5 Essential Tips for Podcasting
Over the last five or so years, I’ve learned plenty of lessons about podcasting. First of all, I’ve made all of the classic mistakes you can make while trying to get a show out to the world. I took too much time off. I failed to plan for an episode and found myself ‘umm’-ing and ‘ah’-ing through the entire thing. I didn’t write sufficient copy for the description. (I still do that, sometimes.) I used crappy mics. I put out subpar episodes. You name it, I’ve done it.
However, through failing (and failing and failing), I’ve managed to find a way to do some things successfully in the podcast arena, and I’d like to share some of my wisdom with you. For this task / misadventure, I called on Jeremy of Lopez Radio to help out. He’s got experience not just with podcasting but in terrestrial radio, as well, and so he brings plenty of insight into this episode. So, without further ado, here are mine and Jeremy’s 5 essential tips for podcasting:
1. Record the Bulk of Your Podcast Live to Save Precious Time
Editing is fun…at first. You start podcasting by recording and then listening immediately to the sound of your own voice. You may be ecstatic. You may be horrified. However, it’s all novel and fun.
Until it’s not. After a few episodes, the sheen will wear off of the process, and it will turn slowly, bit by bit, into a weekly nightmare. Uploading music and bumpers and ads and everything else will take hours of your time.
How to avoid this: Record as much of podcast live as possible. If you have a mixer, you can plug in your phone and play the theme as you record it in Audacity. This will require you to have your intro ready to go beforehand, so it might require some planning, but it will definitely pay off in the long run.
2. Invest in a Microphone and Pop Filter
Some people I follow online — I can’t remember if it’s Nick Stephenson or Tim Grahl — discuss the importance of a seamless customer experience. When it comes to podcasting, it can mean the difference between an avid fan and a quick skip and a thumbs down. That’s why the audio aspect of podcasting is so important. Invest in a decent mic and a pop filter, if you want people to come back to your podcast for repeated listens. If you’re not sure what equipment to pick up, here are a few suggestions:
3. Bank Episodes as Often as Possible
This one is perhaps also pretty obvious, but I have invariably had to skip a few weeks because I’d tapped my guests and had no content to put out. One way to avoid that is to schedule a guest for a specific chunk of time and then cut that chunk of time into halves so that you have two episodes ready to go, instead of just one. For example, very often I’ll schedule a guest for an hour and then chunk the discussion into two specific chunks. That way, I can have an episode in the can immediately after completing and one ready to go for the next week. If you are epically busy, you can also carve out a week, put your other projects on hold, and schedule a few interviews that week so you can go back to your normal business afterward. The key is, do not break continuity in your posting schedule. People will start to drift away.
4. Aircheck Yourself & Listen Back
Not only is this tip good for making sure that your equipment is functional, but it can give you an opportunity to listen to yourself and make adjustments to the essential aspects of your show. If you’re but a single part of a podcast, you may find yourself taking over the podcast or not contributing enough or what have you. You might find yourself drifting off, which may tell you to cut certain sections. Or the opposite may happen. You might jump into an episode and find yourself engaging and on-point, which should lead you to make more content related to that specific aspect of your podcast. Pay attention to what you say. Pay attention to how you may come off. Adjust accordingly. This will take time, but it is a necessary part of growth.
5. Build an Email List or Customer Funnel From the Beginning
And HERE is the grandaddy of them all. If you are podcasting and have no idea of who your customers are or how to contact them again, then you’re missing out on perhaps THOUSANDS of potential customers. It is absolutely essential for you to have an email list. Head over to mailchimp right now and get started. It only takes a few minutes, and you can start building your email list almost immediately. (I’ll podcast about some tips for building an email list in a future post, but for now, the key is to get started.) The one tip I’ll give right off the bat here is that you should put a bumper at the beginning of your podcast with a simple way for listeners to sign up for your newsletter. That way, they won’t have to go and search for it to find it. For my site, I have a dedicated page for it. If you go to tblakebraddy.com/newsletter, all it takes is a few clicks to get added to my email list. And there you have it!