Being that I've done 300 episodes of this podcast I took some time this week to think about the “Die hard” truths of podcasting as I see it. If this was a football team, it would be able learning how to tackle. Without that skill you're sunk. The tips that (from my chair) are the CORE of podcasting.
1. It's not about you – its about your audience's passion.
Even when I do a show about me (Building a Better Dave) I still want the audience to do something with the info (laugh, cry, think, grown, learn). Answer every email. Respond to every comment. Connect in as many ways as you can. Chances are these people are just like you. In this episode I talk with one of my listeners who turned me on to a new tool for WordPress themes. We always say talk about your passion. That's true. That's podcasting 101. In the end it's about your audience's passion. In theory your audience will end up mirroring you and your passion.
2. Pick a Schedule and Stick with it.
I have done a podcast and a newsletter for musicians for 10 years (podcast for 7). At the end of last year I just couldn't find anything to create shows around. My publishing was very unreliable. I was averaging anywhere from 700-1200 downloads per episode. This year I dedicated to putting out a show a week even if its shorter. When I checked my stats, I'm averaging 150-250 downloads per episode. I also changed the name of this podcast (but didn't change the feed). All I can learn from this is people want to be able to count on you.
3. Abandon The Idea of Free Podcasting
You can paint with peanut butter. It's true. Should you? Probably not. Can you podcast for free? Kind of. Should You? No. I recommend you get a website host ($7 a month), and a media host ($15 a month – use Libsyn promo code sopfree to get your first month free).
4. Resist the Impulse to Start Another Podcast
When you get your first one off the ground, your next urge is to start another five podcasts. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, its probably better to focus on putting out great content.
5. Resist The Impulse to Spill All Your Beans
As Content is King, when you get a giant surge of content resist the urge to make a special two hour episode. Instead pace yourself, and while you deploy this information you will have time to find more great content that you will deliver when the surplus is gone. This is so easier said than done.
6. Content Is King
If your information doesn't MOVE me, I've got way to many options to listen/watch your mediocrity. What do you want people to do with your information? How do you want them to feel?
7. Presentation is Queen
Don't forget your album art. Get some decent equipment, produce an intro and outro, and have ways for people to contact you. If you are looking for sponsors, your website should be clutter free.
8. Promotion is the Jack
Man does not live by content alone. If you build it, they might stumble over it. You build your audience one at a time. Get to know them using tools like Polldaddy, Survey monkey (Blubrry, Libsyn, and Podtrac have tools as well), go to where they are, make friends, THEN tell them about your podcast. There is no giant switch that will give you 1000 subscribers. Make sure everyone in your family has a business card that points people to your site. Make sure site makes it easy to listen to your show. Then the content can suck them in.
9. If this is your first podcast, forget about going LIVE for a while.
CNET just put out a statement that they cancelled some of their podcasts because nobody was listening live. The power of podcasting is people can listen whenever they want. To the best of my knowledge, there is no Podcaster who has more listeners live then downloads (not counting Radio people who put out their show as a podcast). I'm talking about people who started in podcasting. Even Leo Laporte who HAS a radio show has stated publicly that his live to download ratio is very heavy on the download side. When you do “live” you add more technology, and more complexity and the return on your investment is very little. Yes its fun to get live feedback, but when you are first starting out I don't think it's worth the extra effort. This is strictly my opinion.
10. Drop the idea that your podcast should be “this long.”
Unless you've got a legit reason, I would not worry that your podcast is not “an hour” or “40 miutes” long. Don't get me wrong. It should be in the ballpark. Don't do a five minute podcast and then follow it with a 90 minute episode. For me, a podcast should be just long enough to cover your topics in the episode and not a minute more. But Dave what about talking about myself to build listener loyalty and that relationship you always talk about. THAT's a great point. Lead with your best stuff first (the content) and anyone still listening will love to learn about you.
BONUS TIP Quit Waiting to Be Perfect
If you are waiting for the seas to part, and the perfect room with the perfect microphone, and after this, or if this would just happened THEN you would podcast, I want to share with you the immortal words of David Lee Roth (one of my heroes growing up ) he said, “I have a two word plan, “let's go.” You can get paralysis by analysis, and eventually you WILL HAVE TO PRESS RECORD.
SUPER JUMBO DELUXE TIP
Be careful talking about your family. Be careful trying to be “Edgy”. You never know who is listening. It might be your future mother-in-law, or your future boss.
Reaching Out To My Audience
As this episode is all about my audience when I got an email from Tina, I sent back a reply asking her to ask the question live. Later that night we got on skype and made it happen.
Tina is starting a podcast about home schooling. She wanted to know how much to share about herself. I explained at first your audience doesn't know you (and may not be interested in a 10 minute lesson on Tina). This doesn't mean you can't explain your motives, and give some “behind the scenes” info. I just wouldn't lead with it. In radio, or TV (especially the news) they always lead with their “top story.”
You can find Tina at
Author of: www.lulu.com/tinasrealm
Webmama of: www.mommychats.com, www.fresnofamily.com, www.homeschoolrealm.com, www.tinaswebsiteshop.com, www.homeschoolpodcasts.com www.tinasrealm.blogspot.com
President of: www.fresnolearningvillage.com