Tech experts don’t come with much better credentials than Stephen Fenech and Trevor Long. The duo have just celebrated the 300th edition of their popular weekly podcast Two Guys Talking Tech. And Mediaweek was key to the duo coming together after they appeared on an early Mediaweek tech podcast with Brenden Wood and me. Although they also maintain their own individual podcasts (Long started over 12 months prior to Two Blokes while Fenech actually started his after), Fenech and Long thought it would be good to test out a two-hander. The audience loved it and they are still going strong.
To help celebrate the 300th episode, Mediaweek had the duo back to our podcast studio last week and here are some of the highlights.
Monetising podcasts has been a challenge for many broadcasters. However, Two Guys Talking Tech has had a sponsor since episode three – Netgear.
Long: “People used to ask me why I do the podcasts when I had a day job at SBS. I’d tell them because I make money out of podcasting. Out of everything I used to do, podcasting was my biggest source of revenue outside of my day job.”
Fenech: “Since we started, podcasting has had a massive resurgence and many people have been getting into it. We have been lucky a lot of those people found us and have stuck with us.”
Long: “I don’t get time to listen to a lot of podcasts, but I keep an eye on the space and a lot of them come and go – and that is the problem.” Long indicated audiences like a regular broadcast schedule for the podcast.
He noted that no expectations come with investment in their product. “None of the sponsors ever put any restrictions on what we can or can’t talk about. Same thing for my Talking Lifestyle Talking Technology radio show where we work with Vodafone. We will still work with Telstra on that show, who pitch us good interviews.” Long added that if an advertiser wanted exclusivity it could be arranged – for a big multiple of what they currently pay.
Long has a disclosure page on his website that reveals all the companies he has had financial relationships with. “I list every trip that I do and who I went with and why.”
Fenech similarly lists his sponsors at the bottom of every article.
Talking Technology on Talking Lifestyle
With the launch of Talking Lifestyle radio along the east coast, Long now hosts the daily Talking Technology show at 8pm.
He insists on hosting live whenever he can, although it can prove a challenge if he is in New York, which means getting behind the microphone at 3am. “It adds value to the show if I can broadcast from a tech trip where I get to see the latest products.”
Long travels with a Comrex, headset microphone and laptop and all he needs is an internet connection and he is good to go. “I also use that setup at home where I do the show four nights out of five each week.”
When Fenech was in Barcelona last year he was getting up to co-host his 2GB tech segment which started at 4am.
Guests not required
One thing that sets Two Blokes apart from Fenech and Long’s individual podcasts is their reluctance to have guests on their joint effort.
Fenech: “We often get requests for guests to come on. It is called Two Blokes Talking Tech, not three. We would make some exceptions though – if Malcolm Turnbull wanted to come on and talk about the NBN or Tim Cook wanted to discuss Apple.”
Fenech: “Companies take us on trips overseas and we also report on our websites and talk about it on the radio and TV.”
Fenech does radio for the Macquarie Network and its flagship station 2GB while he is also a regular on TV.
While Long’s regular daily show is on Talking Lifestyle, he also works nonstop most Tuesdays doing radio spots across Australia with a burst on breakfast shows and then another group of interviews on drive shows.
Fenech runs the website TechGuide.com.au which launched over six years ago. He left News Limited and The Daily Telegraph at the end of 2010. “Web traffic continues to grow month-on-month and we have had great support from some terrific advertisers. It has allowed me to operate independently and do what I did at the Telegraph, but for myself.”
Fenech said Facebook is important to his business model while he also uses Twitter and Instagram. “I spend some money every month on Google Adwords to make sure I still show up in searches. In my latest stats around 60% of my traffic comes from search.”
Long: “I work really hard to engage with people on Facebook and Twitter. That helps build loyalty and that pays massive dividends when it comes to sponsors who get loyalty from our audiences too if they stick with us. My wife works on our Facebook strategy with me and we run competitions every week to let people know that EFTM is a fun brand. I don’t worry if people don’t click on the website. You will never see me doing clickbait headlines. I will reveal the price [of a new product] in the Facebook post. That is where people go wrong and your audience can lose faith in you if you do that.”
Long admitted that his site EFTM is not near the top of how he earns his living. “EFTM is not in my top three.” The site does write revenue though, although Long invests much of it back in the business. “We sent a team to CES in Las Vegas last year that cost us $45,000. We made great content including making daily videos and having a bucket of fun.”
Fenech has also taken a video operator with him to CES and he is likely to be back on the road with him next January too.”
Long: “You need to remember we are both 100% Australian. That is a big difference in our market. There are big brands in the tech field – Gizmodo, CNET, Lifehacker – and when you go to those websites it is not easy finding Australian content. We are here for Aussies and the Aussie audience.”
Listening to their podcasts when Two Blokes are on the road is lots of fun. They are often jet-lagged or exhausted from gruelling schedules like the one they keep at CES every January.
Fenech: “I remember one show when we were in Bali with Huawei and after we had been travelling all day we were eating hamburgers in the pool. Trevor said he had hit the wall and he couldn’t go on. [Laughs] I told him to dig deep and encouraged him to continue.”
Other podcast locations have included Las Vegas (where they do separate editions for almost every day of CES), Barcelona, Berlin, San Francisco and this week they are in London with Intel and then San Jose with Apple.
Even though they attend the same functions around the world, they don’t often get to travel much on the same flights, partly because Fenech is a Qantas/One World customer while Long will go to great lengths to try to ensure he is on Virgin or one of their global partners. They are also sometimes sent by different brands who use different airlines.
Reviews are king
One of the big attractions for many visitors to TechGuide.com.au is the reviews Fenech does covering most new products.
“Reviews always do well,” he said. Fenech makes sure he comes up in Google results when people type search for specific tech reviews. “I also have readers email me directly with tech questions. I answer every question sent to me.”
Trevor Long’s Tech Top 5
Hard to imagine life without one, isn’t it? Perhaps we need to learn to take a break from them – but for now, and for a long time to come, these will be part of daily life. How we communicate, take and find photos, entertain ourselves and keep up-to-date with the world around us – it’s the ultimate all-in-one.
Tablets are amazing, but they have not replaced the humble laptop. I’ve been blown away by how much advance we’ve seen in this space in the last two years. Light, thin, powerful, the laptop is still a key bit of tech and when you’ve got a good one it goes everywhere with you.
3. Mobile broadband
When you want internet wherever you are, a mobile broadband hotspot is the go. I carry one everywhere, I can use it to save on data on my smartphone plan, to hook my laptop up to the internet, to share internet with others and even broadcast my radio show. A real lifesaver when café or hotel Wi-Fi is rubbish.
4. Apple CarPlay
Launched three years ago and in development much longer, this is the in-car interface that is driven from your mobile phone. Why should your in-car entertainment not reflect directly what is on your phone that you use all the time? Now with Spotify, Apple Music, podcast and recently RadioApp support, it’s the ultimate in-car infotainment system.
5. Smart home cameras
I could bang on about all the smart home stuff you should have, but to get started, get cameras. The Arlo 100% wire-free cameras are amazing. You can put them anywhere, they work on Wi-Fi and batteries and give you an eye on things wherever you are and alerts direct to your smartphone at all times. Stunning technology.