First Lesson – Podcasting Made Easy
In this first lesson, we are going to talk a little bit about what podcasting is and go over some of the common terminology, so you can have a better understanding of how it works.
A podcast is a digital audio file that can be made available on the Internet for downloading to a consumer’s computer or mobile device. They are typically available as a series, with new installments that are delivered to subscribers automatically
Podcasts are very popular because many people would much rather listen than read an article or watch a video. With a podcast your target audience will be able to listen to pre-recorded “internet radio show” where you provide content on topics of interest to them.
Podcasts are available via a service known as RSS. When someone subscribes to a podcast, they will receive the latest files right in their RSS feed reader. You can embed it on your own website as well as on the websites of others so their audience can listen to it too.
Once a podcast is recorded, it can be broadcast to a growing audience in several ways. It can be listed in directories so it can be discovered by people searching for your topic of interest. It can also be broadcasted to other websites and listened to anytime, anywhere, by people who subscribe to your podcast.
Now let’s go over a few of the most common podcasting terms, so that when you create your own podcast it will be a little bit easier.
A series of recording audio programs, usually published on a regular schedule, such as once a week.
– Podcatcher or podcast client
Software which detects each new podcast you publish and delivers it to your subscribers.
– RSS (Real Simple Syndication)
A way to share files with your target audience, or allow others to publish your content, or syndicate it, at their site.
An aggregator, or RSS aggregator, collects RSS feeds. It will deliver podcasts and other contents you subscribe to. Feedly and Feedbin would be two good examples of RSS aggregators.
A series of podcasts. Think of it as a radio station that can be listened to any time by people who subscribe to your channel.
The most important information about the podcast, so it can be discovered by readers and search engines. It will usually include title, recording artist, file format and so on.
ID3 is a metadata specification that allows information to be added to MP3 files. Commonly, items like track title, artist, album and track number are placed within ID3 “tags” that identify the type of data. It helps your podcast get discovered in locations like iTunes.
The popular digital audio player from Apple. The word “podcast” comes from the combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast”.
Juice is a free program that automatically downloads new shows when they become available, and synchronizes them with your iPod or other digital audio player. Formerly known as “iPodder”.
iTunes is Apple’s multimedia store and software, which will allow you to buy, or access or subscribe for free, a range of content such as music, videos, TV shows and podcasts. It links to a directory of podcasts and acts as a podcatcher by allowing users to subscribe to podcasts and delivering them to their iPod or other player.
When you upload your content on iTunes, metatags for it will be created, making it discoverable to those interested in your topic or niche.
MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) is the standard format for podcast files. The format compresses the data into a very small file while still maintaining sound quality.
Podcasting is relatively easy for anyone who wants to learn how to use it to get their message to the masses. To get started you’ll need access to a web server where you can upload your files for your listeners to access.
It’s also a good idea to register a domain and find a hosting to build a website. This will make it easier for your listeners to find and connect with you. You’ll also need a few other tools to help you get started and we’ll be talking more about those in your next lesson.
Second Lesson – Podcasting Made Easy
When it comes to starting your own podcast, there are several essential podcasting tools you can but shouldn’t do without. Let’s look at the most important first, down to “nice to have if you can”.
– A high-quality microphone
You can usually buy a good mic for less than $100 on Amazon. Some prefer headset microphones, while others like a desktop microphone such as the ones you would see in radio stations. The best type of microphone is a USB one that plugs into your computer, because it assures high-quality sound without the need for any special audio interface.
– Podcast cover art
People will judge a book by its cover, and therefore a podcast too. You can list your podcasting in online stores and directories. Your cover art will also often be visible in aggregator windows. Each site will have a certain size image is required.
Get a pro to design it based on your logo, website color scheme, and/or niche that the podcast is going to be about. You can find talented artists on Fiverr.com, who will charge $5 and up for their work. Look at their star ratings and reviews before choosing one.
– Podcast file hosting
Your files will be big, and even more importantly, they will be erratic unless you host time in a location where they will download smoothly or be played live online without lags or jumps in the sound. The best choice for unlimited uploading and sharing of your podcasts, and giving a great listener experience, is SoundCloud.
– RSS feed reader embedded at your site
Once you’ve uploaded the files to SoundCloud, enable your visitors to listen to them using some form of reader or widget. Once you upload your content to SoundCloud, you will see an embed code for each track, and for the channel.
– An audio editing program
The main program used is a free open source one called Audacity. It will help you edit out any mistakes you make when recording and also enable you to add music at the start and end of the podcast and more. Record your show in Audacity, clean up the file and you are ready to publish.
