Creating Your First Audio Product – Choosing a Microphone

Audio products — teleseminars, mp3s, podcasts — are amongst the easiest product to create. No information products marketer should be without at least one audio product. Even if that product is only an audio book. And like any product the tools you use to create the product greatly affects the quality of the end product.

But what do you need in order to create audio products?

At its simplest you need only four things… a computer, software, a microphone and a script. The most important thing you need — beyond the script — is the proper microphone.

So how do you choose the proper microphone? After all there are all kinds of computer microphones out there in the market. They range in price from two dollars to several hundred dollars.

How can you be sure that you are buying the right one for the job without overspending?

When selecting your microphone it helps to understand what the choices are and what each is best for and what to look for.

There are two major classifications of microphone — directional and omni-directional.

Directional microphones pick up sound in only one direction. At its simplest this is accomplished by having the microphone exposed in one direction. For example, we’ve all seen headphone microphones that have openings in only one place… normally pointed at where your mouth would be.

Omni-directional microphones pick up sound from many directions equally. This generally requires that the microphone “head” have perforations in a number of directions. For example, most desktop microphones have holes in the end of the microphone as well as in several spots around the circumference.

Omni-directional microphones are best used to pick up background noises such as a group conversation. Directional microphones are generally used to pick up localized sounds such as a single person speaking. For audio products, you generally will want to pick up each speaker’s voice rather than a group with background. Even if you need to use multiple microphones and tracks, a directional microphone will work better.

The second element to consider is the configuration of the microphone. Generally there are four configurations… desktop, headphone, clip and boom. While in theory any of the configurations will work, in practice most people only have access to certain combinations.

Desktop microphones are the inexpensive microphones used by many computers. Most laptops, in fact, have a built in desktop microphone. These microphones can work well for telephone purposes with the proper drivers. However, most desktop microphones are omni-directional. They simply will not work well for creating audio products.

Headphones are the next most popular microphone. They range in value from very inexpensive to very expensive. Frankly, for most people, inexpensive is as good as an expensive headphone. Headphones generally use directional microphones. They are your best choice for creating audio products.

Clip mikes are a type of microphone which clips to your clothing. They may be either omni-directional or directional. Frankly it doesn’t matter in this case. Both are intended to pick up the speaker’s voice only. Generally, you will get a cleaner recording with less noise from a directional clip mike; however, you will need to spend more time ensuring that you get an acceptable sound level. Clip mikes are good for speakers who like to move or where you are making a video at the same time. However, they tend to be expensive and purchased after you know what you are doing.

Boom mikes are generally used with video recording. These are the long microphones that stick out from professional cameras. They can be omni-directional, directional or semi-directional. Generally, they are not used for audio recording. Instead they are used where a microphone in the picture would be distracting.

Effecting Planning of Exhibitions: An Advertising Tool in Marketing the Designer and His Products

Exhibition is the public display of artefacts such as manufactured goods, food, artefacts etc. in order to attract viewers and buyers. An effective exhibition should be well planned and organized. It is also noteworthy that only excellent works that merits appreciation and shows artists’ exceptional skills should be exhibited.

The organization of an exhibition is very relevant. Its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Some of the purposes of organizing and mounting of an exhibition are outlined below:

1. It showcases the designs and works of an artist: An exhibition mounted by an artist helps him to show the entire world what he/she is able to do. This invariably would help him to gain customers who may be interested in the purchase of any of his works or designs.

2. It offers an avenue for the sale of products: An exhibition gives the artist the platform to explain the concepts and ideas behind his artistic creations and this would move viewers to purchase some of his mounted works.

3. It promotes the manufacturer: An exhibition affords people the opportunity to know the manufacturer. This promotes and makes him popular or known.

4. It promotes competition and creativity in the industry: When an exhibition is mounted by the artist, other artists come to view his artistic creations. These artists are inspired by the works seen and are challenged to produce works that surpasses those they have seen. This ensures the development of new ideas and new products in the industry.

5. It entertains all in attendance: People who come for the exhibition are entertained after viewing the varied products of the artist. They gain new experiences of artistic productions and this greatly entertains them. Also, it may help them to get new friends and interact with people of different backgrounds. The side attractions such as the music played at the occasion all adds an entertainment flavor to the entire programme.

