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Building Community Around Your Podcast


podcast community As June approaches, I’m getting excited to travel to New York City for BlogWorld to lead a session on building community around your podcast. If you’re there, be sure to introduce yourself.

Since starting my first show on an AM radio station in 2008, I’ve been very focused on building community. Podcasting was fairly new back then, but connecting with people and making them feel cared for certainly was not.

As bloggers, we throw the word community around quite a bit, don’t we? For a while, if you wanted a solid business, all you had to do was build community. But what does the word community really mean?

A few months ago I was hanging with a few guys who helped define community as intimate friendship, shared context, and joint mission. Wow, is that even possible to build around a podcast? I think it is, and so do my friends who are joining me for the BlogWorld panel.

One of the most important things I’ve done to build community is to step away from the microphone and meet people in person. As a listener, it’s easy to place a podcaster into celebrity status and think you can’t have a relationship with them. That’s obviously a barrier to community and something that will impede the growth of your show.

So, why not come to out to BlogWorld to get out from behind your microphone and learn what you can do to build more community around your show? I’m leading a session in the afternoon on June 7th about building community. It’s the best thing you can do for your own show if you want to see fast growth.

21 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Starting a Podcast


Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Starting a Podcast

Every week, BlogWorld’s fantastic podcast track leader, Cliff Ravenscraft, presents The Podcast Report right here on the BlogWorld blog. He covers tons of different podcasting topics, but today I wanted to do something a little different and give everyone a comprehensive list of links where you can find information about starting a podcast, even if you’ve never done this before. Lots of bloggers can benefit from having a podcast, but it can be daunting to get started. These brilliant bloggers (most of them podcasters themselves) have some great advice to help you join the podcasting ranks.

(I recommend you start with this podcasting beginner’s guide right here on the BlogWorld blog from Daniel Clark!)

Brilliant Blogger of the Week:

Learn How to Podcast by Cliff Ravenscraft

Cliff is a no-brainer as our brilliant blogger of the week. He might be a podcaster first and foremost, but he’s a force to be reckoned with in all forms of content creation, from podcasting to video creation to blogging. On his “learn how to podcast” page, you’ll find an AMAZING seven-part video series, wrapped up with an 8th Q&A video. This series teaches you absolutely everything you need to know about gettings started as a podcaster, even if you have no experience. His videos cover equipment, setting up and RSS feed, and more. You seriously can’t find a better all-in-one guide to getting started than Cliff’s resource, and his entire Podcast Answer Man site is something you’ll want to check out to learn more about podcasting. You can also follow Cliff on Twitter at @GSPN.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Ewan Spence has also written some wonderful podcasting tips right here on the BlogWorld blog!

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about starting a podcast? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Week’s Topic: Storytelling

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Remember That a Podcast is Just One Tool in Your Online Armoury


During the January just past, as people look at their New Year resolutions and decided to try out some new projects, I’ve had quite a few people come up to me (okay, pinged me on IM, but you get the idea) and ask about starting a podcast. While many of them are looking for more technical details, I’ve always asked them what they’re looking to get out of the podcast.

I’m trying to figure out if a podcast is the right thing for them.

In many circumstances, people are looking to explore the podcasting space, to find out how it all works, to see how they get on with it, and have a bit of fun. There’s nothing wrong with that – one of my popular podcasts started as a few shows on my personal blog and it eventually became too big for me to not notice the traffic and “spin it out” to its own site.

But for a long time that show was just a hobby, with it’s own little corner of my website. And while I have long running shows that are nothing more than a weekly podcast posted on a basic blog, that’s a great place to start and learn the ropes. But if anyone is looking to start up a podcast with a serious goal in mind to be noticed and get coverage, I always come back to the same piece of advice.

A podcast will rarely stand alone.

And if you think about it, you would never start a new site and not have an RSS feed. You wouldn’t ignore Facebook, or Google Plus. You’d make sure to have a Twitter account. I’d argue that providing a podcast, be it audio or video, is one of those tools. It’s rare that a podcast will be the only tool you use (just as it is rare a Twitter account would be the only tool you use), but it can be an important one.

It provides a voice to your site, and a regular spot to engage directly with your readers. It allows a different type of discussion to be taken, it provides continuity and regularity if done well, and keeps your readers interested in your content. The podcast is a surgical tool, but it’s one that is easy to wield. And in my opinion there are very few circumstances where a podcast would not help improve a site.

The Power of Community in Your Podcast


Christmas is a time for giving, and that’s true for your online communities as well as family and friends in real life. Just before the holidays started I was reminded of the connection that a show can have between the listeners and the producers.

