Video, Tips, Tricks, and Takeaways from this New Media & Social Media Conference in Boston

This weekend, Patrick and I left the BuzzFarm for the big city and stayed in Cambridge, Mass., for Podcamp Boston 5. We have a combined total of having attended 7 PodCamps in both Boston and New York and wholeheartedly agreed that this event was the best one yet.

It wasn’t as big as recent PodCamps due to the lack of room in the facility (Microsoft NERD Center), but the intimacy of the crowd and quality of the people who attended was just remarkable.

We’ve got a whole big breakdown for you below, but let’s start with a kick-butt video intro, cause you know we love video!

As always, the “hallways” are often where you learn the most at PodCamp. Let’s be honest … half the crowd at PodCamp is working in the same field, competing for the same clients: businesses who want to start using social media.

The noncompetitive nature of PodCamp brings about exciting new business relationships between would-be competitors and opens doors for others who are looking to connect with the networks of those would-be competitors. Even if we offer similar services, we all have our own unique views, ideas, and strategies.

To make a friend at PodCamp is to open a new door for your business. You can’t say that about most conferences you attend. I love PodCamp. There, I said it!

OK, enough mushy stuff. (OMG – I love you! All of you! Ahem …)

Besides all of the awesome networking that went on, there was also a whole lot of discussions and sharing to be had. While you might be able to find bits here and there on the #pcb5 Twitter stream, good luck fishing through all the madness!

Instead, here’s what I thought were the most shareable bits and pieces from this weekend. I’ve done my best to give credit wherever I could remember. First the tips, then the tools.

PodCamp Boston Tips and Takeaways

  • The Perfect Podcast Length: The average commute time is between 18- and 22 minutes, so when you time your own, try to stick to that length. People have started listening to TED Talks in the car for this very reason; they’re all under 18 minutes.

“Always be creating content. Content is the currency of social media.” –  @davidwells

  • Tame Social Media Madness Scientifically: Break down your approach for diving into social media. The always insightful @tamadear recommends first answering the question, “What am I trying to figure out about social media?” Then figure it out. Next, try practicing with social media, possibly not with an official business account. Look up competitors and gauge what they’re doing. Get into the community to fine tune your skills. Next, find your audience to see what networks they’re on and what tools they’re using. Don’t use platforms that your customers aren’t using. Decide what your desired outcome is. Finally, create a plan of attack and go for it. More on all of this here.

“I’ll give you four inbound links for a bag of chips!” @eastofprov

  • The Key to Being a Successful Author: In a group discussion led by @LenEdgerly, it was agreed upon by everyone in the room that being a great marketer is the key to selling a book. Have great contacts, market the crap out of your book, and be a perceived authority.The marketing sells the book, not the actual content. Of course, if you want to keep selling the book, you should probably follow up with being just as good of a writer as a marketer.

“New media is NOT free. Our time is not free and our audience’s time is not free.” – @cspenn

  • How to Get More Clients With No Marketing Budget: We’ve already thought of this one (take a look at our referral page), but try employing the help of a “citizens” sales staff. In other words, offer an incentive to anyone who refers you clients. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool.

“Twitter and Facebook seem like public utilities but they’re not; they are private companies and can go away.” – @cspenn

  • Time Online Videos According to Content Type: Audiences won’t mind watching a longer video if it’s educational and contains great content. Instructional videos can go longer than news or opinion videos. Marketing videos should be even shorter. @JoselinMane recommends:
    • 30-60 seconds for an ad
    • 60 seconds to three minutes for marketing
    • One to seven minutes for a sales video
    • Seven to 45 minutes for an instructional video
    • Thirty to 90 minutes for a webinar

Networking tip: Start with “Here’s what I know … Here’s what I want to know more about …” – @chrisbrogan

  • Study Your Competitors: There are so many ways to analyze your competitors these days. will tell you their traffic, while watching Twitter will tell you how they communicate with customers and often give you behind-the-scenes looks at new upcoming products meant for potential customers. PodCamp organizer @chelpixie recommends searching sites like LinkedIn to find job postings from your competitors to see what they need and what direction they’re headed in. Oh, and keep an RSS feed of all your competitors, too!

“The Internet is not a medium … by now it is at least an extra large.”

  • SEO Video You Put Online: This is another thing we try to remind people time and time again – video has been being indexed for a while now. The advantage here is that by keyword optimizing your videos, you may not be able to land on the front page of Google with an article that has competitive competition, but a video is a much easier. Even better: Videos usually show up above the fold.

“If you’ve got something, throw it out there. You could be the chunky tomato sauce of podcasting.” – @cspenn

  • Geolocation is about to get crazy: It really is. Just like regular social networks that started out broad and then went into niche overkill, geolocation apps are headed in the same direction. In a hallway conversation with @mmpartee, I learned that the less popular Where app is incredibly profitable, while the wildly popular FourSquare app is … not. The new difference in geolocation apps will be business models, and how they plan to sustain after VC funding. I actually think niche apps have a greater possibility of achieving this. The IAmHungry app is monetized by restaurants, while the funny yet convenient Sit or Squat app – which will find you a public bathroom in a flash – simply takes ads.

“Planning for failure is one of the most underrated activities” – @tamadear

  • Just do it: People get so caught up in the planning of a podcast, web show, or new start-up project that it seems like most just get burnt out in the planning process. Maybe this weeds out the doers from the talkers, but if there was one big theme here it was to JUST DO IT. Don’t stop thinking; just don’t let it get in the way of actually doing what you want to do.

PodCamp Boston Tools & Tricks

A good amount of helpful social and new media tools were recommended at PodCamp. I’m sure it’d be impossible to catch all of them, but here were some pretty notable ones:

  • Prettylink WP Plugin lets you create your own URL shortener from your domain name. It sends Google juice to your site instead of an external URL shortener. The premium version enables you to shrink, cloak, track, organize, share, and test all of your links on your own domain and server.
  • & will both let you see if your username or vanity URL is available across 150+ sites.
  • has a bunch of books that you can download for free to your Kindle, while InkMesh will help you comparison shop for prices on eBooks.
  • is a free company policy generating tool which can also help you create create social media policies.
  • was added as a larger database to find difference social media monitoring solutions.
  • can be used to find common Tweeps among the people you follow and those that they follow. Great tool for competitive research.
  • can be used to register a hashtag, organize it, and list it in the Twubs directory.
  • organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list, or #tag and shared via Twitter automatically.

Feel free to add any additional ones in the comments!

And by the way, huge awesome round of applause for the hardworking team that made PodCamp happen: @chelpixie @ellenrossano @CarissaO @shersteve @DougH @cspenn and @chrisbrogan.

See you next time!

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