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Podcasts are an ideal addition to any company's content marketing mix – and here’s why. Every current survey of podcast listenership shows that an increasing number of people are listening to them. Years ago podcasts were the product of geeks serving a niche market (they used to be called audioblogs). But during the last few years podcasting has mushroomed into the mainstream. Everyone you speak with seems to have at least one favourite podcast. And according to survey company Roy Morgan, last year (2019) more than 320,000 New Zealanders downloaded audio or video podcasts in an average four weeks, an increase of nearly 150,000 compared to 2016 – an 82 per cent increase. A survey by Radio New Zealand released in June 2019 showed 31 per cent of Kiwi's download podcasts. And 48 per cent of all podcast listeners in New Zealand are aged under 45-years-old. Any marketer has to concede that podcasting is not a passing fad.  The founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, says podcasts offer “the best definition of ‘content’ I’ve seen”. It seems pretty clear to me there is plenty of room for business owners to exploit the podcast platform to promote their brand and increase thier relationship with their current and future customers. Audio offers a level of convenience, reach and engagement that is unmatched by any other medium. Why do you think radio is still so popular? However, your podcast content has to be engaging. You have to put the audience first. You can’t just say “buy from us because we are good”. That’s a commercial. You have to deliver much more than that. You have to give something away. Any thoughts of a sale must come after the relationship has been established. The content of your podcast could a story about how you helped a customer; about how you came up with the idea of your widget, the lessons learned in its development, the failures, the problem solving, your successes. Honest stories that build credibility and trust. Use podcasts to tell your story and the stories behind your services and products, as well as share industry news and information, along with your pick of future trends in your industry. A podcast is less time consuming to make than a video, and can provide an easy way for you to include other people in the recording. They are cheap to distribute too. There’s also a level of trust that’s built up by people listening to your voice, getting to know you, and getting a feel for your personality. A podcast can help establish you as an expert, an authority within your industry. It will expand your reach to people you could never otherwise hope to meet or influence. Too shy to put yourself out there? Don't like hearing your own voice? Well, dig deep, and embrace the medium. Think you need expensive equipment? No, you can start by recording on your phone – speaking directly into its microphone, and doing any editing on the free audio app that came with your PC. Produce one a week; build a following, and watch your brand grow.
You might think getting guests to sign a personal release to take part in your podcast provides you some protection. But it can blow up in your face for various reasons...
Jim! This one's for you. We all do it. We can talk all day to friends, colleagues and family without uttering a singled 'um' or 'erm'. But sit in front of a microphone to record a podcast and they pour out between every sentence. So how do professional broadcasters and newsreaders speak without making these unwanted noises? Practice, practice, practice - a heavy dollop of self discipline. Sure, we can edit our podcasts to remove these noises; but it can get boring after a while and it is time consuming - so far as I know - there is not an app for that (yet). The best way to solve this is to train yourself not to make those noises at all.
It's too easy to knock out a podcast episode, post it up and then sit back rubbing your hands - job done. But oh no, there is more to it than that. You need to promote each podcast to reach new listeners and increase your audience. To make an impact. So make sure to write an engaging promo about each episode, create a compelling graphic to post across social media, and ask your guest to share it too. Find out more in this episode of Podcasting Made easy.
So governed are we by the clock that it is no surprise that someone writes to ask what time of day they should release their podcast to a waiting world.
If you want to start podcasting, but don't know what to podcast about - how about reporting on the stories from around your neighbourhood? Hyperlocal media is growing to fill the gaps left by local newspapers that have either stopped publishing or cut staff to the point whereby local issues and interesting stories are no longer covered. Now, you don't need to get stuck in on the big stories that can bring some legal risks. But you can start interviewing local people about their jobs and hobbies etc. Your neighbourhood will be full of people doing interesting things. Tell their stories. So if you are keen...start a website and feature interesting stuff from your neighbourhood. Who knows where it will lead. Of course, do not publish anything that may cause you any legal issues. Just keep it fun and light, featuring ordinary people doing interesting things. Don't criticize anyone. A source of great information is and its how-to guides for reporters.
