Podcasting: No other media can equal the audience relationship-building potential of this rapidly-growing platform.
Learn what equipment you absolutely need to launch a podcast, whether you’re investing in a full-scale production or bootstrapping to test the waters.
Kindal (Taylor Ryan) and Dan Boyle are covering software, equipment, consistency, strategy, and why podcasting is growing.
What makes a podcast?
Your podcast episodes consist of MP3 files. These are the actual digital recordings that will be downloaded to, and streamed through, all sorts of devices for your listeners to hear.
An RSS Feed is a specially formatted text file that tells podcast directories (like iTunes) what episodes you have released.
Libsyn.com is one of the largest podcast hosting companies. Host plans are available at various tiers – usually based on storage space requirements – largely determined by how long your podcast episodes are and how frequently you publish episodes.
Alternative hosting companies exist, like Amazon S3, but specialized podcast hosting companies, like Libsyn and Blubrry, are more budget-friendly since they are designed specifically for podcast files.
For Mac, GarageBand is available, and Free. Audacity is another free option for both Windows & Mac (but will require an easy-to-find plugin to create MP3 files).
For capturing video, Camtasia and Screenflow are options if you want to publish the video to YouTube or other platforms.
For all these – a best practice is to test your recording software and setup before recording your “live” show, especially if you have a guest with limited time and availability.
Many different models and manufacturers out there. Some of the most popular recommended microphones to consider are the ATR-2100, the Blue Yeti, the “Snowball”, lavalier (lapel) microphones.
Audience & Traffic
Blog readers and podcast listeners are not always the same audience. Lots of readers will not always become listeners, and vice versa.
When finding people to interview, look for other bloggers who are active on social media. This allows everything you publish to reach twice the audience (yours & theirs).
Growing your audience locally works as well, because you will find people that won’t appear on other shows. This also helps local businesses who may not be adept at social media marketing. Don’t be afraid to contact A-list personalities, athletes, and professionals with high-profiles. You’d be surprised how approachable some people are.
If you have an interview format show, don’t hesitate to occasionally do solo shows, and vice versa.
Know your audience well. Don’t assume you know what they want to hear (couple shows vs. solo host), but ask your listeners and respond to their needs.
Fiverr.com is one place to hire freelance designers to design cover art. Sketch3 and trial versions of Photoshop are also available with higher-end capabilities if you want to design something yourself.
Cover art is important in iTunes to help your show stand out among hundreds of other shows.
Consistency & Timing
Just like blogging, consistency is key. People will quickly grow to expect your episodes on the schedule they have become accustomed to. If they look for a new episode, and there isn’t one available, they will often find another free option and they may not come back.
On timing: weekly is the minimum frequency to keep an audience engaged for the long term.
When interviewing people, try to avoid using a strict format and predetermined questions. It can be disrespectful to guests, and jarring to engaged listeners, if you jump from one topic to another without exploring topics with more potential.
Listen to your audience. They are excellent sources of input for graphics, topics, show length, and more.
Use your show’s wrap-up to refer people to your blog and/or invite feedback. Just like with blog posts, it’s an ice-breaker to end with a question!
The more specific your request, the more likely you will get what you asked for.
Kindal and Dan Boyle – @FeminineMuscle
Kindal and Dan Boyle are behind the blog LiftingRevolution.com. Together they run the blog, the membership site, Fitwomensweekly.com and a local women’s-only boot camp gym in Charleston, SC.While Kindal (aka Taylor) writes for the blog daily, together they have partnered to do the growing podcast, What The Fitness. They are a true team, working together to make their entire fitness dream come true. Podcasting has become something not only to generate traffic but to meet others in the industry and to learn more about each other.