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Podcast Production Tips

August 5, 2015 Comments off

 Image Credit: Getty ImagesIf your spend some time now making decisions about how you plan to format your podcast, it will only make your show more enjoyable for your listeners, but it will also save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.

Spend a little time deciding how long your podcast will be, how often you will post new show, and what your typical show outline will be, and your boiler plate messaging, links and call to action messages.  These are important decisions that will affect your time commitment and enjoyment making your show. They will also determine what kind of web hosting you will need. Now onto a some tips for planning and producing a podcast.

Preliminary Podcast Production Planning Steps:

  1. Research & Planning

  2. Messaging & Talking Points

  3. Actual Interview

  4. Recording, Production, Editing

  5. Publishing/ Supporting Blog Content

  6. Hosting, Listing, SEO/SEM/RSS

  7. Distribution

  8. Promotion

Research & Planning Your Podcast

We know you are probably anxious to record and get your voice out to your community. But a little planning will help you focus. In the end you will produce a better podcast that will attract and keep more listeners. This will also make your job a lot easier, or we can help. In the planning session we will ask a few questions for you to consider and help you make some important decisions about:

  1. Podcast Topic

  2. Podcast Format

  3. Choosing a location to record your podcast

We’ll also talk about how to outline and plan each episode of your podcast before you record. And, we want to help you make a quality podcast that will attract and keep more listeners. Here are a few things you need to decide for your podcast:

  1. What’s the topic of your podcast?

  2. What’s the format of your podcast?

  3. How long will each episode be?

  4. How often are you going to release new shows?

If you take just a little time to think about these things now, then your podcast will turn out much better. A well planned podcast will get more listeners. Here are the questions to consider when it comes to choosing a format for your podcast:

  1. Will you be doing a solo podcast or will you include other hosts?

  2. What segments do you want to produce (e.g. tip of the day, reviews, breaking news, interviews etc.)?

  3. How long will your podcast be?

  4. How often will you release new  podcast episodes?

  5. Will you just be talking or will you play music and sound effects as well?

  6. Maybe you’ll come up with something completely different?

NOTE: If you plan to insert music in your podcast that you did not produce, then you need to get permission to use it. We can help with this as well. It’s not legal to use copyrighted material in your podcast, without permission. You should form a basic idea of how you want to structure your podcast.

Also, just because we are talking about a “plan” and a “format” does not mean that this stuff is set in stone. You will certainly change your mind as time goes on. You will add things and drop things. Eventually you will find your groove and settle into what works well for you.

But it’s good to start out with an outline so that  you have an idea of where you’re headed. We can guide you on this. It will make the process easier and also help make your podcast better. A better podcast means more listeners and more fun for you!

Let’s talk about a few things to consider when you choose a format for your podcast.

Should You Have A Co-Host

It’s up to you. There are a lot of solo podcasts out there. Some podcasts have two or more hosts. There are also podcasts with several participants discussing a topic at the same time, like the fairly new entertainment podcast

You can even co-host a show with someone who lives in another state or another country. This is often done using Skype or a similar platform.

There are advantages to having a co-host:

  • Listeners find the discussion between multiple hosts more interesting than just one person talking for 20 minutes
  • With multiple hosts you can split the work required to produce the podcast
  • There are more people to come up with creative ideas and content

This comes with the added complication, though, of coordinating the schedules of multiple people, maybe even across time zones. The advantage of doing it solo is that you’re totally in control.

What Kind of Segments Will Your Podcast Have?

What do we mean by segments? Well, back before podcasting, we drove to work in the city and we listened to the local radio drive shows. They had certain segments that they did every morning. We always knew that they would do the serious news, then later the silly news, then the “funny” people awards, then an interview or two and so on.  These were the segments that they always did. If you watch the morning shows on the TV or radio shows on NPR it’s the same. There are certain segments that they do on each show.

So, what segments will your podcast have?  Your listeners will want to know what to expect. Familiarity and structure are comfortable. And, it make your job easier. Having a planned structure, maybe even an “editorial topic calendar” will also make producing your podcast easier for you. The point is that a little thought and planning is helpful at this stage.

Here’s an example segment structure for a localized podcast:

  1. Intro & Welcome, Date

  2. Announcements

  3. Shout Out for the Top 10 in the Community

  4. Mid Roll Ad Spot

  5. Commentary

  6. Quick Tips & Resources

  7. Outroll Theme Music

This is just one example. Find a structure that works best for you and your intended local listeners and don’t be afraid to mix it up. You can be spontaneous.

Music in Your Podcast?

Even if you don’t have a music podcast, you may still want to use music in your podcast. Music is a great way to change things up and drive the show forward. You can use music to transition between segments. This adds variety and keeps things moving. It also serves as a cue that you are moving into something new or changing gears. Music makes a good intro. Having an intro theme song is useful for a couple reasons:

  • When your listener hears your theme song, it instantly cues them in that they are listening to your show.

