Podcasting 101: How to Create a Successful Show
The podcast is one of the most underrated marketing tools in today’s modern culture. Businesses that find a way to successfully introduce a podcast to their customers have a higher chance of connecting with their audience far deeper than a company simply using a blog. The advantage to podcasting –if done correctly– is that it allows one to create content that can be easily downloadable anywhere, like during a person’s commute to work. An informative and enjoyable podcast allows a listener to get to know your business, your product, and most importantly you as a person.
The back and forth between friendly podcast hosts creates a warm environment listeners can easily become comfortable with. This allows a person to get to know a business better and understand the topic at hand more closely. This can help take the edge off those customers who are on the fence about purchasing your product.
Unfortunately not every podcast is as smooth as your local radio DJ’s. While I believe that there needs to be a friendly connection between the two hosts of a podcast, going to the extreme of creating a fake radio laugh or using sound effects to try to improve your show is a cringeworthy idea.
In 2014 I took part in many podcasts (no shameless plugs here), and for a person who is naturally pretty solid at public speaking, I found myself at times struggling to create a professional yet enjoyable show. Of course everybody gets nervous in the early stages; with time and enough practice I did find I improved with each passing podcast episode. Still, along the way I discovered that there are many helpful podcasting tips that make a show more enjoyable and sound more professional. The following are 7 podcasting tips that I think will drastically improve the quality of your show and have a noticeable impact on your website traffic and listeners.
1. Script the Podcast Intro and Closer for Every Show
In my experience, I found that once a podcast got going, listeners could easily tell that I along with the guests on the show knew what we were talking about. We were easily able to discuss the topic at hand and/or different products we were pitching, while providing the info people were looking for. The problem in my opinion was the intro. The intro to a podcast is literally is the first impression to the listener, and a very underrated aspect of your show. If there is any sense of awkwardness, your show starts off on the wrong foot. The same could be said for the ending of a podcast; if it drags on and doesn’t successfully thank the guests you have on the show or promote the website in a timely manner, the podcast could sound extremely disorganized and unprofessional.
A good podcast tip is to remember that a person could be looking for one specific detail in your show, they may not want to listen to the whole podcast. By scripting your intro you can create an overview of what will be discussed in each show. This will allow listeners to know what’s coming up, and whether or not they should continue listening or fast-forward to the specific section they need. This also keeps everyone involved in the show on track for jumping to different topics, which I’ll discuss further in this article. The easiest way to do this is literally write out the entire intro before you start. You’ll be amazed how great your show will kick off with a scripted intro, and how well the people on the show respond to an excellent opener. This way you get that professional “wow factor” right off the bat. A listener sits up in their seat with curiosity rather than skipping ahead to when you start discussing the topic at hand.
- Always use full names for people when said for the first time. You never want the listener to wonder who you are talking about.
- Use a captivating song or search for someone who can create a professional sounding 30 second podcast tune to kickoff your show. Maybe try Freelancer and hire someone for cheap.
- Talk slowly to start, you need to ease people into the show.
- Take 5 minutes to discuss real people events, the more relaxed you sound, the more you create the impression you’ve been making podcasts for years.
- Avoid Twitter handles until the end of the show.
2. Improve Sound Quality
Being a bit of a perfectionist, I noticed in the very early stages of creating podcasts that sound quality was a major difference in the shows that I was a part of in comparison to our competition. I tried several different mic combinations including different cheap headsets, different environments that didn’t have as much of a room echo or background noise, and I also tried different settings on my computer to adjust the volume of my microphone. None of these tricks worked, and in the end I got fed up and decided to purchase a higher quality microphone from Amazon. The sound quality improvement was instantly noticeable. My voice sounded softer yet more clear. There was no background noise or distortion if I was ever too close to the mic or had an increase in volume from talking louder. It was a smart purchase and I recommend you improve your podcast mic if you have the opportunity.
What to buy:
I spent a great deal of time researching the best bang for buck microphone available. There are quite a few to choose from, yet I decided on the Blue Microphones Snowball iCE USB Microphone for $50. As you can see from this picture I do in fact have this particular mic. If you want to really up your game you can spend more, there are better mic’s out there I’m sure, but for what I needed, the Snowball did the trick.
3. Learn to Create a Smooth Transition
It’s not hard for a person to get sidetracked or spend too much time focusing on one topic of your podcast. There are also times when the host is looking for a way to change gears into a new segment or topic, but doesn’t want to interrupt the person talking. Most podcasters use Skype as a main recording device, and yet don’t take advantage of the fact you can see each other talking. One trick is to use hand signals to signify a transition into the next segment. If at any time a person is rambling on or getting off topic and a person wants to move on with the show, one can simply create a hand signal to signify it’s time to wrap it up. For me, the signal was simply raising your hand. That was the cue to inform the person talking that we’d like to move on from this topic.
Inform the people involved in the podcast that in the event a person raises their hand, they should not stop talking, rather simply complete their train of thought and allow the host to transition into the next topic.
