I, for one, was curious about using podcasting to grow a business – the few people I know who podcast seem to do it so easily so I wondered – was it easy? Straightforward? Well, Anke’s presentation provided some challenges, but it did answer my question: it can be easy if you plan ahead and prepare. And it is possible to actually make money through podcasting …whoa, but again, this takes time, and proper planning.
For the group which was present – a mix between those who love listening to podcasts, and those terrified of the idea of doing them – the presentation was clear, engaging and most useful.
Expert in the podcast business.
Anke Herrmann, our speaker, has been, is, a seamstress, translator, teacher, coach, software developer and geek. She has also published a book ‘Taming the Tech Monster’. The ‘switch’ moment for her came from listening to a podcast which said: the gold is in the guests; they are a powerful way of building a network. The unexpected benefit she later discovered highlighted the multiple value and potential of podcasts – content you can highlight, where and how you can share, (new content, which can also be repurposed). Having your own podcast and to be a part of someone else’s. It opens up a whole new world. She also noticed an increase in web traffic to her website, where she posts her podcasts as blogs – so to speak. And having one means it is easier to be invited onto other podcasts.
Prepare, and plan!
Planning is the step NOT worth skipping. You do it once at the start, and it becomes your template for your next steps. Why are you doing it? What do you want to achieve with it? Who do you want to interview? Why? How? While many people have questions for the recording stage, if you do not have a clear ‘why’– then the rest may be complicated. Next, if the planning is done clearly and the organising is also set out clearly, then really podcasting is straight-forward.
Ask yourself, why would anyone want to invest their time in listening? It needs to make sense for your business – purpose/intention is SUPER important, which feeds all the other decisions you need to make such as title/format.
People prefer to listen to conversations, but it needs to make sense for the audience. One thing worth paying attention to is the intro! Give people a reason to believe it is worth listening to you, entice people to come and listen to you/your podcast. You do not have to have music, but many do. And regarding content: do keep it evergreen – do not let the theme be ‘out of date’ – or rather specific to a time and date. This means you may not be able to reuse it again, which is a shame for the effort invested.
Recording used to perhaps be a scary thing, but given how tech has evolved, fear is not really necessary. Many now record on Zoom. Try to keep quality simple and do not stress about this. Do what you can to make editing easier. Make it easy for people – give them time to settle down, get comfortable etc., before you start recording. For online: for offline – some more research may be needed of course.
Once you have your recording
Some people do not edit at all, some edit all the uhms/ahs – which Anke did not think was worth the effort. Long pauses are worth editing as it affects engagement. Try to ensure the same loudness throughout, and pay attention to this at the recording stage, and perhaps test at the ‘getting settled stage’ before recording takes place. There are many free tools available to assist with this as well.
Find a structure for your podcast BEFORE you record e.g. images; files etc., and gather all info in ONE place, beforehand for your own peace of mind. This prevents being overwhelmed by the process and means once you have recorded, you already have everything in hand for the next steps. She shared her checklist with us, to help.
Started? Then what?
Something Anke asked all to keep in mind is that if you do a podcast you NEED podcast HOSTING – not just your own website. The directories you are placed on are where you lead from. Platforms where you can keep podcasts ‘closed’ to your own users/listeners include Google private podcasts: captivate.fm. There are many free options, but in essence: know you are building an audience, a network, once it is built, or when it is built, you can change what you expect from it.
How to make money from that? To attract potential clients, offer something for people to join such as a mailing list. A podcast is something to build on. Magic happens at a later stage!!!
Tips for guest vetting: two parts to the question. The guest and the host. Have a call beforehand – remember to tell them beforehand that there is no obligation. Ask if they have been on one before, so you can then listen in before interviewing. Let them know, and stick to, how long the episode will be. Take time for both of you to ‘adjust’ to one another, before you start recording. Try and anticipate so you, and the guest can adjust your own responses to the questions. You also develop experience as a host as time goes on, so be gentle to yourself as well.
She also recommended breaking down subject matter into chunks – for your listeners especially.
Monetisation: YouTube pays you, or can/will – but other platforms are just platforms, THEN you share on different platforms/channels. HOSTED in ONE place, but then listened to on several – so people can easily find/listen to you.
Podcasts are a way of extending your network. You need to build your network – and this takes time, effort. Anke shared some numbers, saying that if you have around 136 downloads in your first 30 days then you are in the top 50% of podcasts. GOLD is in the guests. You need to be strategic here, and work, and wait. Some will use podcasts to build their network, some to get clients. People LOVE being on podcasts – so finding them is not the challenge. Knowing what you will do, how you will use them, is. Plan beforehand, have checklists, ensure you have all the material you need before you interview, so the publishing stage is easier.
Anke also offered her free guide to assist anyone considering starting a podcast. Certainly left me thinking, should I start a podcast? At least I know, the tech is the least of my challenges.