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RoleyShow

Author: Kris Roley

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Podcasting since 2006, Roley is a look at current events, culture, creativity, and the trials and tribulations of a unconventional middle-aged man with an equally unconventional family.
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I suspect that there are a lot of people that meet the following description: You’re taken with the idea of starting a podcast. You want to do it! You have a pretty good idea of what kind of show you’d like to do, you know who your audience is, and you know how you can differentiate yourself and add some value to listeners. You also know that you work a full-time job, you’ve got kids, you have other obligations, so the amount of time that you have to dedicate to something else is so small you gave up measuring it in seconds, and you wonder if facial twitches could work as a unit of time.It doesn’t. I tried.I was reminded of this by a reader who was kind enough to comment on my last article for Medium. Reading their circumstances, it struck me how similar our situation is: Day job, multiple kids, some with special needs or serious medical issues. It would be very easy to just shrug and say “Time is fleeting, and a podcast takes the time I don’t have”. Well, it can if you have a misconception about what a podcast is.I think we should acknowledge a hard truth: If you’re flying solo, you are not going to be making a podcast of the quality of This American Life, at least not in the beginning. It’s really easy to get discouraged when you record your first episode, listen to it, and believe that your creation needs a mercy killing. We all think that way at the very beginning, and I think it’s because we have this idea that podcasts must have impeccable production. The level of production, while nice, is not as important as your message. With that in mind, let’s be very clear on what a podcast is at a bare minimum:A podcast is a piece of media that you’ve created and uploaded to the internet for others to consume when they want.With that definition in mind, you can record a podcast with the voice memos function on your smartphone. It’s not going to sound like NPR, but it doesn’t have to. All it has to do is connect with the audience you’re trying to serve. So, armed with the knowledge that you aren’t going to make the world’s greatest podcast from Day One, this frees you to make YOUR podcast, your way.Having cleared that up, let’s talk about some things you can do to help you have the time to make your podcast.Get An RSS Reader, and use it effectivelyTo help me with ideas and topics for my podcasts, I use an RSS reader app called Feedly. I subscribe to different blogs that are relevant to my interests, and I also have alerts for certain keywords. I go through my reader every day, and I bookmark any posts that look promising to me in Evernote. Speaking of which…Get yourself an Evernote AccountThe real power of Evernote isn’t in its note-taking, or it’s the ability to sync across devices and platforms. Any app can do that these days. Evernote is good at learning what you save and connects dots between new saves, and anything you’ve previously saved. Evernote’s ability to connect those dots is phenomenal, so much so that Evernote has become my trusted Showprep virtual assistant. There have been times I have had no idea what I was going to do a show about, saved one item into Evernote, and ended up with a full outline for a show in minutes. There have been times I have said to myself “I forgot I saved that!”Use the ‘hurry up and wait’ timeAs a loyal husband who loves his wife, I find myself in the traditional “hold my purse moments” near the dressing room at Target. I also find myself waiting to pick people up a lot. I spend a lot of time waiting for people, and that is time I could be using my iPhone to go through Feedly and save to Evernote.Develop a show templateIn a recent article, I said this:Knowing that you have, say, four segments to your show that need to be filled with specific content makes your job easier when it comes time to find that content and plug it into your template. Show prep becomes easier, and you’re not breaking your brain thinking of something to say out of the blue with no content to support it.I have found that using a show template cuts down on the amount of time you dedicate to show prep as well. I would suggest blocking out a fixed amount of time once a week to plug your material into the template and fill in the blanks. Please remember that you don’t have to make your show fit a minimum amount of time. If you only have a five-minute show, then do a five-minute show. Don’t try to stretch it out longer looking for things to say. When people do that, unless they are very good at improvising, the show suffers as a result. Follow the formula you’ve made.Batch RecordIf you’ve been around marketing and entrepreneurial podcasting for any length of time, you know the name, John Lee Dumas. JLD is the podcaster behind Entrepreneurs On Fire. When he started EOF, he did a 7 day a week interview podcast for many years, through