Hey, I get it. There are so many moving parts to getting a podcast up and running that sometimes it feels like the more you know, the more unanswered questions you have!
Fortunately, there’s a lot of noise in this space that you can probably ignore. And really, at some point if you really just want to get things done, you’ll have to force yourself to ignore some of the noise or you’ll get stuck second guessing every decision.
I mean, there’s really no need to research all 82 potential podcast hosting platforms or to go gray spending a year trying to decide which type of microphone you should buy.
It’s not like you’re getting married. These things are important but you’re not locked in for a lifetime if you decide that you want to try something new.
But there are some important questions that newbie podcasters typically have that are worth exploring. So let’s dig in and see if we can get you unstuck and moving toward your goal of having a published podcast!
Ah, the age-old question: To script or not to script?
Whether or not to use a script is a personal choice. I recommending trying to record one or two of each type without submitting them to directories, just to see which one works best for you.
Some people work better with a script, because they tend to stammer and stutter and have long periods of silence that must be edited out because they need time to think of what else they want to say.
Others work better without a script, because they find their speech sounds monotone or robotic as if they are reading something, because they are. Not everyone has the ability to read aloud naturally.
If you’re doing an interview or group podcast, you might want to use a script just to make sure you both know what the material will be about before you start, and so there are no awkward periods while one of you, or both of you, need to think about what to say.
At the very least, you should probably create an outline of questions and talking points to keep you on topic in case you get sidetracked, interrupted, or have a tendency to ramble.
Not only will this help keep your show clear and easy to follow for your listeners, it’s also very helpful when you’re planning your content and trying to keep to a specific duration for each episode.
Because, let’s face it, listeners will get confused and tune out if one episode is 30 minutes, the next 4 minutes, and the next lasting over an hour. As with most things, the more consistent you can be, the better for yourself and your audience.
But whatever you do, don’t spend hours and hours scripting out a show word for word each time. It makes sense to give yourself a structure, but setting yourself up for hours of extra work each week is going to make you burn out fast.
I know what you might be thinking. Content marketing is for the bloggers, not you. But when it really comes down to it, podcasting IS content marketing, just done using a very specific type of audio format.
And you know what they say, content is really what makes the world go round. If your content isn’t engaging, your listeners will go elsewhere.
If you have trouble thinking of things to talk about for each episode, take a look at current podcasts in your niche, or check out YouTube videos or popular blogs to see what they are talking about and what people are interested in.
One of my favorite resources for content and keyword research is Ubersuggest, a free keyword research tool created by SEO guru and digital marketer Neil Patel.
It’s free and super-easy to get valuable info on the top-performing topics and websites in your niche. One of the things I love about this tool is that it lets you look at what’s working for your competitors and the big dogs in the game.
But it doesn’t stop there, either! They also assign each keyword phrase or website a domain score which basically gives you some indication of how easy or difficult that keyphrase will be to rank.
Other ways to get some inspiration is to hang out where your audience is and, well, listen to them. Ask questions and learn what your listeners want to hear.
Not only will you get tons of topic ideas, you’ll have the opportunity to network and connect with the people in your niche. And what better way to make a name for yourself than to be yourself and share your gifts both on and off your show?!
People tend to worry about this before they even get their first episode recorded and published.
And I hate to say it, but overnight success where you publish one or two episodes and never have to worry about listener-ship is probably unrealistic for more people starting a podcast.
Even if you get featured on iTunes New & Noteworthy list, podcasting tends to be a long game for most people.
Geez Lee Ann, way to be a Debbie Downer, right?
Hey, I’m not trying to pop your balloon, but I do like to be the voice of reason.
There are just too many people promising instant success and riches just to make a buck or two so there’s no shortage of people to blow smoke up the proverbial derriere.
Fortunately, podcasting is waaaaay less crowded than the blogging sphere or YouTubing so statistically, the odds are in your favor.
And honestly, with podcasting growing exponentially each month, you’ll probably find a good number of listeners just through iTunes and other podcasting directories (like *ahem* the Radio Fido Collaborative Podcasting Network).
As long as you’re using proper keywords in your title and description, and you have an interesting concept and eye-catching cover image, you’ll probably get a good number of your listeners this way.
In a previous blog post, I wrote that one of the major appeals to starting an interview-style podcast is because of all the benefits guest interviews bring… to everyone!
It’s obvious that these style shows are engaging because of the dynamic of a two-person conversation, but the real bonus comes after the interview is over once the directories and Google start indexing your episode and show notes.
The keyword boost and name recognition will increase your views in directories and help you build our own credibility by matter of association.
There’s also a good chance that you’ll potentially reap the rewards of their own network of fans or followers because they’ll most likely share the link to your podcast on their own website and social media.
As with any content marketing plan, there are very basic social media promotion strategies that shouldn’t be ignored.
It goes without saying that consistent posting and social media engagement is fantastic for gathering listeners.
By joining and participating in groups, you’ll have the opportunity to share your advice and your podcast in a helpful, genuine, and non-spammy way. You’d also be wise to follow key players in your industry and network whenever you can.
One of the really cool things about joining a collaborative podcasting network like Radio Fido is that you’ll get double, triple, or even quadruple the exposure as we – and other collaborative podcasters – share the shows and the network with our own social media followers.
Last but not least, a YouTube channel can also significantly boost your listener base. Vice versa, your podcast can significantly boost your YouTube viewership.
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Not only that, they’re owned by Google, so ranking on YouTube can increase your chances of appearing higher in the search results.
There are a few different ways to incorporate YouTube into your podcasting system so that it doesn’t take up too much of your life.
Of course, the easiest way to go is to simply set up your smartphone as a camera and video record yourself as you record your podcast. This is best suited for solo formats.
If you want to take it a step up, you can use a video recorder like Skype or Zoom to record your interviews, posting the video on YouTube and the audio on your podcast.
If all that still sounds like too much work, there are still other options. One of the easiest would be to use a podcasting host like Castos, which offers instant YouTube Republishing as an added feature in its Growth package.
What you do is link your Castos account to your YouTube account. Then after you publish a podcast episode, Castos automatically converts it to video file with your podcast cover thumbnail as the image and posts it to YouTube.
It’s about as hands-off as you can get. And for a lot of busy podcasters who also run a business, it really takes the pressure off of adding yet another thing to the to-do list.
One thing that’s not so great about a solution like this is that the audience on YouTube wants to see video, not a static thumbnail. It’s likely to be good for general exposure, but I wouldn’t expect to grow any sort of significant following without actual video.
Still, as far as SEO and ease of use goes, using something like Castos’ YouTube Republishing feature an attractive option. And it’s 100% better than doing nothing and just ignoring YouTube.
Whatever you choose, adding YouTube to your strategy is always a smart move. Audio + video. It’s truly a symbiotic relationship.
All in all, regardless of strategy, the takeaway from all this should still be consistency in action.
If attempting too much at once starts to negatively impact your consistency, dial it back a bit until you find that sweet spot. Then find your groove, do your thing, and do it well.