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6 minutes | May 26, 2021
7 Real Reasons to Start a Podcast
7 REAL REASONS TO START A PODCASTCreate8 seconds ago5 Min ReadAdd Comment7There are many well-intentioned articles that say you should start a podcast because it’s easy. I’m going to be straight with you. While easy to start, producing and publishing a podcast regularly requires tremendous effort, energy, and discipline.You will encounter moments of joy, but you’re also likely to have moments when you question why you’ve committed to such a time-consuming project.As I reflect on my experience, here are seven real reasons to start a podcast. Being easy is not one of them.BUILDING CONNECTIONSLaunch a podcast and you’ll have a platform that gets you one-on-one time with people who would not otherwise talk to you. Think of it this way. Your podcast is your party. As host, you get to roll out the red carpet for VIP guests. Do things right, and you’ll grow your network. Even if you don’t cultivate these relationships, you’ll raise the level of your brand by organizing the party.This is perhaps the most valuable benefit of having a podcast. It stands triumphantly regardless of how many listeners download your episodes. This one is black and white, and it begins with episode one.BECOME A BETTER COMMUNICATORBecause of podcasting. I’m thinking in the language of stories. Does my story have a beginning, middle, and end? Will my episode tell a story from start to finish? These are the building blocks of becoming a better communicator. I ask better questions. Listening is a work in progress, but at least I’m willing to admit that I have a problem! That’s the first step.When speaking, I still use crutch words — those dreaded ums, ahs, and you knows — but I’ve gotten better. Whether I’m speaking to someone one-on-one or presenting on stage, I have no doubt that my improved ability to communicate is because of my podcast.LOW BARRIER TO ENTRYThe real reason to start a podcast is that there is not a gatekeeper to tell you no. In radio, you’d have to sell your idea to a program director. Then, you’d need sponsors to cover the overhead to put your show out over the airwaves.In podcasting, the biggest barrier to entry is often yourself! With an idea and a smartphone, you can start recording audio. Upload it to a web or media host, and you’ve got a podcast. Sure, you can go down a rabbit hole researching gear, but it’s quite possible to start with what you already own. And when you are ready to upgrade equipment, sponsors won’t be necessary because you can level up a reasonable cost.HELPING PEOPLEThe idea that you can be a big podcaster with a grand audience is alluring. Don’t start a podcast for the promise of fame and fortune, though. The truth is that the typical show has a median of 130 downloads during its first few weeks of publishing.Don’t fret, because the magic is not in a million downloads. It’s in building a relationship with a real person listening on the other end. Whether your intention is to educate, entertain, or inspire, a podcast grants you the ability to make someone’s day a little bit better. Be the best podcaster that you can be, and you’ll have the power to reach a listener who really needs you. You might inspire someone to make a positive change. You could save a life!AUDIO IS ENGAGINGA recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today. That is sad. People view Facebook videos for an average of 23 seconds. A “good” YouTube consumption rate is somewhere around 50%.Podcasts are different though. They’re binge worthy! According to Edison Research, 80% of people listen to all or most of each podcast episode. This is despite the fact that many podcasts can run for hours. No wonder podcasts have been called “the slow food movement of the media world.” A podcast is an opportunity for you to develop trust and build relationships with listeners.EVERGREEN CONTENTOkay, not all podcast episodes are evergreen. There are news podcasts or topical episodes that are timely. For most creators, though, podcast episodes can be evergreen, meaning that a listener can download it at any time and get value from it.As you build a portfolio of podcast episodes, this is where the power is. A listener who discovers your podcast can download multiple episodes. A true fan may download your entire back catalog! With each episode, you create leverage — a force multiplier for success.GROWTH MINDSETNo matter where you are when you start, I guarantee that you will be even better by episode one hundred. You cannot help but to improve.Many of us did not go to school to learn how to be a podcaster. Your talents will be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others. Great podcasters worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning.I feel like podcasting makes me a better person. I learn from every guest that I interview. I’m learning to be a better listener.These are the real reasons to start a podcast. Of course, I want to always improve my show and grow an audience. But even if the only listener of my podcast was me, these are the reasons that keep me going.If you haven’t started a podcast yet, now is the time!Why did you start your podcast? Did I miss any? Please post a comment.
