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podfly productions

Why I’m not a fan of consulting.

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Why I’m not a fan of consulting.

You may have already heard the joke that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time. Though a bit harsh, there is some underlying truth to this. Often times, we find ourselves hiring a consultant who ends up telling us what we already know. In an age of freelance experts cramming podcasters into webinar sales funnels, it’s getting harder to know if any advice is worth taking - let alone paying for.

When someone darkens my door selling carpet and a vacuum cleaner, I take pause and so should you.

What’s more, there seems to be a growing number of newcomers to podcasting that are both ready to point out what you’re doing “wrong”, and sell you on how to do it “right”. When someone darkens my door selling carpet and a vacuum cleaner, I take pause and so should you.

I’ve had a long-standing distaste for the consulting racket. OK, racket is harsh too, but the icky feelings I get stems from folks with shiny teeth and solutions, rather than the legitimate business of helping folks with sound advice. Ask yourself this question: “Will handing my hard-earned money over to someone slightly more extroverted than myself make my show better?”

 

Why I am a fan of consulting.

Connecting with podcasters is by far my favorite part of a given work day. Hearing about the ambitions they hold and the struggles they face, and being allowed to visit their creative process is a privilege I never take lightly. I adore finding common threads throughout many podcasters’ journeys, and sharing what are emerging as best practices, which help everyone improve. But let’s be clear, best practices are very different from best guesses.

“You’re like a hairdresser”, someone recently quipped. Odd, yet true that many podcasters tend to share with me a lot of personal information that’s seemingly unrelated to their audio production. But is it so far removed from their shows’ topics to speak on more intimate details of their hopes, fears, and dreams? I say no! It is the intimacy that makes many shows relatable in the first place. Considering that podcasters aren’t afraid to share details of their lives with thousands of listeners, it’s not so far fetched that they would with me in consultation.

As a podcast “survivor” myself, it feels great to share similar stories of my journey with them.

As a podcast “survivor” myself, it feels great to share similar stories of my journey with them. A sort of podcaster therapy, if you will, where the therapist needn’t have professional detachment from the patient. We’re all storytellers, and sometimes a good consultation starts with being the first person who can both listen to a story and truly sympathize. A great consultation is one where a new direction for the podcaster is lit and they can embark on a more enlightened path based on analysis and conclusions arrived at together.

 

Never forget Rule #6

I have my share of Chicken Little calls. Folks message me by whatever means they can at seemingly any hour. An RSS feed is acting up, someone in a Facebook group said that Soundcloud is bankrupt, or they think their breathing sounds “weird” and they wonder if anyone else can hear it too. All of these concerns are legit and it’s definitely part of my job to address them. But let’s step back for a moment.

Sage advice I once heard in a motivational talk by the late Benjamin Zander, centered around the notion that we needn’t take ourselves so damn seriously, is a little mantra I keep in the back of my mind. It’s easy to get caught up in our own drama, not realizing that it is indeed only ourselves that put so much weight on our show. True that we want to provide value and deliver consistently good content for our listeners. We want our message to be heard and hopefully have an impact. However, these are after all podcasts, and we’re still just people doing our best. When  stress is getting the better of you, never forget Rule #6.

 

Where can we go from here?

Podfly is working with a small group of professional podcasters to deliver our Podcast TuneUp program. We have hand-picked seasoned podcasters and thought leaders with proven track records who are not only great at what they do, they are also highly skilled in teaching others. Whether you are feeling that your interviews are not as engaging as they can be, or you want to simply improve your audio quality, the Podcast TuneUp is a way to step back and get a professional assessment, leading to actionable advice on stepping up your game in this evermore competitive medium.





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Thank Goodness She Hated my Show Notes!

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Thank Goodness She Hated my Show Notes!

I had written the best notes I could using the traditional format, for her first episode.

Our traditional timestamp show notes didn’t really fit her podcast, but who was I to say anything? I am, after all, just a girl from the steno pool. The deal had been struck, the contract signed and the podcast recorded, before I ever got involved. I had written the best notes I could using the traditional format, for her first episode. In an effort to add a bit of substance, I made the timestamps read horizontally as well as vertically. A triumph which was missed by everyone, except me.

