Is your client considering starting a podcast? The medium has been around for a few years now, so it's well past early adopter stage. That means expectations are high in terms of quality and content. I asked podcasters for their top three tips on putting together a podcast. Here are the responses I received -- some over achievers even provided four tips:
Top 3 tips on marketing your new podcast, from Mike McAllen of Meetings Podcast
- Look into Trade Forums in your niche, build relationships and fans! Also a great place to find topics and interview subjects for your podcast.
- Make alliances with other bloggers and podcasters in your niche. This will work to both shows/blogs benefits. Cross links and even inviting each other on each other shows.
- Ask for comments, call in questions and e-mail questions and ANSWER them on the show. This will build fans! Also playing the recorded questions is a big plus to convert listeners to fans!
Top 3 tips on podcasting, from John Rarrick of Bullseye Productions
- If you are producing a podcast for client or third party, take the time to first learn on your own dime, NOT the client’s. When we noticed that podcasts were going to be something that more people were going to want us to do, my partner and I started producing a show that we’d record on Saturday mornings when the phones weren’t ringing. At first, it was a production train-wreck. But over a few months, we blundered our way to first “acceptable”, and finally, “good” status. That show, by the way, which we didn’t even really mean for anyone to really hear, now has over 18,000 subscribers and a sponsor. Go figure.
- Have realistic expectations for revenue. Some new podcasters think they should, in a just a few short weeks, be able to quit their day job and join the podcasting elite. Think again. This is still a new medium. Advertisers are still being made aware of what a podcast is. In these tough economic times, podcasters should present their shows as “low-cost options” to advertisers. Our rates for episode sponsors are rarely over $200.
- Content is King. A boring show with great production value is not a recipe for success. We meet a lot of producers who are so obsessed with audio quality that they forget what the show was supposed to be about. Good content, as with any show (TV/Radio/Web) starts with good research and show prep. If you are interviewing an author and haven’t read the book, your listeners will know that in a second. Since most podcasts cater to a niche audience, staying informed on the subject matter is the key to getting new subscribers and keeping the ones you have.
Top 4 tips on marketing your podcast, from Scott Fineout, CEO of 607 Media
- Make sure your Podcast is available through Apple's iTunes. You can do this by simply going to apple.com/itunes
- Create a blog. This might be the single best way to establish yourself and be easily accessible. Many believe that these go hand and hand which is the influence behind blogtalkradio.com
- Social networking sites are rapidly becoming a successful (and more affordable) option for companies of all sizes and industries. Simply starting a group on Facebook will allow you to e-mail members and let them know when updates or new shows occur. That is the beauty of Podcasting, you can connect to the host easier.
- Build a network. You can do this by simply writing for different blogs, or being an occasional guest on a related Podcast.
Top 4 tips on podcasting, from Tom Johnson of I'd Rather be Writing
- Best portable microphone: Zoom H4. Its versatility and sound quality is unmatched.
- Best audio editing tools: Audacity, Soundsoap, and the Levelator.
- Use Feedburner's podcasting settings to automatically-insert the correct iTunes specifications in your feed. (Feedburner makes it easy.)
- Create a WordPress blog with the Audio One Pixel Out player to broadcast your podcast.
Top 3 tips on podcasting, from Nancy Munro, CEO of Knowledge Shift
- You don’t need to invest a lot of money in hardware or software – we use the free Audacity software to record and edit all audio podcast.
- Use an outline or script in order to produce a good product.
- Use HipCast to convert MP3 files to RSS feeds for both audio and video.
You can also download their white paper on How to PodCast for Free.
Top 3 tips on podcasting, from Bob Knorpp of The BeanCast: A Marketing Podcast
- Consistency – You can’t expect an audience to commit to you, if you don’t commit to them. When I started The BeanCast, I knew I would have to commit to being there on a set schedule (for me, it was every week) and busyness or vacations or me losing interest would never be an acceptable reason for not putting out a show.