4. Triple Whammy Hosting & Posting (SEO Tip)
When I started putting together a podcast for the first time I began researching how I was going to record and host the show. I asked around other friends or people who had shows themselves. The most common response was to record a podcast on Skype, download the show, then upload the show to your web hosting server. There’s nothing wrong with this strategy, yet I have found a far better solution that will create the opportunity for you to easily get your show on iTunes and allow three high profile backlinks to your website with every show.
Podcasting 101: SEO Optimized Format
Step 1: Record your podcast using Google hangout. If you have a Gmail account you can easily set up a Google hangout as it’s almost exactly like Skype. Once you’ve recorded your podcast, upload the show to YouTube. Optimize your YouTube video with the proper title and include tags, but more importantly add a link as the very first thing in your video description. You can also add a link within the video using YouTube’s video creator.
Step 2: Set up an account at SoundCloud. You’re going to want to get a membership, it’s cheap if you look for promo deals. The advantages to using Sound Cloud over hosting your own podcast is the fact that you can attract an entirely new audience on Sound Cloud by adding tags and links to your videos along with networking other shows also hosted there. Remember to add a link to in the description after you publish a show.
Step 3: Apply to get your podcast on iTunes. Being hosted on Sound Cloud makes this extremely easy as they do all the hard work for you. Read the settings at Sound Cloud to learn how to properly apply and set up your feed so there is a smooth transition to iTunes. By setting up a profile at iTunes you can add another website link to your website.
Step 4: Embed a Soundcloud podcast post in WordPress and publish it along with a condensed recap of the show. Many new WordPress themes feature a podcast or video post template to allow an easier way for you to create one on your blog, yet embedding a podcast through Sound Cloud is also very easy.
- Link from every show as you’ll have Youtube video
- Link from Sound Cloud, along with possible shares from Sound Cloud Users
- Link from iTunes
If you’re already using Soundcloud or are planning on using it to host your podcast, you should look into their promotional package to boost your listeners. SoundCloud Manager increases your Soundcloud followers and listeners drastically. Soundcloud is without a doubt the biggest and most popular music / musician / Podcast based social network on the internet today. Millions of users are sharing, listening, and having conversations with the artists. This is a great place to have your show.
5. Promote Every Podcast Like it’s the First Time
One bad habit that I’ve heard on many podcasts (and at times something that I did myself while podcasting) was refer to a previous show as if the listener had already heard it and knew what I was talking about.
You need to remember that at any given point you will be adding new listeners to your show. It’s unlikely that they will backtrack your entire library of podcasts to get caught up on events or episodes (unless you’re broadcasting some sort of series). A good podcasting tip is to assume that every listener is listing to your show for the first time. What I mean by this is to refer to every story or event by plugging a previous show. Always do a simple recap of what you’re referring to. This in a way is backlinking for podcasts, you’re referring the listener to a previous show that covered a specific discussion or topic. List the name of the podcast so that way listeners can easily get caught up if they choose to.
Your podcasts should also have an ultimate goal. If you’re selling a product you should be creating interest in different areas of what you can offer. Don’t start a show without planning how you’re going to mention a feature of your product or service. For example: i,f you were trying to sell an ebook, break down the different categories covered in the ebook and create podcasts discussing the problems people face in this niche. Offer real advice and casually mention that you go into greater detail in your ebook. Too often people start podcasts and then try to figure out what they should be selling afterwards. You always need to start with the product and reverse engineer the sale.
6. Invite Influential Guests
Once you feel your podcast is running at an optimal level, try inviting influential guests to help drive traffic and listeners to your show. A lot of podcasts jump the invite too early and run into a wall of no responses from top people in your industry. While I advise you to never take no for an answer from influential guests, make sure you look and sound as professional as you can be to help win them over. Remember to also always tell them what you can do for them, whether it’s promotion through social media or promoting their show on your podcast, you need to offer something to make a guest want to join your show. The more organized you come off with a proposal, the more likely they’ll appear as a guest on your show.
7. Create Fun Segments
There are many famous segments in modern TV and radio that people adore. Dave Letterman’s top ten list is a familiar segment that people know and love on the late show. ESPN’s “Jacked Up” is a trademark phrase and segment on Monday Night Football, while Jimmy Fallon seems to be creating cool segments each and every week (Sidenote: did you see Will Ferrell lip sync drunk in love? -hilarious). I could easily go on, as there are hundreds of cool ways to create a signature segment for your podcast. Here I’ll brainstorm a few for you:
- Bold Predictions: Each person on your podcast makes a bold prediction about an upcoming event in your niche.
- If I were you: A segment where you give advice from a different person’s position. Great for podcasts that offer advice in your niche. Take tweets off of Twitter or get people to ask questions on your Facebook page and answer them on your show as if you were in their position.
- Who to Follow: Create a segment on promoting a person or company that your listeners should follow on Twitter or Instagram. Casually reach out to those people to try to get mentions/shares to your podcast.
I hope these podcasting tips will be of some use to you. Remember to like Optimize Dude on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.