April of 2018 when it appears he changed to every couple days. He accomplished this by using two very effective things: He developed a template and asked the same questions of each guest, and he batch-recorded all the shows for a month in a few consecutive sessions over 3 or four days. JLD is as busy as we are, maybe more. If JLD can block out time from his very busy day to record some shows, we can block out part of a day to record 4 shows, one for each week of a month. I carry a mobile podcasting rig in my sling bag and can record a show in my SUV if I need to. I use a production template in my audio editing program and plug my vocal track in there with the existing intro and outro music, and export it. From there I make show notes, upload it to my podcast host and we’re done. Now, recording a batch of shows and getting it uploaded in that same period might be a big task if you’re strapped for time, and so my final suggestion for you is…Stay Ahead Of The GameSeth Godin is one of the original bloggers, and one of the first marketing types in the space. His blog is remarkable in that he has put out written content every day since January 2002. he was once asked how far in advance he wrote, and Seth replied that if he were to pass away tomorrow, people probably wouldn’t know it for a year or so. Seth stays well ahead of the game.There is no rule in podcasting that says you have to do things that are time-sensitive and must be released immediately. When you start gathering material for your first podcasts, make it a point to stay timeless, and prep the first 8 or 12 episodes, and produce the first 4 in one monthly session. Stay 2 to 3 months ahead if you can. That way you aren’t under any time pressure, and if something happens in your niche that is time-sensitive and must be addressed on your show, you can do that as a one-off and not worry about messing up your pipeline.BONUS!No law says you must podcast daily, or even weekly. As long as you have set the expectations of your audience, Do the show on the schedule it takes to make the best shows you can.I hope these suggestions help you create something you can be proud of. Know this, though: You are braver and better than tons of people who never try. Just putting yourself out there is courageous, and you should be proud of that.
Let’s set the scene: You have recorded an amazing podcast. It’s got amazing content, you’ve got a clear point to get across, and you’re excited to get it out to people…and no one sees it.I can’t tell you the number of times this happened to me in the past. Not only that, but on the occasions where I found I had a ‘hit’, I couldn’t figure out why. There didn’t seem to be a pattern at all. Why were some podcasts getting more attention than others? It finally hit me. I wasn’t naming my episodes in a way where they could be found by someone searching for that subject, and I realized I had to change my ways.In the early days of podcasting, you might have been able to get away with naming your episode Episode 1, or use the name of your show and the date. That’s just not the world we live in anymore. We live an a world with hundreds of thousands of podcasts, and surely hundreds devoted to the same subject you’re talking about on your show. If you want them to find you, you have to give yourself every advantage towards being found more easily than someone else.Look at the title of this post. “The Biggest Mistake New Podcasters Make”. Now look at the other more recent posts. “The Three Questions You Need To Ask Before Starting A Podcast”, or “How Often Should I Podcast?” Three Things to Consider” These are descriptive titles that tell you what that post is about. Podcast Episodes should be no different.If Mary has never heard of Rush, and wants to know what album she should start with, she’s going to search Google or her podcast app of choice. So, if she searches for ‘Best Rush Album”, and you have an episode called “Why Permanent Waves is the Best Rush Album EVER.”, Mary might be intrigued enough to click on the link and check out your podcast. If your show is titled “Episode 21, July 26th, 2019: Permanent Waves”, while it does tell someone what the episode is about, it doesn’t exactly scream PICK ME. You want them to pick you.I realize that writing podcast titles that sound like Buzzfeed Listicles sounds like clickbait, or at least what some would describe as clickbait. My definition of clickbait is a title that doesn’t represent what the article says. If I tell you that Permanent Waves is the best album ever, and then back it up, it’s not bait.By doing this, you’re also giving the seeker another way to find you. Maybe they don’t know the name of your show, or your name. Maybe they only know what your podcast is about. Ideally, you have the name of what you’re podcasting about in your show title, so you can be found that way. However, you can also be found by subject, and now, by episode title. Search terms like “Roley, Rush, Permanent Waves, Best Rush Album, and Rush Podcast” may just bring up your podcast.The whole point is to be found. Write better episode titles that tell people what your podcast is about, and help them find you.
