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Discount for Podcast Award Nominees and Finalists

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Congratulations to the nominees and finalists for The 8th Annual Podcast Awards, which are hosted by Podcast Connect, emceed by Leo Laporte, and held in conjunction with New Media Expo in January at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas. We look forward to meeting the many nominees and finalists in person and want to extend an invitation to all of them to join us at the awards ceremony on January 7th.

Since the people who nominated the shows are not required to provide the podcaster’s contact information, we’re unable to reach all 5,000 nominees directly. However, Podcast Connect has compiled a list of the finalists below and we would like to invite each of them to provide their contact information so we can correspond with them. Additionally, all 5,000 Podcast Award nominees who confirm contact info will be added to New Media Expo’s Podcast Directory and will be given a discount to attend New Media Expo.

If you’re one of the nominees, we’re pleased to offer you a 30% on any NMX conference pass so you can attend our three-day event. A minimum purchase of an Exhibit Hall Only Pass is required to attend the 8th Annual Podcast Awards.

Nominees: Confirm your contact information here

If you’re one of the finalists below, we’d like to sweeten the deal and offer you a 50% discount on any NMX conference pass. Again, a minimum purchase of an Exhibit Hall Only Pass is required to attend the 8th Annual Podcast Awards.

Finalists: Confirm your contact information

New Media Expo is the world’s largest conference for bloggers, podcasters, and web TV and video creators. We hope you’ll join your fellow podcasters and other content creators at the conference and come congratulate the Podcast Award winners in person!

 

