Is Your Online Marketing Strategy Stale?

Things online change quickly. Two years ago, Google changed its search engine algorithm and left businesses scrambling to regain their place in search results. More recently, SERP stopped showing author photos and videos. Why? Because they stopped standing out distinctly from other search results. Everybody caught on and implemented the same strategy. And LinkedIn now allows users to post blogs on their profile. (If it hasn’t rolled out to you yet, it will. Hold tight!)

online marketing strategy
If your online marketing strategy doesn’t stay current, your company will be left behind, missing traffic and losing business. Here are four ways to update your online marketing to keep up with the times.

Traffic > Links


Gone are the days when search engine optimization was based on the number of links to your site. Why? Because Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines strive to provide the best search results possible. Links from article directories, blog comments, link wheels and foreign links just aren’t natural.

In the past links were king, but let’s be honest. You don’t really care about links; you want traffic to your website. Traffic is what brings leads that convert into customers! The only people who read article directories were other people using article directories to get links. Those links didn’t provide traffic. You want real, natural links not manufactured ones.

So how do you go about getting natural links? I’ll tell you. You produce high quality content that people will want to like, share and comment on. Then you market that content in newsletters, on social media and in other strategic places that will bring traffic.

A great way to get traffic is to be quoted or cited on another site. Sites like HARO, PitchRate and ReporterConnect give you the opportunity to share your expertise in exchange for a link back to your site. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.

Focus on educating potential clients about why they need your product or services rather than on acquiring links. Traffic is better than links.

Podcasts: Voice Your Expertise

podcastYour website is optimized. You have a blog that’s updated regularly with high quality content. You’re active on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You focus on getting traffic rather than links to your website. Think you’ve maximized your online marketing opportunities? Think again.

If you’re not doing a podcast, you’re missing out on an entirely different audience of potential customers. Just like there are some people who prefer talk radio to hip-hop or jazz, there are some Internet users who prefer podcasts to social media. You don’t want to leave them for your competitor to find. Set up regular podcasts.

Because podcasts are a different medium than blog posts or video, you can use the same content on your podcast that you used on your video. No sense reinventing the wheel. (I’ll talk more about this content creation strategy in a future post. Be on the lookout!)

Email Laws: Don’t Be an Accidental Spammer

You know those opt-in forms you use on your website to obtain email addresses for your list? (If you don’t have them, you should!) They’re a great marketing tool and help significantly with automation. However, laws in places like Canada require explicit permission to send emails. That doesn’t mean you can’t use the opt-in forms, but it does mean you need to add another step in your automation process to ask permission before putting those folks on your email list.

Nobody likes spammers. Don’t be one. Stay current with Internet laws anywhere you may have customers.

Mobile Marketing

mobile marketing

Quick survey. How many of you are reading this on your phone or tablet right now? Statistically speaking that number is pretty high. Is your website designed to be seen on mobile devices? If people can’t see the entire width of the page without scrolling, they’ll get frustrated and leave. When they leave, you’ve lost a potential customer.

There is a difference between being mobile friendly (like a blog) and mobile designed. For example, is your website designed so that a visitor can click to call? If you’re a local business, is there map integration to help customers find you on the go?

As smartphones get smarter and smarter, your website will need to change to accommodate the number of mobile visitors. Choosing not to change or adapt will be detrimental to your business in the long run, if not the short run.

Need Help?

Not sure how to implement the necessary updates to your online marketing? Can’t seem to keep up with all the latest changes? Let us help with web design, content creation or traffic. The ROI and time saved will make you glad you did.

How to Use Audio to Promote Your Business and Services

2-audioDid you know that a large portion of the population retains information better when they hear it than when they read it?  This is one of the many reasons that it pays to offer audio as an option for your site visitors.  Here are some more:

* Audio can inject personality into your website in a way that text and graphics can’t.  There’s just something about hearing someone’s voice that makes site visitors feel welcome.

* Audio is convenient.  Those who want or need to multitask can listen to audio while doing something else.  They do not have to be right in front of the computer screen to use it.  You can also make audio available for download to an iPhone, iPod or MP3 player (if people still use those things!), so your visitors can take it with them wherever they go.

* Using audio can separate you from the competition.  Many sites do not utilize audio, and if yours does, those who enjoy it will be likely to come to you instead of your competition.  

