How many tactics do you use to get in front of your community, prospects, friends, followers, readers? I frequently talk about using various media to mix up your content and give your audience multiple ways to experience you. With video so hot, audio is often overlooked as a powerful way to connect with your peeps.
I love to experiment with online tools and a few months ago I discovered AudioBoo. I think I saw a Boo posted by Mari Smith on Facebook and checked it out. It's an app you can install on your smart phone to record and post when you're out and about (or from your computer).
My colleague Ellen Britt jumped on the AudioBoo bandwagon recently and is using it in a really creative way. I decided to find out why and how Ellen is using AudioBoo in her online activity.
You can listen to my 17 minute interview with Ellen Britt, or read it below (and check out Ellen's Boo midway through the interview transcript!).
Interview with Ellen Britt
Denise: Hi. I'm Denise Wakeman, founder of The Blog Squad. You can find me at denisewakeman.com, on Twitter at @denisewakeman, and on FaceBook at faceBook.comblogsquad. Today I have a special laser interview with my colleague and friend, Ellen Britt, who is the founder of Marketing Qi. She is a colleague, we were in a MasterMind together and she's a partner in last year's Radiant Success Event in Raleigh. For all you Tweeters out there, you can follow Ellen at @ellenbritt at Twitter.
The purpose of the interview, Ellen, is that I wanted to talk to you today about your use of AudioBoo, which is an application for smart phones (iPhone, Blackberry, Android) that allows you to record audio, attach it to a photo, and automatically syndicate it to your social sites. Your Boos have been getting a lot of buzz.
Recently I saw you Tweet, or it was on FaceBook…I can't remember…you said that AudioBoo is changing the way you think about your business. That really intrigued me so I wanted to grab you for a couple of minutes to get your take on that, what are you talking about, what prompted that comment.
Ellen: Great. Well, I have you to thank first of all, for inviting me to talk about this and also for introducing me to AudioBoo. It was a Boo that I had seen that you did and you use it a lot to showcase some more personal aspects of yourself and observe your running, that kind of thing. I had seen a Boo that you had done and it had a photograph and I thought, "Wow, this is so neat. I have to ask Denise about this." You said, "Hey. It's just this free service you can use." And I thought, "Well, I'm going to check it out." So, I downloaded the application. I have an iPhone. So, I put the portable app on my iPhone.
I think, if I remember correctly, I was in Barnes and Noble one day and I decided to go over and take a look at the business Books. I thought, "Maybe I should do an AudioBoo about this," about how nice it is to be able to work from home and set my own schedule and I came up with this idea when work was play and play was work. I just stood there in the middle of Barnes and Noble in the business section and talked into my iPhone. With a phone, everybody just thinks you're talking to somebody.
Nobody thinks you're recording something. So I had the ambient voice of this Barnes and Noble Bookstore in the background. We could hear low level talking and that kind of thing. Then I took a photograph of the business Book section, tagged it, and uploaded it and I was hooked. I have done an AudioBoo almost every day since then, sometimes twice a day. I think-I didn't count them before I got on the phone with you, but maybe 45 of them now. Something like that. Like every day. I start my day with an AudioBoo.
Denise: What made you say that it's changing the way you look at your business?
Ellen: I don't know, I had a certain set expectations about myself, really. I'm a pretty good writer. So I plugged myself into that hole of writing. I do okay at conferences and stuff like that. Once I started to play with the AudioBoo, especially, it took me maybe 10 AudioBoos. After that first spontaneous one, I reverted into not so spontaneous. I think, "What can I AudioBoo about today?" I'm usually out taking my child to school in the morning. That's when I do it. I would stop and make notes on a napkin and try to jot down a couple points. I wouldn't script anything but I would write down some notes.
After about the tenth one I had this breakthrough where I didn't need the notes anymore and I just call, kind of informally, into the phone. I also found out that I could edit it within the phone application by hitting the pause button. Then you get to listen to it before you upload it. So, if it sounded really crummy I could delete it. I've only done that maybe twice. I really like the informality, the spontaneity of it and it opened me up to a whole new way of thinking about, "Have I been resistant to other things," such as video, which I have. So now I'm going to try that.
Denise: Oh, interesting. Okay.
Ellen: It exploded this idea and it's giving me a great new way of communicating with my existing customers and clients and potential clients and customers by actually having them hear my voice. The wonderful thing about it is it sends a link over to Twitter. That link takes you directly to the AudioBoo on the AudioBoo site. But, when it ports it over to FaceBook, it embeds a little player right there. They never even have to leave FaceBook to comment on it. I've been getting loads of comments, some more than others.