The time for procrastination is over. It's time to start podcasting and you can only do that by actually recording one. On your marks, get set, go!
Make enough podcasts and sooner or later someone you interview will insist you remove the podcast they feature in. But how to react to this request after all the work you have put in? After all, they took part in the show, they knew they were being interviewed for your podcast. There should be no surprises for them when it appears online. Well, life isn't that simple. Perhaps their employer is angry with them. Maybe they gave out incorrect factual information, or maybe they don't like the sound of their own voice... Perhaps someone made a sarcastic comment about the way they speak... In this episode of Podcasting Made Easy I look at the scenarios and your options when the 'take down' email arrives. Take a breath and dive in.
Hi, this is Steve Hart of the podcasting Made Easy podcast hope you having a great day. I'm the author of the book podcasting made easy if you're new to podcasting, that's the book you need, buy it wherever you get your books. Now I do see quite often on the forums, people saying I recorded an interview and there's this background noise going on. And how can I get rid of it? Well, I've been there in numerous ways. As a journalist, I would take a dictaphone to an interview and it always goes wrong on the important one, of course, and I would sit there put the digital recorder on, press the record button and I'll be so interested in the person I'm interviewing and just take scant shorthand notes. And interview finishes shake their hand off, I go back to the office, press play on my recorder, and there's nothing there. And you rack your brains to think 'what did they say?' Because you got to write your story. I just would have to just ring them up and say, 'Hey, it was great meeting you this morning. Unfortunately, my recorder packed up and I've got nothing can we can we just quickly fire through those questions again?' And I would literally do the interview again. So we just power through the questions and get the answers down. They're always fine, because ultimately, they want their story in print or online or whatever it might be. And so of course they're gracious and happy to help because, the whole point of the interview was to give them some publicity. And so they will happily do it again. So my advice to podcasters and I've, as a podcaster, I've definitely done it. I did do an interview and I was using Adobe Audition, and it was all looking fine. The image of the recording, you know, the spikes were all there and it looked great. I did 'save' at the end of the interview and it just became a complete and utter flatline and there was nothing. Yet the whole the spikes were there all the way through until I stopped and saved and then there was nothing there are no. So I emailed and said, 'I'm really sorry we just spoke there's nothing there and the recording was gone and I've got no explanation'. Of course they came back said 'okay yeah I'm really busy for the next few days...How about Friday afternoon?'. I want the interview and so just fitted them in to do it. And the same can happen if you've got noise bubbling through your recording . With modern software like audition and Pro Tools, Garage Band... yes, there's filters and noise reduction options and plugins and all the rest of it and you could spend a week trying to fix it up to make it presentable so you can play it, but it's compromise all the way down the line. When I used to make documentaries, in my mind was always that phrase 'get it in the can', which is a phrase that goes back to filmmaking. Get it in the can, get it in on film, and the film goes in the can – because it's much easier to get it in the can, ie record it right first time, rather than chasing and fixing and wasting your time and compromising and the stress that goes with it. So yeah, we have a great set of tools with modern digital recording apps that allow us to do super things, but they shouldn't be used to get yourself out of jail. They shouldn't be used to fix up things that have gone wrong. They're there really to enhance what you've recorded. But I think once you start going down that track of 'I'll reduce the base here, or if I add that noise reduction filter there and fiddle fit or fiddle, fiddle, fiddle', the hours slip away and you end up with a muddy sounding horrible podcast that you know you're not happy with....And so my advice is do the interview again. Okay, if you can fix it in a quick sweep of a noise reduction filter, where you're just using a hint of that filter to reduce perhaps a bit of hiss that may have come from somewhere. If you think you can knock it off in half an hour. Yeah, of course do that.