Another one of the questions new podcasters ask is how often they should release episodes, and just like questions about podcast length, this has as many answers as there are podcasters. There really is no right answer to this one.I have done daily, weekly, and bi weekly shows. I have done ‘seasons’ where all the shows were completed prior to the release of the first episode. I seem to vacillate between all of these depending on what I think I want out of my podcast at the time. As I write this, I am writing a season of podcasts to be released weekly.I have some items for you to consider when determining how often you should release episodes.*** Is it time sensitive? **Especially true for current events shows, but if your industry changes rapidly, then you may want to consider multiple shows a week.*** What is your situation? **I still have trouble with this myself, but let me drive this point home for both of us: you don’t need to drop and episode daily or weekly. It’s great that other shows do, but you are not those shows and you shouldn’t compare yourself to what other established shows are doing. Do the show on the schedule you can stick to, and please remember that it’s not a mortal sin to need to change it as long as you let your listeners know in advance.Is this binge-worthy?If you can’t stick to a schedule, is the content something you can produce en masse and then drop as a season of anywhere to 6 to 12 episodes? I think this approach is getting more and more popular lately now that the big boys have used it successfully, and because we are becoming a culture that consumes media that way. Look at the new season (at time or writing) of Stranger Things, or the people that wait for a season—or series— of a popular show to end so they can watch it all at once.Whatever you do, don’t stick to a deadline for the sake of sticking to a deadline. I’ve done this, and the shows suffer as a result. If it takes you two weeks to drop a home run episode, than I’d rather you do that than make a daily or weekly show that can’t get on base.Make a show you’re proud of, on the schedule it takes to deliver excellence.
There are as many answers to how long a podcast should be as there are podcasters, and the truth is there's no set answer. For every person that tells you that you should keep things short, there's someone else who will be more than happy to tell you that Joe Rogan or John Gruber can go for 3 hours and are wildly successful.I came across this question once on Quora. For the uninitiated, Quora is a platform where users can ask questions and receive answers from people with varying degrees of knowledge. No sooner had I shared my opinion—and I always emphasize that this is my opinion—another podcaster that I lump in with the 'gurus' disagreed with me. In fact, he gave me the contrary advice I mention at the beginning of this article.The simple fact is that neither of us is right. The problem is that neither of us is wrong, and someone else will come along and disagree with both of us.So, in an area where there is no right or wrong answer, I'm going to share my take on it.My smarmy pod-guru friend is right. There are a number of people who have podcasts that last well over an hour, but in my opinion, those people are known outside the world of podcasting, and had an existing audience they brought with them into the podcasting space. Those listeners have already bought in, and they're going to listen to that show no matter how long it is. You and I? We might not be as fortunate. For that reason, I think starting with a show length a bit more reasonable is a good idea.There is an opinion that you should use the average commute time as a reference point. According to the US Census Bureau, the average time as of the last report for 2017 is 26.9 minutes. I can think of several popular podcasts I listen to right off the top of my head that is less time than that, and they all have one thing in common: They're all of a news headlines variety and they run Monday through Friday.I'll grant you that this is anecdotal, but in my experience, most of the podcasts that I run across—and indeed most of the ones I subscribe to, are less than an hour. I think there's a 'podcast sweet spot' of around between 35-45 for most podcasts. While there's no right answer, I can make the argument that there does appear to be a rule of thumb.What I don't want you to do is fall into the trap of cutting a good show down. I also don't want you to stretch a lousy show up to fill time. Your podcast should take as long as it takes. If you have the material to take a show long, do it. If you think it's too long, then make it a multi-part episode over a few weeks. Or, make some of it 'bonus content' for Patreons, If If you only have enough material for a 10 minute or less podcast, do that.In the final analysis, it's not about the time, but how you fill it.