 

The team at Podfly had been working up some custom style show notes but we hadn’t really solidified anything yet.

We knew a conversational, blog-esque approach was the way to move forward, but putting together a custom show notes package was put off until the next meeting; due to the mesmerizing amount of new clients we were acquiring.

The host, who had started her podcast in addition to her speaking engagements, coaching retreats and personal coaching sessions, did not have time to write her own show notes and there was no way the notes I had written were going to be posted on her site. I had not met her expectations and we needed to talk.  

I had prepared myself for the “what kind of circus are you guys running” conversation...

I had prepared myself for the “what kind of circus are you guys running” conversation, but was grateful the host was kind enough to prepare a list of podcasts whose show notes she wanted hers modeled after. After looking at the sites, I agreed a conversational, blog-esque type show notes better fit her newly launched podcast. I shared with her my ideas on individualizing her notes to make certain they were congruent with her website and vision. I right clicked the font and color information from her site and was ready for her next episode. 

 

In truth, it took us a couple of episodes to work out the kinks.

My task was getting the words to flow with her tone and she decided she was more comfortable writing her own titles. She was a pro right from the start, making each podcast better than the next. She is now 20+ episodes in with a loyal listener base. I look forward to listening to and noting each and every new episode.


I’m happy to say custom show notes are now an additional option offered by Podfly.

They include a one-on-one consultation with one of our in-house copywriters. We are all bloggers, so our goal is to entice people to listen to your podcast when they find the show in iTunes or Stitcher. We will make your website’s podcast page as SEO friendly as possible without stuffing keywords into the reader’s eyeballs (like some otherr services do) and we strive to share your distinctive voice in a professional manner.


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Give Them More to Talk About

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Give Them More to Talk About

Imagine one of your favorite podcasts... I don’t know about you, but when I’m a fan of a podcast or when a podcast episode, featured guest, or topic captures my attention, I don’t feel fully satiated until I can get more! What do I mean by ‘more’? Well, ‘more’ can mean: I want to connect & engage with some aspect of the show; I want access to its content & resources I find meaningful; I want to share & engage with my friends and other fans.

Custom show notes allow us to keep a consistent voice. We share intimate personal conversations on Straight Talk for a Curvy World and custom show notes allow us to continue that conversation in a meaningful way. It’s all about connecting with our audience.
— Ann Peck

It turns out, I’m not alone. As a group of researchers found, the “social aspect” of podcasting not only is one of the reasons people use podcasts, but the social aspect also predicts future podcast use. Meaning, people tend to talk with friends and other fans about the podcasts they consume. And, you know what this means for podcast producers - you can rely on your podcast to create a ‘‘buzz’’ around the show, topics & events2.

So how can I get more? Well first, I Google it! I’m sure you all know that “Google doesn’t index audio. The only way to find a podcast is via text searches. That’s why the show notes are high value”, as Corey Coates pointed out when I did my homework for this article. And, what do I expect to find? Definitely a lot more than the iTunes or Stitcher page of the podcast, which is where I’ll end up if my favorite show doesn’t have a show notes page.  

Now, let’s assume my favorite show has a custom show notes page - yay, awesome! What am I happy to find? Definitely not a 10 page long transcription of the episodes. Let’s face it, less is more! That being said, I’d be happy, for example, if I find a user-friendly podcast page that leads me to clear and concise summaries of the episodes I like. If the resources I want are one click away, rather than having to waste time searching for stuff. If I can conveniently offer valuable feedback because contact information such as phone numbers & email addresses are easily accessible. If I can share & engage by following social media links on Twitter, Facebook, Google+... If I can offer my loyalty by subscribing to stuff about the show, for example in iTunes, RSS, email newsletters, Facebook fan pages…

One of Podfly’s clients, Jodi Flynn from Women Taking the Lead podcast, decided to give her fans more to talk about by crafting the format of her custom show notes & we helped her pull it off. But really, as Ayn said “The beauty of custom show notes is that they can literally be anything you need it to be.”