  • An intro song raises the energy level and gives you some momentum going into the show.

If you think you’ll want to use music in your podcast, there are some legal and copyright considerations.

How Long Should Your Podcast Be?

The beauty of podcasting is you’re not limited to the typical broadcast radio timing. If you listen to a talk show on the radio, everything is timed to the commercials and the “top of the hour”.

But now you’re in control. Your podcast can be five minutes or it can be 45 minutes. We suggest between 10 and 20 minutes. When you decide how long your podcast is going to be, you should think about what’s going to work for your audience. How long of a podcast will your audience will actually listen to? If the purpose of your podcast is to cover the latest community information on a certain topic, then you probably want to keep it to 10-20 minutes.

Your Podcast Should Be As Long As It NEEDS To Be

Too general?  What we mean is, make it long enough to serve its purpose, but not so long that you will bore listeners. There is a point where it’s just right and then wrap things up. With time, you will find the happy medium. We suggest being consistent in how long your shows are so your listeners know what to expect.

In GENERAL, our personal opinion is that a 10-20 minute show is a good length. Your listeners might listen to a lot of podcasts. If you want your podcast to be one that they listen to regularly, then you don’t want to take up more of their time than you need to.

In the end, you know what’s best for you, your show and your audience.

How Much Time Will It Take to Make A Podcast

Just because you do a 10- 20-minute show doesn’t mean that you will only spend 20 minutes a week creating your podcast. Your time and our time commitment will vary depending on how much preparation you need and your experience and the amount of technical help we provide.

Keep in mind that the longer your show is, the longer is it will take to produce it. Many podcasters spend 2-4 times the length of their show just on preparation before and publishing afterwards.

How the Length of Your Show Affects Your Web Hosting

We will talk more about podcast web hosting later, but for now you need to know that the longer your shows are, the more storage you will need. The longer the show, the larger the MP3 file.

Also, a larger show means you need more bandwidth for your web site. Bandwidth is the amount of information transferred to and from your web site each month. There is a limit to how much you can transfer. With most web sites this is not a problem, but with podcasts it can be a problem because of the size of the MP3 files. We will talk more about bandwidth later, and where you can host your podcast. For now just know that the longer your podcast, the larger the MP3 file and the more bandwidth you will need for your hosting.

How Often Will You Post Your Podcast?

Will you do your show daily, weekly, monthly or just whenever you feel like it? This will depend largely on how busy your life is. How much time does your job, family or other obligations take up? Take an inventory of your life and estimate how much time you will have to work on your podcast.

Stay in Regular Contact with Your Listeners

It’s important, if possible, to have a regular schedule for posting your show. If you have a regular schedule it will help with listener loyalty. They will know when to expect from you and look forward to your new shows.

With our busy schedules, we don’t always get our podcasts out when we plan to. But do your best. we’re working on getting better at this.

If you’re podcasting for an organization or fund raising promotion, then we would suggest doing at least one podcast a week. Bi-weekly may work, but it’s important to have regular contact with your listeners. Every day that goes by your listeners can easily forget about you a little more.

People have short attention spans and short-term memory. You want to stay in the minds of your listeners on a regular basis. Bandwidth is an issue here, too. The more often you post your podcast, the more people will be downloading from your site which requires more bandwidth from your hosting.

How Often Can You Get Fresh Content for Your Podcast

How much fresh content is available for your show and how often can you get it? For example, if your podcast is women sports-based, how often does interesting news on your topic come along? How often can you create the content for your show?

Technically Producing, Editing and Hosting Your Podcast

This is where we help you to open the mic and just start talking (or whatever else you plan on doing in your podcast). We can coach you on this!

But, there’s a lot of back end production work that goes into the final polished podcast.  And, this is where we come into play with our technical expertise. Once you’ve created your first podcast, we need to prepare it for editing, publishing and then hosting it on the Internet. This involves some of the following:

  • Editing for sound quality
  • Taking out umms, ahhs and pauses, coughs and sniffles
  • Inserting music
  • Inserting ad spots ( if appropriate)
  • Creating an MP3 Files
  • ID3 Tags for Podcasts
  • Podcast Hosting (blogs, web hosting, RSS feeds)
  • Free Podcast Hosting
  • Naming Your Podcast File ( 3-4 words)
  • Uploading Your Podcast
  • Writing Podcast Show Notes
  • Posting Show Notes

NEXT STEPS & SUMMARY

With all this in mind, remember, you know what’s best for you, your show and your potential audience when it comes to the length and frequency of your show.

One final suggestion, is spend some time listening to other podcasts. My previous post has a list of some women podcasters.  Pay attention to how long they are. How long of a podcast do you like as a listener? Take note of their structure and the segments used in each show. What segments do you find enjoyable? Brainstorm on some ideas. Now we need to determine a location for us to record your podcast.