Ways to Use Audio

There are plenty of different ways that you can incorporate audio into your website.  Here are a few to consider:

* Record a podcast.  This is similar to blogging, only it is done in audio form.  Users can subscribe to your podcast so that it is automatically downloaded to their feed readers or iPods.

* Do a streaming talk radio show.  This is a great way to get targeted visitors to your website, and it allows you to interact with your audience by accepting calls or answering emails while you’re on the air.

* Offer recordings of online conferences or presentations for download.  This gives visitors an incentive to come to your site as well, and it may entice them to participate in future conferences.

* Record a message for site visitors.  Tell them a little about yourself, suggest areas of the site to visit first, or just welcome them.  This adds a unique personal touch.

Making Your Audio Accessible

There are a number of file formats that you can use when saving audio, but it is important to use popular ones so that your users will be able to listen to them.  The most popular format for most types of recorded audio is MP3.  It offers great file compression while preserving the quality of the audio.  Virtually every computer has an application that can play MP3 files.  The Windows operating system comes with Windows Media Player, which will play these and several other types of audio files.

Another benefit of the MP3 is its versatility.  It can be easily converted for burning on a CD with most CD burning programs.  Users can also put them on their iPhones or just about any other type of portable music player.

30 Types of Content You Can Publish Online

When you think of creating online content, what flashes immediately into mind?  Most likely, “blog posts”.  But did you know there are at least 30 types of content you can publish online? Here they are.

1.  Blog Posts

We had to say it.  But take note that short blog posts are going out of fashion again.  Google has let it be known it will penalize blog posts that are so short, Google feels they are nothing more than excuses for ads and affiliate links.  Their emphasis on “quality, original content” has all the top bloggers writing posts over 500 words long and very often, twice that number of words.

2.  Infographics

Still at the height of popularity, the latest trend is to impart information in visual format people can absorb with a single glance.


This works so well not so much because many people are visual learners, but because all of us internet-and-mobile age denizens have trained our brains to scan-and-glance digital content, to see if it’s worth spending time exploring further.

3.  Slide Presentations

Social platforms such as SlideShare make it easy for people to share slide presentations.  You can create these as stand-alone information modules… or as accessories for webinars you are holding.


Plus you can have people follow you from SlideShare – and share your work across other social networks.

4.  Media Page

Every online entrepreneur should have a Media Page (section) on his or her blog or website.  Within this tab, radio hosts, news reporters and readers should be able to find:
  • Photos they can use (including your headshot)
  • Archived newsletters
  • Archived Press Releases
  • Bio information
  • The latest news about you/your business
And anything else you’d like them to share.

5.  Skype Chat Text Interviews

This is a brand new, dynamic and interactive way to present Skype interviews – a live link for people to join in and a blog transcript for those viewing the post after the call has completed.


Again, you can generate shares and follows for this type of content – as well as sharing your interviewer/interviewee’s website link, as Vera Raposo of Creative Biz has done with Kristen Eckstein’s Ultimate Book Coach site.

6.  Landing Pages

Short pages you send people to so they will sign up – either for your newsletter, a “freebie”, your website or blog – or a paid product.

7.  Sales Pages

Not-always-longer versions of Landing pages, promoting your paid offer.  Sales pages can come in many formats:
  • Traditional long letter format
  • Short landing page format
  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • Video
  • Audio
Pick the format that best suits your audience’s engagement style.

8.  Podcasts

You can make your website more interactive by providing Podcasts — .MP3 audio files your visitors can listen to (or download, if you let them).


They can listen in real-time, if you provide a teleseminar phone link – and then enjoy the recording in podcast format on your blog.

9.  Newsletter Archives

Everyone who owns a blog or website should have a newsletter – and archive old newsletter editions either on a Media page or in an Archives page. Newsletter provide an instant history of your business.  People can go through each newsletter, from your very first one, and see where you started out – and where you are now. If your newsletters are high enough in value you can even choose to keep them in a hidden section for paid members of your membership site.

10.  Templates

People will return again and again to your site if they know you have great resources such as templates at your site.  These can be blog post templates, review templates – even HTML templates.