7th Row Center – Movies / Films
A Survival Guide 4 Christian Men – Religion Inspiration
Alcohollywood – Food and Drink
Amateur Traveler – Travel
Americana Rock Mix – PodSafe Music
Ardent Atheist – Religion Inspiration
Astronomy cast – Science
Authentic Life Radio – Entertainment
Awakenings – Cultural / Arts
Bad Dice Podcast – Gaming
Basic Brewing Radio – Food and Drink
Be Our Guest Podcast – Travel
Beat Feed – PodSafe Music
Beauty and Da Beast – Comedy
Bend Over and Take It – GLBT
Best of the Left – Best Produced
Between the Sheets – Mature
Bleeding Edge TV – Peoples Choice
Bleeding Edge TV – Best Video Podcast
Build and Analyze – Technology
Career-Tools – Business
Caustic Soda – Best Produced
Caustic Soda – Education
CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Podcast – Sports
Citizen Radio – Comedy
CoasterRadio.com – Travel
Cocktails and Cream Puffs – Peoples Choice
Cocktails and Cream Puffs – GLBT
Cognitive Dissonance – Religion Inspiration
Comedy Bang Bang – Comedy
Common Sense with Dan Carlin – Politics / News
Coverville – PodSafe Music
Day in Tech History – Education
DH UNPlugged – General
Dining with Doug and Karen – Food and Drink
Disney Parks Podcast – Travel
Doug Loves Movies – Movies / Films
Dubious Intent – Best Produced
Electric Politics – Politics / News
Encouraging Others Through Christ – Religion Inspiration
Ending Human Trafficking Podcast – Education
ESPN Fantasy Focus Baseball – Sports
ESPN Fantasy Focus Football – Sports
ESPN Fantasy Underground – Sports
ESPN Football Today – Sports
ESPN: Fantasy Focus Football – Peoples Choice
F5 Live – Technology
Feast of Fun – GLBT
Film Sack – Movies / Films
Foul Monkeys – GLBT
Freakonomics – Business
Freight Train Boogie – PodSafe Music
FUHCast – Comedy
Gamertag Radio – Best Produced
Gamertag Radio – Gaming
Gay Sunday Brunch – GLBT
Geek in the City – Cultural / Arts
Geekazine – Best Produced
GeekBeat.TV – Best Video Podcast
Get Fit Guy – Health / Fitness
Giant Bombcast – Gaming
Golf Smarter – Sports
Google At A Glance – Technology
Grammar Girl – Education
Greetings from Nowhere – General
Gunfighter Cast – Education
Half Size Me – Health / Fitness
Hardcore History – Education
Hollywood Babble On – Entertainment
Homoground – GLBT
How Did This Get Made? – Movies / Films
Internet Box – Peoples Choice
Internet Box Podcast – General
Irish & Celtic Music Podcast – PodSafe Music
Iron radio – Health / Fitness
Is It A Bicycle – Movies / Films
James VanOsdol Show – PodSafe Music
Jillian Michaels – Health / Fitness
Life on the Swingset – Mature
Live Wire! Podcast radio – PodSafe Music
Livelihood Show – Best Produced
Livelihood Show – Business
Locked on Jazz – Sports
Manager Tools – Peoples Choice
Manager-Tools – Business
Marek vs. Wyshynski – Sports
Mars Hill Church Sermons – Religion Inspiration
Metrobuzz – Comedy
Mike and Tom Eat Snacks – Food and Drink
Minecraft Me – Gaming
Mommys cocktail hour – Food and Drink
More Than One Leason – Religion Inspiration
Mormon FAIR-Cast – Religion Inspiration
MouseChat – Travel
Mousetalgia – Travel
My Brother, My Brother, and Me – Comedy
Mysterious Universe – Science
NASA EDGE – Best Video Podcast
NASA ScienceCasts – Science
Nightlock Podcast – General
No Agenda – Politics / News
NSFW – Entertainment
Nutrition Diva – Health / Fitness
Old Time Radio Westerns – Cultural / Arts
ONCE Podcast – Entertainment
OperaNow! – Cultural / Arts
Orange Lounge Radio – Gaming
Paging Dr. Nerdlove – Mature
Paracast – Science
Philosophy In Action – General
PNSexplosion – Mature
Podcacher – Best Produced
PodCacher – Technology
PolyCast – Best Produced
Radiolab – Science
Ramble Redhead – GLBT
RBR Weekly Wrestling Talk – Entertainment
Reasonable Doubts – Religion Inspiration
Rebel FM – Gaming
Rebellion Radio – General
Recovered: #1 Recovery Podcast – Health / Fitness
Rob Has a Website – Entertainment
Rooster Teeth Podcast – Peoples Choice
Ruby Rogues – Technology
Rundgren Radio – PodSafe Music
Savage Love – Mature
Scam School – Best Video Podcast
Science Friday – Science
Scream Queenz – GLBT
Secretly Timid – General
Sex Nerd Sandra – Mature
Should I Drink That – Food and Drink
Sklarbro Country – Sports
Slate Political Gabfest – Politics / News
Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn – Peoples Choice
Smart Passive Income Podcast – Business
Smart People Podcast – Education
Spill – Movies / Films
Spilled Milk – Food and Drink
Star Wars in Character – Movies / Films
Stolen Droids Podcast – Technology
Strangers and Aliens – Religion Inspiration
Stuff to Blow Your Mind – Science
Stuff You Should Know – Science
Super Human Radio – Health / Fitness
Sword and Laser – Cultural / Arts
Tech Chop – Best Video Podcast
TechStuff – Technology
Ted Talks – Best Video Podcast
The Adam Carolla Show – Mature
The Americana Music Show – PodSafe Music
The Audacity to Podcast – Technology
The Beerists – Food and Drink
The Best of the Left – Politics / News
The British History podcast – Education
The Bugle – Politics / News
The Captain SIB Show – PodSafe Music
The China History Podcast – Cultural / Arts
The Comedy Button – Peoples Choice
The Conversation Hub – General
The Dave Ramsey Show – Business
The Disciplined Investor – Peoples Choice
The Disciplined Investor – Business
The Engaging Brand – Business
The Fringe Podcast – Best Produced
The Fringe Podcast – Entertainment
The Geekbox – Gaming
The Green Light Show – Comedy
The Higherside Chats – General
The History Chicks – Education
The History of WWII Podcast – Cultural / Arts
The Hollywood Outsider – Movies / Films
The Independent Characters – Gaming
The Indoor Kids – Gaming
The iPad Show – Best Video Podcast
The Josie Show – Entertainment
The Majority Report – Peoples Choice
The Majority Report – Politics / News
The marathon Show – Health / Fitness
The Matthew Aaron Show – Entertainment
The Mental Illness Happy Hour – Health / Fitness
The Morning Stream – Politics / News
The Moth – Cultural / Arts
The Naked Scientist – Science
The Naughty Show – Mature
The Newbie Writers Podcast – Education
The Open Book Audio Podcast – Cultural / Arts
The Other Side of Live! – General
The Paleo Solution – Health / Fitness
The Queen City Experience – GLBT
The Rachel Maddow Show – Politics / News
The Ramen Noodle – Comedy
The Rooster Teeth Podcast – Gaming
The Scif-Fi Christian – Religion Inspiration
The Season Pass Podcast – Travel
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe – Science
The Splendid Table – Food and Drink
The Sporkful – Food and Drink
The Stuart Bedasso Show – Mature
The Totally Rad Show – Best Video Podcast
The Townstone Financial Show – Business
The Tribe – Best Produced
The Unofficial One Piece Podcast – Entertainment
The Vergecast – Best Video Podcast
The Young Turks – Best Video Podcast
Theatre Geeks – Cultural / Arts
This is Hell – Politics / News
This Is Only A Test – Technology
Throwing Shade – GLBT
Ventchat – Mature
W.E.D.nesday Show – Travel
Walking The Room – Comedy
Wall Street Journal This Morning – Business
WDW Radio – Travel
We Hate Movies! – Movies / Films
Wedway Radio – Travel
Who-Dey Weekly – Sports
WTF with Marc Maron – Comedy
Yeah Its That Bad – Movies / Films
Your Website Engineer – Technology

Why You Want To Make Your Listener Forget

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Image Credit: Shaileshnanal

There is a primary reason most people seek entertainment. They want to escape reality. Help your listener make their escape by making them forget they are listening to a recording.

People want to forget about their troubles of the day. To get away, they watch movies, go to concerts, watch television, listen to radio and spend time with your podcast. People get wrapped up in another time, place and story. This makes them forget about their reality, even if it is only for a short time.

Take them to another place with your podcast by using stories. Make your storytelling so strong that their imaginations put your listener in another time and place. That’s what great storytelling is all about. That’s what great relationships are all about. It is engagement.

So, how do you make them forget? How do you engage and entertain to the point where your listener is so engrossed with your content that they forget about everything else? What are the steps to create a great story?

Take a few tips from movies and television. Tell compelling stories just like the movies.

Here are the five things you need to remember in order to create great tales for your podcast.

1. Have great characters

Every story has great characters. You may love them. You may hate them. Either way, you remember them, because they stir emotions within you.

The characters are well-defined. You feel like you know them. During the story, you find yourself either rooting for them or against them.

Podcasts create these characters in various ways. It may be the host that is the character. The host may tell stories about others. The people defined in the e-mail questions answered during the show could be the characters of the stories. You could take phone calls or voicemail questions from people. Their voice alone helps define their character. Live guests with colorful backgrounds are also a source for great characters.

