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You ever have a client clearly going places?
Like, they’re a force of nature. “Sitting still” isn’t in their repertoire of accomplishments.
Getting someone like that to sit down and be reflective, to put “pencil to paper,” is a fool’s game. It’s not going to happen.
But the client has the domain expertise. It’s their business after all. And without that domain expertise, it’s pretty hard to fill a site with killer content.
So, what do you do…?
Here’s what I do when I have clients like Katherine and Kendall of Katherine Kendall Salon & Spa: I sit ‘em down in front of a microphone, let ‘em put their mouth in gear, and grab as much audio as I can.
Then I send all those audio files to Erica Cosminsky, my Small Business Transcriptionist, and have it all turned into high quality text.
Now, I have something I can work with!
Personally, I’m a written word kind of person. I think better in writing, and I learn better when I write. For example, I vastly prefer email over telephone. I can process a lot more email in a given time than I can telephone calls. In fact, I had the sales clerk turn the ringer off on my iPhone when I bought. It hasn’t ever rung. I don’t even know what it would sound like!
But others are different.
For example, Katherine and Kendall book appointments by telephone, and log them into a portfolio-sized appointment book, up to three months in advance.
That would drive me nuts. I would write a web application to handle appointments for me, or purchase such a service.
But it suits them just fine. Well enough that I have advised them to stay with the telephone and not buy into some automated service which they would have to learn how to use. Stay with what works.
The upshot is Katherine and Kendall have no inclination to spend time writing. It’s not what they do. They do hair.
And if you know hair, it’s all about the customer in the chair…
Leverage innate ability
Since the hair business is at least half communication and connection, parking Katherine in a chair and having her do what she does naturally (i.e., talk) makes perfect sense.
Typically, I have her warm up with some product descriptions, then will “interview” or ask leading questions about aspects of her business which I believe would make great content for the web site.
A typical recording session runs a little over two hours, and we’ll get around an hour of high quality audio recorded.
Hardware is important
It turns out most all modern laptops have recording capability built right in. In a pinch, I could just show up with my Macbook and we’re good to go.
However, you can and should do better if you want to record.
You don’t need a lot of super expensive gear, but investing a few dollars in what you might call “semi-pro” audio gear pays you back with better sound quality. It also communicates more professionalism: you’re serious about your craft, serious enough to invest in the gear.
Again, you don’t need much. Here’s what I have:
- Radio Shack directional microphone: $35
- Desktop microphone stand: $25
- 4 channel Behringer mixer: $95
- Appropriate cable and hookup: $30
Don’t forget the cable and hookup wiring! It turns out I didn’t forget anything, but I have in the past and I made a special effort to remember everything when I went to buy all this stuff.
For about $200, you’re in business!
Recording is fun!
Recording really is fun. I can see why my blogging friend Dave Thackeray is absolutely bonkers over audio. While it won’t ever be my “thing,” I like having this capability in my arsenal.
Make your recording session a little party. Once you and your client are talking, you can do cool stuff like “Tell me off the record about
Lastly, make sure you find a good transcriptionist. I have Erica Cosminsky handling all of mine. Typically, I have her transcribe it exactly, then I’ll pay a little extra for a second pass over the material to clean up all the “ums and ahs.”