In my last article, I made the case that there are three different types of podcasters: The Hobbyist, The Corporate Podcaster, and The Entrepreneur. Each one has their place in the world of podcasting, and I believe every one of them belongs here. You might come into the world of podcasting for fun, and find yourself as an entrepreneur at a later time. You might create a podcast for the company you work for, and do something for fun in your off time. You may end up doing all three if you're in the game long enough.In 2006 when I started, podcasting was still very much a pirate thing, and there weren't any 'rules.' Incidentally, there weren't as many podcasts out there either. Today, according to Nielsen and Edison, there are at least 700,000 live podcasts. You're free to take anything I'm saying with a massive grain of salt, but if the days of "If you build it, they will come' were ever a thing in podcasting, those days are long gone. If you want them to listen and subscribe to your show, then you need to make something people can find and want to listen to.If you're a hobbyist, this may not be that important to you. That's fine. Podcasting can and should be fun. However, if you are a podcaster that wants a following, engagement, community, and a possible way to market a product or service down the road, then there are some things to consider.To my mind, there are three questions that any podcaster who is serious about the craft needs to answer.What's It About?While this would seem to be an obvious question, it would astound you how many people simply turn on a microphone and just ramble all over the place. Full disclosure, I've done this as well. Go look at the descriptions of podcasts and see how many of them are a variant of "whatever I feel like talking about." If you look at the reviews, you may not see many. In fact, you may only see less than 10 episodes, the last one being more than six months ago. Why? Because they didn't define the show. If you can't describe the show, then you can't tag it correctly in Podcast Directories. You can't write a good description. You won't know where you should promote it, or you promote it in place that will have no interest at all in your show. If you can't do these things, then no one is going to find it.Who's It For?Do you know who your audience is? I have a client that uniquely found his audience. In fact, without this experience, he wouldn't have a podcast. He's a Civil War historian from the South, with a contrarian point of view from other southern Civil War' Historians' (quotes mine) you have actually heard of. He made a video explaining this on Twitter, and it went viral. He had a built-in audience of hundreds before he even decided to do a podcast. When he announced that he was thinking about it, his audience enthusiasticaly encouraged him. Ten episodes in, he's doing quite well, and he's leveraged it to drive people to a Patreon account that is pulling in over 100 a month. Not bad for a first time podcaster who's still learning.He found his audience and a passionate one at that. Do you know who your audience is? What's your subject? What are you passionate about? Try testing it out as my client did. Post your idea somewhere on social media where you're comfortable with it. See if it travels beyond your followers. Does it engage with people who usually never engage with you? Does it get the attention of Opal in Toledo* who you've never met? If it does, you may be on to something. Test it out.Why would ANYONE listen to this?Of all the questions needing to be answered here, this one is possibly the most important. After all, there's a bazillion podcasts about podcasting or creative work out there. Why in the heck would anyone want to listen to mine? How am I different?With over 700,000 podcasts out there, the market for every niche is filled in some way. Do some market research. Listen to the other people in your category. What are they doing? In the Podcasts about Podcasting category, most of the people I hear are about the marketing aspect and less about what appealed to me back at the very beginning. The appeal was the act of creating art for fun, for therapy, for a purpose, for any reason that floats your boat, and in direct opposition to the supposed podcasting 'gurus' who believe—in my opinion—that podcasting should be done by certain people with a particular purpose. I rebel against that philosophy, as any good pirate should. That is the podcast I wish to present to the world, and I think that's why people should listen. Find what sets you apart from the others in your space. That's your lane to occupy.This is the very beginning of the process, but if you're treating podcasting as a serious venture, then you really can't afford to overlook this. Answering these questions provides you clarity. If you have clarity at the very beginning, then every other decision you make as you go through the process is less complicated.
I know I've said it until I'm blue in the face: Everybody can be a podcaster. So can you. But what kind of podcaster are you?
There have been some big changes to Apple Podcast landing Pages and Google Search. Both mean good things for podcasters.Apple have changed their podcast landing pages so that podcasts can be played right from the Apple Podcast page for your podcast.Google search has begun indexing podcasts. This means that your podcast can come up in seach results right next to websites, blog posts, and videos. Like Apple, you can play the podcast right from the search results page.Both of these things mean great things for you as a podcaster, if you've invested some time in making sure your podcasts are optimized for search, and tagged appropriately. Have you done that.This is a great time to make sure.