– Theme music
You can get free theme music for the start and end of your podcast from royalty-free music sites such as http://freemusicarchive.org
– A great title
Create a title that makes it clear what the podcast is going to be about, and which also generates excitement in your niche audience to listen to it.
– Teaser copy for your channel
Your teaser copy should also entice your target audience, telling them what to expect from the channel.
– Catchy podcast (track) titles
Some people just number their podcasts, but this is missing out on the chance to offer a descriptive, keyworded title that will show up if someone searches SoundCloud or the iTunes store for a particular topic. If you are talking about three different items in your hour-long podcast, incorporate all three words into the title in some way.
– Teaser copy for each podcast
You should write enticing copy for each podcast as well, using keywords and making it clear what topics are going to be discussed. Make it sound exciting – something they would not want to miss.
– Express Scribe Transcription Software
Either offer your script online to gather search engine attention, or (if you have interviewed someone, for example) use transcription software. Express Scribe has a free and paid pro version. Post the transcript under the track for each podcast you create. You can find out more about it here: http://www.nch.com.au/scribe/
Starting your own podcast does not have to cost a lot, but it does require some organization to make it look professional and worth listening to.
Third Lesson – Podcasting Made Easy
Once you’ve decided to create a podcast, the next main concern for most people is how to grow an audience for it. Your growth and marketing plan should actually be built right into the podcast.
– Give it a strong, interesting name
It needs to appeal to your niche and be searchable on sites and aggregators.
– Create strong titles for each podcast
Every podcast should have a keyworded name, not just numbers, to tell people what to expect and to make it more discoverable.
– Write enticing teaser copy
Make sure the description of your podcast channel, and each podcast you create, is keyworded and sounds exciting enough for your audience to want to listen.
– Be consistent
Set a schedule of regular podcasts so people know what to expect. It’s a big commitment, but it’s the only way to keep an audience coming back for more, and telling others about it.
-. Tell your lists
If you have email marketing lists, send an email to invite them to subscribe to the podcast, send in topic suggestions and guest suggestions, or even get involved by being interviewed online.
Tell everyone in your social media account about your new podcast channel. Each time you create a new podcast, post about it on your social media pages. Encourage people to share the post with anyone they know who might also be interested in it.
– Forums, discussion boards and groups
Post information on your podcast on niche-related areas on the internet where your target audience will congregate.
– Your blog
Embed your podcast feed into your site. Also, give a page to each podcast you create. Add a transcript to attract the search engines. Include a call to action or subscribe button.
– Be a guest blogger
Guest blog; that is, give free content to one or more blogs related to your niche. Use the link back they should give you to point to you podcast subscription page.
– Be a guest on other podcasts
Grow your audience by being a guest on high-profile niche blogs. In this way, you will get a chance to point your URL to the listeners who like what you have to say. Offer a guest spot in exchange, and ask the guest to share the URL once the podcast has been created. Or, offer them a copy they can use as is on their podcast feed once you have finished editing it.
– Help a Reporter Out
The HARO website allows you to list yourself as an expert in your niche. Your biography can list your podcast. You can also mention it if you are interviewed and used as a resource for a journalist’s story.
– Issue a press release
Tell the world you have a new podcast with the help of a press release. Chances are that journalists interested in your niche, or looking for interesting information to pass along to your readers, will be happy to pick up your story and share it. There are free and paid press release distribution services which can help you spread the word.
– Blogger outreach
Blogger outreach is similar to issuing press releases, only it targets top bloggers in top niches. They might be interested in the podcast, the transcript, or having you on as a guest blogger.
Growing your audience for your podcast does not have to be an uphill struggle if you follow these tips and tricks. Use all you’ve learned and you should soon have an ever-growing audience of eager listeners.
Fourth Lesson – Podcasting Made Easy
Many people start podcasting with passion and enthusiasm, only to lose interest a short time later and abandon their channel. Or, they work really hard, but can’t seem to grow their audience. Here are some of the most common podcasting mistakes to avoid if you want to create a popular and successful podcast.
– Not knowing your niche
If you don’t know your target audience, you won’t be able to create content that really speaks to their problems and interests.
– Not scripting your podcasts
Some people think they can just hit the record button and rant about anything. NO. You need a beginning, middle and end to your program. At the beginning, you will have an introduction and a few warm-up statements and information. The middle of the program will be the meat in the sandwich, so to speak. The end of the program will be a summary, closing statements, and at least one call to action (CTA).
– Not having a call to action (CTA)
Tell your audience what you want them to do after hearing the podcast. It could be “like” on Facebook, share, subscribe, take advantage of your great special offer at “this URL”, and so on.