Exhibitions are broadly classified into two. These are General exhibitions and specialized exhibitions. General Exhibition is whereby varieties of items are displayed to the general public. It attracts all kinds of exhibits or works. It should be noted that several products are exhibited during general exhibitions. Several products such as Bags, belts, shoes etc. are exhibited at the same time. It can be called a Bazaar or Fair.

On the contrary, specialized exhibition involves the display of a specific kind of product or artifact. For instance, when only bags are exhibited, we can say it is a specialized exhibition. However, varieties of the same product thus, bags are exhibited.

It should be noted that either of these types of exhibition can be organized at various levels such as Individual exhibition, Group exhibition, Institutional exhibition, Community exhibition, District exhibition, Regional exhibition, National exhibition and International exhibition.

An effective exhibition should be well thought of or planned before it is organized. Several factors come to the fore in the planning of an exhibition.

1. Type of exhibition- The artist or organizers of the exhibition should seriously consider the type of exhibition that they want to mount whether a specialized or generalized exhibition. If the exhibition is organized by a different body, the artist should make the necessary inquiry through trade publications, newspapers, internet etc. to know precisely the type of exhibition to be organized. This would help him to prepare accordingly.

2. What to exhibit-The artist should deeply consider the kinds of exhibit to mount. He should consider the theme of the exhibition, the background of the potential viewers such as their age group, sex, levels of education and even their income levels. This would aid him in knowing the kind of artefacts to exhibit.

3. Where to exhibit- The place or venue for the exhibition should be carefully considered. Its location should be at the heart or centre of his most expected guests or the target group. The venue must be easy to locate. The premises should be spacious, clean, well ventilated and well lit.

4. Cost involved- The cost to be incurred for the organization of the entire exhibition should be carefully rolled out. The cost of publicity, side attractions/ programmes, preparation of the venue etc. must be well planned.

5. Publicity- This refers to the means by which the organisers want to broadcast or make known the exhibition to the general public. The best and most effective means of publicity should be adopted and implemented. Should it be done through posters, banners, flyers, signposts, open air announcement, brochures or the internet? The organizers should think about it critically.

6. Expected number of guests/visitors- The number of people to be expected at the exhibition grounds should be well thought of. This would help the organizers to plan the exhibition well. It would enable them to choose the right venue in terms of size, the number of seating etc. for the exhibition.

7. Duration/Time- The length of time for the exhibition should be planned well. Will the exhibition last for a day, days etc. The time for the start of the programme and the time it would end should be thought of carefully and communicated with the expected guests prior to the programme.

8. Security- The organizers should beef up the security at the exhibition grounds to protect the exhibitors, invitees and the exhibits. This would make all in attendance very secured.

9. Visitor’s book- This is a special book that is made available to all the invited guests to write down their names, contacts, comments and experiences. This would enable artists to contact prospective buyers of their products and in the planning of future exhibitions.

10. General layout- The entire arrangement of the exhibits, seating etc. should be artistic and nice. There shouldn’t be any room for crowdedness and congestion. The place should be comely and refreshing.

Exhibitions are the enticements that draw people to the products and services offered by a business. Therefore it must be carefully planned. This would ensure that the products manufactured by individuals, groups or enterprises will have mass sales and sensitization among the populace.

One Product, Three Customers, Three Different Ways To Write

My soapbox is just about worn out. I’ve been preaching the necessity of knowing your target audience for at least 10 years. “You can’t write effectively to someone you don’t know,” is how my spiel would normally go. When one day someone asked me to show him what I was talking about. “I’m writing copy for computers,” he said. “Everybody needs and can use a computer. How could a general product like that possibly have different target audiences?” I’ll show you exactly how.

Be Specific With Your Definition

Don’t ever begin an analysis of your target audience with the word “everybody.” The people who fit into your target group are individuals. They certainly share common traits, needs and wants, but they are unique. When defining your customer base, and the segments within it, be as specific as possible.

Senior Citizens

If we go back to the computer example, we would surely find several segments within the target group who buy computers. One would be senior citizens. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project Report, 54% of Americans ages 60-69 go online. In fact, 21% of those over the age of 70 also go online. In order to surf the Internet, these people need a computer.