“Billie Jo, single mother of two who works as a waitress in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make ends meet” is somebody you can begin to envision in your imagination. “She uses her kids to shoplift” completely changes your perception of her.

Great characters get your audience wrapped up in the story, so they forget they are listening to a recording.

 

2. Create some tension

All good stories have a plot. As we learned in composition class, great drama and tension create a solid plot. The protagonist must overcome the dilemma. Your listener begins to wonder what will happen next.

Podcasts that answer listener questions create some tension. The listener typically has a problem they need solved. This typically isn’t an Earth-shattering problem. However, it is a form of tension.

Great guests have usually overcome some obstacle to achieve their success. These obstacles create great tension in the story. Help your guests define that tension.

Tension in the story gets your audience wondering what will happen next. Once your listener gets focused on your story, they begin to forget about their reality. That’s what great stories are all about.

 

3. Use great details

Details make stories come to life. When you use vivid details, your listener can smell the air. They see the colors. They can hear the sounds. Your details put the listener in the moment.

You can tell a story in one of two ways.

The first way would have no details.

I stopped at a diner to grab some dinner.

That line does very little to stir the imagination and transport you to another time and place.

The second way incorporates vivid details.

Dinner would be the first meal I would have that day. I stepped into the roadside diner and shook off the snowy, December cold. The beat of the jukebox and bubbly chatter of the locals began to warm me even before I could take a seat at the barstooled counter to order my biscuits and gravy.

The detailed story begins to stir your imagination. You can feel the cold. You can hear the jukebox and crowd. You can almost smell the diner food. When those senses are activated, you begin to forget you’re listening to a recording.

 

4. Have a resolution

The resolution is the payoff to every great story. It is the climax to the movie plot. It is the “happily ever after.” The resolution puts the bow on the whole package.

Your resolution comes when you follow through with whatever you were hoping to make your audience feel. It could be the answer to the question. It could be the breakthrough success of your guest. You could wrap up the story with the punchline to the funny tale. Your resolution is where you solve the conflict and tension.

 

5. Me, not us

Talk to your audience one-on-one. Make your podcast personal by treating every listener as an individual. The more personal you get, the more engaged your listener will become.

Notice the tone of this writing. I’m talking directly to you. I’m helping you with your podcast. I’m not addressing “you guys.” I’m not talking to “all of you.” Sure, I’m writing for many. But when you read this, I’m writing for you and only you.

If I’m talking to you, you will in turn feel responsible to listen. If I’m talking to “all of you,” it becomes easier to assume somebody else will listen if you want to stay focused on something else. Engage by speaking one-on-one.

When you record your podcast, you need to create that wonderful theater of the mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading fiction or talking about gardening, put your audience in the moment. Transport them to another time and place.

Make your podcast entertaining by creating great stories using the five elements. Great stories have great characters. Engage your audience with some tension. Spark the imagination of your audience with vivid details. Wrap the story up with the resolution. Finally, speak to your listener with a one-on-one tone. Stories help your listener forget about their troubles of the day.

Try to incorporate stories in every podcast. Stories will help them escape reality. Make your listener forget they are listening to a recording.

November is Podcasting Month at NMX

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November is Podcasting Month here at NMX and we’re excited to salute our podcast community! Here are some of the highlights of our month-long celebration of podcasting:

  • We’ll be hosting podcasting-related topics four times per week on the NMX Facebook page. Stop by and participate in the conversation Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 1:00pm EST/10am PT.
  • NMX blog contributor Daniel M. Clark has been working on a top-secret project that will be unveiled during Podcasting Month! If you want to get on the podcasting bandwagon, stay tuned!

Lastly, for those of you who may not know, this month is #NaPodPoMo (National Podcast Post Month). Podcasters are challenged to podcast every day for 30 days. Will you take the challenge?

Stay tuned to the blog and to our social channels for more about NMX’s Podcasting Month. This November we’re “thankful” for podcasters!

Photo Credit: Bigstock

6 Steps to Becoming a Podcaster

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One year and some weeks ago, I wrote an article here at Blogw—well, at the time it was Blogworld—called A Beginner’s Guide to Podcasting Basics. Thinking about what I wanted to write this week, I figured re-visiting that might be a good idea. More and more people are becoming interested in the medium all the time, after all. Does becoming a podcaster really come down to six steps? Well… not really. There’s a lot more steps once you start to break it down. Still, in the interest of not scaring people away, let’s just call it six.

Create a Show Overview

It would be cliché of me to say that if you fail to plan you plan to fail, right? So, I won’t say that. What I will say, is that planning and preparation begins long before you fire up the microphone and start making mouth noise. Start at the beginning. Open up Evernote, Word, Pages, Notepad, TextEdit—a pencil and paper will do. What I suggest is creating a document that will serve as your roadmap going forward.

  • What will your show be about? Knitting? Comedy? Baseball cards? The tragic rise and fall of the Turkish empire? Kangaroos? (It should totally be about kangaroos.)
  • Who will be hosting and/or co-hosting?
  • When will you record?
  • How long will the episodes be? Fifteen minutes? Half hour? More?
  • Who will the audience be? Where will you find them?
These questions should get you thinking broadly about the general direction of the show. You might also consider ideas for the artwork, how it will fit into your website (or if you need a new website), and how you might monetize the show (if at all).

