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Hacking Media Production Podcast: Build an Audience Around Content

on March 13, 2013

Interview with Jim Louderback. (Time 22 min)

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Jim Louderback (@jlouderb) is the CEO of the the online video network Revision3, purchased by the Discovery Channel last year. We conducted this interview after I made an appearance on Revision3’s weekly tech talk show, downLOADED, hosted by Louderback. You can catch all of their programming on YouTube under the TechFeed channel. Louderback was the VP of Editorial of ZDTV and TechTV where we worked together.

Tips to working with your audience to collaboratively build content

You don’t just create it and forget about it: With old media you just put it out there and hoped for the best. With new media you produce the content, but you also spend between 20 to 50 percent of your time interacting with your audience.

It’s iterative media: Unlike “Big Bang” media, as Louderback refers to it, Web content is iterative. You change your content based on behavior of the audience. You’re creating your media property with your audience.

Ask your audience: You’ll be surprised what your audience will do if you simply ask them their opinion, or ask them to create something for you.

Be specific about your requests and let them know it will become content: If you’re discussing something you think your audience will have an opinion about, be specific about asking for their opinions and then make it clear that you’ll take the best answers and make it part of the show content for the next episode.

Ask people to share with friends: That simple request can be effective as well. Your audience thinks you’re great, you’re just reminding them to help you out.

Be part of the comment stream: The comments aren’t just for your audience. They want to interact with you. Get in there and engage.

Ask audience to create their own versions: If you produce a piece of content, ask your audience to create their variation (e.g., Here’s my Harlem Shake. Let’s see your Harlem Shake.) People want to feel part of things that they enjoy.

For video, work with the Google+ and YouTube integration: It’s very green at this point, but it’s offering a new way for valuable comments to rise to the top. This is often better than other tools as the content is right there next to the comments.

Authentic and real wins in Web video: On traditional television people work really hard at not being themselves. That’s not true with Web video. Be direct, open, and yourself.

Velocity of comments at launch: YouTube changes their algorithm often, said Louderback, but at one time and it may still be true now, a lot of comments in the first hour or two of a video will help make it more visible to people visiting the YouTube site. One technique they’ve done is have the show host announce that they’ll be in the comment stream for the first hour the show is available on YouTube. This greatly increases comment participation.

Use analytics and annotations in conjunction: If you know from your analytics that people are going to fall off at a certain point and get bored, throw in an annotation at that moment and alert them of something coming up in a few seconds, or send them somewhere else they may find more interesting.

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