I'm reading the book Make Noise A Creator's Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling
and in the book author Eric Nuzum has a cool strategy of going to http://images.google.com and typing in some of the keywords that you might use about your subject.
Find some pictures of people and maybe print them out, and then make up their bio. Give them a name. You could have a few people. Then when you are coming up with topics you can look at your makeshift audience members and ask yourself, “Is this person going to find it engaging?”
Oprah Winfrey (you may have heard of her) called her target audience member “Suzie Homemaker” and she would ask herself if the show's topics would help Suzie Homemaker. If nothing good was going to come from a topic then she wouldn't do it.
Write the “back story” of the images you find and when you are working on your show you can look at the images and their story and ask yourself “Would (name of person) find this helpful? Would this make them laugh, cry, think, groan, educate, or entertain them? If so then do it.
This can also help you calm your nerves about talking to “so many people” by focusing on one, two, or three people.
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You are thinking of changing the format or going “outside the box” of your typical topics, and you're nervous.
While it can help to get feedback from other podcasters, or your friends, but the BEST place to get feedback from is your AUDIENCE.
Scott Johnson does the “What was that like” podcast, and he has a private Facebook group where he can interact with his audience to talk to his audience in between episodes. When he thought of doing an episode slightly different than his usual audience, he put a poll in his private Facebook group.
Scott's audience decided they DID want to hear about what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper.
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It's not the size of the guest that brings value, its the size of the value that makes the guest.
Then do some research so you can craft an interview that brings value. If you know the answers that are going to get your audience sharing the episode, then you need to make sure to ask those questions.
After the interview listen back and at the top of a piece of paper write down why you asked this guest to come on your show. Then listen to the questions you ask and see if they help move the conversation in a direction that is in alignment with your “why.”
The hard part of conducting an interview is listening. That seems obvious but you NEED to do a mock interview before doing a “real” one (I advise to interview your parents if they are still around). There is a “little voice” that goes on in your head as you try to remember a follow-up question in your head, try to figure out the next question, all while still listening to the guest.
In today's show, I give you my strategies on how to be a better listener.
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When people find your show and like it they will download a lot of your old episodes. I did this recently and found a podcast that I should have loved.
I pressed start on the latest episode and was greeted with a pre-recorded advertisement. Followed by another pre-recorded advertisement.
In fact, as I went from episode to episode, I kept hearing the exact same advertisement. Every time I pressed play, it was the exact same advertisement. It became annoying.
I know recording multiple versions of advertisements can be more work, but YOU ARE BEING PAID.
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I found a show name Speak Up Story Telling by Matthew Dicks. I love it.
Do you know what I did? I downloaded all of his episodes (64 at the moment) and consumed them all.
However, some of these are from a long time ago. In case he started off with a mild (I exaggerate apologies in this episode) apology.
I had just listened to his episode, and the next one starts and here is Matthew apologizing for not putting out a show last week.
That doesn't apply to me. I just heard your episode two minutes ago. There is no need for an apology.
I know, I know you feel bad. That's really a good thing. You want to care about your audience.
However, if you think about it your TRUE fans will listen to the end of the show. For me, THAT is the best place (the end of the show) for an apology.
It's not a good first impression for anyone listening in the future.
I see this question in different places. My show is getting X amount of downloads is that good?
When I did some research and looked at all the content I consume they all did one of the following:
If you can combine two or more of those in a way that stirs people's emotions, you are on to something.
When you are in a corporate setting, if you check the HR handbook I'm sure there is a paragraph about sharing payroll knowledge. Why? Because it breeds resentment. The same is true for podcasting. I had a client once that was overjoyed that they were getting 150 downloads per episode. Then another podcaster in a Facebook group announced that they had just gone of over 100,000 downloads. They were instantly defeated and wanted to quit.
As a guitar player growing up, I could hold my own. Then one day I saw a new guitarist in concert named Yngwie Malmsteen. He is amazing, and no matter how much I practice I feel I'll never be that good. Did I still love playing guitar? Yes. Did I still love playing in front of people? Yes. That is why I kept playing the guitar. I also had to keep in mind that Yngwie has been practicing much longer than I had, and had years of experience.
You may be listening to someone with prior experience, a prior following, and even if they started after you did, they will have a larger audience. Don't focus on them, focus on servicing your audience.
If someone says they have 150 downloads of a podcast about pigmy ponies, that's a great number (depending on how many people are into Pigmy Ponies). If someone had 150 downloads per episode and they were doing a weight loss show (in a country where 70% of us need to lose weight) that might be seen as under-performing.
Try to never use the word “only,” as in “I only have 200 downloads per episode.” My background is in education and a big class was 20 people so 200 downloads per episode is 10 classrooms. That was a full hallway (and then some) in the building where I use to teach.
In a world of TV, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, Am/FM, Xbox and more they CHOSE to listen to you. If they don't want to listen there is nothing stopping them from deleting your show.
People ask me, “How Long Should My Podcast Be?” What is the ideal podcast length? For a while, everyone wanted to make a 20-minute podcast as that was the average commute in the US. I prefer the answer from Valerie Geller in her book Beyond Powerful Radio A Communicator's Guide to the Internet Age: News, Talk, Information which is, “There is no such thing as too long, only too boring.” You can get the audiobook for free.
84% of shows with 100,000 downloads are 51 minutes are longer
Those that were 2.0 hours or more with 100,000 downloads per episode or more made up 13.2% of the podcasts on Libsyn.
Those that were 30 minutes or less made up 9.9% of shows.
The bottom line is, your podcast should be as long as it needs to be and not a minute more.
When I reverse engineered all the content I consumed, I found that the content did one or more of the following:
It made me Laugh
It made me Cry
It made me Think
It made me Grown
It Educated me
It Entertained me
If you can do more than one of these at the same time, you're on to something. If your content does not of the above, do NOT press record.
I would love to help you shape your message. I want to be your podcast consultant.