They know and trust your voice. They feel like they already know you. Your podcast is just the natural next step in your ongoing relationship.
You already have at least two-thirds of the structure you need: your blog, your audience. The other third would be your email autoresponder series. Podcasting is the natural next step in building relationships online and offline.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves!
When is the last time you listened to the radio, as in AM/FM? This morning? Last week?
Personally, I don’t listen to AM/FM radio much these days at all. But it so happened that I was visiting a friend on a Sunday morning and she had her radio tuned to her favorite weekly old-time gospel program. What struck me was the line-up of songs: they didn’t appeal to me in the least but it got me to thinking about how the radio station chose the songs to play.
They play what the people want to hear.
A few months back, I’d watched a movie about an up-and-coming singer who was a favorite with the people but had a hard time convincing the local radio station that his music was worthy of airtime.
As his promoter and the station owner watched him record a song, the station owner emphatically rejected the notion, citing James Brown’s strange lyrics (Please, please, please!) and unconventional style as problematic.
In the final analysis, the promoter convinced the station owner by proving, “THIS is what the people want to hear!”
In both cases, it’s all about what the people want to hear.
We Are Listening
In our digital age of iPads and tablets, mp3 players and Sirius, iTunes and SoundCloud, we’re listening less and less to traditional radio.
We’re not turning the dial to line up a station. We’re not calling up WKVT to request our favorite song or talking head on-demand. (Talking heads don’t do on-demand, anyway.)
But we are listening. And we’re listening at increasing rates, on-demand (much to the chagrin of regular radio, I might add.)
For the first time, we can report that podcast listeners are now listening to more podcast audio than any other form of audio. . . [T]he total share of podcast listening amongst all Americans increased by 18% over our Spring [Share of Ear] study, which is a significant jump. — Edison Research
According to Edison Research’s groundbreaking Share of Ear Study, we have evolved into an army of avid podcast listeners — consuming spoken word broadcasts at an unprecedented rate. But the slice of pie for podcast listeners seemed low (1.7%) when compared to the overall numbers, so Edison created a special 5-minute webinar on why podcasting is a bigger deal than it appears to be at first glance.
A 5-minute webinar on why podcasting IS a big deal, with data from the new Share of Ear study by Edison Research.
We can glean much from the statistics presented in the study and we can add our own observations.
- “On-demand” appeals to us
- Busy life styles demand we insert useful activities into ever-shrinking time slots
- The landscape is so broad even the most narrow interests can be met
- Desire for learning hardly ever wanes — we want to go from beginner to intermediate to master to expert to teacher
- We continually transfer our habits – listeners to audio tapes went to CDs and DVDs, then shifted to mp3s and online apps
What (or Who) Are We Listening To?
Platforms vs Programming
Ask any of 100 people what they listen to online and one of the foremost answers you’ll get will be “YouTube.” YouTube is one platform among many, but it is known more for video that pure audio. Audio listening platforms include SoundCloud, iTunes, LibSys, Blogtalk Radio, Blubrry, Stitcher — to name a few.
But the “what” you and I are more interested in is what type of programming or channel (rather than which platform) is capturing the minds and attention of our target markets, and our readers.
Overwhelmingly, you will find your readers, your clients, your potential customers and your colleagues are avidly listening to podcasts covering business, social media, content marketing, productivity, SEO, analytics, inspiration, website design, effective habits, entrepreneurship, big data . . .
The list goes on and on.
And just in case that list didn’t hit near enough to what you write about, consult about, talk about, try out these: parenting, gardening, coffee, crafts, natural remedies, farming, equestrian care, elder care, dog training, personal development and increasing YouTube engagement.
See, the list goes on and on!
Podcasting: Natural Next Step in Relationship Building
Podcaster Jamie Green, who was working on her MFA in creative writing, shares her unlikely foray into podasting on a Kickstarter video, Talking Shop: How to Get Started in Podcasting:
I don’t come from a radio background. I don’t come from a media background. The short answer is I bought a microphone and got a LibSyn hosting account and started recording the thing.
Since we are listening, we should be producing. (And we are producing, at an alarming rate, much to the chagrin of regular radio, I might add!)
Listen to the first few minutes of the video below to get an idea of where a new wave of podcasters is coming from and how their choice relates to radio.
We “Should Be” Producing
Time to change this up a bit:
They are listening.
You should be producing.
You probably hear that enough, said in a slightly different way: “You should be podcasting.”
The question you struggle with is not so much “how do I create a podcast,” but “why should I create a podcast?”
To be clear, the emphasis is not on “I” in the sense of why you should be the one to do it. Assuming that you already want to create a podcast, the emphasis is not on whether or not you’re procrastinating or if you need to be persuaded.
No, what I’m getting at is what is it that is important enough to make you push aside any challenges (including equipment, money, and time). That important thing is usually “why” — why I should, why I want to, why it’s useful, why it’s needed.
Why is all about motivation — it’s the force to be reckoned with moreso than “what” or even “how.”
Your Audience Wants To HEAR From You
In sales we’re taught, if they buy once, they’ll buy again. In ecommerce we’re told, if they’ve purchased something from you, they’ll purchase something else, too. And in the real-world hustle and bustle of life, we understand if you want anything done, ask a busy person to do it.