3 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Use a Teleprompter to Make Eye Contact in Zoom
Although the pandemic induced WFH (work from home) has had its share of WTF, there have been silver linings. I’ve enjoyed hiking with my family at nearby trails that I didn’t even know were there previously. The kids and I bike around the neighborhood regularly. We get to eat lunch together.As podcasters, we’re constantly striving for incremental improvements so, it’s not surprising that over the last few months, my home office has evolved in a big way. If you do a lot of virtual Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings like me, I want to share my new toy — a teleprompter used as a monitor so I can look people in the eye on video calls.A hat tip and thank you to my friend Junaid who is a Jedi Master of home studios and guided me. Visit his website www.homestudiomastery.com to see what excellence looks like and if you want an expert to do it for you.Using a teleprompter at homeOne thing I never realized I wanted was a teleprompter. In the photo above, you’ll see that my right monitor is duplicated in the teleprompter above it. There is a 10.1″ monitor that displays the same image as my monitor, reverses the image, so that it reflects in the beamsplitter glass, also referred to as a semi-transparent mirror. Behind that mirror sits a Canon DSLR camera.Voila! I can look at the participants of a virtual meeting AND look directly at the camera. If needed, I can even reference simple notes in the teleprompter. It is magic.When the monitor is turned off, you can see the camera.The teleprompter serves as a small monitor.List of Gear:Glide Gear TMP100 TeleprompterLILLIPUT 10.1″ FA1016/C monitorHDMI SplitterHDMI cableTripodDSLR cameraIf you think the work-at-home will stay in play long after the pandemic recedes, this is a purchase that will be used regularly for the foreseeable future. If you’re on the fence about buying more gear, see if this tweet speaks to you as loudly as it did to me.That’s the story of how I pimped my ride, er… home studio. With a little decorating and some paint, here’s my before and after.Indeed, today’s $1,000 suit is a home studio upgrade paired with a jacket and tie. Of course, pants are optional.
2 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
Never Hesitate to Imitate
Episode 12: Want a shortcut to creating a great podcast? Never hesitate to imitate another podcaster. Imitation is part of the creative process for anyone learning an art or craft. Whether it's painting, music, or podcasting, all find inspiration in looking up to others.In his book, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, Austin Kleon writes:What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.Whether you're a newbie or seasoned showrunner, never forget that you are an artist. Find the best podcasters in your category. Listen to them. Especially make it a point to listen to shows outside of your category. Do they do interviews or have different show segments? How do they use music or sound effects? What are they doing differently from you? Get their shows and voices into your head because you can copy programming and personality.Don’t worry that imitating them will cause you to lose your own voice and identity. Soon enough you will become who you are supposed to be.By listening to other podcasters, you'll plug yourself into a depth of experience that enriches you. Inspiration through imitation can help you raise the level of your podcast. Tap into greatness and you may soon find that your show is improving and sparking increased engagement.Don't just be a podcaster.Listen. Imitate. Make it yours.Be an artist.Who are podcasters who have inspired you?
1 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
You Know You're a Podcaster When...
Episode 11:You own more podcast t-shirts than dress shirtsBad audio upsets youYou’ve forgotten to hit record, more than onceYou’ve asked more than one person to subscribe, rate, and reviewYou’ve debated whether there’s a discoverability problemYou know what a double-ender isYou know Podchaser is the IMDb for podcastsYou can report your downloads stats, as of three minutes agoYou consider podcast conferences as reunionsYou’ve recorded under a blanket, in a closet, or both at the same timeIf you have one to add, please leave a comment.
