Michael Sorg knows a lot about podcasting and social media, being involved in broadcasts on various subjects and Sorgatron Media. Read up on his experience in the field, and advice on getting into audio and monetizing.
Do you mind introducing yourself?
I am an independent creator these days, doing most of my work under the Sorgatron Media name. I work on several personal and professional projects, including the 6 year running Wrestling Mayhem Show, AwesomeCast, Unsung for the Pittsburgh Foundation, and Director of Web Media with S’eclairer in Export, PA and assist with planning of Podcamp Pittsburgh.
How did you get into podcasting?
I was working on another community project for “Juggalos” called WesternPAJuggalos.com and got into streaming radio with some other webmasters via ShoutCast. When rumblings started about Podcasting around 2005, we happened to be starting a wrestling show and used the ShoutCast for the live stream, and posted it in Podcast form. This became a passion project on the side for years along with other experiments with shows on music, technology, and served as a base for learning new skills outside of my day job’s boundaries.
Cool. Do you think a new podcaster should jump into audio or video first? Which do you prefer?
Audio will be easier. Hands down. At a certain point, you have to decide how much your show will benefit from video. In most cases, we’re creating “talking head” shows where the only benefit is seeing the expressions. My shows started as audio only and evolved from there to video versions. If you can’t answer why the video would help express you right off, or you want to concentrate on one aspect at a time, start with audio and evolve. You’re going to have to anyways.
Great point. What are your favorite tips on creating good content?
I hope you enjoy the subject matter. And the people you do the show with, if that’s the case. Those weeks when I question how many people actually care what I have to say, or maybe there’s something else going on that’s getting to me. The shows that lasted longest are the ones I love to do with people I love to talk with. If you’re not serving yourself with these things, you will lose the dedication to keep it going.
Being passionate about your subject really is so important. What about monetizing content? How should podcasters go about that?
So many worry about direct monetization. Much like metrics for social media are a larger beast than the number of followers, I’ve started to look at my shows the same. If you want to get ads in the old fashion, you need some numbers. And I mean several figures large in numbers. Shop your target, niche, audience to someone looking for just that type of person. Super specialize. In my case, I see my personal podcasts as a show piece, developing a persona of a network at my own SorgatronMedia.com. By demonstrating I can do 2-3 shows on a weekly basis at a certain quality and consistency, it shows that I’m not a fly by night producer and has developed my reputation, which was an amazing advantage when I quit my job and went independent.
What are your favorite social media or podcasting tips that you’ve acquired over your years in the business?
Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you love it. It will last longer and be more fulfilling.
Live makes it social. By recording live, even if it’s the rough recording, you get a live interaction with the chat room, and let them into the extra stuff around your show that the iTunes subscribers don’t get to see and makes them even closer fans and friends.
Skype, and similar technologies have broken down the barriers of who we can do a show with. I connect weekly with people from New York City and San Antonio. We once had an interview with an old colleague in Moscow. The world is getting smaller.
We’ve always encouraged going live and interacting with listeners, too. Where do you hope podcasting is heading?
It’s evolving. Podcasting seems to be giving way to these video shows and Vlogs you see on Blip.tv and YouTube. We’ve become buried by the big guys putting out their own shows like CNN, NBC, Kevin Smith, and others who come from a bigger world. You have to be better to get bigger, and smarter competing with the guys with all of the money you don’t have to start.
Any final thoughts for the community?
I believe that podcasting and social media tools out there are vehicles for anyone to get their message out there and connect and grow, personally. If you have something to say, there is no excuse to say it on a platform that could reach millions.