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effective podcasting

The cure for podfade? Short run podcasting.

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The cure for podfade? Short run podcasting.

 

We all have heard of it. Someone, perhaps even you, starts a podcast. It’s exciting. It’s going to be chart-topping, have a massive impact, and dominate the niche. You get all the right equipment, you take the best advice, and start laying down the audio adventure you always dreamed of - golden nuggets of soundbites and storytelling that just might change the world.

“I didn’t have that many listeners anyway”. “I really don’t have time for another passion project”.

The first 3 episodes are uploaded, you got the form letter from Apple saying you’ve been “accepted”. The show dances around the New & Noteworthy section for a week or so. Then, you start seeing a handful of positive reviews come in and it’s time to start cutting the next couple of episodes.

Then it happens. Rather, it doesn’t... You decide to skip a week. Your guest cancels, you’re behind on work, and you're just too tired. Heck, you don’t want to spend another 3 hours in post-production. No matter - you skip a week. And then the next. Suddenly, you start to Podfade.

It gets so far gone that little justifications for not continuing begin to creep into your inner dialogue... “I didn’t have that many listeners anyway”. “I really don’t have time for another passion project”. “The podcasting space is still to small”. “There’s no money to be made”.

So can something be done? Are there preventative measures? Is there a cure to Podfade? Yes, yes, and yes!  Let me introduce The Podfly Cure for Podfade, as we call it, “short-run podcasting”. 

 

Why does a podcast have to go on and on in the first place?

Well, it doesn’t! There’s a still misnomer floating about that a podcast is an online radio show that has to happen every week. Further to this, a lot of folks will tell you that in order to grow your audience, you need to have consistent releases. False, and false!

...don’t release shows because people in a Facebook group said John Lee Dumas does it that way.

Not only have Serial and StartUp both proved this to be incorrect, but the podcast hosting companies who will back up that many of their most popular shows have tremendous followings of listeners, and truly inconsistent release schedules. (Check out Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History release schedule!) They don’t release shows because it’s Tuesday. They don’t release shows because people in a Facebook group said John Lee Dumas does it that way. They release shows because they are ready.

By extension, it’s fair to consider that not only you do not have to release your show every week, you don’t even have to consider podcasting as an indefinite activity.

 

Once you start, you don’t know how to stop.

Starting a podcast is starting a relationship. You’re entering into a spoken contract with your listeners that you intend to stick with it. This often begins with the best of intentions, but can slowly disintegrate into a diminishing return. How so? Well, we can become consumed with our commitment and fail to step back and examine whether the podcast remains aligned with its initial goals. This can lead to focusing on quantity and consistency, rather than on quality.

OK to pivot. It’s OK to move on to something else.

In many cases, the best choice for a podcaster is to simply stop. It’s OK to pivot. It’s OK to move on to something else. Your listeners will forgive you. Sunk cost is indeed a fallacy. They’ll miss you for a few weeks, but they’ll find something else to fill the gap. Record your final show, thank listeners for their loyalty, and share with them in the most authentic and clearest way possible that you are moving on to new projects.

Now that we’ve got that pesky show of yours out of the way, let’s consider releasing short runs of episodes.

 

The short-run approach.

You don’t write a book and release endless chapters, right? Well, perhaps if you’re writing Game of Thrones. But those of us with worldly responsibilities aren’t able to commit to an open-ended project schedule that podcasting tends to demand. So why not approach a podcast as an encapsulated experience? Set a specific number of episodes, schedule the pre- and post-production in batches, and set a clear marketing strategy for a finished project.


This method has numerous advantages. Let’s outline just a handful:

Is it still a podcast?

Yes. It’s media delivered by RSS feed over the Internet that users can subscribe to. Podcasts are not defined by release schedules. Is House of Cards still a T.V. series even though it comes out all at once? You betcha. (Season 4, March 4th #justsayin)

What’s the marketing advantage?

You can employ tried and true marketing techniques that you would use for the release of any short- or long-form media. The big difference being you can have a total project budget for marketing, rather than ongoing monthly expenses.

What’s the evergreen advantage?

It will sit there, forever. After you’ve released your show, a hosting account for as little as $5/month can keep your RSS feed active and your content available. Listeners can discover your show for years to come. Led Zeppelin stopped making records years ago (sadly), but the back catalogue continues to garner sales. Your podcast is now another part of your body of work for folks to discover when the time is right.

What are the benefits to the listener?

Having a set amount of material that an audience can consider for consumption demonstrates that you value their time. It can be a tough sell asking someone to commit to a weekly show, for ‘who knows’ how long. However, seeing 5 or 6 episodes that are a tight 40 minutes each in iTunes is an edible elephant.

