I’ve been podcasting for over 5 years now… and my podcasting strategy is becoming increasingly important!
And in my business I’ve worked with over 200 podcasters as clients (as of 12/18).
If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned this…
JUST BECAUSE YOU CREATE IT DOESN’T MEAN PEOPLE WILL FIND IT, LIKE IT, OR ENJOY IT.
And why is that?
Because MOST people won’t waste their time on things that are not…
- Helpful, or
- Good quality
You’ve got to keep that CLEARLY in mind when you’re creating your podcast.
Beyond that little gem is this one…
THE INTERNET IS GETTING NOISIER ALL THE TIME
Gone are the days when anyone can post anything and other people will stumble upon it.
“Stumbling upon” great content isn’t something that just happens — it’s something that is planned. By marketers.
Content marketers – to be precise.
And here’s the connection to podcasting…
- Podcasts are content that need to be marketed
It’s YOUR job, as a podcaster, to market it.
OR — you can find a team or person you trust to do that for you.
Either way, the point still stands — you’ve got to get your content out therein effective ways that enable the people you’re trying to entertain or help, to find you.
That requires a clear podcasting strategy.
1. Publish quality content regularly — because content reach grows with quality content production
While it’s true that the internet is getting noisier, and busy-er, and more crowded all the time, there’s another reality to consider…
Many people who START publishing content STOP publishing content in a relatively short period of time.
That means that though your competition IS growing, it’s not growing as fast as it might appear.
So keep publishing.
Do it as often as you can WITHOUT sacrificing quality.
And that is HUGELY important.
It doesn’t matter if you publish podcasts every day if they are junk and are doing nobody any good.
That’s not the kind of content to…
Get people excited
Make people know, like, and trust you
Provoke unsolicited sharing of it.
So keep the quality high — THEN publish as often as you can.
The more you put great content into your niche, the more people are going to see it, the more you are going to become “known” in your niche, and the more the perception people have of you is that “this one knows what he/she is talking about!”
2. Commit to and execute on the highest production value possible for your budget
What do I mean when I say “production value?”
It’s the degree of professionalism and quality you put into everything surrounding the content you are producing.
- Audio quality
- Show notes posts
- Links to others you mention
Let’s take each of those in turn to ensure you get what I’m saying…
There was once a time when people would listen to an audio podcast with room noise, terrible Skype warbles, and stuttering, stammering, and restatements.
Those days are passing — quickly.
It’s because of that thing I mentioned about the internet getting busier, noisier, and more crowded. There is a LOT of content to choose from these days, so people are becoming more selective about what they choose to spend their time listening to.
The real question is this…
What is going to make people WANT to listen to your podcast over the thousands of others out there? Not to mention Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, etc.?
You see where I’m going with this?
If you are producing incredible content (in terms of what you’re talking about and the value you’re delivering) but do it with TERRIBLE audio quality… the day will soon be here when your listeners will go elsewherebecause of it.
So do everything you can to make your audio quality superb. That means…
- Learn how to edit professionally (there is free software you can use)
- Be sure to level, compress, and normalize your audio to ensure it is actually enjoyable to listen to. Here’s a free-ish service to help you do that.
- Make sure you are using a GOOD QUALITY microphone. You can get a very respectable USB microphones for under $100 US.
- Don’t skimp when it comes to distance-recordings (recording a conversation with another person). Use a service that allows for cleaner, better recordings (without the Skype warbles). Here’s one. Here’s another. And here is another.
SHOW NOTES POSTS
“Show notes” is the name used in the podcasting industry for the blog post that accompanies a podcast episode. It usually contains at least a brief summary of the episode content and links to any resources mentioned on the episode.
But when you up the game on your show notes, you’ll see a TREMENDOUS uptick in people finding you through Google search.
But it requires that you learn how to SEO optimize your posts to make them more “findable” — and it requires time in order to do it right. Naturally.
But there’s another benefit to producing great show notes — you’ll be perceived as more “with it” in your industry than everyone else — a person who delivers over and above.
And when you remember that your show notes can appear in the description section of podcast players on mobile devices, you can begin to leverage that fact to help your listeners even more — by mentioning them in your episodes so listeners can use the resources you’ve created on the spot — WHILE they are listening.
That’s the easiest way for you to be of tremendous value to your listeners in the moment they are most motivated to take action on what they are listening to.
It’s also a great way to demonstrate that you are a GENEROUS content producer, going a step further than most to truly be of help to them.
Tell me the difference between this…
In a word, the difference is QUALITY.
Even though a podcast is an audio medium, the visual components of it are powerfully important.
People are visual creatures. We respond to visual things faster than anything else (that’s why images and videos are so big on Facebook).
So when you produce episodic artwork, cover art, or related resources that have a visual component, be sure they are the very best you can make them.
Some of the ways I’ve found to do that… affordably…
- Canva — a free, easy to learn tool to create truly stunning artwork of various kinds
- Paint.net — a free image editing program
- InkScape — a free visual creation and editing program
- Or just hire out the work you need done through a place like Fiverr.
And when it comes to using images you find on the web — MAKE SURE you have the right to use them.
How do you know?
I typically use images ONLY from sources I KNOW allow free and unlimited use of what they provide. Here are some of the best I’ve found…
A quick word about cover art for your podcast…
You know what cover art is — right? It’s that little square image that you see associated with shows. The logo, per se, for the podcast.
That is an image you have GOT to get right — so much rides on it.
