The Power of The Spoken Word

I’ve taken the csuite podcast to Cannes Lions since 2016 and in that time have had the pleasure of chatting to 49 of the most inspiring speakers, judges and award winners who were at the event.  My guests have come to the festival from as far and wide as South America and India to Canada and Australia and have included agency leaders, brand owners, a social roboticist, a music producer, a spoken word artist and a body architect, with their ages ranging from Young Lions Award winners to an 86-year-old terminally-ill patient.

But what’s been consistent in all those interviews is that every single guest has had a fascinating story to tell … in their own words.
And therein lies the power of podcasting.
With no cameras filming the guests, coupled with the fact that we’re not broadcasting live, and perhaps thanks to the odd glass of rosé too, each interviewee immediately relaxes, resulting in an informal chat that allows them to be themselves, delivering authentic and engaging stories, whilst educating and hopefully entertaining the listeners at the same time.

Chatting with Zuleika Burnett (left) and Lucy McRae

Global podcast listenership has exploded since my first trip to Cannes.  Podcasts are easy to access and subscribe to on a mobile device and there are topic areas for everyone.  People listen in the car, in the gym, on the commute, out walking or running, as well as at home or at their desks of course.  And with radio stations now podcasting their programming, or creating exclusive content as a podcast, plus popular celebrities hosting their own shows too, podcasting is forming an increasing part of our daily media diet.
This has opened up a huge potential for brands to be using podcasts as a credible medium and so this year I’ll be presenting at Cannes myself alongside Zuleika Burnett, Executive Director, Creative and Innovation, Havas Life Medicom.  We’ll be looking at how the most difficult narratives can be harnessed to deliver healthcare stories as podcasts and how brands can rise above the noise of the other 500,000+ active podcasts to reach their audiences.
Russell Goldsmith & Zuleika Burnett are presenting on the Healthcare Insights Stage, Palais II on Monday 17th June, 12:45-13:15

That Original Podcast

Originally written for the PRCA to help promote the course we’re running with them on The Power of Podcasting …  written on 29th December 2018 …
 
I’ve just returned home from driving my daughter, Tara, back to Surrey University in Guildford (such a good dad) after Christmas in time for her to prepare for her New Year’s Eve party.
The journey time on a Saturday morning was around an hour each way – perfect for listening to two episodes of ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’, my new favourite podcast.  The only issue being that my daughter is not the biggest football fan.  England Summer World Cup fever aside, as well as being dragged along with me to Spurs a few times when she was younger, I think it’s fair to say that the thought of spending an hour in the car with me listening to a podcast that features three blokes chatting about footie for an hour wouldn’t be that appealing.
But here’s the thing.  Whilst the podcast features Peter Crouch, a player who will go down in Tottenham folklore as the man who headed us into the Champions League back in 2010, and of course centres around him being a footballer, the show is about everything around football, not necessarily the game itself, and it’s funny, very funny. With episode titles such as ‘That Nights Out Episode’, ‘That Team Bus Episode’ or ‘That Fashion Episode’, the show is set up for Crouchy to share anecdotes about things that went on away from the pitch that, at times, are hilarious.
Tara enjoyed it.
The car is in fact one of the most popular places to listen to podcasts – stats range from 22% of podcast listening in the US (Edison Research, March 2018) to 35% whilst driving/travelling in the UK (RAJARLtd’s MIDAS Autumn 2018) to as much as 41% of the 52% of adults that said they listen to podcasts (Audere Communications, January 2018), although I wonder how much is a shared listening experience.
So why bring up Peter Crouch?
Well, back in June 2018, Techcrunch reported that Apple Podcasts now hosted over 550,000 active podcasts, and a quick search for ‘Football’ on iTunes, as you can imagine, results in loads of podcasts to choose from. But the reason why the ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’ works so well, and I take on board the fact that it has BBC 5 Live to help it in terms of reach, is because it’s original.
And therein lies the challenge for any brand wanting to take advantage of the incredible opportunity that the growing popularity of podcast listening brings.  How do you come up with something new and different and then rise above the noise of all those other shows that are already out there with loyal subscribers?
It’s why I try and encourage the organisations that we partner with on our csuite podcast to be as original as our format will allow us, be that in where we record the show, from busy conferences with the background noise of the exhibition area providing atmosphere, to ICCO’s House of PR in one of the cabanas on the beachfront at Cannes Lions, or simply in the diversity of guests we have in the studio or range of topics we cover that impact businesses.  Those topics have, in the last year, moved from just focussing on Communications and Innovation to cover key areas such as Social Mobility, Financial Inclusion, Diversity and Mental Health & Wellbeing.