Our Brief Suggestions for Promoting Your Podcast

Of course you’ll want more listeners for your podcast. We will work with you during a special planning session and talk a bit more about how to find and build listeners for your podcast.

Email me at alice@flatlandsavellc.com for more information on how we can help get you started with coaching, planning and helping your host a podcast.

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Podcast Trends & Women in Podcasting

August 5, 2015 Comments off

Microphone

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hi everyone! With technology being so ubiquitous in our daily lives, I want to talk first about some evolving podcast trends, as there are some changes going on out in the pod-stratosphere. And, then in my next post I’ll move into some basic podcast production tips.

Earlier this year I read an article in Wired Magazine about how Podcasting has enjoyed an increased amount of media attention of late. And, even PEW Research shares the same inclinations towards the continued but substantive growth of Podcasting in their Podcast Fact Sheet.

  • “Mobile devices are increasingly the preferred way to listen to podcasts. Libsyn also recorded that, of their 2.6 billion podcast downloads in 2014, 63% were requested from mobile devices – up from 43% in 2012.

  • In 2014, there were about 22,000 active podcasts (up from 12,000 in 2012).

  • An additional indicator of the strong growth of podcasts is the launch of three relatively new podcast networks by public radio alone: Radiotopia by PRX, SoundWorks by PRI, and Infinite Guest by APM.

  • In the following excerpt from Dorie Clark, a Forbes ccontributor, wrote that: “…New York magazine declaring a “great podcast renaissance.” There’s been practically no mention of podcasting from 2008 to 2013,” says Harbinger. “Why? That’s because it wasn’t new anymore, so nobody was talking about it. But, if you look at the statistics…podcasting has been growing steadily, in great numbers.” Indeed, Rob Walch of the podcast hosting service Libsyn agrees, noting that “Smartphones, and specifically the iPhone, have really been the driver of growth the last few years” because they make podcast downloading and consumption easier….”

  • As of February 2013, men hosted 70 percent of the world’s 100 most popular podcasts. Two years later, the disparity in the top-100 remains woefully the same. But other podcast trends suggest a shift is underway. Late last year, massively popular true crime show Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig, became the fastest-growing podcast ever, hitting five million downloads.

IMHO, podcasting is coming of age ( especially for women in the field) and it was ahead of its time. More importantly the following two new podcast examples are produced by women. This is unique in and of itself, because as I noted the market is saturated with male podcasters. Farther below I provide a more extensive list of some women podcasters, but I want to highlight the following two new comers to the podcast arena.

  1. Pushing Hoops with Sticks, hosted by Ayesha A. Siddiqi. There needs to be more shows like this, period. Her show examines race (often within the creative community, like comedy and music) and does so in such an important and direct way.

  2. Baby Geniuses, hosted by Artist Lisa Hanawalt and Emily Heller.

  3. Two Brown Girls, hosted by Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay. Fariha and Zeba are writers and critics whose show is a mix of topics, ranging from culture, politics, pop culture, style, feminism, race, and politics

  4. Death, Sex and Money, Hosted by Anna Sale. Anna’s podcast, which interviews people about the topics we all struggle to speak openly about, is about to celebrate it’s one year anniversary and his been a major hit since it first hit WNYC’s airwaves.

  5. The JV Club, hosted by Janet Varney. Janet Varney happens to be one of the funniest people around, so when you combine her with some incredible female guests, speaking about what it was like to be a teenager

  6. Hot Grease, hosted by Nicole Taylor. Currently on sabbatical. Nicole’s podcast is dedicated to the American south and all the ways it interacts with (and influences) local food and culture in other places. There are over 160 episodes in her archives.

  7. Design Matters, hosted by Debbie Millman. She tackles more serious issues within the design community.

  8. The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva). The Kitchen Sisters produce a show for NPR and other content for public media across the country. With a long history in radio, these incredible women cover stories ranging from food to serious discussions of life and death

  9. Strangers, hosted by Lea Thau. Lea is the former director of NPR’s beloved Moth series, and her show is dedicated to the same concept – sharing personal stories that mean something to both the teller and the listener.

  10. Black Girls Talking, hosted by Alesia, Fatima, Aurelia and Ramou. This round-table format show. Think of The View.

  11. Rendered (formerly Destination DIY), hosted by Julie Sabatier. This is a show predominantly about design and “maker” talk online.

  12. Radio Cherry Bombe, hosted by Julia Turshen. Food and Cooking. First two years interviewing women in the food industry.

  13. The Spin, hosted by Esther Armah: Esther’s show launched last year and it’s a fantastic weekly show that discusses race, politics, culture and personal stories with women of color.

