If you listened to the last podcast and decided YES to launching your own podcast, then let me help you get started.
In this episode, I’ll share with you how to get started with your show and how to go about launching it.
- How to come up with a show title and description
- What to look for in good podcast cover art
- Why you should pre-record several instances in advance
- Equipment to get started podcasting
- How to “power” the podcast off your blog
- How to maximize your opportunity after iTunes publishes your show, and how to build real inertia from being in “New and Noteworthy”
Now, a quick little personal side here before we jump into this episode of Coffee Break Blogging; and today we are going to be talking about starting and launching a podcast, but if my calendar calculations are correct, by the time this particular episode is released, my family and I will actually be heading out on a vacation. And so, we are actually going out in the RV. We are going to be gone for a few weeks heading out to the New England area, New York, Boston; may have cross the border go up to Canada, hit Niagara Falls; that type of areas… So we are going to be out in the RV kind of doing our thing for a few weeks here.
A couple of reasons I bring this up… One is because in the last episode where we talked about starting a podcast of your own, I talked a big point there about consistency of that podcast and how important it is. Well, I am practicing exactly what I preach. I am going to be in the RV with my kids for the next few weeks but yet this podcast; starting with this one, is going to keep on going. 😉
And so that is the big thing, it is going to keep on going, I am going to pre-record these things before I leave and they are going to continue to drip out while I’m gone. Okay? “Consistency”, it is very important. I would probably lose momentum if I just took off for four weeks and didn’t have any episodes coming out.
Now the second reason I mention it is of course if you would like to follow along and kind of see what we are doing, I’d be happy to have you do so. And we are going to be doing that over on Facebook, actually. This is not something that is business-y so it is not going to go in Blog Marketing Academy, but you can head over to Facebook. If I have never invited you to connect with me on Facebook, come connect to me on facebook.com/Risley. Then I will take you right through my personal Facebook profile. And you can friend me up or just follow me over there, that would be probably the easiest route you’ll still see everything if you just follow me over there because it is personal type of stuff and it is not going to go in the Blog Marketing Academy page, so facebook.com/risley will be the way to go.
So let’s move right in to our topic of the day which is Starting and Launching Your Own Podcast…
So let’s say you just listened to Episode 96, you decided to move forward with a podcast… What do you do? The first thing we need to do is to do a little bit of planning on the show itself.
Now there are 4 things that I want to mention here:
1. Title Of Your Show
You do need to come up with the title of the show. The big thing is that you want to make sure that it has got a keyword phrase in it of some kind but is also “brandable”. It is something that could roll off your tongue, be repeated by word of mouth and be a brandable thing. That was something that I looked for with the whole Coffee Break Blogging. I called it Coffee Break Blogging because it has got the word “blogging” in it; that is important because; lest we not forget that iTunes is essentially a big search engine. And it works on very simplistic search engine principles. And so, you putting keywords into stuff like this does definitely matter. So it has got the word “blogging” in it, and the whole coffee break idea was just because A: I like coffee; secondly because these episodes tend to be shorter, they are more like a coffee break, okay? So that was the idea.
So when it comes to naming your show, you need to come up with something that is just brandable; it can roll off the tongue, they kind of stand on its own and yet it will also be obvious what it is all about.
2. Show Description
This is going to go inside of iTunes and you definitely need to put some thought in what that show description is. It should be keyword rich as to what your show is going to be about because when people are searching for a podcast or something that they are interested in, again, iTunes is a big search engine.
And so if you got those keywords in there, it is going to make a difference. You also want to have keywords inside the actual titles of your episodes; but of course the show description is pretty important. Now, one little thing that you can do s go into iTunes and search for podcasts that are already talking about the same general subject matter that you intend to talk about and see what they have got in their description. I mean, feel free to model it, okay? There’s nothing wrong with that, obviously, don’t copy them. But you can use it for idea. It is kind of like having a swipe file. Now if you want to go for the ones that are little bit more popular, that might make sense, right? Because the more popular shows obviously means they are doing something right, so you can look at what their show description is and get some ideas.
3. Plan Out The Actual Episodes
This one, I talked about this last episode, and that is to plan out the actual episodes. Now when you are first starting out, you definitely want to put more planning into the first few episodes because when you launch it, you want to be able to release a bunch of episodes in pretty much rapid fire. And I will go over in a minute why that is important. So it goes beyond just the first few episodes though. You want to have a plan moving forward for a while; longer than you are going to sit down and record at the beginning because that will allow you to be consistent and that is really, really important.
4. The Podcast Logo
So that is the last thing I want to mention here with regard to show planning; is the podcast logo, the actual artwork that is going to show up inside of iTunes. Now you want to have a really nice piece of artwork done, in my opinion. People do judge a book by its cover quite literally, and they are going to judge a podcast by your cover art quite literally. This is not the time when you should play amateur hour, okay? So if you do not have the skills to create a nice piece of artwork for your podcast, I would recommend that you hire somebody to do it. At the very least go over to Fiverr and hire somebody over there to do it. Your results will be a little mixed with Fiverr because it is freakin’ five dollars, what do you expect?