11.  Tip Sheets

This is another desirable type of content to offer as a sign-up incentive on your blog or website.  The key is to make it highly specific to their most pressing interest at this time – or to new technology that is affecting their niche: (E.g.  “30 Tips For Making the Most of Facebook Changes”).

12.  Images

We don’t just mean “stick a picture in your blog post”.  Image use should be an integrated strategy you use to brand your business and tell your story. They should consistently support your online identity and “voice”.

13.  Animated Gifs

There’s been such a prejudice against “distracting” animations, this is not a method most people think of, when it comes to content creation.  Yet under the right circumstances, they can be used effectively. There are two keys to creating a positive rather than a negative effect: a)     Choose a “loop” that looks natural repeating (e.g. a candle flame flickering, water gently tossing in a bay), rather than a moment in time endlessly replaying. b)     If you just want to catch attention, simply set the animation to repeat only once, as laid out in this Yahoo answer. 5-looping-once-yahoo There are many free sites that allow you to create animated .gifs.  Two that are easier than most are Lunapic and  Makeagif, with tutorials and wizards respectively. (Click on this link for an example of the sort of thing you can do.)

14.  Video

Every online entrepreneur should make videos and share them across platforms like YouTube, Pinterest and Vimeo.  The real issue is what type of video best supports your business?
  • “How to” demonstration
  • “Talking head” update from you to your followers
  • Animation
  • Recorded webinar with slides
  • Video blog entry

Nicole Munoz Youtube

15.  Downloadable .PDF files

You can offer eBooks and reports in .PDF format as sign-up incentives for subscribing to your blog or website.

16.  Checklists

Another great sign-up incentive – or bonus.  People love checklists – it helps make them feel organized in a world of chronic digital overwhelm!


17.  Google Hangouts

You can host a meeting, interview or seminar by creating a “Hangout” within your Google+ account.  Ask fellow Circle members to join you. Better yet, choose the live streaming option to help it go viral, if it’s something you want everyone to see, and it will automatically be recorded and uploaded to your YouTube channel.

18.  Logo

A Logo that captures in a blink the essence of your business (and helps people instantly think of it) is essential, if you’re branding your business rather than you, yourself.

19.  White Papers

A “white paper” is much like a report, but is usually a formal presentation of statistics or a document analyzing something of great importance to your website visitors. If your target market are corporate-minded, white papers are usually deemed of more value than “reports”.

20.  About Page

This is one of your best pieces of online real estate.  While you are talking about yourself, you are doing so to build identification and rapport with your ideal visitor, so even when talking about yourself, it should really be all about her. Use your top keywords in your About page contest.  And it’s a great spot to put a headshot, if you haven’t done so anywhere else on your site.

21.  Bonuses

Bonus downloads and perks add value to your offers, blogs and websites.  These can take any format – video, .MP3, tip sheets, reports… And they can be created by you… or by a JV partner.  Or simply purchased as Master Resale items to share with your list.  (Pick the format your target customer or client would love best!)

22.  Coupons

A coupon can also add value to your offer or website.  You can make them printable, if you have a local business… or give a coupon code at checkout to sweeten an offer. Just be sure to set a start end date (and limit the number), to keep your ROI in the black!

23.  QR Codes

Are your best paying customers avid Smartphone users?  Then put QR codes on your website, blog, business cards, flyers, merchandise – and more. You can also set this digital bar code to take people straight to:
  • A telephone call (your number)
  • A text message
  • Your website
  • A coupon or special offer

24.  Cartoons

You don’t often see cartoons  in digital marketing – but that’s all the more reason to consider using them, if your niche members are highly visual-oriented.


25.  Statistics

Sharing statistics can be a huge draw for many business niches.  You can share them in:
  • Chart format
  • Graph format
  • Tables
  • Lists

26.  FAQ Pages

Having a list of Frequently Asked Questions on your site is a great way to please visitors – and cut down on repetitive emails. A FAQ page is also indispensable in your Affiliate section, if you have affiliates.

27.  The Legal Stuff

If you are an affiliate marketer, you’ll know you need to provide a Disclaimer or Disclaimer Page, stating that you may receive compensation for recommendations. Other types of “necessaries”:
  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy (this one’s a “must” too)

28.  Maps

Indispensable, if you’re a local business and want people to either visit your premises or see your range of service.


