There generally comes a point in my day, or week, when I suddenly have to shut everything down – including my brain – and let someone else do the thinking, the explaining or the study. And that’s when I turn to podcasts. As a radio news journalist, I’m always attracted to the way others present the news and as a result, those are the types of podcasts I turn to; descriptive, news-y, fact-laden podcasts. Yup. That’s how I relax; by scrutinizing and paying attention to how others create a podcast while getting some information that is of interest to me. And certainly, you may have your own choices when firing up your chosen podcasts. After all, there are virtually thousands upon thousands of podcasts you can listen to, on practically dozens of platforms. Understand what I’m saying? Podcasts – while plentiful – are still a unique form of messaging that require not only skill to record that message, but even more dexterity to present it to the public.
That’s why podcasting has become such an integral part of my communications company. My clients have been asking me how they can uniquely share their stories, their message, their brand in a way that will have others listening, paying attention and even acting on a theme. That’s when I tell them to seriously consider creating a podcast – one which can be accessed consistently.
I always delicately caution my clients that they will not become an overnight sensation with their first podcast. In fact, it could take AGES to get the results they want. We all do not have the resources behind us to studio-produce a riveting podcast. Nor do we have a marketing team standing by to disseminate the final product through the intricacies of social media and other delivery platforms. Nor do we have writers, editors, research teams and producers.
So, what are some of the things you do have already when the thought of podcasting is niggling at the back of your mind? Passion. Obsession. Determination. Courage.
And we have communities, networks and kindhearted experts who are willing to share some of their expertise they garnered along the way.
Here are some of the hints I tell my PODCAST BLAST workshops which I deliver to communities in Canada:
1) Start with your obsession: I mean it. Start here and don’t clutter up the idea that you are only just starting. Forget all insecurities and other challenges you are about to face. You are a production team of one. Go. White board, free write, use sticky notes – but get an idea of where your idea is going to go. While you’re at it – yes , right here – plan the first ten episodes of your podcast. Then move along, because there’s lots more work which needs to be done.
2) Tap into your subculture: You most likely won’t be able to sleep the first few nights after you’ve decided to go ahead with your podcast obsession, so use these sleepless nights to research your concept. Breaking news: you are not the only person on this planet who has come up with this idea. So, make your concept even more unique. See how others are presenting similar notions. Look at their techniques and their ideas. You’ll likely get the realization that your idea is indeed exceptional which will inspire you to move forward.
3) Begin to learn the basics of audio recording: If you have absolutely no idea how to start recording the audio for a podcast, I strongly urge people to seek out a professional. Audio production gets a lot of attention in my podcast workshops and I work with each individual to ensure they understand there are easy ways and hard ways to approach this area. I have 30 years of radio broadcasting under my belt. I’ve also been a field reporter for a large chunk of that time. I know how to get good audio to the studio, and I take some of the techniques I have devised along the way and share it with my classes.
4) Use a script: Write it down. Read that script out loud. Read it to no one in particular or to your dog (because they won’t feel obliged to give you feedback and they most likely will look genuinely interested throughout the practice session). Find the mistakes, find the areas which don’t read smoothly, find the inconsistencies. When I work with my clients during this phase, I urge them to do a smooth read all the way through their recording. Inserted edits throughout a recording can end up giving you a choppy product and you want to avoid that. I also teach clients to strategically break up segments of the show, in order to give everyone’s brain a bit of a break. Again, these are techniques I focus on intently during my workshop, PODCAST BLAST.
5) Invite experts and celebrities to appear on your show: This should be a relatively simple concept. People like differing points-of-view. Audiences need a break from time-to-time and like to hear from the so-called experts. It gives everyone a bit of a break from the usual fare, and it also shows your potential clients that you know how to talk to people. It demonstrates you can listen and ask pertinent questions. Interview styles are also of prime importance in my PODCAST BLAST workshop.
6) Stick it out: Stay in this frame of mind. Use your recorded, produced and delivered podcasts as tools. Refer back to them when pitching clients: “During my third podcast episode, I spoke to ‘Joe Blow’ about the importance of_____.” It shows others that you care enough to speak to others about your topic, product or service and it will likely draw new listeners to your podcast.
7) Use social media: Part of my workshop (and not nearly enough) pays attention to social media delivery. I enjoy calling myself the “Pioneer of Social Media”! Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. But I was on the forefront of the development of social media when it first started to emerge. I learned from my mistakes and I got better the more I tried. I am now trained and experience in delivering messages using social media – both visually and in print. It requires dedication and stubbornness to stay in this realm.
Remember, it all comes back to your obsession. This is where you started, right? White boarding your ideas and creating the vision for your podcast. You are the expert; you are the person qualified to speak on this topic. So, use these qualities well and get all the tools necessary to create a great podcast.
I am hosting a starter workshop in Vancouver November 4th. It’s for people who have absolutely no idea how to start a podcast, but it also attracts other podcasters as well; entrepreneurs who want to better target their audiences and learn some pretty neat techniques (if I do say so myself) about how to create a good and effective podcast. I’ve been delivering this workshop in various Canadian and have been receiving great feedback. We’ll walk through quite a few elements over the course of three-hours. Areas such as understanding the industry, what equipment is needed, who your audience is, interviewing, editing and how to share your final product.
Take the morning on Monday, November 4th and join me for PODCAST BLAST!