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Take The Stress Out of Starting a Podcast

Career

Podcasts are trending right now because they are accessible, portable and listeners can listen to them whenever it is convenient. It's different than video because you can take them with you without being tied to the screen. People listen to podcasts in the car. You can take the podcast with you when you're working out in the gym or on subways, planes and trains. The popular concept of releasing daily snackable forms of content is catching on because they're produced as focused- topic specific content that you can grab on the go.


Have you thought of starting podcasting but don't know where to start?

The first step is to get very clear on why you want to start a podcast. Are you a business owner or an entrepreneur and you want to get your message out and grow your business? Are you an artist or an author and want to position yourself as an expert in an industry category? It is important to figure out exactly what it is that you want to talk about on your podcast and how you want your show to sound. Do you want to interview guests? Repurpose already existing blog posts into engaging audio files? You can dive in to next steps once you've flushed out the concept of your show and figured out why you want to do it.

As you evolve into the production stage of creating a podcast you need to commit to consistency. Committing to consistency means both keeping consistent on scheduling the recording of a show and releasing it on a consistent schedule. It also refers to making sure the show goes out at the same time of the day and on the same day every week.

You may only have the bandwidth to release an episode once a week or prefer to release a series of multiple episodes. The important thing is to honor the schedule you committed to because your listeners start to look forward to and can get disappointed or lose interest if you're not delivering it consistently.

Investing in quality production audio has become increasingly more important. Apple is releasing approximately 8000 new podcasts per week. There are over 550,000 podcast on iTunes right now so the quality of your audio will be a big factor in your competitive edge.

You may not be able to budget for a producer when you're first starting out so you invest in a quality microphone and make sure if you have a co-host doing the show that you both use the exact same microphone to ensure the best possible sound. Some recommended microphones for podcasting include a Blue Yeti USB Condenser Microphone. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamics USB/XLR or Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone. Prices range from $64-$150. Consult with an audio expert before you purchase one to really understand the differences and which is better for your recording scenario. There is no reason to overpay when you don't have to yet you want to be sure you're getting the right quality for your production experience.

One of the secrets to success to creating an engaging show is remembering the first five to eight minutes are your most important time to capture your listeners. You'll want to make sure you use those first precious minutes to bring in the listener and captivate them enough so they will want to listen through to the end of your episode.

Should a local business be starting a podcast to increase their influence?

The great thing about podcasting is your ability to use it to position yourself as an expert. Whether you're a local business or you want to reach new customers outside of your regional area you can view the podcast as originator of your marketing content. One of the things that Produce Your Podcast recommends to our clients is to start with your podcast as the hub of your marketing strategy.

You can record your episode once, transcribe it, and take that written content and use the edited version as a blog post.These transcriptions can be repurposed into social media and email newsletters and used in other kinds of digital marketing. Podcasting is very efficient as a business development tool. It gives your customers a way to get to know you. People like to do business with the people they trust. A powerful connection emerges between you and your listeners and as a result they are more likely to convert into new customers.

The best thing you can do today to launch your podcast is just get started. It's not too early. It's not too late. There's still plenty of room in the podcasting market to have a successful show. Go ahead and jump into the trend. The sooner you get ahead of it the more effective it will be for you. Find the right partner to work with you if audio production is not your thing. Seek out an expert who can help you if you want to start a podcast and you're not sure how to what to do next. Reach out on social media to ask questions or join Facebook groups with experienced podcasters who can help you get through the process. The hardest part is beginning but you'll be glad you did!

7min read
Culture

The Middle East And North Africa Are Brimming With Untapped Female Potential

Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.


A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.

The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.

In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.

Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")

The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."

This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.

Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.

She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."

Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.

"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei

While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.

Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.

The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."

This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.

Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.