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The ScrappyGull Podcast
5 minutes | Aug 11, 2019
“How Often Should I Podcast?” Consider These Three Things
Another one of the questions new podcasters ask is how often they should release episodes, and just like questions about podcast length, this has as many answers as there are podcasters. There really is no right answer to this one. I have done daily, weekly, and bi weekly shows. I have done ‘seasons’ where all the shows were completed prior to the release of the first episode. I seem to vacillate between all of these depending on what I think I want out of my podcast at the time. As I write this, I am writing a season of podcasts to be released weekly. I have some items for you to consider when determining how often you should release episodes. *** Is it time sensitive? ** Especially true for current events shows, but if your industry changes rapidly, then you may want to consider multiple shows a week. *** What is your situation? ** I still have trouble with this myself, but let me drive this point home for both of us: you don’t need to drop and episode daily or weekly. It’s great that other shows do, but you are not those shows and you shouldn’t compare yourself to what other established shows are doing. Do the show on the schedule you can stick to, and please remember that it’s not a mortal sin to need to change it as long as you let your listeners know in advance. *** Is this binge-worthy?** If you can’t stick to a schedule, is the content something you can produce en masse and then drop as a season of anywhere to 6 to 12 episodes? I think this approach is getting more and more popular lately now that the big boys have used it successfully, and because we are becoming a culture that consumes media that way. Look at the new season (at time or writing) of Stranger Things, or the people that wait for a season—or series— of a popular show to end so they can watch it all at once. Whatever you do, don’t stick to a deadline for the sake of sticking to a deadline. I’ve done this, and the shows suffer as a result. If it takes you two weeks to drop a home run episode, than I’d rather you do that than make a daily or weekly show that can’t get on base. Make a show you’re proud of, on the schedule it takes to deliver excellence. Join me on Thursday, August 15th at 8pm Eastern Time for a weekly Twitter chat. Follow @krisroley, or search for the Hashtag #AskRoley
6 minutes | Aug 4, 2019
Roley’s Completely Subjective Opinion About Podcast Length
There are as many answers to how long a podcast should be as there are podcasters, and the truth is there's no set answer. For every person that tells you that you should keep things short, there's someone else who will be more than happy to tell you that Joe Rogan or John Gruber can go for 3 hours and are wildly successful. I came across this question once on Quora. For the uninitiated, Quora is a platform where users can ask questions and receive answers from people with varying degrees of knowledge. No sooner had I shared my opinion—and I always emphasize that this is my opinion—another podcaster that I lump in with the 'gurus' disagreed with me. In fact, he gave me the contrary advice I mention at the beginning of this article. The simple fact is that neither of us is right. The problem is that neither of us is wrong, and someone else will come along and disagree with both of us. So, in an area where there is no right or wrong answer, I'm going to share my take on it. My smarmy pod-guru friend is right. There are a number of people who have podcasts that last well over an hour, but in my opinion, those people are known outside the world of podcasting, and had an existing audience they brought with them into the podcasting space. Those listeners have already bought in, and they're going to listen to that show no matter how long it is. You and I? We might not be as fortunate. For that reason, I think starting with a show length a bit more reasonable is a good idea. There is an opinion that you should use the average commute time as a reference point. According to the US Census Bureau, the average time as of the last report for 2017 is 26.9 minutes. I can think of several popular podcasts I listen to right off the top of my head that is less time than that, and they all have one thing in common: They're all of a news headlines variety and they run Monday through Friday. I'll grant you that this is anecdotal, but in my experience, most of the podcasts that I run across—and indeed most of the ones I subscribe to, are less than an hour. I think there's a 'podcast sweet spot' of around between 35-45 for most podcasts. While there's no right answer, I can make the argument that there does appear to be a rule of thumb. What I don't want you to do is fall into the trap of cutting a good show down. I also don't want you to stretch a lousy show up to fill time. Your podcast should take as long as it takes. If you have the material to take a show long, do it. If you think it's too long, then make it a multi-part episode over a few weeks. Or, make some of it 'bonus content' for Patreons, If If you only have enough material for a 10 minute or less podcast, do that. In the final analysis, it's not about the time, but how you fill it. Join me on Thursday, August 8th, at 8 pm Eastern Time for a weekly Twitter chat. Follow @krisroley, or search for the Hashtag #AskRoley If you have a podcast, do you have a hard limit on length, or do you just let it ride? Comment below!
