Now I haven't seen Oprah Winfrey at any Podcamps, Barcamps, Podcast Academies or even at the Podcast Brother's New Media Expo (where I'm speaking) but for the past few weeks she has held the number one podcasting spot on the iTunes Store's Today's Top Podcasts list. So that makes Oprah the number one podcaster.
This tells me a few things:
1. Oprah has a huge brand. (duh)
2. Women are listening to podcasts
3. It's going to get even harder for Independents
4. Oprah doesn't need to go to any events
Now it's not all gloom and doom, there is hope for all of us Independent Content Producers or as the online advertising networks like to call us, "Online Video Publishers."
Yesterday in an interview with Pop17, Blip.TV CEO Mike Hudack used an analogy of CBS and Gulliver. He said something to the effect that CBS was like Gulliver and that all of us little content producers were like the little people from Gulliver's Travels. As small independent content publishers we could never compete with a CSI but together we just might pull down a giant by eating away at their viewers. (On another note, I just got off the phone with Mike and he and his team are working on some really cool advertising stuff on Blip.TV more about that later.)
The other night I was at an event sponsored by NXTCOMM SHOW and iHollywood Forum
where Mark Burnett of CBS's Survivor was speaking about the future of Television. Now Mark Burnett knows a few things about building brands. Besides "Survivor" he's done "The Apprentice", "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?", "The Contender", "On the Lot", "Rock Star: INXS" and a few others. Mark echoed what Mike was saying and took it a little further.
Mark said, "the advertising dollars are still there - they haven't gone away - they are just being spread around more." He went on to talk about how three years ago he got a call from NBC chief Jeff Zuckerberg who was personally letting him know that one of his shows was only pulling a "7." Mark said he got in trouble for pulling a low rating 3 years ago and now he says, "What show gets a 7?" Most shows are getting 4s or 5s." His point being that everything is now competing for viewers' time.
(By the way Mark Burnett told me that his favorite online shows are at Liquid Generation.)
I think the real key to getting your brand out there is to make sure that you have these three things.
3 STEPS TO CREATING INDEPENDENT BRANDS
1. An Unusual Name for your show that peeks curiosity and makes viewers want to investigate.
2. Great Key Art - Have a logo that is emotionally engaging.
3. Deliver on the promise of your Name and Logo
If Tikibar TV was called "How to Make Drinks with Jeff" I don't think it would have the same traction it has (Although if anyone could make a hit out of that title it would be Tikibar TV's own Dr.Tiki, Jeff Macpherson.) and if Ask A Ninja didn't have a "real Ninja" in it people would be pretty disappointed.
My point is that you can still get noticed if you have something special and great key art. But beyond that you are going to have to learn a few more tricks.
TRICKS TO LAUNCHING YOUR ONLINE BRAND
1. Create Marketing Tools - Make Online Trailers that explain what your product is to Industry People and to Consumers.
2. Make Friends in the Industry - Go to events, hang out, buy drinks and make friends and make more friends.
2. Sell to the Industry - Follow up with your new friends and see what you can do to make them money and what they can do to make you money and show your Industry friends the Industry marketing materials you have made and the consumer marketing materials you have made. Also let them know where you are going to post those marketing materials.
3. Sell to consumers - Post the marketing materials everywhere that makes sense and don't SPAM people.
Oprah may be the number one podcaster today but as I write this post French Maid TV is moving up the chart and we are currently number 23.
Be sure and add French Maid TV to your iTunes today if you would like to see an Independent Content Publisher dethrown Oprah.