Earlier this year, I set out to start podcasting. It was mostly because at the time I was working as a marketing consultant to a blogger who was also an actress and had the gift of gab. In doing research on how to help her launch her podcast the easiest and get the word out about what she was doing, I decided to do my own.
Granted, if you’ve followed me at all this year, you’ll only see two published calls. Not because I haven’t recorded anything, but because I’m a bit all over the place as I juggle health and family responsibilities. But for those of you MUCH better at balancing work and home life, here’s some tidbits that I can share.
How To Start Podcasting–The Easy Way
If you open your eyes to the world of podcasting, you’ll realize that there is a world of resources available to you. Between Podcast Movement, Entrepreneur on Fire and Pat Flynn, you have some heavy hitters encouraging people just like you to start podcasting. My first dose of trying to learn all the ins and outs of podcasting was on John Lee Dumas live stream telling his EOF listeners how to have the same success podcasting as he has.
The thing was that I didn’t have the resources allocated to do a bang up podcast starting out. Some of the things you will learn about are podcast microphones, audio mixers, editing software and podcast hosting. For someone who is financially strapped or technically challenged, all of that can seem overwhelming. That’s why a lot of folks never start.
If there’s a will, there’s a way, remember? So here’s my little handy tips for getting started and getting up and running with your podcast.
Format and Topic. The first thing to do is to determine what you want your podcast to be about. What can you consistently talk about, or what kinds of people do you want to interview so that you define a niche for your unique online audio broadcast? For me, I chose a casual interview format where I would talk women who started businesses and found unique success marketing what they are doing. This aligned with my experience as a marketing consultant and a champion for female entrepreneurs. Thinking about your topic and format shouldn’t be rocket science–you just need to find some structure to discuss things you’re passionate about.
Finding Guests. If you’ve chosen an interview format, the easiest way to find guests is to start tapping the relationships you have. If you’re well connected on social media, start reaching out via LinkedIn, Twitter or your personal email contacts and inviting them to interview. Be sure to tell them why you would like them on and how you plan to promote the interview so they see the value to them. I have used my calendar management system to schedule times convenient to the both of us. I followed up with questions and some sort of outline so they know what to expect. I have also shared that they need to dial in by computer with a headset, using Speek.com, because the audio was clearer. Some prefer Skype, especially since they have recording add-ons.
Recording, equipment and editing. The first thing folks jump into is finding the best podcasting microphone. Usually these have high quality audio and plug into your computer for importing the sound into a digital recording software, like your Skype add-on. If you don’t have that, your typical noise-cancelling headset or computers microphone CAN work. It might not be top notch, but you have to start somewhere. Of course, if you can record with a great headset or microphone, absolutely do it because sound quality can make or break your podcast. I hate muffled audio but I’ve had to deal with it for a few of my calls until I could upgrade. I use Adobe Premiere Pro for easy edits, but I already owned Adobe Creative Cloud and knew some basics. There are other sound editors available. To back up a bit, I actually use my phone to record because it has the best sound recording. With that, there are mobile apps that do easy sound editing. From there, I upload via Dropbox and access the audio on my computer where I can do all other editing and file management.
Hosting. Since iTunes is the way to go, you will want to host your audio on a service that can get you to iTunes. Many choose between Libsyn or Soundcloud. Both are moderately priced, but I LOVE Soundcloud. It’s $15/month for the Pro account and unlimited upload (they do it by audio time so if you have six one hour long podcasts, you will blow your free account and need to upgrade to a paid plan). Because I’m early in, I haven’t moved my things on to iTunes, but I’ll share a resource with you a little later on where to go for EXPERT help on this process. What I’ve chose to do in the meantime is share the audio here on my WordPress site as an embed, a very easy process where I just drop the Soundcloud code from my uploaded audio. Others bypass Soundcloud or Libsyn, and by extension iTunes–and host the audio only on their websites using native add-ons. With WordPress, you will have to extend your upload capacity in order to host your audio. I recommend using another service and just doing an embed.
Show Notes and Publishing. Since the show is all audio, some could miss the SEO value by not sharing show notes. Show notes are also great summaries and can pique the interest of people who don’t have time to listen to your entire podcast to figure out highlights or covered topics. I like to include a bit of background on my guest, links to their websites, links to resources we talked about and nuggets of things that make folks want to listen. Some use transcribing services to create a full transcript of the audio and post that below the sound embed. This serves the purpose of giving people an option to read instead of listening and is good for ranking a particular post (in this case a post that includes an embed of the podcast episode and the accompanying transcript that is on your website) in the search engines. You’ll optimize the post with tags and categories just as you would a regular blog post, helping folks find it if they come to your site to look for it.