8 minutes | Jul 28, 2019
The Three Questions You Need To Answer Before Starting A Podcast
In my last article, I made the case that there are three different types of podcasters: The Hobbyist, The Corporate Podcaster, and The Entrepreneur. Each one has their place in the world of podcasting, and I believe every one of them belongs here. You might come into the world of podcasting for fun, and find yourself as an entrepreneur at a later time. You might create a podcast for the company you work for, and do something for fun in your off time. You may end up doing all three if you're in the game long enough. In 2006 when I started, podcasting was still very much a pirate thing, and there weren't any 'rules.' Incidentally, there weren't as many podcasts out there either. Today, according to Nielsen and Edison, there are at least 700,000 live podcasts. You're free to take anything I'm saying with a massive grain of salt, but if the days of "If you build it, they will come' were ever a thing in podcasting, those days are long gone. If you want them to listen and subscribe to your show, then you need to make something people can find and want to listen to. If you're a hobbyist, this may not be that important to you. That's fine. Podcasting can and should be fun. However, if you are a podcaster that wants a following, engagement, community, and a possible way to market a product or service down the road, then there are some things to consider. To my mind, there are three questions that any podcaster who is serious about the craft needs to answer. What's It About? While this would seem to be an obvious question, it would astound you how many people simply turn on a microphone and just ramble all over the place. Full disclosure, I've done this as well. Go look at the descriptions of podcasts and see how many of them are a variant of "whatever I feel like talking about." If you look at the reviews, you may not see many. In fact, you may only see less than 10 episodes, the last one being more than six months ago. Why? Because they didn't define the show. If you can't describe the show, then you can't tag it correctly in Podcast Directories. You can't write a good description. You won't know where you should promote it, or you promote it in place that will have no interest at all in your show. If you can't do these things, then no one is going to find it. Who's It For? Do you know who your audience is? I have a client that uniquely found his audience. In fact, without this experience, he wouldn't have a podcast. He's a Civil War historian from the South, with a contrarian point of view from other southern Civil War' Historians' (quotes mine) you have actually heard of. He made a video explaining this on Twitter, and it went viral. He had a built-in audience of hundreds before he even decided to do a podcast. When he announced that he was thinking about it, his audience enthusiasticaly encouraged him. Ten episodes in, he's doing quite well, and he's leveraged it to drive people to a Patreon account that is pulling in over 100 a month. Not bad for a first time podcaster who's still learning. He found his audience and a passionate one at that. Do you know who your audience is? What's your subject? What are you passionate about? Try testing it out as my client did. Post your idea somewhere on social media where you're comfortable with it. See if it travels beyond your followers. Does it engage with people who usually never engage with you? Does it get the attention of Opal in Toledo* who you've never met? If it does, you may be on to something. Test it out. Why would ANYONE listen to this? Of all the questions needing to be answered here, this one is possibly the most important. After all, there's a bazillion podcasts about podcasting or creative work out there. Why in the heck would anyone want to listen to mine? How am I different? With over 700,000 podcasts out there, the market for every niche is filled in some way. Do some market research. Listen to the other people in your category. What are they doing? In the Podcasts about Podcasting category, most of the people I hear are about the marketing aspect and less about what appealed to me back at the very beginning. The appeal was the act of creating art for fun, for therapy, for a purpose, for any reason that floats your boat, and in direct opposition to the supposed podcasting 'gurus' who believe—in my opinion—that podcasting should be done by certain people with a particular purpose. I rebel against that philosophy, as any good pirate should. That is the podcast I wish to present to the world, and I think that's why people should listen. Find what sets you apart from the others in your space. That's your lane to occupy. This is the very beginning of the process, but if you're treating podcasting as a serious venture, then you really can't afford to overlook this. Answering these questions provides you clarity. If you have clarity at the very beginning, then every other decision you make as you go through the process is less complicated. Need Help? I can help you. I'll be hosting my first Twitter chat on Thursday, August 1st at 8pm Eastern Time. Follow @krisroley on Twitter, or search for the hashtag #AskRoley I'm looking forward to you to sharing your answers, and answer any questions you have about podcasting. If you're thinking about podcasting for the first time, share with us what you're thinking about, and if you can answer the three questions, please feel free to do so. I’d love it if you left a comment below! Opal's a real person who is a perennial candidate for Mayor of Toledo, and one of the more colorful (possibly insane) people you've ever seen. She is, however, adorable in her own way. Look her up, and you'll understand why "Steve in Toledo" just never works as well as Opal in Toledo will.
