In this latest “Listener Question of the Week” episode, James and Phoebe share 21 tips for successful podcasting that they’ve learned in the first year of The Mind Your Business Podcast. If you have a show, or you are thinking of starting one, this is one episode not to miss!
James has made a transition from content distribution with video on YouTube to primarily podcasting. He says that this decision had nothing to do with the platform, but everything to do with the type of content he was producing, which is now mainly his thoughts on mindset. He still uses YouTube, but more so for anything technical or “left-brained.”
Pros of podcasting:
1. Content is quick to create
James and Phoebe have an outline, go over it quickly and record over Skype. Both of them want the podcast to be conversational, and as content creators, sometimes we just want to get that info out of our heads and into the hands of others as quickly as possible.
2. It provides a higher “log time” with potential clients
If making more sales is your goal, you increase your chances of attracting customers in direct proportion to the amount of time logged with them. Where podcasts only require listening, people consuming them can be doing other things like cleaning or walking while consuming the content.
3. There’s been a higher demand for podcasting in recent years
People enjoy podcasts and identify with their favorite shows and hosts. There’s a lower barrier of entry, or lower cost to consume for the listener, again, as less attention is needed compared to when watching a video.
Cons of Podcasting
1. It can be harder to get discovered only using podcasts
Podcasts aren’t indexed in the traditional online searches, and as a result, it can be harder for new people to find your show. Often it takes multiple steps to search for a show, and the benefits of SEO aren’t the same with podcasts as they are with something like a video or blog.
2. Driving traffic from a podcast isn’t extremely effective
A video allows for at least four different ways to link directly to content (pop ups, link in description, etc.). On a podcast, if a link is mentioned, it’s easy for the listener to not write it down as the person is often doing something else while listening.
3. Time required
The scheduling of guests, preparation for the interview and other podcast related tasks can take a lot of time, if you don’t have somebody helping you.
4. Cost of equipment
Cheap equipment can lead to poor sounding audio and is often distracting to the listener. James and Phoebe spent about $1,600 total for both of them, on microphones, headphones and mixers. A host site, like Libsyn, is required for your show, and is ongoing cost (Libsyn packages start at $5/month and depending on storage size, go up accordingly). Recording software, like Adobe Premiere, will require a monthly subscription. There can also be a learning curve for using the equipment and software.
Before deciding on whether or not to do a podcast, you need to understand who your audience is and how people are going to be consuming your content. Entrepreneurs love personal development and podcasts can be used to inspire them and raise their vibrations.
21 podcasting tips to take your show to the next level:
1. Create a core premise
This is the big idea and theme for your show, which is important. James and Phoebe started this podcast with a bold claim: hustle and hard work are not essential ingredients for success. Your core premise should attract or repel people, and get them curious. You don’t want to be boring, or “middle of the road.”
2. Have a solid intro and outro
Your intro and outro should communicate that core premise that you’re trying to prove, or re-iterate the key message of your show.
3. Hire someone to manage/edit your podcast
You can’t make it your full-time job to be doing everything with the show. Make sure things like show notes, if done by a third-party, flow well and are written in your style.
4. Batch your episodes
Set aside time to record multiple episodes at once, which allows you to get into a rhythm and stay on schedule for release dates.
5. Keep it conversational
There needs to be a blend between the content or value you’re creating and the natural, everyday chatter of life; people want something they can relate to!
6. Record 10 episodes before publishing
This will help you get into the flow of recording, and also helps as iTunes requires a certain amount of content to allow subscriptions, rating and reviews, and to qualify your show for its “New and Noteworthy” rankings.
7. Get in iTunes New & Noteworthy
See above; by launching with a good number of episodes, listeners will be given the opportunity to “binge listen” to your show.
8. Ask people to subscribe, rate and review
By subscribing, listeners will automatically receive each new episode that is released. For ratings and reviews, 5 stars are ideal and will help with iTunes New & Noteworthy rankings. As well, the comments you receive will give you valuable feedback about your show.
9. Use numbers in your episodes
By having their own numbers, each episode will be easy for people to find and share. When possible, numbers should also be used in the episode title, such as in this episode with “21 Tips.” By doing so, you create structure for the listener.
10. Place and advertisement at the start, middle and/or end of each episode
This is especially important when going into a launch. You can drive people to a landing page or promotion. Although a lot of talk in the podcasting world today is about getting sponsorships from companies, if you’re a business owner, you should be sponsoring your own show and promoting your own products and services.
11. Don’t make the episodes too long, or too short
A longer episode will allow you to go deeper on specific topic. If it’s too long though, listeners won’t finish it, or won’t listen at all. A good length to aim for is 35 to 45 minutes.
12. Track your stats
It’s standard for business owners to watch their numbers, and it’s helpful to do the same with your podcast. Monitor, but don’t obsess over these stats!
13. Quality over quantity
Although it can be tempting to release more episodes to get more downloads and exposure, this can be a mistake. Look at your stats to see which episodes are getting the most downloads and to get a feel for which topics are working. As well, be careful about what you name the episode, as the title can make a big difference.
14. Ask and listen to what your audience wants
Listeners can give valuable feedback for what topics to discuss, but also for how often to release your episode. James and Phoebe saw a demand for more than one show a week. You can ask for feedback during the show, and also include a link for listeners to submit their questions in the show notes, as they do each episode.
15. Create custom url links with episode numbers Doing this will make each episode easier for you to share, and your listeners to find.
16. Use Libsyn to host your podcast
It’s user friendly, affordable and provides stats that can help you make valuable decisions regarding your show. Other podcast platforms (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, etc.) can pick up your RSS feed directly from Libsyn, which makes having your show in multiple places automatic. When you find something that works, just go with it!
17. Have a strategy in place to promote each episode
Make sure each episode is easily sharable, and don’t just publish it and hope you get downloads. If you’re going to put in the work to record each episode, you might as well get it to as many people as possible. You can add your podcast to many places, including your email auto responder.
18. Consistency is key
Consistency breeds momentum. If you’re going to create a schedule for releasing shows, stick to it. Start with one episode per week, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Have the patience to see where you show can go over a full year.
19. Have show notes and mention all links and resources from the episode in them
You will create value by offering listeners one place where they can find everything that was discussed in the episode.
20. Go easy on yourself
It could take the first 20 to 35 episodes for you to really find your footing and voice as a podcaster! It is recommended that you go back and listen to your first set of episodes, and you can even edit those few yourself in order to become more aware of the filler words you are using.
21. Have great equipment
Audio quality is so important, and poor sound is often the top complaint from listeners.