29.  Reviews

If you are recommending products, use a review template to provide consistent reviews. Your aim should be to become a trusted resource for people in your niche, so that yours is the site they turn to first, when looking for  product information.


30.  “How to” Tutorials

These can be in video, diagram, audio, graphic or written format… or a combination of any of these.  (An added bonus: “How-tos” turn your site into a resource.)


There are many more content types you can use on your website – but whichever you choose, be original, unique – and tuned in to your visitors.

50 Tips for Marketing Your Website


As amazing as your website may be, it’s not going to market itself. If you want people to come to your website, you have to get the word out there. Once a few thousand people see your website, it can start to pick up steam and spread through reputation. In the beginning however, you have to do the ground work.

Here are 50 tips for marketing your website.


1. Add a ton of original content. There is no better way to market your website than having content that people love to spread. This method doesn’t work overnight, but in time is extremely powerful.

2. Pick keywords and put them in your title tag. Use the Google Keyword Tool to find good keywords and put the in your title tag. Note: use only several relevant keywords.

meta-data3. Write a good META description tag. Your META description tag goes under your title tag in the search engines. It helps convince people to click on your ad.

4. Look at your analytics logs and see who’s sending you traffic. Use these traffic sources more readily.

 comments5. Contact people who comment on your blog. See if you can get them to link to you or talk about you in a blog post.

6. Start a YouTube channel. Upload videos that people in your industry would love and want to pass on to their friends.

7. Submit your site to directories. Use DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory for high powered backlinks and smaller industry specific directories for targeted traffic.

 news8. Write for offline newspapers and magazines. Reach out to editors and let them know that you’re an expert on a subject and would like to do an editorial or opinion piece.

 pressrelease9. Write a press release and submit it to online press release services like PR Web. Bloggers and editors will receive this release and potentially write about your company.

10. Get in contact with traditional press editors. Pitch them a story about why your company is unique, or find a way to help them in a story they’re already working on.

11. Submit a high quality piece of content to Reddit. Make sure you submit it to the right sub-reddit to get as many interested people as possible.

12. Submit your content to StumbleUpon. If your content is good, this can send tens of thousands of visitors your way very quickly.


13. Create a Facebook page. Use your website to promote your page. Your page will allow you to stay in touch with your fans, as well as launch new viral campaigns.

14. Use Twitter regularly. Befriend other Twitter influencers and ask them to retweet things when you’re doing a promotion. Likewise, do whatever you can to help others succeed, as eventually they’ll want to reciprocate.

15. Search for people to reply to on Twitter. Search for common questions people in your industry might ask and @reply them directly.

16. Join internet forums and contribute. Find relevant forums in your industry and post high quality content replies.

17. Put your site in your email signature. Anyone who interacts with you should see your content website in your email.

 email mkt118. Create an email newsletter. Use it to follow up with your guests, to build a long term connection and to make regular sales over the guest’s lifetime.

19. Do an online contest. Give away amazing prizes that people would want to fight for. If your prizes are really top notch, people are going to talk about the contest and pass it along to other people.

20. Advertise in other people’s emails. Advertising opportunities start as low as $25.

 affiliate_marketing21. Launch your own affiliate program. Get other people to promote your products for you.

 PPC22. Buy pay-per-click advertising. Buy relevant keywords for products that you’re selling and get traffic from Google and Bing.


23. Contact local businesses about joint marketing opportunities. Look into advertising together, doing products together, doing local promotions, etc.

Nicole Munoz Speaking24. Speak at events related to your topic. Ask the event organizer to link back to you. Mention your site when you’re speaking to bring in more traffic.

25. Use Pinterest. It’s one of the hottest social networking sites at the moment. It’s great for attracting a female crowd.

26. Add your business to Google Maps. If you run a local business, it’s essential that you have a well setup Google Places page.

27. Post on newsgroups, Google Groups or Yahoo Groups. Don’t spam, instead look for ways to add value by giving advice and answering questions. Have a small link to your site at the bottom of your messages.

blog28. Comment on other people’s blog posts. Make well thought out, intelligent comments that add to the discussion and get people curious about you and your site.

29. Interview a well known person. Make the interview available for free.

30. Have great guest blog posts. Often times your guests will link to their own article, driving a lot of quality traffic.