5 minutes | Jun 24, 2019
The Three Kinds of Podcasters
I know I've said it until I'm blue in the face: Everybody can be a podcaster. So can you. But what kind of podcaster are you? Need help? Head on over to scrappygullmedia.com, for more details on how we can help you! Follow Kris @scrappygull on Twitter, and @scrappygullmedia on Instagram.
6 minutes | May 12, 2019
Episode 005: Apple Site Pages, Google Searches, and You
There have been some big changes to Apple Podcast landing Pages and Google Search. Both mean good things for podcasters. Apple have changed their podcast landing pages so that podcasts can be played right from the Apple Podcast page for your podcast. Google search has begun indexing podcasts. This means that your podcast can come up in seach results right next to websites, blog posts, and videos. Like Apple, you can play the podcast right from the search results page. Both of these things mean great things for you as a podcaster, if you've invested some time in making sure your podcasts are optimized for search, and tagged appropriately. Have you done that. This is a great time to make sure.
12 minutes | Apr 22, 2019
04: Simple Rules For Guests
After doing some client work this past week, I bring up some simple rules for recording and editing guests on your podcast. LINK: http://soundcloud.com/OutlawHistory
10 minutes | Mar 30, 2019
ScrappyGull 003: Four Reasons Why Templates Might Work For Your Podcast
Have you ever noticed that some of our favorite podcasts follow a certain path on every show? For example, one of my favorite tech podcasts follows a very predictable pattern. There’s a small preshow banter, followed by any announcements or housecleaning issues. Next they go into follow up, then they get to the News or Featured Topics of the week. Finally, they have a Q&A segment, and possibly some post credit banter. Strangely, this format is also done by the majority of long form tech podcasts, and at least one comedy podcast co-hosted by someone who also appears on these same tech podcasts. Go figure. I say all of this to say that this didn’t come along by accident. One podcast started this format, and a co-host or a guest on that show liked it, and used it on their podcast, and so on. It’s easy and predictable. Also, because a lot of these particular podcasts are produced on Macs, they can embed chapter marks in their podcasts so that the listener can scrub through things they don’t care about. Using a template to map your podcast out may be one of the smartest things you can do for your podcast Here are __ reasons why you may want to consider it. IT STREAMLINES YOUR SHOWPREP I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down in front of my microphone, loaded up Audio Hijack, hit record...and nothing came out. My brain literally switched off the second I hit that record button. A lot of the time I’ll sit down with an idea of what I want to talk about, but it’s not fully formed or mapped out. Learning to fly by the seat of my pants was something I had to learn how to do early on. You never knew if you were going to be stuck on mic because somebody or something left you hanging, so you needed the ability to just go, and try to sound intelligent. As podcasters, we have the luxury of hitting stop if we don’t sound the way we’d like, but what if we don’t sound like ANYTHING? We draw a blank? Knowing that you have, say, four segments to your show that need to be filled with specific content makes your job easier when it comes time to find that content and plug it into your template. SHOWPREP becomes easier, and you’re not breaking your brain thinking of something to say out of the blue with no content to support it. I find—and you may as well—that it is easier to talk about something than it is to make something up to talk about. IT TEACHES YOUR LISTENERS One of the common bits of feedback I have received from time to time is that my other show follows no specific format. Now in the case of that’s show, it’s by design. I like RoleyShow to be as freeform as possible, and what I talk about on Monday may be 180 degrees removed from Tuesday’s show. I think my listeners have come to expect that my show is about as frenetic as I am, so they have learned that I jump around. Ive made that change after years of podcasting a different way. If you’re just starting out, or if you’re podcasting about a particular niche, then it might be a good idea to make use of a show template. It makes your podcast what some folks might call ‘snackable’. Maybe I don’t need to hear follow up, I can scrub right through that. Maybe I just want to hear the main idea of your show. Maybe I sent in a question or a comment and I want to skip straight to that. If you’re consistently using a show template, it helps your listeners go to where they want to go in your show for what they want. Now, some of you might be saying that making the show skippable in that way hurts the show. I think exactly the opposite. Make your show as listener friendly as possible, and they’ll keep listening in the long run. That long run is much more valuable to you than today or this week. IT PROVIDES NATURAL STOPPING POINTS Unless you’re doing an