The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting – let's record a podcast in the garden. Just because we can. No mixer, no expensive microphone, no room acoustics worries, no fixing up afterwards. Just raw and real – a Tascam DR-40, a foam pop filter and a passion to podcast. The Tascam DR-40 digital recorder. I recorded this using minimal gear, and in the back garden, to illustrate that you do not need tons of gear to record a podcast; nor a dedicated space. KISS - Keep It Super Simple. The Tascam, or any similar digital recorder (and a pop filter), will do you just fine. Got some background noise? No worries; include it in your podcast - give listeners an experience. Keep it natural and engaging. Years ago, when working in professional radio I used to carry around a reel-to-reel tape recorder! Just like the one pictured below.
The issue of copyright is both complex and simple. And the simple answer is; if you don't own it you can't use it (without prior written permission from the owner). On the other side of the coin; when you create something then you own it. It is your copyright. Today's podcast looks at copyright, what you can and can't do; and how the Fair Usage rule (if you have it in your country) can help you.
Hi, and welcome to the podcasting Made Easy podcast. My name is Steve Hart, author of Podcasting Made Easy. Today I would like to talk a little bit about reverb. You can do a quick test for reverb by clapping your hands in your home studio. Clap and listen for the reverb. Now reverb is something most of us who podcast from a spare bedroom or a room in our home can suffer from – when we've got hard flat surfaces. This might be the ceiling, the walls, windows and the door. And perhaps you might have a hard floor instead of carpet. And these hard surfaces do not absorb sound, they bounced the sound right back at you and into the mic. I know nothing about the mathematics or the frequencies or anything like this. All I know is that I've done my level best at home to put stuff on my walls, and put heavy curtains across my windows, so that when sound hits them, the vast majority of it is absorbed into the material, and therefore doesn't bounce around the room. So what can you do to help yourself short of spending a king's ransom to reduce the reverb and improve the acoustics of your recording environment.? I guess the first thing you should be looking at is what can you do to break up the hard flat surfaces in your room. You could put a bookshelf in there and fill it with books. And just the fact of a bookshelf being in there with ornaments on the top and books in the bookshelf...they will disturb the way sound is reverberating in your room. And the paper of the books would even absorb some of the sound. It's a way of dispersing the sound so it doesn't go onto the wall and come straight back. And any ornaments you might have on your shelves will all help dissipate the sound a little bit. Now I know some people poo poo the square foam tiles you can buy. Some people will say 'They only really work or help the very low frequencies'. And yeah, I'm sure they are right as I am in no position to argue. But I would say that if you've got a hard a flat surface and you pin up a few dozen of these foam tiles then it's got to help. Sure the shape of the foam might reduce certain frequencies because that's what they are designed to do. But the fact they are there means you haven't got a hard flat surface. Something else you could do is hang material on walls. That again will just stop one more hard surface being in your room. If you've got blinds across your windows then they're not really going to help you too much, so you ideally need to put heavy curtains over your windows. Now just go off on the tangent slightly here as is my want. There is a difference between improving the acoustics of your room, and soundproofing. And if you're at home in a domestic environment, there's probably not a lot you can do to reduce the amount of sound that's coming in to your space. So if you're worried about the birds tweeting outside, or the planes going over, or next door's motorbike or lawn mower or the dog barking...yes, heavy curtains will help a little bit. But it's very hard to keep those sounds out because they come in from under the floor from above via the roof. And if anyone's got a window open elsewhere in the house, it's going to come in there and come through your door. It's hard to have a soundproof environment. Unless you're lucky enough to have a basement and you can go down basically into the earth and have a quite a room down there. But if you're above the above ground, you're probably on a loser trying to keep the sound out; but you can go a long way to improving the recording acoustics of your room. Okay, any questions about making a podcast? Do let me know just use the contact form – I'm always happy to hear from you. And always happy to answer your questions. Okay, that's it for this week. Have yourself a cool weekend. See you next time around.