I found that for me, when I decided to do these little I Spy things where I would take my iPhone and say, "Okay, now I'm going to go into Panera Bread Company and let's see how we're treated as we go through the line in terms of our service. I do these little on the spot kind of cameo recordings and people love them. They say, "Oh, I feel like I'm coming along with you." The day that I decided to bag the headlines when I'm going hunting. Nancy Marmolejo picked it up and actually blogged about me using AudioBoo. So it took off and has a life of its own now.
Denise: Yeah, I saw that flurry of buzz when Nancy Marmolejo with Viva Visibility wrote a blog post about your Boos and I thought, "That is so cool." What that said to me is that your consistency with this and your creativity with this tactic is really boosting your visibility as well.
Ellen: Absolutely, there is no doubt about that Denise. The other thing is I want to say something about consistency. We all have things that people tell us, or that we read that we should do like blog every day. Jeff Herring would say "Write an article every day." Most of us would just sit back and say, "Oh, I'm too tired to do that." We just can't get a fire lit under us about that. I can hardly wait to do my AudioBoos every day. Can hardly wait. They are so much fun for me.
I was rereading actually, Gary Vaynerchuk's book Crush It again for about the seventh time. He really makes a big point about finding the medium that is right for you. Audio has hit it for me. I'm not telling everybody go out there and use AudioBoo by any means. What I'm saying is go out there and find the thing that really lights you up and is really fun for you to do. Then, you can be consistent with it.
Denise: That's absolutely true. I think that's really key and when you mention that people say "Find the thing to do every day." And of course, blogging is my thing. You also have to find the schedule that works for you too. That's what's really impressed me about what you're doing. Every morning-you're on the East Coast, I'm on the West Coast – every morning I know that when I log into my Twitter feed there is an AudioBoo from you. Every single morning.
Another thing you said that struck me, when we did a recent teleseminar about mindset and and we shared daily success habits – you talked about that you do something every day to put yourself in front of people. Was the AudioBoo part of that? Or were you doing that before?
Ellen: No. Well, I was Tweeting and out on FaceBook mostly every day. But, not with the consistency that I've had since I did the AudioBoo. I've only been doing it 4-5 weeks now. But they pile up fast. Now I've got 45-50 of these things out there. One thing, I fit it into my schedule because I take my iPhone with me. I have a 45 minute drive every day to take my child to school because that's the way circumstances are right now. And a 45 minute drive back. That's a large chunk out of my day.
I listen to Internet marketing stuff and stuff like that on the way home, but now I'm poking around seeing, "What business can I go in to? Where can I jump off here, there? What can I photograph to do my AudioBoo before I get home. I upload that thing on the road before I get home. When I get home, by the time I get home, log in, look at my FaceBook page, I've got comments usually on my AudioBoo and I haven't even started my day yet.
Denise: That's fantastic. You had mentioned initially your Boos were spontaneous and then you went to a more-
Ellen: Yeah, I got scared.
Denise: -planned out. You were making some bullet points, and now they're back to spontaneous. I'm wondering if somebody who hasn't heard of AudioBoo until this interview said, "Oh, that's really cool. I want to try that." What kind of advice would you give them for starting this up, starting some kind of tactic like this, or integrating this tactic into their marketing?
Ellen: Make sure it speaks to you first. If you're really scared of audio and you don't feel like your voice is very good, still try it. I encourage people to find the medium that's right for them. If they think the audio thing is for them, then go for it. The nice thing about AudioBoo-here's how I kind of got over the planned thing. I thought, "This is stupid." I'll tell you why I did it. I had more comments on the ones that were spontaneous.
Ellen: I thought, "Oh, they like the ones that are spontaneous." They like the ones where I go, "Oh well I hope the background noise is not too distracting." The other day I said, "I'm driving through my favorite fast food restaurant." And then I said, "Well, I'm not really driving through the restaurant, I'm driving through the drive through restaurant window." I just left that in there and people seem to respond more to the ones that are spontaneous. So I thought, "I'm going to be even more spontaneous." What I do is I hit the record button and it gives you a little audible countdown thing, you know? Then you better start talking because it's running. So it's that, I don't know, something about that countdown, the sound.
Once I hit record I start talking. I know what I'm going to say for a few words, so I won't stumble on them. You know, "This is Ellen Britt from Marketing Qi and today," whatever it is. I always end it the same way, "This is Ellen Britt from Marketing Qi signing off." I usually just say "Bye y'all." Or something like that. The rest of it is just filler. It's some experience I'm having, some place that I'm in. Then I switch it over to a metaphor about how you can use that lesson from that in your online business. That's my formula. Now everybody else is going to have to look and see what it is for you. I had a fella write to me and say he's going to use them for quote of the day. He's going to do a quote and probably talk about it a little bit.
