Are you an avid podcaster? Just starting out? Not sure what podcasting is to begin with? Don't worry - these tips will help podcasters at any level create great-sounding episodes that are informative, interesting, and engaging. The major areas to consider are your content, delivery, editing, and distribution skills. Here are some tips and ideas for all of these areas:
1. Keep it Simple. Sometimes, when you're passionate about a topic, you can talk about it for hours on end. That level of knowledge and expertise is awesome...but you'll want to edit yourself for your podcast. Keep the content to easily digestible bites. Show the tip of the iceberg, add some detail to support it, then let the listener know where they can get more information (like in another post on your blog).
2. Have a plan. If you go into your podcast with no plan about what you're saying, you're likely to ramble for too long about too little. Take the time to plan your content and major talking points.
3. Don't plan too much. While you will want to make some notes about your topic and create a simple outline to file, don't write out your entire script, word for word. You're very likely read it...instead of delivering it.
4. Consider video. Many podcasts are audio-only features, but video can be very engaging and easily shared. Even if you can't do a video-based podcast every time, it can be a nice change for regular listeners. It can also help you feature more visually-demanding content.
5. Speak to your audience. A podcast is like a radio show. While there may be many people listening to the show, they are generally listening alone. This means you can speak to them on a personal level, like you're sitting in your living room, casually discussing your topic.
6. Smile. If you want to sound calm, confident, and approachable, the fastest way is to smile as you talk. You can definitely hear a smile, even when you can't see it. And if you're a fast talker, a smile can help you slow down your delivery.
7. Pause. Have you ever gotten an email that was written as one paragraph with run-on sentences? It's very hard to read information presented this way. It's also hard to listen to information presented this way. When you make a point, be sure to pause so your listen has a chance to absorb the information, otherwise they'll be overwhelmed.
8. Don't forget to edit your podcast. It's one of the benefits of not doing a live radio show, and it's also a benefit of working with digital media. You can take out any words or sounds you don't like (um, uh, like), add background music (make sure it's legally licensed), make it shorter by removing content... almost anything is possible. But you can't remove background noise, so make sure you're using a quiet room when you recording. Audio editing can be tricky, though, and it takes skill to make everything sound as good as possible. Working with a professional audio production company after you've recorded can save you time and help you create an even better finished product.
9. Promote. Some people still say, "If you build it, they will come", but reality shows us that if you build it, you also need to tell people about it. Share a link to your podcast on social media accounts and on your website. If you have a blog, you can embed your podcast. Our post "How To Add Audio To Your Website" will help you implement this.
10. Use a Distribution Service. The best way for people to listen to your podcast is to use a distribution or syndication service. Don't worry, most of them are free. One of the most popular sites is iTunes, but you might also consider using multiple services. If you're video podcasting, you can also use YouTube. The best place to show off your podcast are the places where your audience is - whether that means sharing with your blog subscribers or Facebook Fans or Newsletter Recipients.
So there you have it - 10 tips for your next podcast. Which do you think you'll start using? Are you a veteran podcaster or new to the concept? Let us know in the comments - and we'll be back with 10 Tips Tuesday next week.