4 minutes | Nov 2, 2020
Every Podcast Needs an Audience
Episode 10: Why do you podcast? Is your podcast intended to educate, inspire, or entertain? We all have different motivations. Maybe your goal is to grow your personal brand and build authority? Perhaps you want to monetize your show by building an audience and selling ads to sponsors. Or you might podcast for the simple joy of creating something with friends. Art needs no justification.I’ve listened to many podcasts, and I do believe that podcasting is an art. The phrase “art for art’s sake” (from the French l’art pour l’art) condenses the notion that art has its own value and should be judged separately from themes such as morality, religion, history, or politics.Why do you create art? Is it a noble pursuit or an exercise in vanity? As podcasters, we have a tendency to look too closely at downloads to validate our hard work. This is not a criticism. What artist, writer, or musician wants to be irrelevant or ignored? Who wants to create in a vacuum? Not me. Every podcaster who I know wants to make an impact. But don’t let the numbers discourage you and stop you from doing what you’re doing.What’s not clear is how many listeners do we need? Consider these words from Glenn “The Geek” Hebert who has been podcasting since 2008. He founded Horse Radio Network, one of the largest independent podcast networks in the world, with over 8,000 episodes and 11,000 guests interviewed.Glenn is currently recovering from surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed. Here’s an excerpt from a post that he wrote at the Podfest Multimedia Expo Facebook group.I have always preached that you shouldn’t get hung up on numbers, downloads, views. The truth is you don’t know who is listening and how you might be affecting them. Even if it is one person, you might be saving their life or making that terrible day they are having a little better. I knew we had built a community at HRN, but the love and support I received through this from listeners has been incredible and extremely humbling. The listeners got together and sent a large Amazon Gift Card so I could shop while healing. I have hundreds of emails from listeners going through the most God awful stuff that say listening to us has helped them get through to live another day.Bottom line: Whether you have 10 downloads or 10,000 downloads. Be the best podcaster and messenger you can be for that one listener. The one listener who really needs you that day. You just might save their life.While it’s common to question if your downloads are tracking well or not, having only a handful of listeners is enough to make a difference. You’re fine just where you are. And until you reach your goal of however many listeners you desire to have, remember this:Art for art’s sake means for the pursuit of beauty – without any other preoccupation.Keep hitting publish. And keep making art that matters.Are you overly focused on the number of downloads your podcast gets? What do you think?
10 minutes | Sep 23, 2020
Choosing the Best Podcast Host
Episode 9: If you’re ready start a podcast, you’re probably asking, “Where should I host my podcast?” The good news is that you’ve got choices. The bad news is that you’ve got choices!Don’t get overwhelmed though. A dedicated podcast host is a specialized service that offers to store and deliver media files associated with a podcast. While you could host your media files (MP3 or AAC / M4A) yourself, either on your own server or wherever you host your website, this is not recommended for most. If your podcast begins to grow, your podcast downloads could affect your bandwidth and quickly get expensive. Also, your web host specializes in delivering web pages, not media files. And if there are ever issues with your website, listeners might not be able to download your episodes.Your dedicated podcast host should serve your media files quickly and take the load off of your website. You should also get industry-standard statistics, distribution across podcast directories/platforms, and support. You might also consider factors like an embedded player, monetization features, sponsorship opportunities, automations, and education.When choosing your podcast host, you want one that will grow with you and meets your needs in terms of price, reliability, and support. You want to find a long-term partner because if you need to change hosts in the future, you probably won’t be able to seamlessly port your downloads and analytics. It’s not the end of the world, but choosing the right host today will save you from headaches tomorrow.Here are three hosts that I use:LIBSYNEstablished in 2004, Libsyn (Liberated Syndication) launched as the first podcast service provider offering storage, bandwidth, and RSS creation tools. Libsyn hosts over 67,000 podcasts worldwide, delivers over 111 million unique downloads every month, and accounts for 28.2% of Apple Podcasts downloads for the top 400 US Podcasts.I’ve hosted Inspired Money at Libsyn since launching it in September 2017. The hosting has been reliable, and Libsyn helped distribute my podcast early to Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music/Audible, and other services. It’s great to be supported by long-time podcasters like Rob Walch, Elsie Escobar, Dave Jackson, Rob Greenlee, and others.Pros: Strong brand reputation, host of many of the top downloaded podcasts, frequently first to market for integrations with platforms and directories, advertising and monetization (for shows with 5,000+ monthly downloads), custom app for iOS & Android (extra $10/month + other fees), The Feed The Official Libsyn Podcast.Cons: Dated web interface, cost, one RSS per account.Plans:Classic 50 Starts at $5/month for 50 MB monthly storageClassic 250 at $15/month for 250 MB monthly storageAdvanced 400 at $20/month for 400 MB monthly storage and Advanced IAB v2.0 StatsAdvanced 800 at $40/month for 800 MB monthly storage and Advanced IAB v2.0 StatsLibsyn: Sign up and be sure to use promo code “andy” to get one month free. If you sign up on the second day of the initial month of your trial, you’ll get the rest of that current month and the following month free.CAPTIVATESelf-proclaimed as “The World’s Only Growth-Oriented Podcast Host™”, Captivate was created in 2019 for independent podcasters. Captivate is the podcast hosting company of UK-based Rebel Based Media that offers a suite of podcast tools including Poductivity, Podcast Success Academy, and Podcast Websites.The Podcast Gym podcast is happily hosted here. Founded in 2019, Captivate is a newcomer but it feels like a veteran. Mark Asquith, CEO of Rebel Base Media, has been helping podcasters to build their audio influence since 2014 and is a frequent speaker, exhibitor, and attendee at podcast events. The small but mighty team is responsive and consistently adding new features. There are lots of resources including a private Rebel Base Media Podcaster Support & Experience Facebook group, Blogs (Captivate, Rebel Base Media), Podcasts (The Podcast Accelerator, Captivate Insider), and YouTube channel.Pros: Unlimited podcasts/RSS feeds for one inclusive price, advanced analytics, calls-to-action built into the podcast player, and excellent content for education and support (multiple podcasts, live Q&A, blog) focused on creation, growth, and monetization.Cons: More downloads means higher pricingPlans:Podcaster at $19/month ($17/mo annual discount) for 12,000 downloads/monthAudio Influencer at $49/month ($44/mo annual discount) for 60,000 downloads/monthPodcast Brand at $99/month ($90/mo annual discount) for 150,000 downloads/monthCaptivate: Click here to start a 7-day free trial.PODBEANPodbean has been providing innovative podcasting services as an industry leader since 2006. It boasts working with 530,000+ podcasters, 11.3 million+ episodes, and over 7.4 billion downloads. Podbean offers a user-friendly interface that integrates publishing, management, syndication and analysis tools into an easy-to-use podcasting package.Podbean is a good ally and media host of The Asian American Podcasters Association Podcast. The web interface is very easy to use and prices are affordable. Podbean is known to feature its customers in its app and as guests on its Podcasting Smarter podcast.Pros: Podbean App Audio Recorder, Podbean Live Stream (audio streaming for audience engagement), Paid plans have unlimited storage space and unmetered bandwidth, monetization (Podbean’s built-in dynamic advertising system, Patron Program, and/or Premium Podcast service).Cons: One RSS per account so multiple shows require separate $9/mo accounts with separate logins. Additional features like multiple ad networks and a customizable player requires higher priced plans.Plans:Basic FREE for 5 hours storage space and 100 GB bandwidth monthlyUnlimited Audio $14/month ($9/month annual discount) for audio podcastingUnlimited Plus $39/month ($29/mo annual discount) for video and monetizationBusiness $129/month ($99/mo annual discount) for podcast networks and business podcastsPodbean: Sign up for one month freePodbean unlimited hosting planPodbean business hosting plan (starting from $99/month)Visit www.podcastgym.com to read the full article that includes other recommended hosts:AcastAnchorBlubrryBuzzspoutCastosSimplecastSpreakerTransistorWhat podcast media host have you worked with? If you ever changed hosts, what were the reasons for moving?
7 minutes | Sep 16, 2020
Best Podcast Microphones
Episode 8: A great microphone is an important tool of the trade so choose yours wisely. Type “Best podcast microphone” into Google, YouTube, or Pinterest, and you’re likely to find the Blue Yeti atop many lists. Before impulsively adding it to your shopping cart though, you should learn about different types of microphones and how they differ. Do your homework, because you should pick the microphone that is the best for your voice and your room.CONDENSER VS DYNAMICAs a podcaster, you don’t have to be a professional sound engineer, but you should know the differences between a condenser mic and a dynamic mic.When you see a singer in a recording studio, odds are good that she’s singing into a condenser microphone. Your first clue: you’ll notice that it’s a side-address microphone. In the photo in the blog, the podcaster is correctly speaking or singing into the side of the mic — not into the top. If you take a closer look inside the head basket, you can see a diaphragm or membrane inside. Because condenser mics tend to be sensitive, they’re better suited in a sound-treated studio that doesn’t have a lot of room noise or echo.Characteristics of studio condenser mics:Greater frequency responseSensitive to louder soundsRequires phantom power, a.k.a. 48VCleaner and truer to realityBest in a sound controlled environmentMore costlyWhen you see musicians on stage, you’re likely to find dynamic microphones being used. These mics are better when there are several musicians, for example, when you’ve got vocals and instruments (guitar, bass guitar, drums.) As