There are plenty of podcasters who do well just sharing their expertise and knowledge via their podcast without having to interview someone else. But if featuring guests on your podcast is something you want to do then that can be very interesting for your audience. It's quite common that people will make contact with you and ask to feature in your podcast, and that's all fine – so long as what they want to talk about aligns with what you are doing. If not; then it is often better to let them know that there isn't enough common ground...and let them down gently. It is often better to do your own research and identify people who will add real value to your podcast and be of genuine interest to your listeners. You can start with other people's podcasts to see who they are featuring in their shows, look for authors who may have released a new book that aligns with your show, write to trade bodies, search YouTube. Perhaps there are some interesting speakers at a conference near where you live, or they might be visiting your place or work or a local school. See if you can rock up with a mic and portable recorder and get a podcast recorded. But once you find them then you need to write including full details about your podcast and explain why you think they are a good fit for your show. Be prepared to let them know how many downloads you get if they ask. Once they agree to take part then book them in by setting a time to record the interview and then start researching so you can ask interesting questions. Asking good questions is where the value is for your listeners; and it shows respect to your guest. It shows you have put real effort into the conversation and that you know what you are talking about. In fact; having done the research you will feel a lot more confident talking with them. If they have written a book then read the book before the interview. Some guests may ask to see your questions before the interview so they can prepare 'better answers'. I'm not in favour of this because when people get questions ahead of time they prepare stock answers and it leads to a lack of spontaneity. Avoid this at all costs. I have declined to interview people if they insist on that condition; most have then agreed to proceed anyway and it's all turned out fine. Should you pay guests? Absolutely not. No way. If a guest asks for payment then politely decline and move on. In 30 years of interviewing people for all manner of stories I have been asked to pay anyone and nor would I. Once the podcast is published then send a link to your guest and ask if they would share it across their social media network. See EP10 for press release marketing.
I learned a long, long, time ago that having a great product doesn't automatically translate into great sales or popularity. You may offer great content that's delivered to broadcast standard, but if no one knows about it then you are wasting your time. Sure, you'll be on all the podcast distribution sites – along with everyone else – but do people know to look for you? Marketing is the key. But it has to be more than a mention on social media. You are absolutely wasting your time telling other podcasters about it (unless yours is a podcast about podcasting). Okay, let's look at shownotes. They are hopefully written up and posted on your website for search engines to index should someone be looking for what you talk about - great. Now, let's grab those shownotes and do something more. Let's write them up as a news story with a brilliantly interesting intro; engaging quotes from your guest and make it into a really interesting press release. Get it down to about 300 words so it really is a snappy read. Remember, we are selling the sizzle, not the sausage (mmm sausages). With your press release checked and ready to go send it to publications and websites that report on the things your guest talks about; ideally with a photo of you or your special guest. Include a link to your site and the podcast of course. Perhaps also include the podcast player embed code. And don't forget trade bodies linked to the subject of your podcast. Also send it to press release distribution sites. Some do charge for distribution, but there are some free ones too. Send it anywhere that might publish it (we all know the media is always crying out for content). The truth is you need to put as much work into marketing as you do producing content; especially in the first year of podcasting while you get established. But solid and consistent promotion via press releases will pay of – particularly if you become known to editors looking for your type of content.
When a company makes a box of soap their job doesn't end once the boxes are packed up and placed in the warehouse. That's when the real work starts – advertising and marketing. It's no different than when people are giving away free samples; or free podcasts. They still need to be placed into the hands of consumers who want them or who could benefit from them. In this edition of the Podcasting Made Easy podcast I explain how you can promote your podcast for free and hopefully do a little better than releasing your podcast and crossing your fingers. To be a successful podcaster you need to promote and market every podcast you make – leaving no stone unturned.
While it's all very nice sitting at home making podcasts, there's nothing more exciting than actually getting out to events such as trade shows to interview people. They can be people such as experts in their field who are visiting your town, people you might not normally get to meet. Or maybe you want to do a vox pop asking random people in the street their opinion about something. Whatever the reason, how do you free yourself up from your studio to go do this? I can tell you that it is easier than when I first started in radio when I would have to lug a reel to reel tape machine to interviews. Remember the Uher anyone? Today you can use your phone or a digital recorder; but there are some tips and tricks you'll need to know to get great results. Listen to my podcast for advice on recording interviews on location. The Uher 4000 Reporters tape machine.