  14. Strangers

  15. Fugitive Waves with The Kitchen Sisters

  16. On the Media

  17. Answer me This!

  18. Fresh Air

  19. Pop Culture Happy Hour

  20. The Longest Shortest Time

  21. Design Matters with Debbie Millman

  22. Criminal

  23. The Business

  24. The Digital Human

  25. One Bad Mother

  26. Wham Bam Pow

  27. Destination DIY

  28. Sawbones

  29. Slate Culture Gabfest

  30. Slate Political Gabfest

  31. Shortcuts

  32. Re:sound/Third Coast

  33. DecodeDC

  34. Grammar Girl

  35. Serial

  36. Josie Long’s All of the Planet’s Wonders (only 4 episodes)

  37. Sex Nerd Sandra. Sandra Daugherty discusses a broad range of topics from the instructional to the philosophical, including kissing, fetishes, healing after abuse, and, in the most recent episode, the intersection of sexuality and the Bible.

  38. Ronna & Beverly. Two vaguely disapproving Jewish mothers you’ve always wanted but never had. The characters, played by Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo, have an elaborate forty-year backstory, including ex-husbands, children, and a book they coauthored.

  39. Girl on Guy. The format of comic-interviews. Aisha Tyler, the titular girl—who you may recognize as the voice of Lana from Archer—has her own spin on it, where she interviews a guy (sometimes a girl) who is successful in a creative field. It’s more of a conversation than an interview. Her podcast is always a good listen, especially the Self-Inflicted Wounds segment near the end, where she invites her guests to tell a story of a time they humiliated themselves.

  40. Slumber Party with Alie & Georgia. Alie and Georgia first showed up on the Internet’s radar in 2009 when they crafted the McNuggetini out of a chocolate milkshake, vanilla vodka, a barbecue-sauce-rimmed martini glass, and a chicken nugget garnish. Now they have their own show on the Cooking Channel as well as their own podcast, which what it sounds like, pajamas, pillow forts, ghost stories, snacks and all. They almost always have a guest—although a few solo episodes have been recorded—and they have fun regular questions, including, “What did you learn this week?” and, “Who is your Internet crush?”

  41. Go Bayside! When I first heard there was a podcast dedicated to discussing Saved By the Bell, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. But then Paul F. Tompkins was a guest. April Richardson, who grew up watching reruns on TBS, is happy to address it, one episode at a time, on her couch with a weekly guest.

  42. Thrilling Adventure Hour The Thrilling Adventure Hour, performed and recorded live, is a throwback to the Golden Age of Radio. There are several recurring segments, but two of the most frequent are Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars, and Beyond Belief.There’s also a great rotating cast of guest stars, and since it’s recorded in LA, you never know who might show up.

  43. Who Charted? Kulap Vilaysack (once you learn how to say it you’ll want to do it all the time) acts as a guide (and occasional translator) for the glorious anarchy of her co-host Howard Kramer. Together, they count down three top-five charts, one related to music, one to movies, and one grab bag, all with a weekly guest.

  44. Throwing Shade. In Throwing Shade, Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi, self-described “femme-nasty” and “homo-sensual,” locked in a love/hate friendship, talk about current events related to feminist and LGBT issues. Every week, they each bring an issue to the table, and if that sounds boring, you should know that the two met performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in LA and are contributors to Funny or Die. Episode 111  is relevant.

  45. How Did This Get Made? This is a podcast dedicated to breaking down bad movies. Paul Sheer hosts, with Jason Mantzoukas and his wife June Diane Raphael making up the rest of the regular panel. The three of them seem like they’re friends in real life, because they’ve played off each other perfectly from the first episode, when they dissected Burlesque.

  46. I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman. Do you know Jen Kirkman from Drunk HIstory or Chelsea Lately? Well, hear her podcast recorded from her bed, it kind of feels like you’re on the phone with one of your best friends after a long day.

  47. Raise Your Hand Say Yes With Tiffany Han

  48. A Better Life with Rachel Rofé

  49. After The Jump – Grace Bonney

  50. Creative Living – Jamie Ridler

  51. The Lively Show – Jess Lively

  52. One Part Podcast Jessica Murnane

  53. This Girl Means Business – Carrie Green

  54. Lady Business Radio – Jessica Kupferman

  55. Off The Charts – Nathalie Lussier

  56. The Sarah Bagley Podcast

  57. Online Marketing Made Easy – Amy Porterfield

  58. Natalie Sisson’s The Suitcase Entrepreneur

  59. The Broad Experience – Ashley Milne-Tyte

  60. Elise Gets Crafty

  61. The Introvert Entrepreneur With Beth Buelow

Do you have a favorite female podcast show? And, are any of you looking for more women-hosted podcasts? Bitch Media has a list of great women-hosted podcasts

Want to start your own podcast? Get in touch with me via email at alice@flatlandsavellc.com. Anyone looking to help women get involved in podcasting can reach out.

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