Gear Up

You have many, many choices when it comes to podcasting equipment. Start cheap. If you’re a new podcaster and you don’t know if you’re going to enjoy it or not, there is no sense at all in spending a lot of money. Gearing up can mean simply buying a USB microphone headset if you don’t have one already, and a decent one can be found on Amazon, at Best Buy or at Walmart (to name just a few) for as little as $20-25.

Eventually, once you realize how awesome podcasting is and how much fun you’re totally having, you may want to upgrade to more professional equipment. A pro microphone, together with a mixer and a pair of pro headphones might set you back several hundred dollars, but you’ll sound like a million bucks.

Close enough.

Part of gearing up is considering your recording environment. You likely have a room you can record in. A bedroom or home office is good, but beware of room acoustics if the room is large. Too much echo, or reverb, can have an undesirable effect on your podcast. If you can’t find a room without a terrible echo… try a closet. Just remember to come out for air every now and then.

Record!

The fun part! You have your overview, you have a microphone and something to record your voice. You have Skype set up to bring in a co-host if necessary. Everything looks great, LET’S DO THIS THING! If you are hardware-based, you will likely have a dedicated digital audio recording device, but if you’re starting off with a USB headset and your computer, you’ll need software. The free Audacity app is a great choice for both PC and Mac users. Macs come with Garageband, which is also good, and if you have the budget, Adobe Audition is available for PCs and Macs.

Position your microphone correctly for best results: not too close to your mouth, not too far away. The key is to position it in such a way that you’re not breathing on it. Outside of a Star Wars podcast, nobody wants to hear Darth Vader on the mic. Test! Don’t press record for the first time and do your show for an hour—you need to test. Record a minute and play it back. See how it sounds. Once you’re happy, launch into your content.

Edit

If you want your show to sound professional, if you want to build an audience, you need to edit. This does not mean removing every second of dead air, nor does it mean removing every instance of “um” or “ah”. Aggressive editing of things like that can make your show sound stilted and unnatural. Twenty second pauses? Sure, cut those out. It’s about being reasonable.

More important though, is to take care of the most basic editing task: setting your levels. Your volume mustn’t be too loud. If it’s too low, listeners will have to crank their volume to hear you and then when they go to play a Justin Beiber song right afterward, their speakers will get blown out. And who will they blame?

His victims are innumerable, but you can’t pin this on him.

They’ll blame you for not setting your levels correctly, and then they’ll unsubscribe from your podcast. Every editor has a meter that shows you the levels. Aim for -6 dB to -1dB. That’s the range you want your levels to bounce in. Try for the sweet spot right in the middle of that and you’ll have it right.

Publish

Once you’ve recorded and edited, it’s time to give your show to the world. Although you don’t technically need your own website, you really should have one, and it really should be based on WordPress. While it is possible to be a podcaster using a different platform, it is not recommended unless you already have extensive knowledge of that platform. Podcasting support and resources for non-Wordpress platforms tends to be very thin.

Your show’s MP3 file needs a home, and it should not be on a shared web hosting environment. Shared web hosts will shut you down if you chew up too many system resources, and a popular show serving up 30-50 MB files to thousands of people is considered out-of-bounds. A dedicated media host like Libsyn or Blubrry is the way to go.

Get Feedback, Grow

Arguably the most important part of being a podcaster isn’t the equipment, isn’t the show, it’s the audience and the feedback they provide. Your show isn’t perfect. Your audience will tell you what needs fixing. If you fix it, you grow. If you don’t, you lose your audience and then it doesn’t matter that you spend $300 on a microphone because nobody is listening. Make feedback easy for them to send and for you to collect. A contact page on your site is vital. A listener call-in line (free through Google Voice) is awesome. Making yourself available on Twitter (and to a lesser extent in my opinion, Facebook) is a great idea.

That’s it, Right?

Nah, that’s not it. Like I said, there’s way more than six steps once you start breaking these things down into their components. My aim here is to outline the basics in such a way that people interested in podcasting will have a general overview of what the process is like. Thoughts? Questions? The comment section below is wide open, I’d love to hear from you.

Help! I Hate The Sound Of My Voice!

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Photo Credit: TheCult

“I hate the way I sound.”

I hear that complaint quite often. Many people do not like the sound of their own voice. It is quite common.

It is also quite natural to dislike the sound of you own voice when hearing a recorded version of it in your podcast. When you talk, the bones in your head vibrate adding to the qualities you naturally hear. When you hear a recording of your voice, those vibrations are absent causing your voice to sound different to you.

The natural bone vibrations also make you do some unnecessary acrobatics with your voice when using headphones. The bone vibrations combined with the enclosed nature of your headphones cause you to hear your “big announcer voice” in a much different way than the listener hears it. You tend to speak in ways you don’t normally speak in everyday conversation.

There are six steps you can take to make your voice sound more natural and get you on the path to enjoying the sound of your voice.

1. Notes, not script

The structure you use when you write is much different than the structure you use when you speak. You use different words. Your sentence structure will be different. The flow of the written word simply differs greatly from the spoken word.

As you are speaking, use notes instead of a full script. You will sound much more comfortable when speaking from the heart rather than speaking from the script. The flow and structure of your sentences will be much more natural.

Make note of the important points to include in your podcast. Hit those points within your show without reading it word for word.

2. Talk to one person

You will sound much more natural when you speak to one person rather than a group of people. When I am listening to your podcast, I want to feel like you are talking to me. If you include a call to action in your podcast, you want me to act upon that request. If you are talking to a group of people, I can easily think someone else will take action and I can do nothing.