RSS feed31. Create an RSS feed. This makes it easy for people with RSS readers to follow your blog.

32. Advertise on Craigslist. If you run a local business, this could bring a lot of targeted traffic.

33. Use My Blog Guest to find opportunities to write for other websites. Write for those sites and include a link back to your site.

review34. Review products and books. Especially try to review products and books while they’re hot.

35. Answer questions on Quora. Not only can you get good traffic from Quora, but you also position yourself in front of a very high powered crowd.

36. Cover a live event. Update frequently, once every hour or so. People who can’t make it to the event can still feel like they’re there by reading your coverage.

37. Post on portfolio sites. Look for places where you can showcase your work or your ideas. If you get good reviews, a lot of people will come to look at your site.

 Podcasting38. Start a podcast. Publish once a week to start. Build a list of fans who listen to you every week.

 website redesign39. Get a custom designed header. It can really make a big difference on how people see your website.

40. Comment on current events. If a major shift is happening in your industry, talk about it and give your opinion. If you have a unique take, it could gain a lot of traction.

41. Give something away for free. Give away a free eBook, a free audio MP3, a free DVD, a free software package, etc. Free stuff always gets a lot of attention, especially if there’s a high perceived value.

42. Break a record. Pick a record in your industry and try to break it. If you do, you’ll get a ton of press and blog coverage, which will all translate into website traffic.

43. Ask your customers what they want. Then give it to them. When you do this, customers will often be so surprised and thrilled that their request was heard that they’ll tell a lot of their friends about you.

44. Do a weekly roundup of your industry. At the end of each week, go through and pick out the best posts in your industry and link to them. You can write a small summary as well. Make your blog a resource for people to go to for good content in your industry, even if you don’t write the content yourself.

questions45. Answer questions on HARO. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a great place to find reporters who need to interview people for their stories.

46. Organize a local meetup. This will bring you a small amount of connections, but get you a ton of valuable connections.

47. Do a free live chat Q&A. Doing these live Q&As regularly will help you build your connection with your audience as well as get a lot of people linking to you.

 content funnels48. Spend as much time growing interest in your content as you do on writing. After all, what good is content if you nobody sees them? Split your time in half: Half on marketing, half on content.

49. Promote your content on Social Buzz Club and Triberr. Submit your blog posts or videos to these two sites to have the chance to be promoted by leaders in your industry.

50. Create infographics. Gather relevant data, create a scenario and ask a graphic designer to give life to the data you have collected. Promote the infographic on all available channels: infographic sharing websites, Pinterest, social media sites, bookmarking sites.

10 Ways to Promote Your Podcast

podcastingPodcasts don’t just explode in popularity overnight all on their own. While it might seem like some podcasters get hordes and hordes of traffic for no apparent reason, that’s simply how things appear on the surface. Just about every successful podcast required a lot of pushing in the background.

Building a successful podcast entails building your audience one step at a time. It involves using traffic tactic after traffic tactic to get more and more people to pay attention to you. Building an audience takes effort.

Fortunately, when you invest your efforts in the right things, your podcast can grow quickly. Here are ten of the top ways you can promote your podcast.


#1: Get on iTunes


iTunes is by far the largest podcasting directory on the internet. It’s where the vast majority of podcast listeners go to find and subscribe to podcasts. If you want to build a major podcast, getting on iTunes is not optional.

Getting on iTunes is a relatively simple process. All you need to do is go through the iTunes podcast setup process in the “Podcasts” tab. Make sure you have a quality blog or site to backup your podcast so you increase the chances of getting approved by Apple.

#2: Call In To Other Podcasts

Other podcasts in your industry will often open up their lines for callers to ask questions or make comments. Get in the habit of calling in to other podcasts. Begin your call by stating your podcast, then ask insightful questions or leave useful comments.

For example, if you run a podcast about health and fitness, you could call into a bodybuilding coach’s podcast and ask: “Hi, this is Mark from the Daily Fitness Podcast and I had a question about self-measuring body fat percentage …”


#3: Go to New Media Expo

New Media Expo is the #1 conference for bloggers and podcasters to meet other bloggers and podcasters. Here you’ll be able to meet other people in your industry, meet people who’ll do joint podcasts with you, meet potential interviewees, meet potential advertisers and be exposed to all kinds of traffic opportunities.