Ellen: It can be any number of things that people do. You're only limited by your imagination. You've got to be original. You can't copy anybody. You've got your own style. Just see what sparks you up. Try a few things. Then see what you're getting comments on. People just love my I Spy stuff so I'm trying to do more of that.
Denise: Right. You've got to listen to the feedback.
Ellen: Oh, absolutely. Listen to your comments. A couple of them I got no comments. I thought, "Well, I won't do that again." But you have to watch the time. It's only a five minute thing. I rarely go over that. One day I decided to go through the car wash with it and I had this great audio because the lady in front of me couldn't get her car up onto the rack and the guy was apologizing and he ran back to me and he apologized. This great customer service and I had all of it and I accidentally ran over and it timed me out and I had to throw the whole thing out.
Denise: I've never gone over five minutes.
Ellen: I haven't either. I lost track of it and I thought, "Oh no." So next week my car is going to need washing so I'm going to try it again.
Denise: So, since this is clearly a tactical move you're making using these AudioBoos, is there an outcome you're looking for or some kind of result or action you're looking for from the people who are listening?
Ellen: My-one thing is to give me more online visibility, which certainly it has. I have people who are now regular commenters on my Boos. Regular people I know, they're going to be there and comment. I interact with them. I've gotten much more interactions on my FaceBook page, much more online visibility. Because AudioBoo is so easy to use, I think it's in its early stages. I think they're going to go places. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But it's so easy to use and it's free and it gives you the ability to tag things. I'm banking on some future stuff. They're already being indexed and Googled.
Ellen: You can find them in Google. I have to maybe pay more attention, maybe putting keywords in my title. I really haven't worried about that too much. I just wanted people to open them and listen to them. So I try to put some kind of catchy thing there.
Denise: Right, right.
Ellen: Because it goes to Twitter I don't want to write something too long. I have mixed mind about that. I'm definitely getting benefit from it. Absolutely. It's positioning me kind of uniquely as nobody else is using it very much. People are looking forward to it. I'm getting great benefit. I didn't have any planned outcomes from this.
Denise: Okay, well I can see that the wheels are turning. There might be that need in the future for you.
Ellen: Oh yeah. And like I say-I think the best outcome for me is now I kind of had that "aha" moment and that's what prompted that comment that I wrote on Twitter about changing the nature of my business. It's like, "Okay, if I can do this with AudioBoo, what can I do with video?" Especially looking at Gary Vaynerchuk. If you haven't read it, pick up this book, Crush It.
Ellen: I thought well-because all of my videos-I don't even have any videos online. I had done some for some sales stuff that we were planning to do and it was terrible because we scripted everything and it was just all this content. We eventually didn't use them at all. I've just gotten so used to this informality. The AudioBoo, I thought "What's the difference if somebody was pointing a camera at me?" It doesn't really matter. So now I'm like "No big deal."
I'm going to have my business partner design a Marketing Qi t-shirt and you know, you'll always hear these-especially women internet marketers and women marketers say, "Oh, I've got to have my hair done. I've got to put make up on." I think, "I can't do that every morning. I've got to drive my child to school." I'm just going to have a Marketing Qi t-shirt and put that on and do my video. It's really expanding the possibilities for me.
Denise: That's fantastic. Ellen, I really appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your very busy day to share your experience with AudioBoo. It's at AudioBoo.fm.
Ellen: Yeah, that's correct. It's AudioBoo.fm, which kind of threw me off a little bit because I kept typing in .com, but it's AudioBoo.fm.
Denise: Right, it is an app for iPhone. I believe it's also available for Blackberry and it is available for Android phones because that's what I have and I'm using it.
Ellen: I think that they also are letting you record directly from the web too through your computer. I think they've got big plans. I would watch for them. They've already updated the app. Now you can-you didn't used to be able to see your own Boos all lined up on your phone, you know, your most recent ten or fifteen. They just fixed that as a feature. They're really going. People want to see an example of my Boos, you can go to http://audioboo.fm/sebritt and get some ideas there. Feel free to come to my FaceBook page and comment on my AudioBoos and if you need help I'd be happy to give you a shout out.
Denise: And where can they find your FaceBook page?
Denise: Excellent. Well, thank you Ellen. I really appreciate you spending some time with me today. I look forward to more AudioBoos from you.
Ellen: Fantastic. More coming.
Denise: Boo on. I always say blog on. Boo on.
Ellen: There you go. Love it.
A note from Denise: Since the time of this interview, I've moved from Audioboo to a similar audio service called Cinchcast. You can check out my Cinches here.