Recording the csuite podcast in the ICCO House of PR at Cannes Lions


Similarly, when we were brought on board by Adama Agricultural Solutions to produce ArableAware’, a niche podcast aimed at farmers and agronomists, we of course researched what was already out there, but decided to create a magazine style show that, despite it being audio, we record on farms around the UK.  Doing so enabled us to chat to farmers whilst walking through their crop fields, that sparked conversations that we simply wouldn’t have thought of having had we stuck to a script in a studio.  It’s also allowed the specialists from Adama to visit their customers around the UK and we’ve built a community of listeners who now email us inviting us to come and record the show on their farms too.  It’s been a huge success beyond just creating some content for their target audience to listen to.

On the farm, recording ArableAware for ADAMA UK


So, whether you are just setting out on your podcast journey or looking to adapt your existing show with new ideas and formats, try to think about how you can offer something a little unique, that will encourage listeners them to hit that subscribe link and hopefully give you a decent rating and review to help you up the podcast charts too.
Book a place at Russell’s Power of Podcasting Workshop that he is running with fellow PRCA Trainer, Jayne Constantinis on Wednesday 20th March

How to make a recipe video on a budget

Within our Using Video in Social Media workshop, a request we regularly get asked for is to use case studies that don’t feature videos for clients that were the result of huge production budgets. One of our favourite examples that we therefore talk about in the session is a video from Discover Great Veg (below), provided to us by Sara Davis from Ceres PR, who produced the video .

We therefore asked Sara to provide us with a guest blog post about the production of the video…
How to make a recipe video on a budget

Anyone who works in social media knows just how much content you need to populate a feed. Generating original content can be costly, so smaller brands could be put off producing video. Despite some production houses charging upwards of £20K per video, you can make a recipe video with an iPhone, a little help with the cooking, time and imagination. What you do need, is investment in production, props and a promotional budget if you’re distributing the content yourself.
Whilst the ‘Tasty’ type videos may look like a synch to knock up, there are certain factors to consider both in the content side and the technical side before you begin. At Ceres we always use a home economist to ensure the food is perfect, which leaves me free to do just about everything else myself.
Firstly, what you need is a simple recipe that’s going to look mouth-watering when cooked, the final video needs to inspire people. Think either colour or indulgence. Beef Bourguignon may taste great, but it’s difficult to get a brown stew to ‘Wow’.  Melted cheese and running poached eggs look particularly good, or something healthy and colourful that will ‘pop’ off the screen.
You then need to break it down into a few simple stages to give the gist. You can post the full recipe as a link at the end, so forget the minor details and focus on making it look easy, achievable and delicious.
Plan each stage and what props you will need. This is where you can add some subtle personality to the video.
Bowls, chopping boards, plates and napkins etc. all help create a certain ‘feel’- we have amassed quite a props store and I always keep an eye out for interesting stuff when I shop.
It’s worth taking note of food magazines as food styling in photography gives ideas on current trends. Years ago it was all white plates and close ups, now it is much more lifestyle based with wider shots and more props to create a mood. Avoid anything shiny if possible, go for matts and textures as everything will look much more ‘premium’ and you won’t get camera or light reflections.
At the planning stage it’s useful to know which platform you are shooting for – YouTube & Twitter require landscape, Instagram needs square and Facebook can take either. Knowing this in advance helps with props and framing, particularly for any captions you may need to include. You may need to shoot some sections twice to accommodate both formats.
Canon
I have a Canon 7D and an iPhone6 which I use to film. Both are good and I use them in different ways. The iPhone is particularly good for overhead shooting.
iphone overhead 
I try to set the position to the widest I will need during the recipe and leave it locked off so I can edit seamlessly. I use my DSLR for some close ups and cutaway shots which give more depth to the piece and can also be used as bridging shots to get from A to B if needed.
Lighting is something to watch out for. I try to use natural light where possible as it’s so powerful (and free!).  Unfortunately in the UK, though the weather isn’t consistent so artificial light is a necessity and I have a set of LEDs to give things a boost when needed.
The time needed depends on the recipe itself. We cook everything on camera, even if it might not make the edit, and we only re-shoot a section if there is a problem. What I do take time over is the final dish as this is the selling point, so I will spend time styling it with props and shoot a variety of shot sizes and angles. A word of warning – those delicious M&S type shots with cream running seductively down a dessert can take an AGE to film as food doesn’t take stage direction very well – so build in extra time and ingredients if you plan on getting some movement in there. It’s almost always worth it, but you do need patience.
I edit everything on Final Cut Pro X as I find this is the quickest programme to get professional results, especially with all the captions involved. Of course it’s not just about the footage, choosing the right music can take hours if you let it, as there are an infinite amount of tracks out there. It’s worth choosing a track first and then cutting to the beat as this can help give the video some rhythm and pace. Ideally the shorter the better and it should definitely be less than a minute to sit on Instagram. Facebook is less restrictive, and it will loop anything 30 seconds or less for a maximum of three times which can help to attract attention to your content. I try to start and end on a good shot of the final dish to lure people in – if I get hungry editing it then I think I’m on the right track! Fortunately, in my job there’s always loads of delicious food around and because the role is quite physical I tend to burn it all off straight away. The downside is…nope, sorry there isn’t one. What can I say?