But if you have no photo ability whatsoever, you might be able to come up with something pretty decent over there. But you want to have something that is of the right dimensions; I don’t even remember off the top of my head what the current dimensions are; they are probably really big like 1400×1400 or something because it needs to work well in a retina display, which is what the iPhone and iPads have now. But have a nice, professional piece of artwork done for your podcast logo. You probably want to incorporate your face in it for branding purposes, obviously the show title; maybe some kind of a little byline and think of it as a branding piece. It should exist by itself and be pretty self-explanatory what the heck that is. Okay?
Now let’s move in into the podcasting equipment. What do you need to actually get started? Now, I will say that a lot of podcast, including myself; we use fancy stuff. And some people had gotten a lot fancier than me. But I want to tell you, “You don’t need that stuff” to start. Don’t think that your podcast is going to be more successful if you go out and throw a few hundred bucks to get started because you don’t have to do that.
When I first started podcasting, I did it with a blue snowball microphone put out by a company like Yeti or something like that. Because they moved on to that one into to one which is called the Blue Yeti and it was just a better mic. And you could buy those all over. I think they are probably over at Best Buy or the Apple Store… The Blue Yeti is a pretty affordable and very nice sounding microphone.
Now you can use a different kind of USB style microphone but you do want to test it out; maybe read some reviews, because USB microphones are kind of all over the board. Some are good, some not so much. Now a USB microphone will be your simplest one because you can just plug it in at the back of your computer and you are good to go. If you want to get a fancier microphone where some audio files (I’d say) sound better, you would go with one that actually uses a standard jack. I forgot the name of that darn jack right off the top of my head; but it has got like 3 or 4 prongs on it and you can’t plug it in to the computer. You have to plug it into a sound board; into a mixer. And that is what I do.
I use a Heil PR40 microphone which is about a $300 mic, it is sitting up on a stand which is attached to the desk here; I have got a pop filter on it which makes it so where if I’d say a letter P or something you are not going to get hit on the ears. I have got a little thing which protects the thing from vibration… So I have done the whole nine yards here but I built up to it over time. And the whole thing does plug in to a mixer.
You don’t have to do that at the beginning. As your podcast gets more traffic perhaps you will decide to upgrade. At the very beginning, I think Blue Yeti or something of that caliber will work just fine. The big thing here is that audio quality definitely is important. Do not cheap out on the audio quality. Don’t just like use some audio app on your phone and talk right in to the built in microphone. Those kinds of things are not going to cut it. Don’t hit record on your laptop and talk in to your built-in mic because it is going to sound like crap. You want to have a nice mic. At the very low end, get a USB headset mic where you at least got the mic next to your mouth and make it sound good because that is a really important component of a podcast. If it is not easy to listen to; nobody is going to. Okay?
And in terms of audio editing, there is a bunch of PC options out there. I am on a Mac so I am using “garage band”. But if you don’t want to spend a dime or you’re not on a Mac or anything, go and grab “Audacity”. Completely and totally free, it is open source and you can totally use that. You can do all kinds of really cool stuff with Audacity. And there are lots of tutorial out there on YouTube or on Lynda.com or whatever to show you exactly how to use it.
By the way, another lesson… Best not to “cough” right in the middle of your podcast; but that one hit me really quick. 🙂
Now when it comes to hosting the podcast, you are going to probably use LibSyn. LibSyn is short for Liberated Syndication; so it is libsyn.com. It is podcasting hosting. You don’t want to use Amazon S3 or something like that; in my personal opinion. Although it might seem like an option, the problem with S3 is that you do pay for your bandwidth. So it will start out really cheap and you’ll think everything is awesome. But if your show grows and get some legs, it could get to the point where your bandwidth bill actually becomes “cost prohibitive”. So the good thing about LibSyn is that it is unlimited bandwidth. I think the only limitation is how much you upload in a given billing period which you are probably not going to hit. And then after that you can have unlimited downloads on your show and your cost stays the same. So that is LibSyn.
Now in terms of hosting the podcast and setting it up with your blog and the feed and all that beautiful stuff; I would recommend you do it right on your WordPress Blog using a plug-in called PowerPress. And PowerPress is completely and totally free; just set it up and you’ve got a little bunch of screens there that will walk you through setting up the entire thing.
So that is pretty much as deep as I’m going to get into in this format.