Monetization. Many folks monetize their podcast by sharing a sponsor message (something Tim Ferriss is awesome at because he makes it so natural and you really trust that he’s only going to bring you the good stuff) or by introducing and concluding each podcast (something you really should also do) and including a directive to visit their landing page where they can sign up to their list and take advantage of some offer. For example, after I play my standard intro that may include music or me saying my typical greeting, I could say, “Thanks for joining mastHERmind by Ambitious Diva where we talk about all things for inspired female founders. Find out how to do your business better on social media by visiting TwitterClass.com and learning my secret to how I built my business. Again that’s TwitterClass.com. Let’s get into this episode…” You don’t want to sound forced and it should roll right into what your episode will be about. Every podcast I follow that promotes their stuff does it so smooth that you feel compelled to check it out. From there, they can convert their leads into paying customers. I prefer this method because I don’t have a listenership large enough to make advertising promising and mutually profitable. But I can convert my folks and build my list.
How To Market Your Podcast
When you have a podcast, you should also be marketing it. The great thing is that if you are on iTunes, you have ample opportunity to get in front of new listeners. One tactic that people employ is recording up to ten podcasts and waiting to launch on iTunes until they have that much to upload all at once. What will happen is if promoted properly and your iTunes artwork is attractive (make sure it’s clean, clear and eye-catching without because just plain gaudy and ugly), you will make it to the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes, a list for the best and greatest in new podcasts. My friend Brian Switchow of Ghost Influence shared his podcast with me and asked me to let me know how I felt about it by reviewing it in iTunes. This surely helped him if he contact all the people who had been attracted to him from his previous marketing wins of being featured in major tech and marketing publications. He had an audience in place that he could promote his podcast too ahead of time and this led to his very successful podcast launch.
Also using Brian as an example, he markets his podcast by emailing his list with recaps of conversations he’s had, those started in response to one of his podcasts. If those subscribed hadn’t heard that particular episode, the email and the commentary drives folks back to it. He doesn’t do this all the time, but also because of having his podcast linked in his email footer, we have another opportunity to check it out.
Because of Soundcloud and Libsyn’s social sharing capabilities, you can simply share each episode to your social accounts. I have shared some recordings on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook. If you couple that with ads, like I see done with the popular Snap Judgement podcast, you will see an increase in new listeners. Of course, that will bring in your need to know how to create compelling ads, but it’s worth it if you delve into the world of social media ads.
Since I like to find every way I can possibly saturate a market, I would even leverage guest blog posts and media relations to bring attention to me and my work. By extension, if I’m heavily promoting the podcast, I’ll drive attention to it. Or, if I have a podcast episode that explains the topic I’m writing about in more detail, I can link to it in my article. I saw this done effectively by Marc Brogdon, the founder of Blabeey app, who published on LinkedIn and included a link to an explanatory podcast. The article wasn’t about his podcast as a whole, but about a topic that he covered. When folks listen to that, they may wish to subscribe for more.
With an interview-style podcast, you can ask your guest to promote the show on their respective networks. Andrea Imafidon and Sattah Jalla of Black Girls Guide to Self Care shared more than anybody I’ve ever done an interview on before. Since my blogging journey picked up by interviewing people in written format, I’d spoken to so many folks who shared their features. The same helps if you have really hyped guests who don’t mind at least sharing the post once on all their networks. Lastly, interviewing on your guests podcasts, blogs or other platforms will give you another opportunity to reach their network and is a great way to form a mutually beneficial content relationship.
Promote each individual episode and find opportunities to engage around it more. Tweeting it or posting to FB daily until the next episode can be helpful for those who may have not caught it the first time around. Using a service like Buffer, Hootsuite or Coschedule can make sharing content repeatedly over a span of days and times much more easy. Try writing different direct response copy or highlighting different portions of the episode in each social media update to get the most out of your shares.
How To Start or Upgrade Your Podcast The Right Way
So this is where it gets good. I am NOT and expert on everything, but I have a SLEW of friends who are! Although there are the resources I shared are AWESOME, I want to point you to someone who hosted a few of my clients on her popular natural hair podcast, Nappturalite Radio. Dawn Yerger has been a friend since 2010-ish when we were in contact about admirable influencers in the entertainment industry with naturally curly hair. She hosted many other guests and influencers in the hair and beauty space and was one of the premier resources for natural hair care and industry news with her Naturalpreneur Center, VIP membership and informative industry teleclasses.
A master of both broadcast media and marketing, she’s partnered strategically, being one of the first people outside of myself in the natural hair and black digital creators (yes, that was a pat myself on the back moment) that I knew who leveraged advanced internet and affiliate marketing and paid membership sites to grow her online influence and profits. So I am happy that she’s here again with her Power Podcast Bootcamp.
I’ve shared what I know about podcasting here but this media powerhouse is in the best position to show you how to expand your reach, influence and income using podcast. You can register for her online bootcamp in two levels, basic and premium (get the webinar and free e-course first so you can see if this is a commitment you’re ready to make) and get four weeks of instruction plus access to bonus material on launching your own profitable podcast.
Dawn has put a lot of work and years of success in online broadcasting and entrepreneurial education into this class. I hope you take advantage of it, whether you’re a newbie podcaster or have been doing your podcast the way I have (bootleg) and need to upgrade to a more polished and effective operation. Since not every one of us are Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live, or YouTube-comfortable, audio content might be JUST the thing for us. Learn how to do it right and join millions of other podcasters and digital creators. There’s so much opportunity here–try it and get started now!