Yesterday I spoke at this year’s edition of the annual Podcamp Toronto at Ryerson University.
Since people often ask me for tips on podcasting, I decided to record my presentation so that it is always available to anyone interested in knowing how I started or what in my view are the most important elements for a successful podcast.
(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above, or scroll down and watch the video in full. If you want to help me produce more episodes please make a donation)
Fifteen Steps Towards Your Podcasting Success: Socrates at the 2013 Podcamp Toronto
1. Start with the end in mind? Start with why?
Not for the money. Love it. To learn. To prepare. To change the world. To make a difference.
2. Do your homework and start with the right foundation!
How do you do that?
Learn from the best! Studying mediocrity only produces more mediocrity. Success leaves traces. The breadcrumbs are there. All you need to do is find them and follow the path.
If you are a total beginner you should start with BecomeABlogger.com. This is a fantastic free video course where all you need to do is provide an email address and get the training videos straight into your inbox.
To learn video blogging see Gideon Shalwick and especially his free Rapid Video Blogging ebook.
3. Buy your own domain and build your online hub there. Never use third party hosts such as TypePad, Blogger, WordPress.com, PodBean or Libsyn. This way you will have full control over your own content while building domain equity, looking professional and even saving money.
For audio hosting I use and recommend Amazon S3.
For video hosting you can use YouTube or Vimeo.
4. Start an Email List as soon as you start blogging or podcasting. This is and will remain to be your most valuable asset.
I personally use MailChimp and love it. Plus it’s free for users with less than 2,000 subscribers. You really can’t beat that.
5. Choose your recording device:
If you are tight on money then you can start with your iPhone or any other smart phone.
I personally started my podcast with the Blue Yeti microphone but after the first 2 or 3 episodes switched to the Rode Podcaster Kit which comes with the desk arm and the shock mount. I am very happy with the Rode and don’t plan to change it any time soon.
In case you plan to do any field recording, and want better quality than what your phone can give you, you should look at the Zoom H1. If you have a bigger budget, and want to go for excellent audio quality and many features such as XLR inputs, I recommend TASCAM DR-100mkII. I have used this device too and know it is absolutely top notch.
6. Get the right Software:
To be a podcaster you will need some software to record and edit your episodes. I am a PC user and recommend the following programs: Skype for interviewing people; CallBurner for recording Skype audio, VOD Burner for recording Skype video; Audacity for editing audio; Adobe Premiere Elements 11 for editing video.
7. Consider video:
You tube is the second largest search engine. So, don’t start with it but keep in mind that, if you are to be as popular as possible, you might have to start video-recording your podcast. The reasons behind that vary from search engine optimization to the fact that you are giving your listeners many ways to consume your content. So a single recording can provide you with 3 types of content: audio, video and text.
I recommend that you start recording video either with your phone or with a cheap point and shoot camcorder. If you want the very best in point and shoot then what you need is a Canon VIXIA HF G20. If that is not enough and you want top notch picture, which requires extended knowledge and a substantial financial investment, then get a Panasonic GH3.
8. Go for quality not quantity. This applies both for the articles and episodes you post (and their frequency) as well as the audience you are trying to reach. Get 1,000 True Fans and you will be set. (I will go to war for my audience…)
Get the very best experts in the world to speak on your show.
9. Write for People not for search engines: SEO is important, so do the basics: tag your images, write smart titles, provide a good meta description of your articles and use a professional blog theme. Once you’ve got that covered – write for real people. It is real people (or lack thereof) who will make you succeed or fail as blogger and a podcaster. (as well as most other things in life.)
I admit that catering to search engine spiders may provide some short-term results. The question is though: What do you do when Google updates their search algorithm and you lose your Page rank placement?! You would have to start catering to people.
Why not start with the right focus, ignore short-term temptations and write for the long term?
Write for people. Write so that you have a lasting on-line presence, business and reputation. (Seth Godin breaks all the SEO rules in the world and still gets half a million readers per day.)
10. Be authentic and have integrity! Be honest. Never sell out. Never miss the bad or the imperfect end of things. Once you commit to something – follow through. And follow the evidence no matter where it takes you! When you fail or mess up – admit you made a mistake, own up to it and take action to remedy the situation.
11. Give first, give often and give a lot without asking or expecting something back. Best way to achieve your dreams is to help others achieve theirs. It is not about you – it is about other people. (e.g. tweet and link even to your competition.)
12. Campaign a cause. Don’t market yourself or your product. Set the goal to be making a difference for all – not only your readers or customers, and go after that. If you make a difference people will reward you by reading your blog and buying your product.
13. Let others do the marketing for you but be your own representative!
Let the best known sneezers spread your ideavirus but realize that only you can be your best brand representative.
14. Do the work. There are no shortcuts. So just do the work. (By the way – writer’s block is a myth!)
15. Be unreasonable and never give up!… and don’t wait for permission to go after your dreams and change the world. (Dan Barry had to apply 13 times to NASA but he never gave up on his dream to be an astronaut.)
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Geroge Bernard Shaw, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” Man and Superman, 1903
- My 2014 Podcamp Toronto: Peering into Our Future’s Black Hole – AI, Transhumanism and the End of Humanity