After doing some client work this past week, I bring up some simple rules for recording and editing guests on your podcast.LINK:http://soundcloud.com/OutlawHistory
Have you ever noticed that some of our favorite podcasts follow a certain path on every show? For example, one of my favorite tech podcasts follows a very predictable pattern. There’s a small preshow banter, followed by any announcements or housecleaning issues. Next they go into follow up, then they get to the News or Featured Topics of the week. Finally, they have a Q&A segment, and possibly some post credit banter. Strangely, this format is also done by the majority of long form tech podcasts, and at least one comedy podcast co-hosted by someone who also appears on these same tech podcasts.Go figure.I say all of this to say that this didn’t come along by accident. One podcast started this format, and a co-host or a guest on that show liked it, and used it on their podcast, and so on. It’s easy and predictable. Also, because a lot of these particular podcasts are produced on Macs, they can embed chapter marks in their podcasts so that the listener can scrub through things they don’t care about.Using a template to map your podcast out may be one of the smartest things you can do for your podcastHere are __ reasons why you may want to consider it.IT STREAMLINES YOUR SHOWPREPI can’t tell you how many times I have sat down in front of my microphone, loaded up Audio Hijack, hit record...and nothing came out. My brain literally switched off the second I hit that record button. A lot of the time I’ll sit down with an idea of what I want to talk about, but it’s not fully formed or mapped out. Learning to fly by the seat of my pants was something I had to learn how to do early on. You never knew if you were going to be stuck on mic because somebody or something left you hanging, so you needed the ability to just go, and try to sound intelligent. As podcasters, we have the luxury of hitting stop if we don’t sound the way we’d like, but what if we don’t sound like ANYTHING? We draw a blank? Knowing that you have, say, four segments to your show that need to be filled with specific content makes your job easier when it comes time to find that content and plug it into your template. SHOWPREP becomes easier, and you’re not breaking your brain thinking of something to say out of the blue with no content to support it. I find—and you may as well—that it is easier to talk about something than it is to make something up to talk about.IT TEACHES YOUR LISTENERSOne of the common bits of feedback I have received from time to time is that my other show follows no specific format. Now in the case of that’s show, it’s by design. I like RoleyShow to be as freeform as possible, and what I talk about on Monday may be 180 degrees removed from Tuesday’s show. I think my listeners have come to expect that my show is about as frenetic as I am, so they have learned that I jump around. Ive made that change after years of podcasting a different way. If you’re just starting out, or if you’re podcasting about a particular niche, then it might be a good idea to make use of a show template. It makes your podcast what some folks might call ‘snackable’. Maybe I don’t need to hear follow up, I can scrub right through that. Maybe I just want to hear the main idea of your show. Maybe I sent in a question or a comment and I want to skip straight to that. If you’re consistently using a show template, it helps your listeners go to where they want to go in your show for what they want.Now, some of you might be saying that making the show skippable in that way hurts the show. I think exactly the opposite. Make your show as listener friendly as possible, and they’ll keep listening in the long run. That long run is much more valuable to you than today or this week.IT PROVIDES NATURAL STOPPING POINTSUnless you’re doing an interview show or another kind of show where you need to keep rolling all the way through, I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to do a podcast all in one take. If you’re using a show template, then you can hit stop, save your file and move on to the next segment. Take a short break or a stretch to get yourself back to center, hit record and keep going. That way you can sound fresh and engaging all the way through the show. Some hosts start blazing, but after about 10 minutes, you can hear the voice starting to get raspy, their energy level is fading, and by the time the show is ending both you AND the host are ready for it to be over. Don’t be like that.Also, if you’re planning to monetize your podcast in some way, these stopping points are the perfect place for ads or other kinds of monetization alternatives. Back in the early days I remember one very big podcaster putting in mid rolls for their show, and it certainly lived up toit’s name: These ads would literally drop in the middle of sentences. But the time you got back to the show, you forgot what they were saying. That’s poor practice, and you’ll lose listeners that way after too terribly long. Create space for those opportunities by being able to finish thoughts before moving on to an Ad.IT MAKES REPURPOSING CONTENT EASIERWhat if those segments could be repurposed into blog posts, or Medium articles, or Linked in or IGTV videos? The larger your reach out from your podcast, the more attention your podcast will get. The way to do that is to consider making parts of your podcast—these separated segments—available in other formats at other places, with a link back to your website or wherever your podcast home is. Ideally, you’ll have your own dot com, but that’s a story for another day.
Just because you don't hit a home run when the first episode drops doesn't mean you failed at launching a podcast. You're just placing a very large and unnecessary expectation on yourself.Just Do Your Show.
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