If you are speaking directly to me, we will begin to develop a friendship. I will begin to feel like I know you. I will also feel like you care about me personally. Your delivery will sound much more conversational and less like a lecture when you speak to one person. This will help you become more comfortable with your own voice.

3. One ear headphone

Your voice will sound different to you when you listen to your voice through headphones. The enclosed space of the headphones amplifies your voice. The sound of your voice is also changed by the audio processing. The bones in your head vibrate differently when using headphones.

To help you sound more natural, remove one ear of your headphones. With only one cup on your ear, you are able to hear your voice more naturally with the free ear. You will also hear your voice in the context of the ambient room noise rather than through the vacuum of the headphones.

4. Turn your headphones down

If you are wearing only one cup of your headphones, turning the volume down will also help you sound more natural. With a lower headphone volume, you will better hear your natural voice. You won’t be fooled by the dominance of the headphone sound.

Use your headphones to make sure you hear the other audio included in your podcast. Make sure you can hear your music bed, intro, guest and other audio. However, make sure your headphones are not giving you a false image of your voice.

5. Don’t get sing-songy

Speak naturally. Do not attempt to sound like other announcers you have heard. Be yourself.

When you speak like an announcer, you begin to stretch and emphasize words unnaturally. Your speech begins to unnaturally bounce. When you listen to your recorded voice, you may sound like a puky disc jockey or used car salesman on a bad television commercial. Both lack warmth. They are hard to believe. You will sound less natural when you use the announcer voice.

Speak conversationally. Use a natural pace. Don’t use unnecessary emphasis on words. Speak as if you are on the telephone. These steps will help your voice sound more natural.

6. Review your show

The best way to become a more natural speaker is to review your show often.

When you listen to your show on a regular basis, you will become much more accustomed to hearing your voice in a recorded setting. You dislike your voice, because you are not used to hearing it outside of your own head. The more you hear your voice, the more natural it will sound.

It is possible to overcome the dislike of your own voice. You simply have to take steps to conquer it. It will take time to begin liking the sound of your voice. Be patient.

Remove some of the annoying qualities of your speech. Use notes, speak to one person and get rid of the sing-songy pattern. Polish up the product first.

Next, adjust the way your record. Use only one cup of your headphones. Turn the volume down a bit to hear your voice in its natural setting. Make minor adjustments until you get comfortable.

Finally, review your show. When listening to your own voice becomes habit, your recorded voice will sound much more natural to you. Review your show often.

Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Tell the truth. Make it matter. Never be boring.

010 The Podcast Report – Leo Laporte Coming To NMX – Podcast Community Manager – And More!

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Hey everyone, Cliff Ravenscraft here. I’m back with another episode of The Podcast Report.

Podcast Community Manager
I’m very excited to welcome Megan Enloe as a co-host to The Podcast Report. Back in August, the staff of NMX hired Megan to come on board as a community manager for the podcasting community. In the episode, we explain how this differs from my role as the director of podcasting for the conference.

One thing is for sure, I could not be happier to work with Megan to bring about the full vision that the staff of NMX has for the podcasting community. You’ll get to hear a great deal more about this vision as we produce weekly episodes of The Podcast Report between now and the show in January.

New Name, Dates & Location

In this episode, Megan and I talk briefly about the official announcement of the name change from BlogWorld & New Media Expo to NMX (New Media Expo). We also talk about the fact that the next event is coming up January 6-8, 2013 in Las Vegas. The room rates are only $99 per night and if you’re a geek like me, you may want to stay an extra day or two to check out CES.

Leo Laporte Coming To NMX

I’m super excited to announce that Leo Laporte will be providing our Keynote address for Monday, January 7th. Leo is going to be doing something out at NMX that you will simply not want to miss. However, we’ll talk more about that in next week’s episode of The Podcast Report.

Register For NMX Today!

If you are serious about your podcasting efforts, I highly recommend that you attend the leading podcast industry conference. If you haven’t registered yet, click here to get registered today.

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What Podcast Listeners Really Want from Your Show Notes

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Your podcast is recorded, edited, uploaded, and ready to promote. Now you can sit back and enjoy lots of traffic right? Well, maybe. But don’t forget about writing some show notes! Although blogging is my personal preferred medium, I’m starting to listen to more and more podcasts, and was even previously part of a weekly video game podcast for a few years.

What I’m discovering as I continue to explore the world of podcasting is that everyone has their own style for show notes. From a listener’s perspective, here’s what I like to see in show notes to enhance my podcast experience:

Links: Lots and Lots of Links

I asked my Twitter followers what they consider to be the top characteristic of good show notes, and without fail, everyone said links. I concur. When you’re listening to an episode and the host or guest talks about something but doesn’t provide a link in the show notes, it can be infuriating.

Yes, I can just Google it. But I shouldn’t have to. As a podcaster, your job is to entertain me or teach me, not make me do that work for myself. When I’m forced to look up something by myself, you also run the risk of me finding the wrong information and not really understanding your podcast.

Bottom line, to not have links in your show notes when necessarily is just lazy. It’s a must for any serious podcaster.

Bullet Points

I can appreciate a few paragraphs along with your episode. I’m a writer and I like to read. Just make sure that actual “notes” section of the page is written in bullet points or another format that is extremely easy to skim. I want to know really quickly whether or not the episode is going to interest me.

Times and Topics

Something I’ve noticed that some podcasters do is include not just a list of topics, but also a time when they start talking about this topic during the episode. I absolutely love seeing this as a listener. Sometimes, a specific podcast isn’t super interesting to me, but they are cover one topic that I love or talking to a special guest I want to hear. If I can avoid listening to segments that don’t interest me, I’m a happy camper.