Sara Davis

Content Manager
Ceres PR
Please use the contact form to enquire about fees and to book our Using Video in Social Media workshop at your offices for your wider team.

Interactive Podcasts: Review of a new 'player' in the market – Entale


With innovation happening at such an incredible pace, it’s hard to find the time to try out all the new apps and technology that I come across, but every now and then, something grabs my attention and I think it’s worth investing an hour or so to try it out.  Entale is one such example.
I was introduced to the company by Start Up Marketer, Marc Duke and so just before Christmas I visited the offices of Founders Factory and met up with Hannah Blake, Entale Media’s Head of Partnerships and Business Development.
Entale’s podcast player enables podcast produces to split the content into chapters, making it easier to navigate and discover.  They do other clever things too, embedding images and links within each of the chapters.
Some of the functionality needs improving – it will be great to push the images and links into the main player window in time with when they are relevant to the content – but I’m reliably informed by Hannah that her team have it all in hand.  We should also not forget that people like to listen to podcasts on the commute, out running or in the gym, for example, and so the option to click on links or look at photos wont necessarily be appropriate at that time of listening, which is why I still continue to provide show notes for listeners to refer back to.
However, the chaptering of the content is a huge improvement to the experience, especially for those podcasts I produce from events, like the example I’ve embedded above, recorded from the World Travel Market in London, as part of the csuite podcast series, where you can now jump between the five interviews really easily.
I’ve no set agenda in promoting Entale’s work.  They asked me to trial their player and CMS, which was pretty easy to use, even at this early stage of it’s development.  However, I would love your feedback on whether you think this is a good way to share content.  Please do comment below or drop me a line directly using the contact form on the site or via twitter using @russgoldsmith.
 

Virtual Wake Up Call – Genning up on Virtual Reality Video

Earlier this week I attended PR360 and have come away truly inspired thanks to the team from Hotwire who were in the networking area showing off Virtual Reality technology.  They had a VR headset on their stand, and were giving delegates the opportunity to try it out by watching the Clouds Over Sidra film that was produced last year for the United Nations.
I grabbed the opportunity to try out the technology whilst John Brown, Hotwire’s Director, Head of Engagement talked me through it.
It was the first time I’d ever experienced VR and all I can say is ‘wow’!  It really is hard to describe what it’s like, but if you watch Mike Butcher’s reactions in the video of him trying it out whilst interviewing the producer of the film, Socrates Kakoulides, for Techcrunch, you’ll see how easy it is to get lost in the VR world and wrapped up in the emotion of that film in particular. [Download VRSE‘s app to view the film.]
Seeing this film and chatting to Emma Hazan, Hotwire’s Deputy UK MD (and previous guest on show 4 of my csuitepodcast series) has really inspired me to gen up on this area of video.  Embarrassingly, I don’t even refer to VR in the ‘Using Video in Social Media’ workshop I regularly run for the PRCA and other clients – this will now change by the time I host my next session!
I feel I have a bit of catching up to do on this topic, but have been truly inspired by what I’ve seen.
Emma talked to me about how VR is perfect for the travel industry – imagine being able to walk around your hotel, look at the bar area, the pool, and check out your room before you book.  We then chatted about other industries that could benefit, and of course, whilst agreeing that the Porn industry would no doubt lead the way, how about the Property market, especially high end sales for overseas investors.  No need to visit the £1m+ apartments, just look around with your VR headset and then send your deposit – deal done!
This is my new favourite topic and so if anyone has some good case studies they want to share with me to include in my future workshops, please do get in touch.

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