Last night, at the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting, Cali Lewis presented how to Be Your Own Media through podcasting. Dallas-based video and audiocast evangelist Cali Lewis is the cute host of GeekBrief.TV, which features three to five minute video podcasts covering new technologies, consumer electronics, and Web 2.0 projects. Check out my video and commentary inside.
Cali has also been interviewed on dozens of Internet, TV, and radio shows, such as MSNBC, NBC5 in Dallas, and has published on networks such as About.com, iTunes.com, as well as other tech news sources. Even more impressive, she has nearly 12,000 followers on Twitter. According to her presentation, her and her husband/producer Neal Cambell started podcasting part time in December 2005.
In May 2006 they both quit their jobs to do podcasting full time. In her talk to the Chamber she covered the main technical steps involved in setting up a blog on your own domain including finding an available domain, setting up hosting, and downloading Wordpress. She also gave some tools and resources that can help jumpstart anyone into podcasting his or her own show.
On the blog installation presentation she tried to keep it simple, but was still met with blank stares. She gave away some promotional discount codes for hosting and domains which you can find at the end of the post.
Questions for Cali
What's the advantage of creating your own blog verses putting one on Blogger or another blogging network?
She explained that users automatically give individual domains more credibly verses and that it is more professional. She also explained that many of the good .coms are unavailable. She does own GeekBrief.com (it redirects), but Geek Brief TV is the name of her show and thus their brand.
I wanted to add to this answer, but I didn't want to occupy her time since I knew I was about to ask a different question. When you have your blog on a site like Blogger, Livejournal, Xanga, MySpace, Facebook, you really don't own your own content. You are building someone's else's content in which they can track and sell ads on. Secondly, the site is less flexible in almost every way. Most importantly in my mind, it's impossible to get accurate analytics/stats for marketing purposes and feedback (aka SEO and SEM).
In the beginning, did you do a lot of promotion or did your site just take off virally?
She agreed they did do a lot of promotion in the beginning. She also stated the timing was good because they were one of the first tech news streams offering video RSS feeds. She didn't really give any more promotion information or specifics away, which is what I hoped. She may have been trying to avoid a huge conversation on search engine marketing, joint ventures, affiliate marketing, and search engine optimization with the already lost audience.
She did mention using Google Gmail Alerts for the company brand and relevant keywords in order to join the conversation on other blogs.
Other questions involved asking what type of business model people are using to make money from podcasting and blogging. She mentioned Google AdSense, as well as getting sponsors.
Once you have enough eyeballs, the sponsors will come, especially if you have a niche market. You can pitch that to the sponsors because it's more valuable than a general audience.
She advised that podcasting hopefuls should look at taking a local approach --- meaning information on Dallas, or some other micro topic. Similar to localized search podcasting should be paired down to a tight targeted audience.
As far as sponsors goes, it looks like currently she is working with Nokia, Godaddy.com, Dreamhost.com, and some others.
What's Next for Cali Lewis?
Her next big project will involve taking their show on the road. Her and her husband plan on interviewing local people in all 50 states offering slice of life human interest stories. They will post their adventures, interviews, and commentary on BigTrip.TV.
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