Alright now, when it comes to actually recording each episode, you are going to want to do a few things with the episode. You are going to want to obviously edit it together, probably using Audacity or something like that. You are going to want to have an intro and you are going to want to put that on the beginning. Now if you don’t want to invest to have a nice intro made; which I am about to invest, I will have a new intro made for this show, then you can record one on your own or you could just “not” have an intro and just make the intro part of the episode itself. So it is kind of like everytime I come on here and say “Welcome back to Coffee Break Blogging, blah-blah-blah” you can do the exact same thing on yours. You don’t have to have a music reel before; but you know; you can. And you can hire people on Fiverr to make them; there are services out there that would make those if you want to do it. So you tack those things together, export it…
And then you are going to want to use an app that allows you to do ID3 Tags. ID3 Tags is little hidden fields inside of an MP3 file that will allow you to insert the title of the episode, the information for your podcast itself and the artwork into the actual MP3 file. Now the reason you want that is so that let’s say somebody is playing your podcast on their phone, your artwork and the title will actually show up on their home screen. Not the icons; we are talking just when you hit the power button, it will actually show up there as the thing that you are actively playing. So this is all the stuff you can control with the ID3 Tags.
How do you launch this bad boy? Well, once you got it set up technically on WordPress with the settings set in PowerPress, you are going to need to iTunes and submit your podcast to iTunes. You are basically, submit your podcast RSS feed to them and they are going to need to approve it before it shows up. Now they are not like rough on that or anything; you are not going to have getting any problems getting it approved, it might take them a day or too, I don’t remember how long it took them for me; and then you are going to be on iTunes.
But here’s what you want to do; this is the key, is that at the very beginning, as soon as they release your podcast in iTunes, you want to have a marketing strategy already in place so that you can hit the button and start it when they put that thing in the iTunes. Because if you want to get into “new and noteworthy”, which is not difficult at the very beginning, you want to drive as many downloads of this podcast in a short amount of time as you possibly can. And so, anything that you can bring to the table in order to bring more podcast downloads in that very short period of being a New and Noteworthy, you need to do it.
So that makes you go to your email list and announce every episode. Maybe have a campaign set up on your blog where you have got a few blog posts written to go out during the launch period and every single one of them tell them to subscribe to your podcast. Maybe make a few videos and launch them out on your YouTube Channel. Email some influencers and tell them about your show and see if they can be promoted or offer yourself up as a guest on theirs; whatever you want to do but you have got to get the word out and you want to drive as many downloads of your podcast as you can at the very beginning.
Now the other thing is that; I mentioned earlier, that you want to have several episodes pre-recorded and released very often at the beginning because the download count thing with iTunes is very much just raw numbers. So there are two ways to get lots of downloads… One is to have many, many people downloading your podcast and the second way is to have maybe less people but they are downloading a crap-full of podcast.
A Few More Advice
If you have a lot of things for them to download and they see that that consistency is happening; you are going to get more downloads. This is one of the reasons why our buddy John Lee Dumas with Entrepreneur On Fire has long since now rocking it up at the stats. He was one of the very first to come up with a daily podcast for entrepreneurs. And because it was daily, he was compounding a lot of downloads.
His audience probably isn’t that big at the beginning but because he was coming out so often and kind of interviewing the right people and making a name for himself, it compounded.
So you can do that with your podcast as well; by having 5 to 10 episodes pre-recorded by the time you submit the thing to Apple; or maybe 5 of them. But then you want to have some other ones in the mix so that once they have put that thing into iTunes, you are new and noteworthy; you probably want to release one per day or one for every couple of days for a little while and build that momentum up. And eventually you are going to settle it to your normal publishing schedule whether it be once a week, twice a week, whatever that might be. But at the very beginning, you want to put new episodes out there pretty quick so that everybody’s devices out there who has subscribed to your podcast, they’re downloading it; that is increasing your download metrics and will then race you in the rankings of iTunes.
Now the other thing that will help raise you in the rankings of iTunes is getting people to review and rate your podcast, which is one of the reasons that I tend to drop the ball in this one sometimes, that I periodically ask you guys to go and rate and review this podcast; Coffee Break Blogging inside of iTunes. That will point you right over into my podcast profile on iTunes and I would highly appreciate it if you would go and post a star rating or an honest review of that you think of the show.
If you’re finding this show valuable, if you are finding that you are getting a lot of value out of it and you are enjoying it, I would highly appreciate a review inside of iTunes. It helps me out in the rankings inside of iTunes, exposes the show to more people and that is obviously the game that we all podcasters play. So that will be my call to action for this particular episode. Please go over to iTunes and review the show for me.
Thanks for being here! Once again, if you want to follow along on my little personal trip with the family and kind of like doing the whole RV thing; you can connect to me personally on Facebook , just follow me, you could feel free to post a friend request but to be honest with you I don’t go through the friend request list all that often but you can follow me and it’s basically the same thing. You can interact with me just the same. And I would love to talk some non-business with you, periodically.
See you next time! 😉