We've all seen the heated debates online about which microphone to buy; but the truth is there is no correct answer. In this episode of Podcasting Made Easy I look at the many factors to consider; the recording environment, the budget, and whether you should use a condenser, dynamic or USB. I say don't buy any - use what you already have and do it anyway. But if you need to buy a microphone then my preference is dynamic.
Anyone who thinks the future of podcasting is in decline, or that there are too many podcast, need to think again. In life, as in business, one always has to follow the money and so it is interesting to see that Apple is now trying to sign up exclusive distribution deals with podcasters and to also fund podcast production too. In this episode of Podcasting Made Easy I look at a report from Bloomberg that says Apple is approaching mainstream media firms to buy exclusive rights to podcasts, and perhaps even fund podcast makers. The news sent shares in rival Spotify down 2.7%. That is big news. It's all starting to look like Apple might be the Netflix of podcasts and that could mean exclusive content is presented to Apple Podcast app users ahead of content that's available everywhere. It might be time to rethink how independent podcasters connect with their audiences.
Hello and welcome to this episode of Podcasting Made Easy. I have always been in favour of brevity. I guess it is due in part to my training as a journalist to report news in as few words as possible. It was a hard lesson when I first started out as my editor would tell me to cut my 1500 masterpeice to 450 words. Cut, cut, cut, cut! There is no such demand from anyone when it comes to podcasting; people do ramble on and on for hours at a time in some cases. But frankly, I don't have the time to listen to them all the way through and I wonder if you do too. So when I am asked "how long should my podcast be?" my answer is that there is no rule, how long is a piece of string? But ultimately; make it as short as possible. Share your information in as few words as possible; while also keeping in engaging and entertaining and understandable. According to a report out this week by Megaphone, the trend – based on a review of top podcasts listed by Apple – shows that the duration of podcasts on average is getting shorter. The report shows there has been an increase in podcasts running for between 2 and 5 minutes (and this could be down to show promos – but not always). According to Luke Riley's report the most successful podcasts run for between 30 and 70 minutes. The most popular serialized podcasts have a duration of 15 to 50 minutes, he also says the vast majority of podcasts over 60 minutes are episodic talk shows. "Despite this difference, both the most successful serialized and the most successful episodic shows are still in the same 30–70 minute range," he writes. According to data featured in his report, in 2014 there were zero podcasts that were shorter than 15 minutes. The majority were between 30 and 90 minutes. In 2019, 16% of podcasts are under the 15 minute mark, 18% are between 15 and 30 minutes, and 39% are between 30 and 45 minutes. Shorter podcasts are growing in popularity. The trend is your friend.
If you are blessed with two fully working ears then everything you hear is stereo. By default you will likely record stuff in stereo. In this episode of Podcasting Made Easy I explain why it's natural to want to produce podcasts in stereo. But there are some reasons why you shouldn't. Size does matter Stereo MP3 files will be twice the size of a mono version. This is because only half the data is needed to reproduce a mono recording than a stereo one.It's also worth noting that because each of us have only one mouth that when we speak it is in mono. When you release a podcast you want the MP3 file to be as small as possible for lots of reasons. You can (roughly) upload twice as many mono MP3s than corresponding stereo ones to your hosting plan (saving space may save you money).Not everyone has fast and unlimited internet services; so small files mean less data use for your listeners and faster downloads.Keeping your MP3 file sizes as small as possible is not just about them being mono. Look at the bit rate (KBPS) too. While 128kbps is the lowest bit rate you can use to keep music sounding anywhere near listenable; with a mono recording of a voice you can go down to 96kbps or even 80kbps. Experiment: Create a new mono 44.1khz file in your recording app, record you voice and export at 80kbps and 96kbps. Play them back and listen for any quality issues.Don't use music though, music played back at below 128k will sound rotten.If you have already uploaded your podcasts in stereo at a higher bitrate then - so long as you keep the file names exactly the same - you can replace them with versions of a smaller file size. Just by the by...I used to record all my podcast as WAV files and then export to MP3. I had gigabytes of raw podcasts and thought this was crazy. So now I record my podcasts at 128k mono and export to 96k for distribution.
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