This time, I was the listener, and looking forward to the Christmas show from Radio International. It’s one of a number of sites based around the Eurovision Song Contest, and hosts a weekly podcast and radio broadcast in the Netherlands, and a few days before the festive broadcast I learned that JP, the host, wouldn’t be able to run the Christmas show – one that everyone was looking forward to.

So I volunteered.

Was it the same show that JP would have put out? I suspect not – a three hour show, with music, chat, and news has its own vibrancy derived from the host in the chair. Besides, I was sitting in the Belgian studio with JP’s music collection, but up in Edinburgh with a slightly more esoteric Scottish flavoured collection.

But with some help from many of the listeners I reached out to, a playlist was put together, guests were told of the new arrangements, and I sat down with a few spare hours and made sure that Radio International had their weekly show.

The community contributed to the show in the best way possible, and for me that was one of the best shows I have done. It also shows that everyone’s online shows are about more than a one to many broadcast – they are about personal connections, interactions, and friendships that flow in both directions.

That’s what makes new media so unique, special, and personal. And that’s what makes it an amazing space to continue to explore as we head into the new year.

Have a Million SIM cards, Will Travel


The last few weeks have seen me bouncing around Europe as I cover various bits and pieces for the Eurovision Song Contest. Running a regular podcast on that subject means that I had lots of content to post, and with the events, lots of news and social media to interact with.

Which is why my first job on landing at an airport has been to find a local SIM card for my smartphone.

Yes there are some cute options for roaming data, but let’s take Armenia as example. Using my Orange UK SIM card while in the capital city of Yerevan I could roam at £5.50 per megabyte. In the local currency that’s just shy of 4000 dram a megabyte. Or I could walk into the high street store, show my passport, and walk out with a local SIM that would charge just 5 dram a megabyte.

One of these options is going to be for “a real emergency” while another will allow me to stay connected, to reply to Twitter messages, to keep up to data on Facebook, post to my blog, moderate comments…

…and let me upload my podcasts.

Yes, there’s every chance that I can find some wi-fi or use a hotel lobby, but that’s never guaranteed, and in any case it’s still cheaper to go with a local mobile number and the data charge than it is to pay for twenty four hours of hotel wi-fi. The rise of international SIM services can help, but these are still mostly geared to voice, and not data. Those that are can rarely compete with local prices.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be bouncing round Europe for the next three months, and in my bag will be a little collection of SIM cards, each with enough credit for a weekend of “unlimited” browsing on my mobile phone (which doubles as a hotspot). It’s all well and good being able to get stories, but it’s even more important to know you can get them onto the web without relying on anyone else or breaking the bank. Because if you have a great post about a tree falling in the woods that you can’t get online, then did the tree even fall?

Google Can’t Hear You – The Importance of Show Notes


A podcaster without an audience is just talking to himself. While that can certainly be theraputic, the goal for every podcaster I’ve ever known is to have listeners. I’ve recently written about expanding your reach and influence, but one thing that I left out of that article was the importance of show notes. That, I felt, needed its own article.

What are show notes?

Show notes give site visitors a reason to push play. Yes, titles are important. But even more important is the block of text that describes what the episode is about. If your podcast about movies features an interview with an actor in a certain episode, your show notes will convey how great it was to potential listeners. If your podcast about social media has an episode that reveals the results of an in-depth study of Facebook, your show notes will convince your site visitors to listen by offering a synopsis of the data—a tease.

Those are examples of what happens when someone gets to your site, though. Show notes are far more powerful than that. Your show notes help get people to your site to begin with. Google doesn’t listen to your show. Bing has no idea what you said on the episode you’re posting. The search engines need to be fed, and your show notes are what they love to dine on.

What isthe best way to do show notes? Here are some general guidelines that I recommend.

First, text. Start with two to five good, keyword-rich paragraphs. Recap all the main topics that you covered in the episode. Mention any guests and give your readers a short bio on them. Write for the readers, not for the search engines. Google is smart. You don’t need to get tricky. Be compelling. Remember, after your awesome show notes feed the search engines, they still need to convince your visitor to push play.

Second, links. Include links to sources or sites of interest where appropriate. Be smart though, and don’t overload. The search engines like to see relevant links and visitors don’t want to be overwhelmed by a list with dozens of links.

Lastly, give your visitors a reason to listen to your show. I’m not a fan of transcriptions in most circumstances. If you write so much text in your show notes that listening becomes pointless, well, then you‚ Are you’re just a blogger, aren’t you?