Go to New Media Expo and actively be on the lookout for other podcasters who’re in similar fields as you.


#4: Build a High Traffic Website

If Your Website Was a Piano…Having a strong website can be an incredible boon for your podcast. Your podcast can feed into your website and your website can feed into your podcast.

Build your website’s traffic using guest blog posting, search engine optimization, social bookmarking, social media, paid traffic and any other traffic source(s) you can find.

Talk about your podcast on your website. Have a link to your podcast on your website. Talk about recent episodes in your newsletter. Leverage the power of your web audience to boost your subscriber count.

#5: Publish a Book

Some of the most popular podcasts on the web were first launched because of a book. For example, the extremely popular top-10 ranking podcast show “Freakonomics” was first launched by a book of the same name. Likewise, the top-10 ranking personal finance show by Dave Ramsey was also launched by his successful series of books.

Books can go a long way towards helping you build an audience. It can really establish you as an expert. It can also expose your name to hundreds of thousands or even millions of people.


#6: Transcribe Your Podcasts and Turn it into Web Content

Search engines can’t read podcast contents. Even if you have the absolute best content about a specific question or search phrase, if it’s embedded in your podcast, you won’t get any SEO benefit.

That’s why it’s so important to transcribe your podcasts and have it turned into web content. Fortunately, you can find people online to do it for as little as $2 an hour. Once the content is transcribed, you may also consider hiring an online writer to polish it, edit out segments that only make sense in voice and format it into an easy to understand page.

Publish this page alongside your podcast download link. This way search engines can crawl your content. It also gives people something to link their friends to; as it’s much easier to link to a content page than a podcast episode.

#7: Answer Listener Questions by Name


Solicit questions from your listeners, then answer them in your podcast. When you answer their questions, make sure you answer them by first announcing the name of the person who asked the question. For example:

“Next, we have a question from Ben DeMarco. He’s asking what’s the best way to record a podcast in a room that isn’t soundproof. Well Ben, good question …”

This helps people feel like they’re really being listened to. They’re much more likely to retweet your podcast, to post about it on Facebook or to rave about it to their friends.

#8: Submit Your Podcast to Podcast Directories

Though iTunes is by far the largest podcast directory in the field, many of the smaller directories still have a lot of pull. Individually they aren’t as powerful, but when you get your podcast on dozens or hundreds of these smaller directories, you can drive quite a lot of traffic.

Look especially for niche and sub-niche directories. For example, if you run a health podcast about being vegan, look for directories specifically for health or nutrition oriented people. These kinds of directories tend to get the most targeted traffic.

Podcasting Like a Pro

How to Choose the Right Podcasting Equipment




The difference between a podcast produced with good equipment and poor equipment is astounding. With poor equipment, you’ll sound unprofessional, like a fly by night operation. Even if people can make out the words you’re saying, if there’s background noise or buzzing, people will have a hard time taking you seriously.

On the other hand, with high quality equipment, your voice will come through crisp and clear. Your voice won’t “pop” when you pronounce your “P”s and “B”s. You won’t pick up background noise, you won’t hear any buzzing or tones from the room and your sound overall will be crystal clear. This projects a much more professional image.

A lot of listeners will simply tune out of a podcast if they hear unprofessional audio. It’s a signal to listeners about how much effort you really put into the program and how committed you are to quality all around.

Setting up your podcast can be done for as little as $200, or as much as $2,000 or more. Here’s everything you need to know about podcasting equipment.

Microphones 101: Dynamic vs. Condenser

When it comes to recording podcasts, the most important piece of equipment you could own is a good microphone. In fact, for budget setups, it’s okay if it’s the only piece of equipment you own. You can skimp on the mixer, the digital recorder, the editing software and everything else – But you can’t cut corners on the mic.

The mic is what ultimately determines the quality of your audio. You want a mic that’ll pick up sounds crisply and strongly, without picking up background interference.

There are primarily two kinds of microphones, dynamic and condenser. What’s the difference?

Condenser Microphones – These microphones are designed to pick up all the sounds around them. They’re frequently designed for musical recording, where the mic’s supposed to pick up the sounds from the drummer, the bass, the guitar, etc all at the same time.