interview show or another kind of show where you need to keep rolling all the way through, I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to do a podcast all in one take. If you’re using a show template, then you can hit stop, save your file and move on to the next segment. Take a short break or a stretch to get yourself back to center, hit record and keep going. That way you can sound fresh and engaging all the way through the show. Some hosts start blazing, but after about 10 minutes, you can hear the voice starting to get raspy, their energy level is fading, and by the time the show is ending both you AND the host are ready for it to be over. Don’t be like that. Also, if you’re planning to monetize your podcast in some way, these stopping points are the perfect place for ads or other kinds of monetization alternatives. Back in the early days I remember one very big podcaster putting in mid rolls for their show, and it certainly lived up toit’s name: These ads would literally drop in the middle of sentences. But the time you got back to the show, you forgot what they were saying. That’s poor practice, and you’ll lose listeners that way after too terribly long. Create space for those opportunities by being able to finish thoughts before moving on to an Ad. IT MAKES REPURPOSING CONTENT EASIER What if those segments could be repurposed into blog posts, or Medium articles, or Linked in or IGTV videos? The larger your reach out from your podcast, the more attention your podcast will get. The way to do that is to consider making parts of your podcast—these separated segments—available in other formats at other places, with a link back to your website or wherever your podcast home is. Ideally, you’ll have your own dot com, but that’s a story for another day.
9 minutes | Mar 30, 2019
ScrappyGull 002: Don't Sweat The Launch
Just because you don't hit a home run when the first episode drops doesn't mean you failed at launching a podcast. You're just placing a very large and unnecessary expectation on yourself. Just Do Your Show.
9 minutes | Mar 30, 2019
ScrappyGull 001: The Three Waves of Podcasting
There are three waves to podcasting: The Marketers, the Storytellers, and you. Podcasting was here long before the marketers found it. Back at the beginning, advertisers and marketers wouldn’t touch podcasts with a nuclear ten foot cattle prod because they couldn’t see the money in it. The pioneers in the space seemed to do fine, the Keith and the Girls, The Dan Carlin’s, the Free Talk Lives, they seemed to do just fine asking for listener support, they got enough of an audience to keep the lights on, and then they started charging for premium content, and people paid for it, and that gave them the ability to be full time podcasters. Adam Curry tried what I think could generally be called a con job today with Podshow. Lots of effort on the part of people who bought the hype of “quitting your day job”, and not a lot of return, and let’s be real, they took that user generated content, ran ads off it, and made enough money to pivot to a different company, forgetting about all the podcasters they got them there. However, Curry and his ilk proved you could make at least one dime off of a podcast, and when the marketers and business motivational types (marketers, they’re ALL marketers) saw that, they jumped right on the bandwagon. Michael Hyatt and Chalene Johnson and Tony Robbins, and Gary Vee, Pat Flynn, and John Lee Dumas all came along, and every single one of them are very happy to tell you how to make money using a podcast as your platform if you’ll just attend this class they designed for you that costs more money than most people have the sense to spend. They’ve spawned an entire generation of podcaster that is the equivalent of Multi Level Marketing. They generate income and support for each other, and they do it on the backs of people who don’t know that the knowledge they’re seeking can be found for much less money, or even free. I don’t have a lot of love for these people. I’m the Pirate to their Navy. The next wave of podcasters are the storytellers. Podcasts like Serial, Startup, 99 percent invisible bring us the part of the world we don’t see, and I for one am glad they are here. They have value and serve a purpose, and it is they, not the marketing ghouls who made podcasting the mainstream force it has become. It is the storyteller that brought the big ad dollars to podcasting, but more importantly, it’s the storyteller that made your Mom, your Dad, and the older folks with iPhones wonder what that little purple icon was on their phone, and went looking around in there for the first time. So now, we come to you, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a business. You don’t have to be a reporter or a storyteller. You don’t have to worry about how to monetize your podcast. If you’re new to this format, monetizing should be the furthest thing from your mind right now. If you’re doing it for the money, you’re doing it wrong. Before you start worrying about income from your podcast, first ask what kind of podcaster you are, and even more importantly, WHY.
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