But how can I get all my awesome info into a short-run podcast?

Constraints spark creative solutions. Setting parameters for yourself results in a more focused approach. Though attribution for the quote is debated, it nevertheless rings true, “always leave them wanting more”.

Most of us strive for listeners to visit our website, sign up for our services, or buy our products - not stick around and just listen to our podcast forever and ever. If you give them just enough to be interested, they’ll find their way to your brand online. If you concentrate on one topic for the release, it exhibits your expertise in a narrow discourse. Either way, it’s always good to save some for later.


Summary

Everyone knows where they stand. Expectations are set and met. Perhaps this isn’t a miracle cure for a systemic issue in podcasting. But it can be an effective strategy to deliver your message to a broader audience, and not spend too much of your most valuable resource - TIME.




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The 6 Elements of Effective Podcasting

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The 6 Elements of Effective Podcasting

A podcast that captivates its audience contains at least 3 out of 6 elements that leave the listener coming back week after week for more. In today's post we'll go over on how to make a great podcast that helps you exceed beyond your limits.

It's no secret that podcasting has increased and there are more and more companies incorporating podcast services into their business, but with the up rise of podcasting, it also presents tough competition. To stay ahead here are 6 things to always keep in mind when you're about to record your show.

 

1.     Prepare yourself properly.

There are too many people out there who aren't properly prepared for a hour long interview and try and drag it out more than they should. To prevent this, always have back up questions in case things get a little bit quiet. Find questions that will help get your interviewee talking. This could be personal questions, questions about their work expertise, or even how they got into that particular hobby or interest. Always produce something that your listener is never going to be bored with.

 

2.   Just like number 1 in our list, be sure you have something to say too.

Rambling on can be an easy thing to do if you have a quiet guest. It's important to be a bit self-aware of how you're talking and checking in with yourself every now and again to make sure your conversation isn't going in loops. You also don't want the same thing happen to your guest. If you see that their mouth is going in circles, don't be afraid to take the lead on your show and interrupt them.

 

3.     Speak into your microphone.

This can be a hard skill to pick up at first, but with a little bit of practice, you'll be able to do it in no time. Good quality microphones have a very limited range, this helps prevent background noise from picking up, so it's important to speak directly into the microphone. That means face-to-face with the device. This is a hard skill to pick up because we are so used to moving around when we are talking and looking directly at the person we're talking to instead of a device.
 

4.   Create Clean Audio.

Overtime, you want to try and reduce the amount of um's, ah's, and uh's in your podcast. There are also filler words such as, 'like', 'you know', and agreement words such as, 'ummhmm', 'yeah', 'sure'. These particular words shouldn't be avoided, just reduced for smoother conversation. It's natural to agree with someone while they are talking, but due to the way programs are made, such as Skype, whenever you agree with someone, this can actually cut off the speaker's voice and created uneven audio levels. To avoid this, turn on webcam and silently nod instead. You can even explain this to your guest before the interview so that they don't feel like you're not paying attention.

 

5.   Just be you.

Every time an article talks about 'being yourself', I can't help but give an eye roll. Who else am I going to be? But, it needs to be mentioned because too many times a podcaster listens to a couple of guys who they truly love and then goes on to produce a podcast doing a bad imitation of their idols. There's nothing wrong with liking and wanting to be like these guys, they're probably pretty good, but the reason why they're good is because they have their own unique style and don't follow anybody's trends. You don't need to talk or act a certain way, especially if doesn't come natural to you. There's nothing worse than trying to listen to someone who isn't using their real voice.
 

6.   Show Notes.

The importance of good show notes are often over looked, but show notes are a necessary part of whether or not your show is worth listening to. People who are just glancing at your blog or professional website aren't necessarily going to check out your audio 'just because'. You need to write a detail description of what your listener is going to expect when they click on your podcast. It grabs attention that way and a new visitor is more likely to click the listen button if your show notes look appealing or interesting. Show notes don't have to be that long, but it does need to capture what exactly was talked about in the show.

 

In conclusion, delivering an effective podcast is not as hard as you think. If you follow at least three of these tips, you'll be well on your way to producing great content that your fans will enjoy week after week.

 

About Podfly

Podfly is a professional team of audio editors and engineers that focus on making podcasts sound and feel great. Podcasting should be both easy and fun. We take on the grunt work and the behind-the-scene details, so that you don't have to. All you have to do is click record and we'll take care of the rest! Feel free to contact Ayn Codina at Ayn@podfly.net for more information.

By the way, over here at Podfly, we can do the show notes for you. Feel free to contact us at any time. 


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