What concerns do seniors have when it comes to computers? Fear is a big emotion that comes into play with this crowd. While they love the idea of being able to keep in touch with family and friends, many in this age bracket have a hang-up with learning to use new technology. Ease of use and a low learning curve are some things that must be communicated clearly.

High School and College Students

Having grown up using computers in the classroom, and most likely at home, students are generally very comfortable and confident with this technology. If something breaks, they’ll figure it out themselves or just get a new computer. Portability, the latest technology and speed are the biggest factors for students.

With many younger users, gaming is a primary function, so the computer they want/need has to have large amounts of RAM, hard drive space and virtual memory. What about cost? Mom and dad are almost always the money source for a student’s computer, so the student isn’t interested in the price. If mom and dad can’t afford it, there is always grandma and grandpa.

Small Businesses

While computers are a tax-deductible business expense, small businesses are still concerned with price. They are also leery of low price points and special offers because, most of the time, small businesses will need to add a good bit of additional equipment to a basic computer which ups the price.

Small businesses also normally have no full-time IT staff, so support is an issue that comes into play. Is help available to answer questions or troubleshoot if and when networking doesn’t go smoothly? What about repairs? If the computer requires any service, is it done on-site or does the computer have to be shipped to some nameless service center? Is there a guaranteed time for repairs to be completed?

As you can see, each segment has its own concerns about buying a computer. While “everybody” may need one, every person does not have the same concerns or needs when making a computer purchase.

Before assuming that every member of your target audience is alike, take some time to do a little research. Conduct an informal survey, ask questions and talk with customers one-on-one. Find out what their wants are, what concerns they have or what they’d most like to see you offer. Once you find out, write so that you communicate directly with them on their level. You’ll find your conversion rates rise when you give your visitors the information they want.

by Karon Thackston © 2006

General Liability Insurance – When Do I Need It?

General Liability Insurance covers many things as well as bodily injury and property damage. Essentially it covers you when you and your employees injure/damage someone else or their property. General liability, is individualized, so If you’re searching online quotes your information will be submitted to several companies from which a qualified agent in your area will review. You’ll need to talk to that agent you buy it from, to see what is covered. Here are some questions people are asking about when they are considering what type of general liability insurance coverage to get.

Selling Products At An Inside Space

The minimum amount of general liability Insurance is what you’ll need for a policy. The general liability will cover your standard slip and fall types of accidents. Before you set up at a inside space, the municipality will, without reservation, suggest that you carry minimum limits of liability. The municipality will also necessitate that they be added to your liability policy as extra insured and they will want you to supply a certificate of insurance showing these provisions have been met. In addition to the general liability you will want to add product liability coverage. Product liability is designed to cover you if someone alleges that they were sickened by using your product. A municipality may or may not require you to carry products liability. However, because you will be selling to grocery stores they will demand that you carry products liability and once again have themselves added as additional insureds. Corporate grocery stores (i.e. chains) will often require much higher limits of liability which would necessitate the need for an umbrella liability policy.

General Liability Insurance For Clients With Bad Credit

I know of an insurance company that will check your credit on a commercial policy. They only do on personal insurance. They may look at the financials of the business for rating purposes (gross sales, liabilities, salaries, etc) & they may also choose if they will cover you based on the extent of time you have been in business. If you have been in business less than a year, this will give you more difficulty locating coverage than your personal bad credit.

General Liability Insurance Issues

List of issues for any business to think about in analyzing the terms and conditions of a General Liability Insurance policy. Is the dollar amount of the coverage enough, Is the insurer financially sound, Are the premium payments reasonable, Is the deductible too large, does the policy protect against bodily injury to customers and guests on the company’s property, does the policy cover property damage caused by employees and third parties, does the policy cover personal injuries, does the policy cover advertising injury, does the policy cover issues that stem from the company’s products, or is a individual policy needed, does the insurer have a rock-solid history of paying claims on time. When evaluating quotes all these issues come into play.

Cost of General Liability Insurance

You will have to verify with an insurance agent or two in your own state. Prices differ by state, and the rates will be calculated on your income. Not all insurance companies are accepted by all states. Each independent agent will have a group of insurance companies that he/she can write for, so it’s to your advantage to try an independent agent for the the best General Liability Insurance.