Advertisement Information

Yes, believe it or not, I want ads. If you talk about something on your show, even if a commercial, it might interest me, so I want to know where to find more important about the company. Make sure you note when something is an affiliate link, so I’m not caught off guard. It’s also helpful if you note whether you use the product/service yourself and recommend it or if it’s just a sponsor and you have no opinion on whatever they’re advertising.

Having links to sponsor’s sites in your show notes is not only good for your readers, but it also adds additional value for your sponsors. In some cases, you can up your ad prices significantly or make a lot of affiliate money if you include a link.

A Brief Note About the People in this Episode

Don’t take for granted that I know who you are just because this is your 193rd episode. It might be the first one I’m listening to. At the top of your show notes, include a brief line about each host and guest on the podcast. Don’t assume that new listeners will seek out this information themselves.

Explanations of “Inside” Jokes

I absolutely hate it when I don’t understand a joke and it isn’t explained to me. You can certainly strengthen your community by having inside jokes and references only they “get” because it makes them feel like part of a club, but share that secret handshake with your brand new listeners too. Link to the episode where the joke originated and give a brief explanation.

Pictures

The best show notes out there have images. As I’m following along with your podcast, I want to see what you’re talking about. Of course, podcast listeners don’t always have show notes in front of them, so you can’t rely on visuals, but having images where relevant is a nice touch.

Your turn to tell us what you want from show notes. Whether you’re a podcaster yourself or just an avid fan, what do you look for in show notes? What makes some podcasters’ show notes better than others? Leave a comment!

9 Questions To Improve Your Podcast

Author:

In sports, they watch game film. Corporations use the annual review. Science incorporates the theory evaluation. In the world of podcasting and radio, we call it the aircheck show critique (an aircheck is simply when you record your show so you can listen to it yourself later).

Review your work. It is the best way to improve your show. Listening to the podcast like a member of the audience will reveal things you don’t hear while you’re recording the show. Your review will expose areas that need attention and focus.

There are a few ways to critique your show. One way is to review it yourself. The other is to have a coach review your podcast for you. Both can be very effective if used correctly.

An experienced coach can be very powerful for your show.  Solid coaches have usually mentored many shows. That professional has been exposed to many elements that have effectively attracted and entertained an audience as well as those tactics that haven’t. You will also received unbiased feedback from a coach, because they aren’t as personally close to the content as you may be.

You must be brutally honest with yourself if you hope to effectively review and critique your show on your own. (To help you review your podcast, I’ve created a free series of Podcast Talent Worksheets that you may find helpful.)

It is not easy to separate yourself from your podcast. Becoming an unbiased onlooker to something you’ve worked hard to create is tricky. You will often find yourself justifying things you do on your show because it is personal.

To effectively critique your show, you need to ask yourself if the audience truly understands and is entertained by the content. Then, you need to honestly answer the question and be willing to change if necessary. Force yourself to be honest about every piece of content.

Not everything works. There will be times you fail. That’s ok. That is how you learn.

In order to properly critique the show, you need to listen to it in real time like an average listener. A few days after you’ve recorded the show, when the excitement of the new show has dimmed, go back and listen to your podcast. Play it in real time while taking notes.

Waiting a few days will remove many of the justifications you would normally use to explain away things that need to be adjusted. The content won’t be so fresh to you. The excuses will fade. You will find it much easier to be unbiased.

Actually listening to the audio rather than just remembering it in your head will make your critique more authentic. You never remember a show exactly as it happened. By listening to the audio, you will hear the exact words you used. It will be much easier to honestly review what really happened.

Listening to your own voice won’t be easy at first. That is alright. Most people do not enjoy the sound of their own voice. That is natural. Listen anyway. You will get more comfortable with it the more you listen.

When you critique your own show, you need to know where to look to find areas that will make a difference. If you understand and find the content that will engage your audience, you will begin making strides to add more of that content. Determine the goal for the show. Know what content will make a connection with your audience. Then, create a plan to add more of that powerful content.

Here are 9 questions you can ask as you critique your show.

1. Did you accomplish your goal for the show?

Every show should have a goal. You should have an idea of what you hope to accomplish before you even open the mic. Be specific.  Create a purpose.

What do you hope to make your audience feel? Is there something they should better understand? Are you incorporating a call-to-action?

Write down your goal before the show begins. A written goal makes the show critique easier and more effective when you return to the audio for the critique. As you review the show, find the areas that did and did not help you accomplish your goal.

2. What did you like about the show?

What parts of the show really jumped out at you as you were reviewing your podcast? Jot those parts down on a sheet of paper. If you can find ways to recreate similar experiences in future shows, you will be well on your way to creating a podcast that is consistently entertaining.

3. What was memorable about the show?

Your listener needs to remember your podcast, so they can return and listen again. That is the way to build a following. If each show has a few more listeners than the previous episode, you eventually build a solid audience.

It really doesn’t matter how many people listen today. What builds a strong podcast is the number of listeners that come back the next time, and the next time, and the time after that. You build your audience slowly with more listeners this week than you had last week.

Get your listener to remember to return. Most people will remember one or two things about any particular show. Find the big parts of your podcast episode that are memorable.

4. How did you make the audience care about your topic?

Nobody wants to watch our home movies unless they are in them. People will only care about your topic if it affects them. How does your topic relate to your audience?

The best way to make people care is to first care about them. Show your audience that you have their best interest at heart. They will come back again and again. Start in the world of your listener.