pictured above, the singer is correctly singing into the top of the microphone. With a dynamic microphone, sound waves hit a thin metallic diaphragm that is attached to a coil of wire. A magnetic field is part of the energy conversion. In podcasting and radio, dynamic microphones can be ideal because of durability and price. When your mouth is close to the microphone, dynamic mics sound good for spoken word while picking up less room sound.Characteristics of dynamic mics:DurableDo not require powerGood in noisy environmentsLess sensitiveLack depth and colorMore affordableNow that you know the differences between condenser and dynamic microphones, evaluate your space to see which type might serve you best. I encourage you to try both, if you can, to see which type sounds best for your voice and recording environment. In lieu of sound treating a room, many podcasters improve their audio quality by recording in a closet full of clothes or underneath a blanket with both types of microphones but especially to tame sensitive condenser microphones.XLR VS USBAs you shop for a microphone, take note of the connections. Generally, XLR connections require an external interface to connect the microphone to your computer. External interfaces often have better preamps and analog to digital converters.USB microphones can plug directly into your computer resulting in a more straight forward setup with less expense (because you don’t need to buy an interface.) Microphones like the Audio-Technica ATR-2100 and Samson Q2U have both XLR and USB connections. Interestingly, I’m told that these conbo microphones actually sound better when plugged in via USB over XLR. It’s worth noting that quite a few very popular podcasts use budget mics like the ATR-2100 or Q2U, and they sound great.MICS THE EXPERTS USEBecause audio is so subjective, selecting the best podcast microphone can be challenging. Rather than going by the advice of random Bloggers and YouTubers, I scanned 196 episodes of the Podcast Engineering Show and ranked the top 29 microphones by mentions by guests. In full disclosure, I had the pleasure of being a guest on PES episode 106 and talked all about my podcasting rig.Host Chris Curran produces or has produced podcasts for Forbes, Dun & Bradstreet, Johnson & Johnson, as well as for many other companies and business authors. He has many album credits including engineer, producer, or assistant engineer on projects with Foreigner, Sarah McLachlan, Itzhak Perlman, Naughty by Nature, Ice Cube, Biggie Smalls, Puffy, Nuno Bettencourt, and many others. I trust Chris’ ear and his curated list of guests that include long-time podcasters, podcast editors, and industry luminaries.If you want to geek out on mics, I suggest you listen to PES episode 159, 8-Mic Shootout With David Hooper. There’s a blind mic comparison, including the Blue Yeti. It’s fun and informative.While there isn’t one best microphone for all, this list should serve as a good starting point for your microphone research. I suggest you try several microphone types and price points to see what sounds best for you. Have fun with it.Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone (Street price: $399)Electro-Voice RE20 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone (Street price: $399)Audio-Technica ATR2100X-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone (Street price: $99)Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Microphone (Street price: $329)Electro-Voice RE320 Cardioid Dynamic Broadcast Microphone (Street price: $299)Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone (Street price: $99)Rode NT1-A Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Street price: $229)Shure SM57 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone (Street price: $99)Neumann TLM 103 Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Street price: $1,100)MXL 990 Condenser Microphone (Street price: $80)Shure Beta 87A Supercardioid Condenser Microphone (Street price: $249)Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone (Street price: $79)Rode Broadcaster Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Street price: $419)Electro-Voice RE27N/D Cardioid Dynamic Broadcast Microphone (Street price: $499)CAD Equitek E100S Supercardioid Condenser Microphone (Street price: $499)Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Condenser Microphone (Street price: $999)Sennheiser MD 46 Live Reporting and Broadcasting Microphone (Street price: $200)Samson Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Microphone (Street price: $70)Rode Procaster Cardioid Dynamic Broadcast Microphone (Street price: $229)Pyle Pro PDMIC58 Dynamic Handheld Microphone (Street price: $14)Neumann U 87 Ai Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Street price: $3,200Audio-Technica AT875R Line + Gradient Condenser Microphone (Street price: $169)Sennheiser e 835 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone (Street price: $100)Rode NTK Large-diaphragm Tube Condenser Microphone (Street price: $529)Rode NTG-3 Shotgun Condenser Microphone (Street price: $699)MXL CR89 Low-Noise Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Street price: $250)Behringer XM8500 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone (Street price: $23)Audio-Technica BP40 Hypercardioid Dynamic Broadcast Microphone (Street price: $349)Blue Yeti Studio Blackout USB Condenser Microphone (Street price: $150)What’s the best microphone for your podcast? Have you changed microphones over time?