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Expanding Your Reach and Influence


I would like to put a few ideas in your head, and I’m going to ask for your feedback at the end of it. Ready?

You’re a podcaster. By definition, that means you record a show (statistically, it’s probably audio) and post it to your website. That’s the bottom-line definition. How can you expand on that?

Publish your audio to iTunes. Publish it to the Zune directory. Grow your audience by putting your show where people gather to find new shows. Google “podcast directory” and go down the list, submitting your RSS feed to as many as you like. They may not have millions of users each, but why ignore them altogether?

You work with audio. Do you incorporate music? In a scientific study that I just made up for this article, 87.45% of podcast listners prefer audio podcasts with opening and closing music because it makes the shows sound more professional. The less you sound like you can’t be bothered to care about your production values, the more people will respect your show. More respect means a greater chance that your audience will share your show with their friends, post your content to social media sites and do much of your marketing for you.

Speaking of social media sites, are you on Twitter? You probably should be. You don’t need to spend a ton of time on it. Just tweet once or twice a day. More importantly, set up a system for automatically tweeting new episodes of your show(s). WordPress plugins make that dead simple. How about Facebook? Did you know you can use a tool to pipe your episodes to Facebook? Your audience can listen to your show right within Facebook. They can listen, Like and share your show with all of their connections. Now that’s what I call expanding your reach.

You work with audio. You upload your episodes to your website and your feed goes out to iTunes and all the rest. What about YouTube? Ever thought about that? I have, and I’m going to start posting shows to YouTube in November. But you work with audio? So do I. What kind of video could you submit to YouTube? How about a video that YouTube was invented for? No, YouTube was not invented so that people could illegally upload pieces of their favorite TV shows and movies 10 minutes at a time. Turn on your webcam. Record yourself doing your show. Now you’ve got audio and video.

If your first instinct is to scroll down to the comments and say “who would want to sit and watch you sitting and talking”, don’t waste your time. I don’t buy it.

I’ve talked before about doing your shows live. You work with audio, have you considered Mixlr.com? What about taking the video suggestion I just made and expanding on it by broadcasting to UStream? Do you think you could incorporate Google+ Hangouts somehow?


Podcasting can be so much more than simply sitting down at your computer, talking into a microphone for 20 minutes then uploading an mp3. Have any of these ideas sparked anything in you? Would you consider expanding your reach in any of these ways? I’d love to hear your take on them.

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BlogWorld is Over, But Your Work is Not Yet Done.


Run the checklist, is your life anything like mine at the moment: Tired limbs, sore heads, great memories and a box full of business cards, notes and scrawled twitter handles…

Yes, the LA Blog World Expo is over, but that doesn’t mean you can start planning #bweny for 2012 just yet. To get the most from your conference, it’s time to do some follow-up, and make sure that the connections you made at the Convention Centre continue to work for you. Here are three easy steps to keeping the Blog World Expo moments alive for the rest of the year, and beyond.

First up, decide who you are going to reconnect with. I know the temptation is to go through all the collected business cards and say “Hi I met you at Blog World”, but I’ve always sent emails that either finish a discussion with an action point, or have some content that needs auctioned.

By all means send the personal ones out (especially if you can’t find them on Twitter or Facebook!), but there is nothing wrong in not following up with someone if there is no fit with you away from the exhibition hall floor – the exception being if you couldn’t give them details and you need to give them your details.

Go through the cards, file the ones that need to be filed, and action the rest.

Keep those first emails short and snappy – everyone is recovering from the Conference, so a quick one line reminder as to who you are, and what you’d like to do next. Be it a guest blog post, explore some licensing opportunities, or asking for a price list, make a clear action point.

Chances are, with all these follow-ups going around, you’ll have some yourself to answer. In which case answer them with the same focus, but place a deadline on it. For example, “thanks for getting back to me to ask for the pricing, here’s the PDF and I’ll be back in touch at the end of next week“.

You worked hard to get to BlogWorld (and the team putting on the conference worked even harder), but don’t stop now. Just a little bit more work and you can make sure you get the best results out of your time in LA.

How to Miss a Podcast and Make it Work For You


It was really easy for Casey Kasem when he wanted to take a week of America’s Top 100. There’s an expectation in radio (and to a certain extent on TV) that you will get the occasional guest host standing in. This has lead to some great moments the world over – John Peel taking over the BBC Radio 1 lunchtime show and continuing to play his usual late night mix of new and undiscovered bands instead of bland “popular” music is one close to my heart — but what happens on your podcast when you need to take a break?

It’s all about planning ahead, and deciding what option you’re going to do.