If you truly want to engage your listener, put her in your story. This doesn’t mean create a fictitious part of your story where she becomes a fake character. Include details that are so vivid that your listener feels like she is right there in the moment.

Stir the passion within your listener with great emotion. You create strong engagement with emotion. Find the parts of your show where you made a connection and made your audience care.

5. Where did you surprise your audience?

You will delight your audience when you surprise them. When the show is predictable, your audience will get bored. Find ways to make them say “oh wow.”

This doesn’t mean your show shouldn’t be consistent. You can use benchmarks and bits that regularly appear on every show. You should simply find ways to keep them fresh with unique content.

Great comedians delight their audience, because the punchlines of their jokes aren’t expected. The material takes turns you don’t see coming. Great movies do the same thing with their plots. That is what makes movies and comedians entertaining.

Find the great surprises in your podcast. Make your audience say, “Oh, wow.” Add that same movie experience to your podcast more often.

6. What did you reveal about yourself?

When you tell stories during your podcast, you reveal things about yourself. Self-revelation is the beginning of great friendships. Friends will support you every chance they can.

People like to do business with people they like. Find those little nuggets that reveal wonderful details about you. That content will make you more approachable and human to your audience.

7. Where were the powerful words?

Storytelling is an important step to revealing details about yourself. Vivid details are a vital part of great stories. Your listener will enjoy your podcast stories more when you include very vivid details.

The more vivid the details, the more your listener will enjoy the story. Make your audience see the story in their mind. Draw the mental picture for them. Details help your listener experience the story rather than just hearing it.

Details are powerful words. Find those words in your podcast. Learn to recognize them. Then, add powerful words more often.

8. What could have been better?

There are always part of your show that could be better. You need to find those parts. Become aware of your weaknesses. That will be the only way to improve.

Your shortcomings could be the introduction of the show. It might be the way you transition from one topic to another. You may find yourself using jargon and cliches most people do not use in natural conversation. Find the areas of your podcast that do not fully support the goal for the show. Those are typically the areas that need work.

9. What is your plan to make the next show better?

To improve, you need to develop a plan. Discovering the areas that need adjustment is only half the battle. You then need to figure out how to improve those areas. Put it in a plan.

The improvement plan is where a coach can be incredibly effective. A good coach has worked with successful shows. They know what works and what doesn’t when trying to attract and engage an audience. A solid coach can review your show and provide you an unbiased opinion. Sometimes that tough love is just the prescription necessary to break through to true improvement.

If you hope to improve your podcast, you need to review your show on a consistent basis.  Listen like a listener.  Be brutally honest with yourself.  Find the areas that need improvement.

It is possible to critique and improve your podcast yourself. You should learn from others who have done it successfully. You will also need the ability to be extremely honest with yourself.

If you have studied successful shows to the point where you can consistently recognize quality content, you may be able to effectively critique your show.

Let me know how I can help.

Photo Credit: Bigstock

The Importance Of Planning When Producing Your Podcast

Author:

One of the many fun things about “making a plan” is that once you have your baseline, it’s very easy to go beyond that and find something magical. But recently, I’ve been using the power of planning to do something else. To make sure my podcast went out when I had no idea what I was going to do.

Some background is needed for this one. Firstly about the podcast, and then why the pre-existing plan was so important because of, well, life.

This was my eighth year of covering the Edinburgh Festival Fringe through a daily audio podcast. The Fringe itself is mind-bogglingly huge (42,000 performances by 2,695 shows, almost 280 stages), and many years ago I wondered if one podcaster could cover enough of the Fringe to make a daily show feel comprehensive.

The clue, of course, is that eight years later I’m still doing the show to critical acclaim. This year I put out 26 episodes, each running over 40 minutes, the majority of them having four guests and a musical number (preferably recorded live) to finish the show. It’s not an easy show to put together, as it all needs to be recorded around Edinburgh, between all the shows, and then of course edited and social media’ed every day to succeed.

And I look forward to it every single year.

Except this year. 2012 has seen a little complication. The month or two that I would normally spend researching and prepping for the August run was taken up with far more important matters at home – #BlameVikkisCancer. For anyone keeping track, Vikki’s operation was a success, but with the Fringe approaching, I was facing a blank sheet of paper.

Here’s where the power of planning came in very useful, because I reached back to 2011 for all the planning documents, notes, and diary schedules from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Show. While the names were different, and the days were a little bit out of sync, this was something that I could simply trust that would let me deliver.

“Follow the plan, and the show will follow,” was my mantra at the end of July as I organized the interviews, reached out to various PR people, booked in shows to review, and sorted out the cross promotion arrangements with other sites. As I followed my diary and reports from 2011, if it happened last year on Wednesday 27th July, it was done on Wednesday 25th July this year.

Would this make for a show with any new ideas for 2012, that would really push the format boundary out? Probably not. But it would deliver a show, which was vitally important as the show is a co-production with The Stage newspaper and I had made the commitment to them many months ago.

It also matches up with one of my philosophies – every show needs a constant. In the case of the Edinburgh Fringe podcast this is myself, as the host. I’m the one conducting the interviews, reading the news, the voice that people would come back for.

The other constant is the structure of the show. It’s no coincidence that the format of the show follows the late night chat show template pioneered by Johnny Carson. That means the show itself was able to use all the same production notes, jingle beds, and interview grid layout as last year.