3 minutes | Sep 11, 2020
Episode 7: Have you ever gotten a one-star review? Anything less than five-stars can be a crushing blow when you’ve worked so hard to build your show.I haven’t received a bad rating yet but kind of wish that I did. Am I a glutton for punishment? Probably, but let me explain. I’ve been thinking about this, and it dawned on me that every great show has haters. Lacking any negative reviews so far, I’m concerned that it could be a sign that I’m not taking a strong enough stand. My show is not great yet.Think about it. Howard Stern, love him or hate him? Oprah, yay or nay? And the $100+ million dollar man Joe Rogan? Search Twitter and you’ll find thousands of tweets like this one.Arielle Nissenblatt @arithisandthatMaybe, just maybe... it’s my sole (soul) purpose in life to bring down Joe Rogan. RT if you’re with me.Successful shows don’t just attract audiences, but they repel a segment of them. If you’re going to cultivate raving fans, you must accept the haters that come as part of the package. There’s often little middle ground. What if we strive to make our podcasts so great that a bunch of listeners hate us? If you have tips for achieving this, please let me know.TALE OF THE 1-STAR CHEFHave you ever eaten at Botto Bistro in the Bay area? I’ve only read about it. Restaurateur Davide Cerretini grew tired of feeling beholden to Yelp’s rating system. Even worse, he says that Yelp salespeople inundated him with calls to buy ads or else have some of his restaurant’s 5-star reviews removed. Feeling like Yelp controlled his reputation, he’d had enough. One morning in September of 2014, he placed a sign in front of Botto Bistro: Give us a one-star review on Yelp and get 25% off any pizza! Hate us on Yelp.In just a few days, Botto Bistro’s Yelp page had more than 2,300 1-star ratings praising its delicious food and good service! Cerretini became an instant celebrity in the restaurant scene and his restaurant was branded with the unique distinction of being the worst-rated restaurant on Yelp.Cerretini won. Whether we’ve got haters or not, we too can stand out by being different.Should we start asking for 1-star reviews? I’m very tempted.
4 minutes | Sep 1, 2020
Just One Thing
Episode 6: What if you think of your podcast like a Western? Consider this.Podcasting is a new, untamed frontier.It can be a fast-paced action story.There’s archetypal conflict. Good vs. bad, villains vs. heroes, social law and order vs. anarchy. Podcast vs. radio, perhaps?The podcaster as the hero. A person of integrity and principle, courageous, moral, tough, solid and self-sufficient, maverick character (often with a trusty sidekick), possessing an independent and honorable attitude.I don’t think it’s too big a stretch. If you’re in podcasting, there’s likely a little outlaw in you. Today’s gunslinger is armed with a microphone.The Western hero usually stands alone and faces danger on his/her own, commonly against lawlessness, with an expert display of physical skills. Your version of roping, gun-play, horse-handling, pioneering abilities is storytelling, interviewing, editing, and promotion.In the 1991 American Western comedy film “City Slickers”, Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) is an account executive for a radio station who’s trying to escape the reality of going through a midlife crisis. His friends, Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern) and Ed Furillo (Bruno Kirby), gift him with a two-week cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado where they meet trail boss, Curly.I’m particularly fond of the scene when Mitch learns that Curly, despite his tough exterior, is actually a very wise and heartfelt man. Curly advises Mitch to discover the “one thing” in his life that is the most important to him. Because that will solve all of his problems.***Curly: Do you know what the secret to life is?Mitch: No, what?Curly: This.Mitch: Your finger?Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*t.***What is your “one thing” for your podcast? Do you have “one thing” for every episode? If not, I think you should. Be thoughtful and strategic. Don’t forget that your words carry great power because you’re a gunslinger.Now go save the day.