If you’re recording a podcast in a very quiet environment, such as a recording studio or a very quiet room, a condenser microphone could be better than a dynamic mic. However, for most amateur producers (E.g. you’re producing at home, without a sterile sound environment,) condenser mics simply pick up too much noise. You don’t want a mic that’ll pick up everything. You want a mic that just picks up your voice.

Which brings us to …

Dynamic Microphones – Dynamic microphones are the opposite of condenser microphones. They’re designed to pick up only what’s directly in front of them and filter everything else out. With dynamic microphones, you have to be more conscious of how you speak into the microphone. The mic needs to be positioned in front of you and you need to be relatively close. Don’t vary your distance from the mic, or the volume will fluctuate.

That said, dynamic microphones are still the better option for most amateur producers. They’ll cut out ambient noise, such as road noise or the next door neighbor’s bathroom fan.

Ultimately which mic type you choose depends on your recording environment. If you have a sterile and quiet environment, go for a condenser. If you’re in an environment that might have noise, go for a dynamic microphone.

Best Microphones for Under $150

There are two great mics budget podcasters can use to get started.

For those truly on a budget, the Blue Mic Snowball mic comes highly recommended. At a price tag of under $70, its value is hard to beat.

The Snowball is a dynamic microphone that can be set to record either your voice or the whole room. It outputs directly to USB instead of XLR, so you don’t need a mixer or a converter to plug it into your computer.

It comes with a small swivel mount and works via plug and play – You don’t need to install any software.


The second budget microphone is the Shure SM-58 microphone. The mic alone costs $99, with the mic stand, the XLR cable and the windscreen in one package costs $120.


The Shure SM-58 is one of the best budget dynamic microphones on the market. With the windscreen on, pops are virtually inaudible. It picks up little to no background noise. For a fraction of the price, the Shure SM-58 can produce highly professional sounding audio.

Note that the Shure SM-58 outputs to XLR rather than USB. That means you’ll need either a mixer or a converter.

XLR Cables, 3.5mm Jacks and USB Converters

Why do microphones tend to output to XLR cables rather than 3.5mm jacks? And why can’t you buy an XLR to 3.5mm converter instead of a USB converter?

The simple answer is that 3.5mm jacks (the ones you see on your iPhone and headphones) are terrible for sound recording. The jack connector could lose noise or pick up noise if there’s dust or cracks along the connector. The wire itself can pick up noise. An electrical current running next to a 3.5mm cable can cause interference in the audio signal.

Even if you record a perfect audio stream, if you output it to 3.5mm there’s a good chance it’ll sound slightly distorted, fuzzy or buzzy by the time it gets to your computer. That’s why most mics output to XLR or in some cases USB.

USB cables work very differently than 3.5mm. 3.5mm cables transmit an analog audio signal, which is why it can be corrupted. A USB wire transmits computer data rather than audio data. It can’t be corrupted the same way.

One popular USB to XLR converter is the Icicle, which costs around $40 on Amazon.


Best Microphones for High End Setups

The Rode Podcaster Dynamic Mic comes in at $230. It goes direct to USB, so no converter necessary. When it comes to direct USB mics, this is the crème of the crop. It’s a dynamic microphone that picks up very little outside noise. The sound quality is top notch and the warranty can be extended to 10 years for free.

It also has a headphone jack built into the product itself, so you can hear what’s being recorded. The volume knob allows you to play with the headphone volume without affecting the recording volume. It’s truly a professional’s choice.


Finally, you have the Heil PR-40, available for $280. This is the mic that professional broadcasters, as well as podcasting with millions of listeners use. It’s used by audiobook narrators, radio show hosts, voiceover artists and podcasters.

It filters out background noise like a dynamic microphone, but still captures audio depth like a condenser microphone. You do need to learn proper microphone technique to use this mic, as it is a high end professional mic.


What is a Mixer and Do You Need One?

A mixer is one of those optional pieces of equipment that’s very nice to have. If you’re on a budget, you can still absolutely produce a quality podcast without a mixer. But if you’re podcasting professionally, you’ll absolutely want to get yourself a good mixer as quickly as possible.