Here’s an example of why it’s so important:
Imagine you’re scrolling through the Apple Podcasts directory, looking for a new podcast to listen to.
You’re making a VISUAL scan of things… and the first thing to get your attention is the artwork.
Then, and ONLY then do you pay attention to things like titles, verbiage, topics, etc. The COVER ART is the hook that gets potential listeners searching Apple Podcasts to consider your show in the first place.
That means your artwork has to “POP” — it needs to be…
- vivid colors
- unique among the sea of artwork
- easy to read
- clearly communicative of your content
- intriguing (I often call this “clickable”… does the very sight of your cover art make people want to click on it to find out more about your show?)
Some people reading this will be able to create that kind of artwork yourselves. Others won’t.
But regardless of YOUR ability you will be able to FIND someone who can make artwork that is exactly what you need.
For all the reasons I mentioned above, it’s WORTH the investment.
Check out Fiverr for OK, but not quite amazing arwork — but if you want something truly great, my company offers the service and we keep at it until we get it right.
If you provide anything to your audience that they are able to download and use, you need to ALWAYS be mindful that what you provide them is going to speak volumes about you and your brand.
Is it good quality? If so, they’re thinking, “This guy/gal” is top notch!”
Is it jinky-looking? If so, they’ll wonder, “Does this person really know what they are talking about?”
Is it truly helpful? If so, they’ll see you as an “expert” in your field and think of you first when it comes to getting help with their niche-related issues. If not, they’ll wonder if you are just in it to make a buck or snag an email address.
I encourage you TO offer downloadables and other free content to your audience. They go a long, long way toward building trust.
But don’t shortcut the quality. When you do, you’re making yourself look bad in the eyes of the people who took you up on your generous offer.
LINKS TO OTHERS YOU MENTION
Everyone reading this has heard an interview-style podcast before. In fact, I’d venture that most podcasts out there follow the interview format.
It’s very common for the host of a podcast to ask their guests to share their contact info, websites, etc.
But when you do more than that — you build up an incredible amount of good vibes about yourself… in the mind of your guest AND in the mind of your audience.
Here’s an example…
A few weeks before writing this post I had the opportunity to interview a guy for my podcast — his name is Danny “Sunshine” Buer. Danny is podcaster who’s had an incredible amount of success with his own self-published show about leadership in education.
Danny came to our recording session EAGER to provide value to my audience, but he was equally eager to provide value to ME, personally.
After the call he asked a ton of questions about my business, gave me some ideas about how I could address specific problems I’m facing, and even sent me a Google spreadsheet to address some of the needs I had.
After that interaction — how do you think I feel about Mr. Sunshine?
I like him. A lot.
He went out of his way to be helpful, to show me that he cares about me and my business.
That’s an example of how a guest made an impact on a podcast host — but you can do the SAME sort of thing as the podcast host, and you should.
Consider these questions to help you get started…
- How do you currently feature your guests (in your audio, on your show notes page, on social media)? What can you do to UP that game significantly?
- When communicating about your guests, do you do so in a “just the facts” sort of way, or do you highlight the incredible skills and amazing talents they have?
- When you are finished recording, do you offer your guests any sort of help? Do you ask, “What can I do to be of benefit to you, today?” You’ll be surprised at the opportunities you get when you ask such a simple question.
As another example — I’ve even been known to make the entire mid-roll “advertisement” on my podcast into an opportunity to feature my guest’s offer and resources.
You get the idea. Be generous. Be authentic. And you’ll build goodwill and trust with people like you never thought possible.
3. Get help when the timing is right — and scale your podcast to even greater heights
Most podcasters start out as a one-man or one-woman show. It’s just the way it has to be at first.
But in time, as your audience builds and you begin to experience momentum, it will take dedicated funds to move to the next level.
It has to. Why?
Because as your podcast grows, you’ll begin to discover what I call “higher value” activities that you should be engaged in.
- courting sponsors
- nurturing sponsor relationships
- creating courses or books to supplement your podcast
- establishing a membership site and keeping the community strong
You get the idea?
At that point, you simply can’t continue to do everything you’ve been doing AND take on the next set of things required to move your podcast forward.
It simply won’t work. If you try it, you’ll find yourself stressed, overworked, and ineffective.
What kind of help should you consider?
- A Virtual Assistant to do some of the minutia
- A podcast editor and/or show notes writer
- A contracted graphic artist to do all your brand and image work
- A website person to keep your online stuff running smoothly
- And lots more…
How exactly do you decide what tasks to delegate and what tasks to keep?
I’m glad you asked.
Here is a short little video explaining a concept called “The Eisenhower Matrix” — it can help you determine an answer to that question quickly.
As you watch, pay attention to how the matrix is laid out — and especially the bottom right-hand quadrant… those are the things you can most easily delegate to a team member, VA, etc.
And don’t think I’m a rich dude who’s able to pull this off effectively because money isn’t an issue.
I’ve YET to hire my first VA, though I do have many team members who handle various aspects of my podcast production along with the other work they are doing for our clients.
I’ll be implementing this delegation piece by the end of 2018, no doubt.
If you’ve read this far, I don’t have to convince you that you can’t just “build it and they will come” when it comes to podcasting.
Like anything of value that benefits people — somebody has to do the hard work to make it a reality.
If you’re a podcaster, that somebody is YOU.
Don’t lose heart. Take little steps from the points above, implementing something new every week.
Your podcast will succeed if you work for it to succeed.
This post was originally published on MEDIUM