4 minutes | Jul 22, 2020
How to be a Better Podcast Interviewer
Episode 5: Great interviewers were made, not born. It takes practice, work, and experience. I'm listing resources that helped me prepare to launch my podcast.It's worth mentioning that there's not one best way to this. Interviewing is an art. I encourage you to find your voice and an approach that works best for you. Then, lean into it.My quest to become a better interviewer is ongoing, and I'm always learning. I've created my own master class on conducting interviews by reading, listening, and watching everything that I can find to hone my skills. Whether you are a podcaster, want to be a better conversationalist, or aim to ace your next job interview, these resources can help you.Be PreparedI've heard people say that they want their podcast to be natural and conversational so they do not want to over prepare or prepare at all. IMHO, the greatest interviewers make it look easy and natural. One thing they have in common is preparation. This can come in varying degrees that includes reading books or articles, listening to existing interviews, and reviewing a guest's social media accounts. Once you've done your homework, set a plan. Have an idea where you want to go. You are competing for your audience's attention. In response, you need to create the best content possible and preparation plays an important role in doing that.Be PresentStriving to be a better interviewer is really a set of guidelines because there is no one-size-fits all approach. Rather, there are many approaches and it is highly individualistic. For example, James Lipton, the creator, executive-producer, writer and host of Inside the Actors Studio, typically had a list of scripted questions. Nobody can contest his success with the 94 million American homes that he reached. Find your own approach, do your prep, and then, let it go. I believe in letting it go. Being in the moment is what translates into delivering a "natural" interview. By letting go of all the research that you did, you are well prepared yet free to be present, listen, and flexible to allow the interview to change direction -- naturally.Be a Great HostYour job as a host is multi-faceted. First, it's your role to make your guest feel welcome and comfortable. Be gracious and generous. Establish rapport. Push back if needed.Second, never forget that you are responsible for driving the interview so it's important that you maintain control. Allow interesting tangents to happen but appropriately bring the conversation back on topic.Use techniques to get the best tape out of your guests. Ask open ended questions... What, How, and Why. As host, you may share a great story but be concise. Let your guest shine. Your ultimate goal is to bring out the best content for your audience, and nobody knows your audience better than you do.Questions to Ask to Elicit StoryTell me about the time when…Tell me about the day/moment that you realized…Tell me the story of…You're on the right track when people are talking in dialogue (then he said this, she said that…)Describe the conversation when…Tell me the day you realized what we're talking about…What were steps that took you from A to BThings You Should Not DoNever…Ask a Yes or No question.Ask more than one question at a time.Say “…and my next question is…”Be disrespectful to your audience and the person you’re interviewing.Forget who you’re serving.Additional Resources That Helped MeRead:6 Powerful Communication Tips From Some of the World’s Best InterviewersEARFUL: Marc Maron Discusses the Perfect InterviewCopyblogger: Conduct Better Podcast Interviews with This Simple 6-Step Preparation ProcessConfessor. Feminist. Adult. What the Hell Happened to Howard Stern?No, Your Podcast Isn’t Conversational, It’s SloppyListen:The Turnaround with Jesse Thorn - I've listened many times to this 16 episode series about our greatest living interviewers. If only this podcast were still publishing!Rolf Potts: Bestselling author Tim Ferriss on how to create a successful podcastTim Ferriss interviews Alex Blumberg: How to Create a Blockbuster Podcast (Part 1)Tim Ferriss: How to Create a Blockbuster Podcast (Part 2)Noah Kagan: How to Have More Engaging Conversations — with Jordan HarbingerThe Showrunner: No. 105 How to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast InterviewsWatch:Marc Pachter: The Art of the InterviewMike Dronkers: How to Interview "Almost" AnyoneKatie Couric on how to conduct a good interviewLarry King - Interviewing Tips (2 of 7)Study YOUR favorite interviewers and see what they have in common and do differently (Oprah, Howard Stern, Terry Gross, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman...)Do you have additional resources that should be added here? Please leave a comment.
3 minutes | Jul 15, 2020
Use Social Currency to Entice Guests to Share
Episode 4: If you do an interview podcast, how frequently do guests share the episode to their networks on social media? Probably, it’s not often enough.NOT GETTING ENOUGH SHARES?You created a stellar episode. You thanked your guest and provided her with marketing assets — pretty graphics, a quote card, and audiogram. That’s a good start but a lot of friction remains for a guest to take an image, write a blurb, and share it.Willie Mandrell, who was on my show a couple months ago, created his own graphic and just shared it on Instagram. It was a marketing epiphany for me.View image at https://www.instagram.com/wjmandrellLook at what he did! Willie shared his podcast appearance; but even better, he raised his own profile by featuring himself alongside other high profile guests who have appeared on my show. This is great publicity for him and me.SOCIAL CURRENCYIn 2014, Taylor Swift wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal. In it she wrote:I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento “kids these days” want is a selfie. It’s part of the new currency, which seems to be “how many followers you have on Instagram.” -Taylor SwiftLet’s break down what Willie did because he went through a lot of effort. He searched my podcast back catalog for guests, saved show art, and created a new graphic. His audience may not know my podcast, but if they know Ryan Serhant and Chris Hogan, Willie just used social currency to get more value for the time he spent on my show. He created a powerful “selfie!”He also proved the problem isn’t too much friction. We need to give guests a reason to share. What’s in it for them?!As podcasters, we can copy Willie’s idea and supercharge a graphic with social currency. Create a template with a couple big guests from your show and drop in your current guest, front and center. Make something that’s worthy of sharing.Let’s use social currency to increase the chances of a guest sharing our podcast. This simple twist on a graphic puts your guest first and gives him/her more reason to share it. Sharing can be a win-win. Thank you, Willie!Sign up for the Podcast Gym newsletter at https://podcastgym.com/newsletter.
