Over the past 12 months, I have been thinking about doing a podcast to help people develop. Whilst this might be a thing for the future, it is not something I have time for now, so I thought I would share my thoughts on how you can make a fantastic podcast.

Let’s start at the beginning, what is a podcast? Simply put, a podcast is an audio recording that a) you preferably subscribe to b) probably listen to on your smartphone and c) are likely to listen to it when and where you want.

With just under 2m podcasts available or 47m episodes (Source: Podcastinsights.com), competition to get noticed is high but should not be a reason why you might not want to add a podcast to your assets. According to InPublishing, 10m people are listening to podcasts each week in the UK, which represents 18% of the population. Demographics is important here with this figure being 9% for over 55s, and 27% in the 25 to 34 age group.

Plan your recordings

If you are like me, your preference will be to turn the mike on and record what comes out. What I have gleaned from the most successful podcasts are that the shows a meticulously planned, with a script that later can be uploaded to your website that will improve SEO (search engine optimization). It is all about story telling, it has a start, a middle (where the meat of the content is) and an ending where everything is drawn together with perhaps next action steps. Remember to keep the message and content simple, as this will impact how the podcast is received.

Batch your recordings

So this might be contentious, but again, it appears that the best practice could be to record a batch of shows. It is easier to record over a day rather than record adhoc. You get into the groove, and your voice sounds ‘most similar’. When done, you can upload/schedule these to be released on your favourite podcast host and this has a definite effect on how you are likely to be seen by the podcast SEO gods.

Listen to other podcasts for hints and tips

Fire up your favourite podcast app on your phone and select some podcasts to listen to. As you gain listeners, there might be new things to consider, such as how do sponsors work and how can I use music introductions to let people know this is me.

Technology is an enabler, not a foe.

The great thing about modern technology is that people are focusing heavily on something called UX or user experience. There is a vast number of applications out there ranging with many offering a free start into the world of podcasting. Try a few podcast hosts out and when you have found one that works for you – stick to it. I have been seriously guilty in the past of FOMO – wanting to experience the best out there, BUT good enough is good enough.

On the subject of host – Anchor.fm  , Libsyn.com, buzzsprout.com and podbean.com appear to be favourites

You can start today and simple.

Some of the larger shows (Goaldigger as an example) started off with humble beginnings. In one of the early episodes, Jenna Kutcher talks about recording some of her early shows with a phone in her car, progressing to a closet at her home with a duvet over her head to stop the reverb and echo.

Once you have become established (or if you are a geek and like tech), perhaps you can then splash out on a decent setup. I have a Yeti Blue mike that I use for webinars and training, and it sounds fantastic – although it does pick up everything.

Record onto different tracks

If you are recording a conversation, you may find it helpful to record it onto different tracks. Although this can be more complicated than simply using Zoom, it enables you to edit each channel separately to ‘tidy up’ the audio.

Tools such as Zencastr.com are suitable for this (and currently offer a free/low-cost solution)

Get your marketing right

Whilst it is vital to get your content spot on through planning, so too is getting the message out about your podcast via the social channels. You may have the best-produced podcast with the most amazing content, but if people don’t know you are there, they will not find you.

Get a social media planning spreadsheet here, and also think about what you ask your guest speakers to do

Working with others? Then have a pre-script

If you are inviting guests onto your show – let them know what they are committing to. Tell them the purpose of your show and your expectations (which may include posting on social media). If you interview them, perhaps give them a few opening questions to help them get into their stride.

Above all, let them know when you are going to meet and what service you are going to use.

Leave spaces when you make mistakes

This is not an obvious one, but you will make mistakes. When you make a mistake – leave a couple of seconds gap before you start up again, perhaps even indexing (think take 4 type stuff). This way, when it comes to editing, you will be able to pick up and edit out the non-usable material easily

Leave time for editing

You might be lucky that you can record in one go – but being realistic, that will be unlikely. So, you are going to have to post-edit your recordings. You can use this to reduce some background noise and use filters to make your voice sound amazing.

Again – tech is your friend here, and something like Audacity (free) or the Adobe Soundbooth could be your saviour. Find an application that works with you and invest the time to master it. This will then deliver truly fantastic sound for your incredible productions.

Good luck in your creations.

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