Just wanted to drop you a line to keep you updated on a few things.
1) Happy New Year!
I hope you had a great 2011 and spent some relaxing time with friends and family over the holidays. I visited my parents in the Boston area, lived Christmas through the wide eyes of my sister’s three kids (6, 4, and 1 1/2), went on a “man date” to the mall with my friend Fitz and his new 7 month old (are strollers allowed on escalators? what if the baby isn’t in it?), and through technology, saw my brother’s 2 year old energized with Christmas spirit via Skype.
2) What WON’T change about The Hopkinson Report in 2012
The blog and podcast will be back in late January, and should follow the same high-energy, deep-dive format that you know and love. Each week I will continue to cover the topics of social media, marketing, and technology. Additionally, I will have a little bit more focus on personal branding and career development, since I am no longer working full-time and am living the “independent lifestyle.” I’m not at a 4-Hour Workweek yet, but maybe some day.
3) What WILL change about The Hopkinson Report in 2012
- Wired. As I mentioned in my final podcast, the show will no longer be associated with Wired or Conde Nast. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and I’m sure I will be referencing content from the magazine and website from time to time, and maybe interviewing people that I had worked with. But the views of the show will entirely be my own, and I won’t be directly promoting any Wired events or products.
- New look. After several years with the same design, I plan to update the look and feel of the blog, including a new color scheme. I plan on making it easier for new visitors to the site to get started, and for long-time listeners to find their favorite topics.
- New sound. The opening and closing theme song will be updated from a generic, rights-free Garageband song to one of my favorite songs from my 1997 rock-pop band, The Nasties! It actually was a good opportunity to track down my old band mates on social media to make sure they were cool with it, and reconnect a little. No word yet on a reunion tour.
- New technology. My Blue Snowball microphone has been great and I think I will continue to use it, but there has always been the issue of interviewing guests. This might be the year I upgrade to a full mixing board with multiple microphones for interviews. Additionally, I am looking into a handheld digital recorder for remote interviews.
- New video? Let’s face it, I know video is a rabbit-hole. To do it right, you need a good camera, then you want good external microphones, a green screen, editing software, graphic and text overlays, special effects, and then before you know it, you’re spending every night in a pitch-black room till 4am working on the perfect transition effect in Final Cut Pro.
However, there is no question that YouTube continues to explode, and would attract more traffic to the site, as well as give readers a new perspective on my thoughts. I am making it a goal this year to incorporate more video into the blog. To be clear, this is not going to turn into a video podcast show, but rather, I might have “30 second rants” or a “Jim How-To” embedded on the site to supplement the content.
- New hosting. I have to give a huge shoutout to Cliff Ravenscraft aka “The Podcast Answer Man.” As you can imagine, it’s a little complicated trying to figure out how to transfer 175 archived episodes from old servers to new ones, choose a new hosting company, update and redirect XML and RSS feeds, and so on. I heard about Cliff from Pat Flynn and the Smart Passive Income Podcast (he interviewed him here), and we jumped on a consulting call in late December to discuss all the options and get things straight. He was a huge help.
The plan is to move the media files to a site called Libsyn.com, which is the world’s largest podcast network. They host 15,000 podcasts serving over 18,000,000 downloads, so we should be in good hands. They also have improved reporting so I can give special shoutouts to listeners in Luxembourg.
Also good news: As a podcast subscriber, you shouldn’t have to do anything to receive new episodes; you should be redirected automatically.
Want proof that Cliff is the real deal? Check out the podcast studio setup he has in his home [envy]:
- New Sponsor(s). I am thrilled to announce that The Hopkinson Report will be sponsored by Freshbooks in 2012. You may recall my interview with Saul Colt way back in January 2009. Well, we’ve been friends now for 3 years and he’s been an amazing contact. In Saul’s role as the “Head of Magic” at Freshbooks, his job is to find cool people and events to associate with, and I am honored that he has chosen me.
Furthermore, I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that this is a relevant sponsor. As you may know, I have a multitude of side projects, including my book Salary Tutor, speaking gigs, consulting work, and so on. I have set up my own entity (Hopkinson Creative Media, LLC), but all of this requires you to maintain separate business records for accounting purposes. While I am great with Excel, Freshbooks takes it to the next level and handles reports, invoicing, expenses, billing, and so on.
Last month I took the time to import everything that I had hacked together in a spreadsheet and uploaded it to Freshbooks. It worked great, and I was instantly able to see my profit/loss for the year. Then I imported my HCM logo and used it to send an invoice to my first consulting client. It was easy and made me look really professional. OK, enough gushing, but it really IS a cool product with an easy to use interface and great customer service.
What’s great about this relationship for you, the listener, isn’t that you will be bombarded with banner ads and 4 minute commercials (that wouldn’t be great at all). Rather, Saul is an innovative word of mouth marketer that a) will allow me to pass on to you cool case studies he comes across and events that he puts on and b) introduce me to amazing people to interview for the show.
Interested in sponsoring The Hopkinson Report and exposing your product or service to a group of tech-savvy, social-media-connected, hyper-influencers? Contact me for a media kit.
So there you have it. Are you as fired up for 2012 as I am? I hope so.