Hallmark Holiday Movies get a lot of flack because they are predictable, cheesy, corny, and more or less if you've seen one – you've seen them all. Here are some things I've noticed:
- Someone’s parents are dead. This brings instant sympathy for that character
- Child actors who can’t act their way out of a bag.
- Two GORGEOUS people who are both single. If one of them is not single, then they are in a relationship with someone who is a horrible fit. Almost always these two people will hate each other.
- Often there is a secret. It’s not a huge secret (I farted in church when I was six) but it’s treated like it is a LIFE CHANGING secret.
- The hurdle is either Christmas is canceled, the home or old theater or old cabin is being old, one of the gorgeous people are “going back to the big city” or the BIG SECRET comes out. This bad news is followed by sad piano music that leads to a commercial.
- In some cases a prince. Why? Why not. Often a prince or princess trades places with a peasant. If there is no prince, there will be a workaholic who can’t slow down for Christmas.
- A former TV star from a sitcom you watched when you were younger makes you ask, “Why is THAT PERSON doing THIS KIND of acting?
- Speaking of acting, there is LOTS of bad acting (especially from the children), and especially around “the hurdle” when people have to look worried.
- That thing from act 1 (Oh my Granpa had an ornament like that when I was growing up), is coming back in act 3.
- There will be a transformation. Every movie has one (if they are good). So the two gorgeous people who hated each other at the beginning of the movie now realize they can’t live without each other.
- There will be a montage scene.
YES THERE ARE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Do you know why all Hallmark Movies are the same? Well, do you know why all AC/DC songs sound the same (or Chuck Berry). Ever listen to an episode of Dave Ramsey?
They found a format that works, and consequently, they stay with it until that format doesn't work.
Why are there so many Friday the 13th movies? Because they were profitable. That goes for many movie franchises.
When you find a winning format – stick with it. Monitor how it resonates with your audience and if they love it, keep doing it.
TWEAKING A FORMAT WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL
My cousin said, “I know what I'm getting with a Hallmark movie. I don't worry about swearing, nudity, violence, etc. It's a trustworthy holiday movie where everyone feels good when it's over.
So Hallmark saw that the “formula” worked but they could grow their audience through diversity. They've added movies with people of color.
As a middle-aged white guy, I never knew what it was like to see a movie or TV show and not look like the people on screen. The success of the Black Panther Movie, Blackish, Hamilton, and other forms of entertainment that had a different slant found an underserved audience.
People of Color – Your Audience Awaits
With this, I beg you people of color, and people of all shapes, sizes, sex, and whatever makes you – YOU. There are people who are tired of hearing about a subject from a middle-aged white guy and would love to hear about your subject from your point of view that includes your influence and heritage.
Look at the Path of the Customer
When it comes to things you might look at tweaking/updating, let's look at those items that come in direct connection with the listener.
This is one people obsess over, and I'm not sure that is warranted. Choose the category (and subcategory) that is the closest match. Why do I say don't obsess over categories? Do you know ANYBODY that found a podcast by going to the app and looking at the categories? Jacobs media reported that 70% of podcasts are discovered via word of mouth.
This might need some updating. Focus on the following:
Who is this for?
What can they expect?
How will they benefit?
You want the potential listener to read your description to read and think, “this is for me!”.
Can you answer the question, “My podcast is the only podcast that ____?” that's a tough question (courtesy of the book Make Noise: A Creator's Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling.
If you read your description, can it be used to describe any podcast or if someone hears that description do they go, “Hey, they're talking about YOUR show.” Eric also has an exercise that has you “Describe your idea in no more than ten words and do so in a way that describes nothing else in the world.
Add Your Show to All The Directories
I am befuddled when someone has not taken the minutes (not hours) to list their show in all the directories. See this post I did on my “Your Podcast Consultant” show. Why would you not list your show in an app that has thousands of people who love to listen to audio?
Make it Easy To Subscribe
You will see where I have a page like this at https://www.podcastconsultant.com/follow which is done via Podpage. Here is another example for the School of Podcasting. The search in Appel and Google is not great.
If You Really Want To Grow Your Audience
Every time I see someone who is saying things like this, “Been doing this podcast thing since February. I use the anchor as my program. Now I’m still learning. I’m kinda flying by the seat of my pants. I don’t really have a lot in the ways of editing or programs of that kind, I just use the anchor app. I constantly maintain a presence on social media trying to promote my show, I also use Facebook ads to try and get my show out there. I cannot get listeners to save my life.
I’ve got 12 regular episodes and 1 bonus episode. The lowest number of listens I have is 20… the highest I have is 126.. I average about 45 an episode… what in the hell am I doing wrong lol. I’ve been told that I produce good content.. so why ain’t I getting more listens?! I have a very demanding day job and I’m using almost all of my free time so this podcast… so when I see these pathetic numbers, it’s super discouraging.. help guys! Lol
Don't Be Afraid of Constructive Feedback
When I see people like this they all have one thing in common. When I say all of them, “Have you received feedback from someone who you didn't grow up with or related to? Their answer is ALWAYS
“I'm good on content” or “I'm solid with the content.” You need to get some objective feedback and find out what your audience needs.
The people that told me “My content is solid” had some blind spots. This is normal. I do a show every Saturday that is not only audio but video. In reviewing my videos I see where I'm not looking into the camera enough. I keep looking at myself and my co-host on my left computer monitor (see here). So I could say, “Naw, my video is solid. I got lights, got a good camera, I'm good. Sure. That's true, but I'm ALSO NOT LOOKING AT THE CAMERA. If you need help, I can give you feedback (both the stuff you are doing well, and the stuff that needs some work). Let's work together.
Update on Tascam Mixcast 4
I never received any updates on replacing my Tascam unit (I had a meeting with a rep who made me feel warm and fuzzy, and they were very interested in my opinions and ideas). I reach out to Sweetwater (my preferred vendor) where I bought and I should have a replacement unit tomorrow (It had been shipped in less than 24 hours). Now, this is not a negative reflection on Tascam. Judging any company mid-December (where in some cases they are down quite a few people) and any shipping situations can be challenged by all the holiday activity.
This does demonstrate and reflect how I've told you that Sweetwater has just as good of pricing as Amazon, Free Shipping, a better warranty, and tech support, and they are just reinforcing my knowledge and proving that their policies and guarantees are more than just slogans on a website. Because it's this time if year, I'm even more impressed. Check them out at Sweetwater.com (aff link).
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QUESTION OF THE MONTH
II need your answer by 12/24/21. The question is “What is your favorite Podcast and why?”.
The name of the show
The website (if you know it – very helpful)
What the show is about
WHY YOU LIKE IT – Go as long as you want.
Be sure to tell us the name of your podcast, your website, and a little bit about your show.
Please answer at www.schoolofpodcasting.com/question