Podcasts give you a way to create on-demand audio content and grow a fanbase online. Want to get in on this cutting-edge medium? Read on for step-by-step instructions on recording and broadcasting your own podcasts.
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Let’s Start from the Very Beginning
First, come up with a topic. This can be as simple as an update on recent events at your company. Like any writer, you’ll want to make a basic outline before you start recording. What topics do you want to cover? Who’s your audience? Why is your topic important? Answering these questions ahead of time will keep you on track.
When you’re brainstorming future topics, imagine for a moment that you’re at a dinner party, being introduced to someone you’ve never met before. How would you sum up your activities and your interests in under a minute? What innovations are you proud of? What special skills do you bring to the table? Chances are that you’ll be most engaging when you’re talking about something close to your heart.
You can also listen to some sample podcasts to get ideas and develop a sense of the medium. Series like This American Life, The Moth, Storycorps and The Listening Project all offer a diverse range of content for listeners. For more business-oriented content, check out BBC Business Daily or The Wall Street Journal podcast index. Find a story that fascinates you, and think about what makes it captivating.
If you feel nervous, give yourself a few minutes to talk through some ideas until you feel comfortable speaking into the microphone. Try to think of the podcast as a conversation with friends or a meeting with clients, and speak to your audience in a confident and friendly way. And remember – you can record several “drafts” before the final version, and edit after you’re finished, so don’t worry about minor flubs.
You can leave your title until you’ve finished creating your audio file, but last doesn’t mean least. A compelling title and an intriguing tagline make you “click-worthy.” If you need some tips, check out a few podcast sites to see how they headline and preview their content.
Podcasts are easy to record, whether you use a DIY option like an audio editor or a third-party editor. Home programs like WildVoice Shout will help you record and edit a professional-quality sound file at home using your own computer equipment. Sites like Communicator Academy sell tutorials, but you may simply want to practice on your own until you feel comfortable.
Hosting services like Hipcast, PodOmatic, blogtalkradio and Podbean can help you catalog your posts and save them on platforms like Facebook and iTunes. However, third-party hosting can dilute the personal touch that makes podcasts so valuable. Third-party hosting means a third-party website with its own logo, layout, and banner ads.
Another alternative is establishing your own web domain. This allows you to curate your podcasts and organize them under your own name or company profile. You’ll also have the chance to surround content with your own ads, so that you can make money off of the content you’ve produced.
Now that high-speed internet is the norm, it might be enough just to add a “click to listen” button on your website for visitors. This is your best option if you only want to create a single podcast for your customers, to walk them through the services you offer. Most browsers can figure out how to stream audio files, so you don’t have to worry about complicated tech.
Photo Credit: Sujan Patel. (http://sujanpatel.com/business/podcasts)
Listen to the Music
If you’ve listened to podcasts, you’re familiar with the musical cues that lead segments. Keep in mind that a great deal of music is under copyright, and not freely available. “Podcast safe” music is music designed by its creators for use as part of a podcast. You can find examples on sites like PodSafe Audio, PodSafe Music Network, SoundClick and The BeatSuite. If you know any local musicians, you might ask them if they’d be interested in giving you some tracks to use. They might be very happy to have free publicity themselves.
It’s best to keep it simple, especially at the beginning. You can experiment with adding other audio components over time, but your voice and your story should always stay in sharp focus.
If you’re doing a series of podcasts, try to keep the format similar each time. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but think of your podcast as your own weekly (or daily or monthly) show. Just like the nightly news with a lead-in and intro followed by story segments or a cooking show with a set menu, consistency will make you seem professional and keep your audience coming back for more. You can also use your format to introduce yourself and foreground your company.
Don’t underestimate the power of organization. Make sure that your podcast titles follow the same format. Archive them on your site with a layout that first-time users have no problem navigating. If your content is hard to find, visitors won’t look for it. If possible, try to set a regular schedule for yourself, so fans will know when to expect an update.
Since podcasts are a personalized medium, remember to post content with a personal touch. Consider adding a headshot and brief bio on the page where you link to your podcasts. Visitors will be more interested in “hearing from you” if they feel like they know you already.
Raise Your Voice
Artists – comedians, storytellers, poets, authors – have flocked to podcasting because it’s a creative medium that offers a lot of possibilities for personalized content. Even if your podcast is a tax-law tutorial or an update on your company’s latest quarterly reports, you still have the opportunity to engage listeners with new and important information. Make your podcast an expression of your unique perspective, and you’ll be all set!
If you’re looking for expert advice on podcasts and other cutting-edge media, we recommend a digital marketing firm experienced in creating high-level content for each client. Contact Square 1 Group today!