Because I had a well thought out plan that I could follow, I was able to build the foundations of the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Podcast while my brain, frankly, was focused elsewhere. Each morning, when I came to produce that day’s show, there were more than enough interviews and musical numbers to choose from, and I could focus on putting together and presenting some great content.

All because I had a pretty comprehensive plan.

Making a plan is essential, not just for a business or starting up a new website, podcast, or blog, but for every project you do. And not just a few headers, really sit down, think through every element, document it, and make sure it’s clear enough for others to read and understand, yes even yourself in twelve months time!

Was I expecting to use the 2011 plan in 2012? Not particularly, but I’m glad I could.

And the results? Why not listen for yourself.

6 Ways to Add the “Show” to Your “Business”

Author:

Imagination. It is the wonderful result of recorded audio. When you listen to the radio, podcasts, audiobooks or other recorded audio, the imagination is in full motion. Your imagination belongs to you and you alone. You have full control. Your imagination is unlike any other.

Your imagination is used for your sole benefit. The characters and scenes created in your “Theater of the Mind” are exactly how you want them to look. The images are created in your mind in a way that gives you the greatest pleasure. It is all to benefit you.

The wonderful details in a story can stir the imagination in magical ways.

Video typically doesn’t stimulate the imagination the way audio does. When you see a car in a video, you know exactly what it looks like. If you and I both see a car in a video, we would both describe it in very similar ways. There is not much left to interpretation.

If I describe a cherry red 1968 Ford Mustang to you, I couldn’t possibly describe every detail. What does the interior look like? Where is it parked, or was it moving? Is there anybody in it? What kind of tires are on it? Hard top or convertible? There are many details to the story left to your interpretation.

Your imagination creates the car in a way that adds the most to your story and vision. That is the magic of recorded audio. Vivid details take your stories to another level of engagement that video cannot.

There are ways to include recorded production elements within your show that will enhance your listener’s imagination and experience. When you add recorded elements, the imagination of your listener will be further stimulated. You will help create elements within your listener’s “Theater of the Mind.”

Here are a few recorded elements you could easily add to your podcast to spice up the listening experience.

1. Intro/Outro

This is show biz. You produce your show to entertain just as much as inform. Your podcast is just as much “show” as it is “business.” Add some sizzle to your show.

A produced “intro” and “outro” for your podcast is an easy first step. The “intro” opens the show, as in “introduction.” The “outro” closes the show, similar to a conclusion. At a minimum, find a great piece of music that will open and close your show. You can find many sites on the internet that sell music clips for less than a few dollars.

 

2. Interviews

Guest interviews are a great way to add depth to your audio. A second voice on the show will stir the imagination. Listeners will wonder what your guest looks like. The stories told during the interview will create visions in the mind of your listener.

Listeners enjoy eavesdropping on other conversations more than listening to a lecture. By adding interviews to your show, you allow your listener this pleasure. Sure, you could provide the information yourself rather than going through all the work to secure, arrange and conduct the interview. If you are hoping to develop a relationship with your listener using content that will be engaging, go the extra step by including interviews within your podcast.

 

3. Listeners

Adding listener audio to your show is another way to juice up your podcast. When you simply read a listener e-mail, the question typically lacks the passion that would come from the listener. The inflection is a little different than the caller would use. The question is also asked in the same cadence, style and voice that you ask every other question.

When you add listener audio, a second dimension is added to the show. Though the caller isn’t actually there, the second voice almost creates a conversation. Your audience is now listening to a conversation rather than a monologue. The question will also be asked in a way unique to the caller.

Similar to the way interviews stimulate the listener’s imagination, callers can add to the “Theater of the Mind.

You don’t need to include the entire phone call. It is show biz. Use the part of the call that will most add to your show. If the call includes a bunch of details not relevant to the question or the show, feel free to edit those parts out of the call. As long as you are not changing the intention of the caller, or making it sound like they are saying something they didn’t say, editing the call is perfectly acceptable.

 

4. Audio Examples

When you make reference to a piece of audio, play a sample. If you are talking about an interview that Jimmy Johnson gave after a race, play a clip of that interview. Your listeners will be further engaged by the additional voice. Audio examples are just another way to add that additional level of production to your show.

Additional audio will take your listener to another place. An interview clip will transport your listener to the interview location. An old television clip with create memories of seeing the show. A sample of a classic speech may elicit visions of the orator. Use audio to enhance the listening experience.

 

5. Celebrity Endorsements

People like to have their decisions validated. That is why many companies hire celebrities to endorse their products. If Michael Jordan wears Hanes, it should be alright for me to wear Hanes as well. I don’t feel like I’m the only one doing it when I see Michael Jordan doing it.

You can use this concept to benefit your podcast. If you can get a well-known name in your area of expertise to record a quick endorsement for your show, that piece of audio will add an element of credibility to your podcast. Your listeners will feel like they are not alone in liking your show. They will be validated.

 

6. Sound Effects

Sound effects can easily enhance the imagination. You need to be careful that you don’t overuse sound effects. Too many effects can make your show sound amateur. However, a well-placed effect here and there can add to the delight of listening.

Adam Carolla has a producer who is responsible for adding sound effects to the show. If you haven’t spent time with Adam’s podcast, listen to one episode simply for the production elements. His content may not be your cup of tea. However, the production of the show must be admired.

The magic of recorded audio comes from the imagination. When you stir wonderful visions in the “Theater of the Mind” of your listener, you will truly begin to engage your audience. You can then begin to build meaningful relationships with your listeners and keep them coming back again and again. Use these ideas to add a little “show biz” to your podcast today.

Photo Credit: Bigstock

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