– Not setting a goal for each podcast
One of the main reasons why many podcasters don’t include a CTA is because they have not set a goal for the podcast in the first place. What do you want to achieve? More traffic, subscribers on your podcast channel, in your email marketing list, sales, something else? You can’t create a clear CTA and measure your results if you don’t set a goal from the outset.
– Trying to do it all yourself
Some people want to be a one-man band and do everything themselves, but this will put a lot of pressure on you and eventually make it a bore for listeners. Try to ask people who know about podcasting to help with the technology side. Make a list of people you would love to have on the show as a guest to chat with or to interview.
– Not preparing the interview questions ahead of time
If you have a great guest coming on, make the most of it by writing the questions out in advance and giving them a copy prior to the podcast. In this way, everyone will feel less nervous and the interview will flow more smoothly.
– Not having the right equipment
You need a high-quality microphone, such as a USB one that can record through your computer. If you are going to have guests in your studio area, you need to make sure your array can handle more than one microphone.
– Not having the right recording software
You need a high-quality file that will be pleasant for your audience to listen to, without a lot of stammers, mistakes and long pauses. Audacity is the industry standard and is easy to use.
– Not checking your recording level
It’s really frustrating if any file has been recorded at such a low level it can barely be heard. So always do a full audio check before recording.
– Not using the right hosting for the files
Podcasts are usually recorded in MP3 format, which compresses them down to about 1/12th their usual size while still retaining quality. However, trying to host them at your site can lead to uneven download and buffering rates, meaning pops, gaps and a slow experience. To fix that problem you may want to consider subscribing to a service like SoundCloud which offers unlimited hosting of files of any size and a superior playback experience.
– Forgetting to name and tag your podcast with keywords
Attract the right audience by using the right keywords in your title and description of each podcast.
– Using a homemade image
As we discussed in the last lesson your podcast should have a professional-looking graphics to make it look more professional and help attract regular subscribers.
By taking the time to avoid these mistakes it will help get you on the fast track to having a popular and profitable podcast to be proud of.
Fifth Lesson – Podcasting Made Easy.
Many people publish their podcasts for free, and that is good for marketing purposes so you can get your name and brand in front of a wider audience and sell more products and services. But there are also a number of ways to make money directly from your podcasts.
– Affiliate marketing
Sell products for others in exchange for a commission. Make sure they are all related to the niche you are working in. Incorporate each item into the podcast with a short review as well if you wish. It will help keep your podcast fresh and new, with interesting content on a regular basis, while helping your audience and making money all at the same time.
– Write a book and publish it
Write a book related to your niche and publish it on Amazon as a Kindle electronic book and through their CreateSpace service as a paperback book. Give your listeners little samples of what you talk about in the book and instructions on how to buy it. This should get sales for the book and prestige for you as an expert in your niche.
– Podcast ads
Set a price for a 30-second to one-minute ad on your podcast. The price can be based on how many subscribers you have to your channel, such as a penny per subscriber per show. Consider giving them even more of a mention or taking content if they are willing to buy ads regularly (such as a month at a time).
– Podcast sponsorships
Find companies associated with your niche who might be willing to sponsor you; that is, pay for the running costs of the program. They might get a mention at the start and end and a detailed two- to five-minute spotlight on all they have to offer their customers. Consider doing an even better deal of having them on for interview, or even giving them a regular spot if they are willing to sponsor your program for a month or more.
– Build your mailing list and sell products to them
Increase the number of subscribers to your email marketing list, and offer a range of affiliate and homemade products to them.
– Create products for your audience
It’s easy to create digital and even tangible products for your niche once you have your finger on the pulse of what their problems are and what they are willing to pay to solve them. Show that YOU have the solution they are looking for, and they will buy online via the internet and your emails. Create the product, launch it on your podcast and in other online venues, and see how many sales you can make.
– Create services for your audience
Membership sites, coaching program and consulting packages can also meet the needs of your target audience and relieve their pain points. Monthly memberships each month can help you steadily earn a predictable income rather than just have the “boom and bust” of launching a product and then watching sales dwindle after the fuss has died down.
Coaching programs are becoming increasingly popular as a means of learning essential skills from the comfort of the student’s own home or office. As long as you are a few steps ahead of complete beginners in your niche, you can set up a coaching program.
Consulting varies from person to person, but it usually involves focusing on a certain trouble spot in their business and offering a range of solutions. Some consultants are very hands-on and will implement the solution themselves. Others will offer an outline and suggestions for free and paid solutions that will work.
Now that you know how to make money from your podcasts, try at least one of these methods and see how much money you can earn.
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