- Sound Quality — You would not believe how important having your show sound good is to the audience. A quick search of podcast comments on iTunes reveals it as one of the top factors in dropping a show, even if the content is well-regarded. Make an investment in a good condenser mic, get a small sound board and experiment in balancing bit rate with file size to find the optimal combination for you.
- Have a Plan — This is addressed both at the overall show and the individual episodes. No successful podcaster completely wings it. For The BeanCast I had a clear understanding of the format of the show before I recorded episode one. I also roughly plan out each episode and provide detailed notes to participants, even though it’s an open roundtable. You have to be intentional with content. Rambling only gets you so far.
Top 3 tips on podcasting, from Darrin Guilbeau, President of Silicon Advantage
- Normalize! Most audio software should have a function that will normalize your audio tracks. This will bring your audio levels to a more consistent and, surprise - “normal” level for listening.
- Trim! It is easy to look at the waveform and determine where long periods of silence are. Select the “flat line” areas that represent silence and cut them out. Especially look at the beginning and end of your files.
- For voice-only podcasts, record in mono. This can reduce your file size potentially by one-half!
Top 3 tips on podcasting, from David Hooper of Music Business Radio
- Make it sound professional. Hold your podcast to the same standards as you would something on broadcast radio. Just because you can release it to the world doesn't mean you should.
- Provide bonus content that people can't get elsewhere. Special shows, behind the scenes, etc.
- Promote via YouTube and other social media to further the relationship with fans.
Top 3 tips on podcasting, from Nandini Shastry of Intellipodcast
- Use an online service to create podcasts easily. The free Intellipodcast service allows you to record your podcast directly from a microphone connected to your PC or to upload an audio file if you want a more professional sound. The site also generates iTunes podcast XML files that you can submit to the iTunes Podcast directory and get your show into iTunes right away! You don’t have to write your own xml file.
- Use a good microphone for the best sound quality. We recommend USB microphones like Samson audio C03U which is available from Amazon and many other places online for under $100. If you prefer a headset microphone, we recommend the Plantronics DSP500 which is also available online widely.
- Use Audacity or other free programs to edit your sound files and add an interesting intro musical sequence and so forth. It’s the most widely used and easiest audio editing program on the internet.
Top 3 tips on podcasting, from John Shay, President/Founder of Headzup Entertainment
- Collaborate. Find other sites that would be interested in adding your content to their site. Not only does collaboration improve your search engine standing by increasing the number of links that point back to your site, but it provides you a broader and deeper understanding of your audience.
- Google. Your very first collaborative act should be to sign up as a Google adsense partner. Not only does it provide an early source of revenue it gives you a rapid introduction to how third-party widgets can be used to enhance your site. Furthermore, establishing an early record of interstate commerce will help establish and defend your trademark filings.
- YouTube. Your second collaborative act should be to set up a YouTube channel. Even if your podcast is strictly audio recordings you can quickly convert those recordings into video using inexpensive authoring tools such as QuickTime Pro. YouTube will greatly expand your audience reach while at the same time set you on a path to become a YouTube partner channel. Coupled with your adsense partnership a YouTube partnership opens more doors to monetize your podcast, including mobile and third-party web sites.
Top 4 tips on podcasting, from Handyguy Brian of The Handyguys Podcast
- Don't just podcast about anything. Narrow your focus, find your niche. Make sure you know you niche well and always podcast within that niche. The Handyguys Podcast only podcasts about Home Improvement topics.
- Publish regularly. Pick a time/day and always publish at that time. For example, if you have a weekly podcast always publish it at the same time on your chosen day of the week. The Handyguys Podcast goes online every Thursday at 5PM.
- Create subscribe buttons on your web page that are obvious to your site visitors. Tiny chicklets go un-noticed. Check out the cool subscribe buttons at The Handyguys Podcast.
- Learn about meta data associated with your mp3 files. Be consistent in using and applying meta data. Make sure you have Album art.
I'll be back tomorrow with more tips!