Why You Need to Add Podcasting to your Media Mix

1. Because we are in The Golden Age of Podcasting. More people than ever are listening to podcasts. (Source: Edison Research – Podcast Listeners in the U.S. In 2008 there were 46.8 million. In 2012: 75.4 million. And listenership has grown even more since then – check out Edison Research’s 2015 report on the podcasting consumer.)

2. Because people relate very well to the intimacy of The Voice. That’s always been the biggest strength of radio — people relate to radio personalities like you’re a best friend. Podcast hosts can achieve the same effect .. it’s not a rare occurrence to have listeners tell podcast hosts — “I feel like I know you”.

3. Because podcast listeners are very loyal. Studies have shown time and time again that once you’ve engaged a listener with your podcast, they keep on listening to future episodes. This builds relationship between you, your listeners (potential and current clients) and your business or organization.

4. Because podcast listeners have higher incomes than consumers of other media formats. According to Edison Research (The Podcast Consumer 2012), 1 in 4 podcast listeners have incomes of over $75,000.

5. Because listenership grows over time, and people will listen to your back episodes. It’s not like radio where a program is over once it’s on the air. There is lasting value from each podcast you produce.

6. Because your listeners can take a podcast anywhere. You can do different things at the same time with your eyes and ears. You can’t watch a video when you’re driving. Or knitting.

On the production side .. they’re not hard to create .. and they’re fun.

7. The technology is much less finicky than video. We all love video, but figuring out video sample rates, image sizes and file formats is enough to drive a person crazy. With audio, there aren’t as many technical variables. It’s easier to learn and get started.

8. You can edit a lot more precisely than you can on video. Say you’re editing a conference video and the person on the stage says “um” and makes long pauses between words. In audio, you can tighten up the presentation to make it sound better. If you do that with video, you’ll get stop motion animation.

9. You can get an excellent recorder for less than $200. You can even use your smartphone or tablet. And there is some great software out there you can use to get started for absolutely free.

There are many more reasons why podcasting is a good thing to add to your media mix. Want to learn how? I can help. Either in person or long distance …

Podcast Intros and Extros – Best Practices

I listen to a lot of podcasts. It helps me keep up with all the different podcasting styles out there, and I’m always thrilled to find a new podcast to subscribe to.

I sometimes listen to them on the treadmill or when I’m out for a walk. It’s a different experience than listening on the desktop with show notes in front of me. Here are some of my best practices re: intros and extros to make sure your listeners have all the info they need in your podcast.

a) Assume that your your listeners won’t have the show notes in front of them. There will be a a general description, but not much detail. Some podcasters dive right into the content without an intro. This works when the listener has the website open in front of them, but not well when your podcast is automatically downloaded by subscribers onto their mobile device. So, my recommendation is that your podcasts be complete and self contained so they can stand on their own without the show notes. This also works out well if some of our radio friends hear your content and want to put it on the air. Broadcasters love it when everything is ready to go for them and they don’t even have to write a script.

b) theme: a very short, standard intro (possibly with a bit of podsafe music) will help your podcast be recognizable. It is your signature beginning .. when listeners hear it, they’ll know it’s your podcast. So when they’re previewing content on their ipod when they’re in the gym, or listening in the car, they’ll know right away it’s you. And a theme with music makes you sound so organized and professional.

c) calls to action: if you have promos, or website information, or other ways you’d like listeners to respond, put it at the end of your podcast. You want to get into your content right away, not ask your listeners to wait while you read a whole long list of things. It slows down the pace of the listening experience, so get into your content as fast as you can.

These themes and scripts don’t have to be long. Shorter is better. I recommend that your standard theme be less than 30 seconds long. And the spoken intro to individual episode can be as little as 3-4 sentences. What’s important in the intro to each episode is: Who your guest is, who you are, what you’re talking to your guest about, and why the subject is important. Give your listeners a reason to keep listening instead of requiring them to get into the piece so they can figure it out themselves. Because a many of them won’t. They’ll stop listening. Especially if they don’t have show notes in front of them.

d) And finally — don’t forget to say goodbye. And repeat who you’ve been talking to so they don’t have to go look it up. And this is where you can suggest email links, tell listeners about other shows or other promo points.

Your Very First Podcast

By House of Sound and Story’s Victoria Fenner, founder and creative director

The focus of House of Sound and Story is to help you tell your story. Literally. Tell your story. Using your own voice, the voices of your clients, customers and people whose opinions you value.

I help a lot of people launch their own podcasts and audio blogs.

One of the most common things people ask us is “How do I get started?”

There are a lot of answers to that question. The first thing we do is take it back to basics. You have to have a good story to tell, and you need to be able to tell it in an engaging way.

I often suggest that you start out by doing audio versions of a couple of their favourite blog posts. The reason why this is a good place to start is that a) you’ve already got the material written b) blog posts are short and therefore c) a good way to start working with your voice in a way that won’t take up a lot of your time.

Here’s what I suggest as a way to get started.

a) Pick out one of your favourite blog posts. Start with one that’s only about 500 words. Short, concise, to the point. And since you’ve already written it, it’s no extra work at this point. For the purpose of this exercise, you can focus entirely on your words, which will be right in front of you.

b) Read it out loud to yourself. Don’t turn on the recorder yet. Read it over a couple of times so you’re familiar with the words. The purpose of reading it through a couple of times first is that your words will just roll off your tongue if you’ve already rehearsed them.

c) Turn on your audio recorder. At this early stage, use whatever you’ve got. We can talk about what kind of recorders to buy in a later episode. Right now, the purpose of the exercise to be able to listen back to yourself.

d) Talk your words into the recorder. Don’t worry too much about getting pristine audio quality yet. That will come. To begin with, make sure your recorder is no more than 6 inches away from your mouth. Not too far or too close.

e) Listen back to yourself. Do a bit of a self-critique. You’re just getting started, so be gentle with yourself. You’ll be able to hear things that you want to change next time. And that’s good but don’t bog yourself down yet by needing to sound like you’ve been working at a radio station your whole life. The point is to get started.

Another reason why I’ve suggested you start out recording little bite-sized pieces rather than a whole 30 minute podcast — listeners like it. What you’re listening to is an audio blog style of podcast. Short, sweet and to the point. This podcast is about five hundred words. It doesn’t require a long time commitment for your customers and clients. Just a quick little bit of information that they can use without having to invest a lot of time. In future episodes, we’ll explore some of the other kinds of podcasts you can do. Like interviews, documentaries and even things like audio newsletters.

I love working with voice.  I can help you launch your podcast and also find the people who want to hear it. I can teach you how to write, record and produce your own podcast. Or, if you’d like, I can do it for you.

Talk to you next time with some other ways to help you get your voice out there on the internet.

Here’s an audio version of this blog post.