How often have you bookmarked one of those emails from that list you subscribed to thinking, “I’ll come back to this later when I can give this my undivided attention?” I have plentyyy of emails full of useful content that I haven’t been able to sift through because between work, creating my own content and living my life, they’re lost and forgotten, never to be heard from again.
I’ve probably listened to upwards of 100 podcast episodes over the past year to get my fix on the latest marketing strategies, content management tips and entrepreneurial #CheatCodez. Podcasts just make content consumption so much more convenient. I can listen in my car, while I cook, run, in the shower …
… the possibilities are endless so, what?
Diversifying your content presentation can make the difference between reaching an audience of 300 or an audience of 3,000. Humans are complex creatures. Not everyone consumes content the same way and what’s more, not everyone consistently consumes content in one exclusive format. Making content easy to consume will cast a wider net … and with podcasts, you can’t make it any easier for your audience. You’ll see the results overnight and with consistent content you’ll find your tribe in no time. It’s exclusively up to you how successful you’ll be.
It’s not enough to just create a podcast yibber yabbering about how your day went or how some guy cut you off on the way to work. Provide VALUE to your audience. What can you do for them? Teach them a thing or two. Of course, tying back to your personal experiences is what will set your content apart from every other blogger or entrepreneur out to make a name for themselves. The focus should be VALUE with a side of personality.
Cool. I’m down. Tell me how!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A computer
- Audio editing software (GarageBand, Adobe Premier, etc.)
- A SoundCloud account
- An Apple iTunes ID
- A mic
- A quiet room like a closet or something to block the reverb (echo)
The list may seem a little daunting but I’m going to share how I launched my first podcast episode and it wasn’t nearly as scary as that list makes it out to be. I thought going into it that I was going to need all of this expensive equipment and so I took to Amazon … it was a fail, at least for the podcast’s sake. I bought a wind screen and a pretty legitimate mic. The mic was picking up on all sorts of reverb and sounds like the fan in my laptop. If, you decide to invest in a mic, I suggest the Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder. It’ll run you about $200 but it’s perfect for crisp, clear audio and it’s portable, so if you ever find yourself trying to interview a subject at a zine fair or at a lil pawdy, you’re already good to go!
But … If $200 isn’t quite what you’re looking to pay and you just so happen to have an iPhone then that’ll do just fine. I used my iPhone to record my podcast in segments. I didn’t try to talk straight through because I didn’t want to ramble or end up stumbling of my words. It was easier to break the episode down into intro, transition, content and outro segments. My goal was a 10 minute episode because I’ve read that people are less likely to listen for much longer than that unless the content is dynamic, ie. including interviews, natural sound and scene changes.
#CheatCode: If you don’t have a very quiet apartment/house/condo/dwelling, throw a blanket party!
Ok, not the creepy sort … but grab a thick blanket or comforter and get under it while recording! It’ll block out any sound and keep your voice from bouncing off of the walls in your space.
If you’re familiar with Adobe Creative Suite then you’ll have no issue using Premier or Audition to edit your audio. I use Adobe regularly but the truth is, all of that technology isn’t even necessary to create a podcast … Apple GarageBand is easy to use and it even has a “create new podcast,” feature that makes integration into iTunes and Soundcloud seamless.
Your podcast artwork meets the specifications set by iTunes. Cover art must be either JPEG or PNG and in the RGB color space (CMYK should only be used for print work) with a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels. A lesson learned: Create one blanket title podcast cover because you won’t be able to customize cover art per episode after your launch.
How do I get published to iTunes?
You’ll need to publish to Soundcloud, first, in order to stream to iTunes. SoundCloud allows you upload three hours of audio for free. After that, it’s $15 per month for a “Pro” account, which gives you unlimited space plus all of the stats you’ll need for monitoring your podcast. Once your RSS feed is activated (pictured below), you can submit that feed directly to iTunes. Getting accepted might take a day or two, so be sure to plan in advance before you launch.
A few things to consider …
- Have a tentative outline before hitting record. You want to have a good idea of the messaging you want to communicate before trying to create.
- Play back each segment before trying to record all in one go. It would suck to record an entire episode only to find out when you sit down to edit that your audio was echoing or your cat was meowing in the background (true life).
- Edit your metadata. Edit your metadata. Edit your metadata. Once you export your file from GarageBand, there’s no going back to fix any typos in your metadata episode description or details. What’s written in the metadata will be published to iTunes– that’s what listeners will read before deciding if they want to hear your content.
- Incentive. Add an incentive for your listeners and invite them to sign up for your email list. This is an excellent marketing tool. They get to hear free content and at the end, invite them to sign up for your email list to get the notes from your most recent episode or even a fillable worksheet relating to the content.
Ready to start your own podcast? Already have one? What are some of your tips to audience engagement and growth? Leave some of your favorite #CheatCodez in the comments or in the forum.