A mixer does exactly what its name implies. It takes multiple tracks and mixes them. Using a mixer, you can adjust the volume of each input individually before it’s recorded. You can filter out feedback live, you can record different guests on different audio tracks and you can match sound levels between different audio streams. You can also play audio at the press of a button – For instance, if you want to play a sound whenever a guest speaker signs off, you can use a mixer to do so.

If you’re just doing a solo podcast and you’re on a budget, you can get by without a mixer. If you have guests on, if you do in person interviews or if you’re using multiple sound sources for any reason, having a mixer is essential.

When it comes to podcasting mixers, there’s a pretty clear winner. Mackie’s mixers are more or less widely recognized as the best mixers for the job. For lower budgets, go with the Mackie 1402-VLZ3:

Higher end productions can go with the Mackie Onyx 1620i, which has 8 preamps and 16 channels:

Both produce similar quality audio, though the latter allows you to have more inputs and outputs.


What Are Recording Headphones and Do You Need One?

Recording headphones are used to listen to an audio’s stream in real time so you can hear how it sounds. This is useful for detecting variations in levels between different streams. It can also help you detect ambient noises and other potential distractions early on.

For instance, if you’re interviewing a guest on your podcast, you want to make sure your voices are at about the same volume as it’s being recorded. Having headphones will allow you to hear how it sounds to your audience as you record and adjust the volumes accordingly.

The difference between recording headphones and standard headphones is that recording headphones are designed to avoid sound leakage. Sound leakage is where a small amount of sound actually comes out of the headphones, which can then be picked up by the mic again. This causes a distortion, delay or a “ghost sound” in the recording.

Recording headphones aren’t necessary for simple, solo podcasts. If you’re interviewing guests however, they’re almost mandatory.

The Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones are highly recommended for professional podcast productions.


Audio Editing Software

There are all kinds of different audio editing tools you can use to put the final touches on your audio. In reality, the tasks you need to do to produce podcast audio aren’t all that complex. You mostly need your software to:

  • Add intro music.
  • Edit out mistakes or cut out fluff.
  • Add background music.
  • Change sound levels.
  • Reduce noise.
  • Cut different audio tracks together.

Just about any audio editing program can perform these tasks. Popular tools include Apple Logic Express, Sony SoundForge, Pro Tools, Garage Band or Audacity (free.)

Purchasing a high end program like Pro Tools will set you back about $600. On the other hand, you can do all your editing on a simple and free program like Audacity. It really depends on your budget and the complexity of your operation.

The best approach to audio editing is to pick one tool and stick to it. Learn it until you can move around quickly and smoothly. As long as you’re just performing simple tasks, the editing tool itself isn’t all that important. It’s your audio recording quality and your content that really matters.

That’s all the equipment you’ll need to get started podcasting. As you can see, you can get started on as little a $200 or as much as $2,000. It just depends on what you’re recording and what your budget is.

How to Repurpose a Press Release

pressreleaseYou’ve put together the perfect press release. Now what do you do with it? This handy checklist will help ensure you make the most of your story.


Publish the release on your website. Create a “Media” section of your website and ensure you post all your press releases. Make sure your media section includes:


  • Your contact information
  • An RSS feed for media updates
  • Email sign up for updates
  • Twitter and Facebook Pages dedicated to company news.


Distribute the release to your local media. Local newspapers, TV and radio programs are interested in stories in their community and are your best bet for good coverage. Visit the publication websites and find the appropriate editor or reporter to directly send your release to.


Distribute to trade publications. There may some international or national publications that deal directly with your industry. Find the appropriate editor contact to submit your story. You can begin your search at:


Build your media list with these online resources. There are a numbers of websites where you might research potential media contacts.


Also try for reference purposes:


Distribute your release to online press release sites. There are a number of press release sites where you can submit your release. Some include:


Distribute to corporate websites. Large companies who run websites may accept formal press releases. Look for their submission information and follow the steps required.


Repurpose Your Release for Further Distribution


Write informally to bloggers. While larger company websites may accept and prefer the press release format, bloggers will often appreciate a more informal approach. Take the information from your story and turn it into a personal email to the blogger. Make sure to include information on why you are contacting that blogger in particular and show that you are familiar with and appreciate their work.


Approach podcasts. There are plenty of online podcasts that would be interested in hearing from you. They might require an informal approach, much like described in approaching bloggers. Some places to find podcasts: