Time to Sing a New Song?


Friday. Is your to-do list longer than it was on Monday morning? Or shorter? And if it’s longer, is that a sign of success or failure?

One thing’s for certain, time pressures are constantly increasing, and with the grim news last week about the slowdown in the UK service sector (August saw the biggest slowdown since the foot-and-mouth outbreak) we’re all going to be running a good deal faster for some time to come. Which means that we need to make the most of our time – and maybe find some new ways of attracting clients and customers.

I was reading a story this week about Tony Bates, the boss of Skype, which has just been sold to Microsoft for £8.5bn. (It was headline of the week for me: ‘Skype Boss found route to Silicon Valley on Piccadilly Line.’)

The gist of the article was that Bates’ rise to fame began on the way to work. Brought up in Isleworth in fairly humble surroundings, he taught himself code by reading programming manuals on the way to work – and ultimately ended up as the boss of Skype. .

Now I’m not sure I could learn code while I’m negotiating the road to Easingwold, but of late I’ve had the feeling that I could be doing a little more than tuning-in to Five Live (Newcastle wins excepted) or the Today programme. So I’ve started listening to podcasts. (What are podcasts? In my case, short business interviews and reports that I can download and play later on my iPhone.)

Thanks to a clever little gizmo I’ve got my iPhone hooked up to the car radio. Useful or what? And the good news is that there’s an increasing number of business podcasts available – sources include the BBC, the Economist, Financial times, Guardian and the London Business School. Mostly they’re free, or not-very-much-at-all.

And as I’ve trundled round North Yorkshire, I’ve started wondering – should I make a podcast? How many Board members would benefit from talking about their business in this way?

The other day I saw a quotation from Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple and one of the principal advocates of marketing through new media:

If you have more money than brains you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.

I think that’s really pertinent at the moment. Big companies will continue to advertise and market as they always have done. But smaller companies need to look at new ways of marketing. Put useful, relevant, helpful content out there and encourage customers to come to you. To paraphrase Field of Dreams, ‘If you create it, they will come.’

Could you do that? And is it just podcasts? What about blogs? E-books? There are a variety of ways of getting your message out there. Yes, they involve some time and some brain power, but crucially they don’t involve spending much money. So in the weeks leading up to Christmas I’ll dedicate a couple of these blogs to simple ‘how-to’ guides on producing your own podcasts and e-books.

For now, it’s time to point the car at York University – and in the absence of a win for the Magpies, I’ll be listening to the BBC Business Unit…

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One comment

  1. Anthony Day · September 16, 2011

    You can find my latest podcast here: http://www.susbiz.biz
    I have a small but loyal following, including listeners in the US, China and Nigeria. Not much business from them so far, but I did get a mail requesting my bank details.

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