The easiest choice is to go dark. Depending on your style of podcast, you can prep the audience on why you are going away, when you are back, and ask them not to be too disappointed. Sometimes this is the only choice, but it goes against many of the main rules of thumb for successful podcasting, the biggest being “keep it regular”.

It’s possible, again depending on your format, to pre-record an extra show or two and have them in the can and ready to go, either by hitting publish from a mobile browser while you are away, or setting a publish date in the blogging software running the podcast to make the post and podcast live at the regular time. This is a strategy advised by many for those with text based blogs, and the same is true for podcasters.

Of course many podcasts are based around news and current events, and that makes a pre-record a bit trickier. You could always resort to a “Best Of” clip show if the cover is for a single show, otherwise you need to think of another way. If you have a group discussion podcast, it’s usually a simple matter to cover one missing pundit, but what if you’re running solo (at least to your listeners)?

Well, you’re back to Casey Kasem, it’s time to draft in a substitute. If you’ve been interacting with the community around your podcast and the area, you’ll know the people that are switched on enough to do a show. Some of them may well be other podcasters (and you’ll know this because you are listening to the competition, aren’t you?). A quick email asking if they would like to be involved and do one show, and not only are you working with your community to benefit them, you’ve an option to reach out to new listeners (the followers of your stand-in host).

That’s a win all round.

In the big game that is social media, podcasting, and the internet, there are very few problems that cannot be turned to your advantage. Going on holiday is one of them.

Interviewing Tips and Tricks


Podcasts come in many flavors, and one very popular format is the interview format. Do you fancy yourself the next Larry King or Oprah? Are you interested in interviewing people in your industry, company or political party? I’ve decided to write about two methods of interviewing that I’ve been experiementing with. The first favors preparation and list-building. The second suggests going in cold with no preparation at all. Here are a few interviewing tips and tricks for you.

Be Prepared

You don’t need to know your guest’s life story—that’s not what being prepared means. Before connecting with your guest for your recording though, you should have a bullet point list of topics as well as a short list of specific questions. The list of topics should be related to the reason you invited your guest to your show to begin with. I produce a show called Inside Internet Marketing that is primarily an interview series, and all my guests work in the affiliate marketing industry. My goal is to interview them about how they got into the industry, what they love and hate about the industry, and how their passions play into the work they do. BAM! There’s three topics, and that’s just me describing what the show is about. I can expand on my topic & questions list by researching any new projects or products that my guest might be promoting, any conferences or events that s/he might be speaking at, or if there are any links between this guest and past guests. Listeners love stories.

One major benefit of preparation like this is that it gives you a way to steer the conversation in the direction you want it to do. If your guest starts to ramble, it’s very easy to use your list to bring the conversation back in line.

I use Evernote to organize all my show notes for all my shows. I have a notebook called Show Notes, and a note for each show with the name and episode number for the title. This gives me a very easy way to cross-reference things that I’ve asked of past guests, ideas for topics and my bullet points for the next guest. I’ve also got Evernote on my iPhone and iPad for keeping track of ideas when I’m out and about. If you’re considering organizing your notes, I recommend an application that has both desktop and mobile functionality.

Be Completely Unprepared

One of my favorite speakers is Kim Ann Curtin and I was fortunate to have her as a guest on Inside Internet Marketing. When I last saw Kim speak, she talked passionately about listening. She drove home the point that to have the most effective conversation with someone, you needed to actively listen, process what is being said, and respond accordingly. It isn’t enough to show up; you need to participate.

I decided to use my interview with Kim as a test. I didn’t tell her ahead of time, but I didn’t prepare any questions for her. I only had one thing to begin the conversation with and then it would be up to me to participate and really have a conversation. There would be no list of questions to read from. There was no safety net. I had to listen accutely to what Kim was talking about, internalize it, and respond with an appropriate comment or follow-up question. I needed to be on my toes the entire time.

It was one of the best interviews I’ve ever conducted.

Given that I knew Kim beforehand and was comfortable talking to her, it was not a tremendous risk trying this method for the first time. Had I been interviewing a famous celebrity or someone whom I’d never met, I would not have tried it. Now that I’ve successfully done it once, I’m more likely to try it again and again. After it becomes second nature, I won’t think twice about using it with anyone at all.

What’s Best for You

One of these approaches will certainly work best for you. Whichever way you go, the same advice will apply: practice. That might seem odd when thinking about an method that favors unpreparation, but practicing the art of conversation is the key to success with it.

Are you an interviewer? What kind of advice would you give to podcasters?

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