3 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
Stop Shouting, Start Talking
Episode 3: Podcasters tend to be a pretty well spoken bunch, especially those who do their own editing. There’s no better motivation to improve your diction than having to go back to edit all your ums, ahs, and mouth clicks. Time is money.With all the time invested in making our shows, it’s not surprising that we’re super eager to do anything in our power to get the word out. If you were guaranteed a 10 percent increase in downloads, would you scream from your rooftop? Heck, I would probably do it for just 10 downloads. It doesn’t work, in case you were wondering.Guilty of OversharingWe’re such an enthusiastic bunch that most Facebook groups need to establish and enforce strict rules. Here’s an example from the Podcast Movement FB group:No self promotionNo posting of own show linksAsk questions, share your knowledge, and become a part of the familyWhen the admins make an exception, look what happens.Have you tried sifting through 600+ Facebook comments?! We’re all shouting but few are listening.As podcasters, most of us are on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. In an effort to get more listeners, we post about our latest episode — everywhere. How is that working for you? I find that it’s a lot of time spent without a great return.13,000 Unread MessagesThis got me thinking about my email inbox where I get a lot of spam. Nearly 100% is automated. Looking at my sent folder as analytics, here’s an important finding.How many automated spam emails I responded to? Zero.How many emails I responded to from people who I know? All of them.Follow the RulesThis brings us back to the third rule from the Facebook group: “Ask questions, share your knowledge, and become a part of the family.” This is gold and needs to be our focus.In marketing, this is the difference between social selling and social spamming. When it comes to podcast marketing, we need to be thinking and behaving differently.Here are some tactics to try:Follow more people on social platformsComment on blog postsShare feedback and ideas via email or direct messageTake a social media conversation offline to phone, Zoom, or SkypeDone correctly, great marketers have repeatedly built big dollar, business relationships that began as friendships on social media. If it works for them, it can work for us.Let’s approach social media in a different way. Stop shouting, start talking.Sign up for the Podcast Gym newsletter at https://podcastgym.com/newsletter.
2 minutes | Jul 7, 2020
Best Advice For New Podcasters
Episode 2: Before launching a podcast, most podcasters ask about things like gear, media hosts, and show art.Before I started, I asked a friend who had published over 1500 episodes for advice. His first reaction was, “Are you SURE that you want to launch a podcast?” When I assured him that I did, this is what he said.If you’re absolutely sure that you want to start a podcast, commit to doing it for a year. Once you start, keep publishing at whatever frequency you decide. Don’t look at downloads. Don’t consider whether you like doing it or not. Do it for an entire year before evaluating anything because podcasting takes time.Every year, I treat my podcast like a television show. Where TV network executives look at viewer ratings, I look back at the prior twelve months to see what I’ve gained from running the podcast. What did I learn? What mistakes were made? Did I earn more business? If I decide that it was worth my time, my podcast gets renewed for another season.Even though I know I shouldn’t look at downloads, I still do. Committing myself to publishing another full year of podcast episodes ensures that distractions (like looking at download stats or binge watching TV) won’t stop me from keeping my weekly publishing schedule.I highly suggest you do the same. Give yourself time.Sign up for the Podcast Gym newsletter at https://podcastgym.com/newsletter.
1 minutes | Jul 2, 2020
Podcast Rule #1: There are no rules
Episode 1: When it comes to podcasting, rule #1 is that there are no rules. This is not television or radio where you are restricted to a set program length with a certain number of commercial breaks for ad spots. In fact, who says that you must have commercials at all? The choice is yours.What’s the ideal episode length for a podcast? I’ve heard it said, “Your podcast should be as long as it needs to be and not a minute more.” One of the many beautiful attributes of podcasting is that you have the freedom to publish a 2-hour episode, followed by a 5-minute episode the next. Your job is to create great content at any length.In my view, here are the rules of podcasting:There are no rules.Serve your audience.See Rules #1 and #2.That’s it. As you do your research, you will read many opinions about the ideal podcast length, format, and recipe for success. Don’t get overwhelmed. Stick to these these simple rules whether your audience is 100 million or just 1, and you’ll be headed in the right direction.Sign up for the Podcast Gym newsletter at https://podcastgym.com/newsletter.
1 minutes | Jul 1, 2020
Podcast Gym Trailer
Podcast Gym is a podcast and blog for podcasters who want to improve, grow audience, and monetize their show. Topics include insights, tactics, and resources.
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