Are you ready for Paradise?

So you have heard a few podcasts. You download them and listen to them on your drive to work, or in the gym or whilst walking the dog. You think ‘I could do that’ and so you do a little research and suddenly it seems a lot more difficult than you thought.

Some people give up at this point but there are others (holds his hand up guiltily) who see the challenges as something to go for, something to master. You start scouting the web looking for answers on how to podcast and it isn’t too long before the name John Lee Dumas crops up.

JLD puts out a podcast every single day. It usually lasts 30 minutes and is tightly scripted. He brings in business and entrepreneur type people and always asks them the same 6 questions. It sounds easy and many people have copied John (which misses the point, John looked for a gap he could plug, not a format he could copy) and tried to set up their own shows. But how do you do the technical bits? What is an RSS feed anyway? Do I really need Libsyn? Can I make money doing this? How?

Enter paradise. John runs a community called Podcasters Paradise. It is a paid membership site with a thriving community of podcasters at different stages in their journey. He saw that there was a knowledge gap and Paradise fills that.

The marketing is really well done. John will always talk about it on his show. Or you can sign up for his weekly email. Or you can hang around other podcasters and sooner rather than later, someone will mention Paradise.

He also builds scarcity into the model by periodically announcing that Paradise will be closing whilst he and Kate (his partner) upgrade the site and you should join now as when it reopens the price will go up.

He follows the ‘freemium’ model in that he gives most of his stuff away for free. This sets up the idea in peoples minds that if the free stuff is this good then the paid stuff must be even better (it is!)!

Then there are the results. There are many successful podcasts out there who have followed John’s advice and it has worked. they become brand advocates for Paradise and for John.

As is the way with digital business John is always developing new products and testing new ideas. There are things like conferences for podcasters on cruise ships and webinar tutorials. These and other ideas keep the whole thing fresh and at the forefront of what is happening.

The community of people in the closed Facebook book are also incredibly helpful and positive. It can be quite disconcerting posting a comment to such an obviously knowledgable group but never have I seen them be anything other than super helpful.

There is also the ‘accountability partner’ programme where they will pair you up with someone at a similar stage in their journey. You are encouraged to keep in regular contact so that you can support each other when facing hurdles and share in the joy when you achieve success. From experience I think this is an excellent part of the programme.

If you are serious about starting a podcast then Podcasters Paradise should definitely be on your list of things to check out. As a Paradise member looking to shortly release a podcast I have found it immensely useful. Check it out and I’ll see you in Paradise!

5 things about MOOC’s

This is my first MOOC, you know MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course, they are all the rage you know. MOOC are courses you take on line and study at your own pace and in your own time. The one I am on is Digital and Social Media Marketing. There are some timescales given so that people have a target date to aim for but the rest of the time it is up to you. First thing I learned is that this is great and at the same time this is terrible. You think you will just log in and do a little bit here and there but life keeps on getting in the way. You forgot that you had booked an appointment or your wife wants you to go and do something or the boss needs you to work late or your toddler really wants to play a game with you. Thats where discipline and planning come in. Telling people that you need to study is good as it alerts them to the fact that you won’t be available on demand. It also means they can become your accountability partner and can ‘remind’ you that you need to do your homework. Planning your study time really helps too. Blocking time for study and making sure that you actually study in that time are generally good habits to have.

Secondly, a course will stand or fall spending on the quality and, to some extent, the quantity of the course material. Is it too much or too little? Does it take you through in a linear progression and explain key concepts? Can you go back over the material to pick up on points that you may have missed? Happily for this MOOC that all seems to be the case. The material is in nice bite sized pieces with lots of additional material so you can really dive in deep.

Following on from above the third thing is that the MOOC material is presented very well. You feel drawn in to the subject as you go through it. I find myself wanting to explore more to deepen my knowledge of the subject and the thing I have learned (or re-learned) is that learning can be fun! I had sort of forgotten that.

I didn’t come on the course with any pre-conceived ideas of what I would like to do after it ends. The company I work for wants to dip a toe into the digital world and this course will help me help them. I may also use it personally to help brand various podcasts and vlogs (video blogs) that I am exploring at the moment. However i feel that the MOOC is structured so that by the time I complete it I will have a much clearer idea as the material goes deeper and focuses in on the subject. Because it is an enjoyable way to learn I am really looking forward to seeing where this course leads me.

Finally, MOOC’s are as much about communities as they are about learning any particular subject. The community aspect is really emphasised and at the moment that is where I am falling down. I have not engaged very much with the community for this MOOC. The people on this course are an international bunch, I think I am the only Brit on the course, but reading their biographies on the Facebook page is a scary experience. Many of these people are mightily impressive. And they are all keen to learn from other people on the course – hmmm. Well if they want to talk about British wildlife, adventure sports, motorcycles or martial arts I’ll be fine but anything else and I may have to make my excuses!!

I am looking forward to seeing how this MOOC pans out. So far its been good fun and I have learned much already. Here’s to the next 5 weeks!