A good place to start is to ask yourself, “what would my fans want?”, “how can I give them more to talk about?”


Sources:

  1. Ann Peck from Straight Talk for a Curvy World podcast

  2. McClung S and Johnson K (2010) Examining the motives of podcast users, Journal of Radio & Audio Media, 17: 82–95. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19376521003719391

  3. Michelle McGlade from Making the Maven podcast

  4. http://theaudacitytopodcast.com/tap049-9-steps-to-better-podcast-shownotes-and-7-benefits/

  5. http://wpmedia.pro/write-podcast-show-notes-like-a-pro/


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Podfly Academy - Lesson 1 of 10

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Podfly Academy - Lesson 1 of 10

In early 2014, we were approached to create an online podcasting course. Podfly was about 6 months old at the time, and any new opportunity to develop our brand was welcomed. We at Podfly also identified a need to help new podcasters lay a foundation of basic knowledge for many unfamiliar with the medium. So, the notion of creating an online program in concert with planning lessons that could lay the groundwork for our clients seemed like a natural win-win.

With that, we embarked on recording a 10 lesson series of foundational videos and specializations that we are happy to offer you, free of charge.

Each series’ syllabus leads to live sessions, deep dives into advanced aspects of podcasting, and best practices from experienced podcasters. We hope you are able to gather some base knowledge of podcasting and we would love to hear back from you!


Podfly Academy - Lesson 1 of 10

Lesson 1 of 10 Podfly Academy's Foundation Course is a 10-Step series of classes bundled into a core curriculum. These provide a requisite study for those who want to learn the basics of podcasting. Graduates from the program can advance to the Specializations and Master Class sessions.


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A Quick and Dirty Overview on Podcasting

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A Quick and Dirty Overview on Podcasting

A podcast is a popular digital medium mostly consisting of audio or videos files that are hosted online and can be accessed through free or paid subscription downloads or through an RSS feed. Podcasts are usually produced in a series and contain information about a certain theme and subject. However, as podcasting has become more popular over the years, individuals hosting a podcast often talk about diverse topics that vary from episode to episode and are not theme-centric.


What is So Appealing About A Podcast?

Standard TV and radio formats present a much more rigid system than what podcasting presents. Currently the model is that people choose a program or a network station and watch what is being played in the time-slot shown with no form of control or customization. People like to have control over the type of content they consume, which is why podcasting, Netflix, and TIVO are excellent examples of listening or watching content where ever you are and whenever you want.                                                                                        

Another thing that is appealing about a podcast is that TV and Radio are primarily designed to produce shows and music for mass consumption, which can often destroy the quality of a product. Podcasting is often designed for a specific audience in mind and it attracts those who want to understand or discover more about that topic – something not all traditional TV or radio stations can do because of its scale and the niche topics being too ambiguous to cover.


Podcasting – A Powerful Way To Communicate

People often produce a podcast because it's fun, entertaining, and exciting. You can reach a target audience that shares the same interests as you and even communicate to them on a bigger scale. This is especially effective for those who have their own business and a strong following that wants to know more about the person behind the mask. Podcasting is also a great way to go from an unknown face in the crowd to a well-known expert in the selected topic and to help develop a strong following. Podcasting is an excellent choice to make if you want to take your hobby to the next level and talk about what you love to people who also share the same passion as you.

 

Podcasting Made Easy

The great thing about podcasting is that it is very inexpensive to start your own podcast. All you will need is a microphone, a skype account to interview your guests, and sound recording and editing software. Programs like Audacity, which is free to use, has the ability to both record your sound and edit it. Apple iTunes makes it very easy to get your podcast out into the world and it is free to submit a podcast to them. If you rather leave the editing to the experts, Podfly.net helps take your podcast to the next level by adding a professional quality and finish to your show, which will make you stand out from the rest.

For more info about starting your own podcast, contact ayn@podfly.net.

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