodes lately, but there old episodes are full of interesting insights and useful tips. LINK
  • Beyond The Todo List is a program that speciallizes in productivity tips for business. A lot of the material applies to a computerized office setting, but some of it could be useful for anyone trying to squeeze a few more minutes into their work day. LINK
  • The Social Media Social Hour is a program intended for those of you who are pursuing a social media agenda for your business. The program discusses techniques and changes in the rapidly evolving world of social media (think Facebook, Twitter, blogging). Interviews from successful marketers in the social media field provide varied viewpoints and ideas that can be used in your own social media efforts. LINK
  • Inside Social Media is another program similar to Social Media Social Hour. Many weeks, if one of the two programs doesn't offer anything useful to me, the other program will. I monitor both of them so that I have choices as a listener. LINK
  • This Week In Tech is one of the oldest most well established podcasts out there. It deals with technology news in a panel format comprised of experts in technology creation and reporting. Sometimes the talk is inside baseball about Silicon Valley. Sometimes the tech being discussed can, quite honestly, be over my head. On the other hand, I have learned about a lot of websites, apps, and new products by listening to the program. The program is sort of the flagship for for the TWIT network of podcasts. While they are all tech oriented, several of them have a lot of useful info so if you like this whole podcast idea, you  might want to look at the other programs they offer as well. LINK

I'd suggest that if you have never tried listening to a podcast, you give it a try. If you have an interest in a subject, there is probably a podcast about it-its not just business and tech stuff out there. I personally also listen to hockey news, history, music and comedy. Give it a try, it's free and what do you have to lose? You might even be inspired to create your own podcast. It could be a great way to increase rapport as well as to reach out to potential new customers and seperate yourself from your competition. If you already have been bitten by the podcast bug and subscribe to some shows, I'd love to know some of your favorite programs. Let me know in the comment section. Have a great day out there and stay informed.

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