The best way to increase the number of listeners you have is to tell everyone about your new podcast. If you have an email newsletter, then promote, and link to your podcast in your emails. If you have a blog, promote and link to your podcast there. Include a signature “visit my podcast” or “listen here” in every email. And of course, don’t forget to promote your podcast on your website! Place a link to your podcast on your website, with a headshot photo, a call to action like ‘listen here” and an intriguing headline. Now, let’s check the technicalities for having a successful podcast:
The great thing about podcasting is that you can do it at home with a basic Mac or PC and an inexpensive microphone, but a better microphone will improve your sound quality. Some podcast hosting sites even make it possible to podcast with your cell phone. You simply register with the service and create your podcasts by recording them when you’re on your cell phone.
If you want to kick it up a notch, there are several ways to set up a podcast recording “studio.”
For serious podcasters, the list of necessary equipment is as follows:
- Digital recorder (or computer)
- Sound-editing software
Podcasting on a consistent schedule is important when building a community and a wider audience. In fact, don’t expect your podcast to have a large audience in the beginning. But with proper promotion, quality content and a regular schedule, your podcast audience will grow. Many podcast audiences number in the thousands.
Decide, before you get started, how often you will be able to broadcast. Each podcast will take time to script, rehearse and record. You are likely to want to commit at least four hours of planning and production time for each podcast.
To determine how long your podcast should be, you’ll want to consider how frequently you’re going to broadcast, what content you’re delivering, and who your audience is. For example, if you’re doing a daily podcast you would be likely to want to keep it short. Five to ten minutes is a perfectly acceptable length for a daily. It is enough time to offer an inspiration, a tip for the day or an insight. If you’re doing a weekly and you know that your subscribers generally listen to your podcast on their drive to work, then a 20-30 minute podcast would fit perfectly into that time frame.
Great news! Podcasts can actually be free. If your computer came with a microphone or you use the cell phone type set-up, then you already have your recording equipment. All you need is a podcast host and, like blogging hosts, many are offered for free. Simply use your favorite search engine and you’ll find numerous choices.
Of course, for a few extra dollars you can find podcast hosts that offer sound editing software, more storage and unlimited bandwidth. To choose the right podcast host, it really depends on how many podcasts you want to produce per month, how big they will be and what kind of subscriber base you are expecting for your shows.
Adding music/sounds to your podcast
Adding music to your podcast can:
1. Set the theme of your podcast
2. Prepare your listener for individual segments or features within your podcast
3. Entertain your listener
When selecting your music, remember to consider the theme of your podcast and your target audience. Since each podcast is different and has a unique audience, the music used should reflect both.
Royalty-free music can be used in productions without recurring fees, i.e. without paying royalties each time the music is played. An alternative to royalty-free music is “podsafe” music.
Podsafe music is acquired by partnering with a musician and crediting their work during the podcast. Independent artists are making their compositions available as podsafe music in exchange for publicity and airplay. Sound effect libraries can be subscribed to for a modest fee, or podsafe CDs can be purchased and imported through your computer’s media player.
Naming Your Podcast
The name of your podcast is important. It not only reflects your business and your brand identity, but it also needs to inspire people to download it, listen to it, and come back for more. Choose a name for your podcast that matches your content topic. People generally search for a particular subject when they visit podcast sites, like “meditation”, “marketing”, “investing” etc.
Like any other online content, publicity is all about using the right keywords. Your podcast can have your company name on it but you should also consider having a secondary name. Dating the podcasts is also suggested, because it helps subscribers organize them and know what is new content and what is old content.
For customers that download onto their iPod or other MP3 player, they will see a 255 character id tag that scrolls across their screen. Be sure to include your URL (and possibly your phone number as well) in thattitle.
Always script your podcast before you record it. Make sure to outline your point or points first. What message do you want to get across to your subscribers? Make sure you are able to address this point accurately and completely in the time that you have allowed. Make notes of where you want to add inflection. Podcasts that are without inflection or a range of vocal emphasis are not interesting to listen to. Add emotion to your voice; if you are excited about your material show it, and if you are discussing something serious or sad, let your voice demonstrate that too.
Don’t forget to plan pauses and breaths into your script and where you’re going to place your advertisements. Advertisements work best when you can easily transition into them.
For example, “Speaking of making money online, head to our website now and save 10% on our new book 101 Ways to Save Money.”
Here’s a sample format outline:
- Introductory music
- Introduction of host or hosts
- Host introduces topic (with an appealing title and teaser)
- Couple of minutes of content
- More content
- Promotional mention of an upcoming seminar, sale or new product
- Teaser for next podcast topic
- Closing music
Make sure that your audio or video includes an easy to remember phone number, because many people will be listening to your offers while they’re driving or working out. They won’t be able to simply click through to your website. That being said, make sure you also include your URL in your call to action so that those that are listening on their computer can immediately visit your site.
Keep your advertisements short. Listeners can easily ”fast forward” and not listen to your advertisements. If you keep them to 10-15 seconds they won’t make the effort to skip over them. Additionally, you should transition into them as you’re speaking so that the listeners aren’t immediately aware that they’re listening to an ad.
Make sure that you keep the ads free of time constraints. Due to the nature of a podcast, a person can listen to it today or six months from now. If your advertisements have a “limited time offer” call to action, then you’ll miss out on a lot of potential customers.
Hook your audience with interesting content before you insert your ads. Placing your ads in the beginning of your podcast can cause some listeners to tune out; however, if you’ve already hooked them with interesting information, they’ll listen to a quick plug to hear the rest of your information.
The use of a podcast or the format of your content is virtually limitless. You can podcast on the following topics:
- Instructions or training manuals of your products
- Company news
- Commentary on your industry or industry analysis
- Creative endeavors like singing, reading poetry, reading fiction
- Behind the scenes information
- Interviews with experts
- Seminars or workshops
- Reviews on products or services
- “How to” guides
- From the field information
- Meetings or mastermind group discussions
- Call in shows
- Dialogues or conversations
- Quiz shows
- News magazine format
Like any online tool, content is king. In your podcast you absolutely must provide content that offers a benefit to your customers and target market. A podcast that is simply an advertisement for your services may get listened to once but it won’t be revisited, and it won’t be forwarded to friends, family and associates. However, a podcast that entertains and informs will grow and build your sales and your online presence.
Make sure that the content that you offer via your podcast differs from the content that you offer via your blog, newsletter or on your website.