“Stay useful and cheap!” a friend advised when it comes to keeping this job during the current tailspin.
“Remain true to yourself,” also advises a primer on job retention nowadays. “The best employees are passionate about themselves and their interests!”
OK, I’ve been writing about life with my autistic son since he was born almost 11 years ago. About four years ago a software vendor visited our offices and somebody asked what media the vendor thought had recently had the biggest bang-for-the-buck cost-basis ratio. Trade shows? Print?
“Trade shows are too expensive,” he replied. I forget what he said about print. “Actually, lately, we’ve had the biggest payoff from Web seminars and podcasts,” he added.
“Ah ha,” I thought, “I have indeed always found speaking easier than writing. And I bet people find listening easier than reading!”
So my wife and I launched a series of podcasts about raising an autistic son. They didn’t make a gigantic splash; it would probably take more than a few minutes on Google to find them (jillandjeff.podbean.com), but they did attract a few listeners. Especially popular was the podcast by my eight-year-old typically developing son Ned, who spoke for 15 minutes about what it’s like having an autistic older brother. People have listened to Ned almost 1,400 times, Bangkok to Burbank. People do like listening more than reading!
What people really seem to hate these days is spending. So in keeping with my office’s ongoing mantra of doing more with less, I figured recently, Well, if we’re gathering all this information about the profession anyhoo, why not find some other way to convey it? “We don’t reach them on the beach!” has been one complaint of publishers, who realize that our fans can’t or don’t cart our mags to the sand and surf. Nor do they read us – we hope – while stuck behind the wheel on their commute.
But they could listen to us. A radio-like SourceMedia presentation might be a neat way to prime yourself for work during the morning drive. And as a guy with two little kids, I can think of nothing sweeter about the fourth day of vacation than jamming in the earbuds and tuning out with what, by that length of uninterrupted time around my family, would be a refreshing dip back into work I love.
WebCPA editor Mike Cohn and I grabbed a conference room the other day and I read a couple of Practical Accountant promos into Mike’s MP3 player/recorder. I see the possibilities here as varied – promos, summaries of actual articles, interviews, to name just a few – and as a natural, thoroughly salable extension of the information-gathering we already excel at. (Somebody call Sirius XM while they’re still in business!) Our tech guys have already put a cool podcast icon on the WebCPA site. It looks like headphones. I never would’ve thought of that.
I also never would’ve thought, before I listened to my first SourceMedia podcasts, that I needed lessons in talking. I thought it was going to be breeze after all my Podbean experience. I sounded clunky, though, stumbly. Nothing like the flow of my writing. An earbudding artist, I wasn’t satisfied.
But I was started down a new road of usefulness.
(Now that you’ve read this column, you can listen to three of our podcasts at http://www.webcpa.com/podcasts/podcast.cfm, including an audio version of this column. Press play to start and press fast-forward to advance to the next podcast. )
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