Whatever it is that they’re already doing, they’ll do <it again.
Getting to “why” is not as hard as it seems. Scroll back up to the section “Who or What Are They Listening To” and one answer to “why” becomes clear immediately: because your clients, visitors, potential customers and readers are already listening to audio online.
Let’s bring why a little closer to home.
If your audience reads your blog, subscribes to your newsletter, responds to your surveys, follows you on Twitter, Likes you on Facebook . . . They probably think you’re groovy! (No snarky remarks about my age here, OK?) I think I’ve made a case for “why me” … why you . . . Your audience wants to hear more from Y.O.U.
They’re already reading what you write.
They’re already engaging with you in social media.
They’re already inspired by what you share.
In short, they already know and trust your voice. Although they might not have actually heard you speak, it’s akin to how we feel when we can finally put a face to a voice — only in reverse.
The bottom line? They feel like they know YOU. They want to hear from and talk with you. Your podcast is just the natural next step in your ongoing relationship.
Be encouraged. The podcasting space is so huge there remains room enough for the one you’ve been thinking about — and putting off — creating.
Embedding in different types of sites
By using plugins, it’s easy enough to embed your podcast into a WordPress blog, Joomla! site or even your Concrete5 CMS. But not everyone is using the same platforms, especially DIYers who shun the idea of using a blog or CMS for business sites.
So when Sherryl told me she was creating a site on SquareSpace, it reminded me that content management systems and blogs are not the only types of sites where you might want to host your podcast. Your site might be built as standalone pages or you might be using a website builder. Don’t worry, you can still share your podcast in those spaces!
For example, you can publish and syndicate a podcast with Squarespace by using their audio block within blog posts. For your standalone html site, you can also simply cut-and-past plain-old HTML to get your audio properly embedded for sharing with your audiences.
How to create
With so much freely available information on how to create a podcast, I’m seeing that as less of an issue, but just in case that’s what you need, here are four top resources:
- Kevan Lee on Search Engine Journal: Podcasting 101: The Complete Guide to Getting Started covers the gamut, including how to promote your new podcast
- Pat Flynn offers a free smart podcast player that’s responsive, works on mobile devices and was created out of his own need to share and showcase his popular podcast series. (There are also paid options for the player.) Not to disappoint you in the resources area, Flynn also teaches you how to podcast with his free 6-part video series.
- The Formula for Creating a 1,000,000 Download Podcast: James Schramko, guest of Tyler Vawser’s over on Okdork, created a comprehensive podcasting checklist including possible formats. Not to be missed!
- Looking for a different cup-o-tea? The Podcast Movement Conference, happening July 31 – August, Fort Worth, TX (USA)
Podcasts about podcasting
Tune into one (or all!) of the podcasts that focus on podcasting.
- The recognized authority on all things podcasting is Podcast Answerman Chris Ravenscraft;
- The Wolf Den’s Adam Sachs interviews Lex Friedman about the maturity of advertising in podcasting;
- The Audacity to Podcast is a podcast about podcasting with the open source audio tool, Audacity; and,
- The aptly named Podcast About Podcasting, hosted by Mike Russell and Izabela Russell, is both informative and entertaining. They’ve covered the mics on it (archives-only now) but have unveiled their new show featuring pro podcasters, Music Radio Creative.
- Jay Baer’s team produces the Content Pro Podcast; this one features Daniel J. Lewis on Everything You Need to Know About Podcasting
There are scores more, just do a search to turn up some interesting ones.
Finally, I want to mention Ed Gandia’s interview with podcasting master Chris Ravenscraft for two reasons: (1) he’s interviewing Chris 🙂 and (2) Ed’s “show notes” page exemplifies how to present your podcast to drum up interest in listening to a specific episode.
And because he provides a downloadable PDF transcript, our auditory-challenged friends get the meat of the episode even if they can’t hear it.
Even before you finish recording your very first podcast, you’ll want to know all about the stats! How to measure engagement, how many downloads, how long are people listening, are the same people downloading every episode, where are new subscribers coming from . . .
I asked veteran videographer and podcast producer, Deborah Anderson of Social Web Cafe, to share her own experience with podcasting measurement and analytics:
There are many challenges with podcast stats and analytics … As you know, there are many different platforms, and each has its own analytics. I personally love to promote that people listen on iTunes, but there is no real way to measure it. My favorite stats are the LibSyn stats. I can see them as I log in to my favorite podcast hosting and can see right away if my most recent podcast resonated with people. I realize that that isn’t going to reflect all stats, but it tends to provide an adequate snapshot to see what is going on with the podcast.” — Deborah Anderson, @SocialWebCafe
So, your analytics will depend on the platform you use. When you’re ready, doing more research will turn up other ways to gather stats independent of the platform you choose.
It’s a good business strategy. It helps with content marketing. It contributes to the economic bottom line. But when you ask some of the most enthusiastic podcasters about the true underlying reason for starting an online talk show, you’ll find the common denominator is heart-and-hearth, not dollars-and-cents.
Podcasting is the natural next step in relationship building. Knowing that your audience, your target market, and your clients truly want to hear from you is the most compelling reason to get started with your own podcast. Talk to me (I left room in the comments below for your voice.)