How to Easily Start Podcasting and Build a Powerful Personal Brand Have you ever wondered how to use podcasting to amplify your brand? It’s a lot easier than you think. There’s never been a better time to embrace podcasting for business growth. There are few things more personal than the sound of the human voice. So much so, that we humans have developed sophisticated vocal recognition abilities that can outperform state-of-the-art machines designed for the same purpose. This is the power of podcasting. Where you get the opportunity to become the voice that your audience can recognize above all the others, they hear on a daily basis. In a recent study, linguists from the University of Montreal in Quebec found that more than 99 percent of the time, two words are enough for a person of normal hearing Ad to distinguish the voice of a friend or relative among other voices. When it comes to content creation, it’s clear that there are lots of content formats and mediums to engage your audience, but podcasting stands out as one of the most intimate and consumable. It’s the only content medium that can be consumed comfortably and safely while multitasking, which is one of the reasons why it’s popularity is experiencing such growth. Let’s face it, no matter how well intentioned we are, we often just don’t have time to sit around and watch videos, read blog posts and ebooks. Smartphones and portable audio have changed the game; now we can listen to any audio content that strikes our fancy while we’re commuting, exercising, or just cleaning the house. It doesn’t require full focus and It’s a hands-free activity that anyone can do no matter where they are. Podcasting as a medium is not new. However — it’s been on a consistent rise for years. What we’re experiencing today is a tipping point, where the cost of creation and the ease of consumption has made podcasting a no-brainer for reaching niche audiences. Perfect for the personal brander. There are two ways you can leverage podcasts to get your name in front of audiences you may not be reaching through other forms of content. One is by starting your own and the second is by being the featured guest on podcasts hosted by others. Start by being a guest on the podcast of others Getting interviewed on top podcasts in your niche is a great place to start. All this requires is that you get on the radar of popular podcasts hosts and give them a reason to have you on their show. It’s much easier than you might imagine: Research the top podcasts in your niche––Search, Google, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud find the popular shows focused on your audience. Listen and learn––Take the time to listen to the podcasts you’ve identified. It will help you understand the landscape, the host and the quality of the shows you are looking to be a guest on. Identify your primary targets––Narrow the list down to under 20 interview style shows that accept guests would be a good fit for your message. Find the proper contact––Name, address, email & social, usually found on the podcast website. Craft your pitch––It’s unlikely that a host will just accept you just because you ask. You need to craft an offer that will help the host add value to their audience and make them look good in the process. Write a powerful outreach email––Remember the lessons from the E is for Email chapter. Good copy converts. Start with a great headline and continue by acknowledging that you love their show, especially the episode you listened to. Then go right into your pitch, give them multiple ways to say yes. Leverage social proof––Use testimonials, links to your best content, samples of other interviews you’ve given or any accolades that will impress the host with your potential. Always follow up––Even if they say no. You are in the business of building a network in your field; relationships require nurturing, and you never know when the yes will come. Prepare to be the best guest ever––Each yes is a stepping stone to greater opportunity. Even if it’s not the most popular show on earth, give it your all. Research the host, listen to a lot of their shows, write down questions the host likes to ask and practice your responses. This is your educations in real time. Promote each guest appearance like crazy––Part of being a good guest is helping to spread the word. The added benefit is that your current audience becomes aware of your being a guest speaker and it adds to your credibility. You also get the opportunity to leverage each guest appearance in subsequent podcast outreach. The circle continues. Add your appearances to your website––Once you get a few appearances under your belt, add them to your website with the logos of the individual podcasts and links to listen. Don’t wait to be chosen, create your show Creating a regularly scheduled audio program is a powerful thing, you get to be the host of your show and tailor the content any way you like. Plus it’s neither expensive nor especially difficult. You can make a studio almost anywhere, and the gear has become so commonplace that you probably already have some tools at your disposal. Here are some basics to round things out: A microphone––Listeners will forgive your unpolished performance, but not sub-par sound. You may want to invest in a decent microphone to assure audio quality. Headphones––The headphones help you hear your own voice and blocks out the background noise. This way you can learn where you might be losing pitch or speaking inaudibly. Microphone stand––Poor audio is caused by feedback, a stand will help minimize the ambient noise caused by your microphone moving around. Pop-filter––This is just a fancy word for a simple screen that goes between you and the microphone to soften your voice when you’re recording. Mixing board––Though not necessary, a decent sound mixing board can drastically improve the quality of your audio without relying on software. Not only do mixers have a lot of inputs for connecting more professional gear or multiple microphones, but they also offer a lot of outputs! You can use one output for Skype, another for a wireless phone, another for recording, another for headphones, and another for live-streaming. A quiet place to record––A decent sound studio can be created by recording in a closest covered with a heavy blanket. Of you can just find a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted. Editing software––If you want to edit your podcast after recording, all you’ll need is Garage Band (Mac), Adobe Audition (Mac or PC) or Camtasia (Mac or PC). Computer––You could do most of this on a fancy smartphone, but it would be tricky. A laptop or desktop will make things easier. Pick a show format that suits you The format of the show dictates the output, and since you are the host, you get to decide. This will help you best tell the story that matters to you and your audience: Solo talking head––One person talking in a microphone or a camera. The content can be news-related, opinions, tutorials or any other information that can be provided by one person. Interview style––An interview format can add interest to you show and allow you to leverage influencers to help build your audience. Multi-host format––The multi-host format has two or more hosts and for a more conversational show. This is a great way to add multiple points of view. Narrative style––Narrative podcasts are story-driven shows that rely on heavy editing to splice together a cohesive story, pulling from interviews, sound-bites, sound effects, and music. Much like a journalist. Video format––While we cover video in detail in V is for Video, it’s important to note that video podcasts can allow you to end up with multiple content assets with each show. While you do not have to interview others to be successful, interviewing others allows you to easily create podcast content while ensuring that your podcast will reach new audiences through the promotion your guests do of their episode. Create a roadmap for podcast success Great shows are planned and scripted. Not that you have to write down every word, you just want to plan enough to be comfortable during recording and make your efforts as economical as possible. This is your opportunity to create the show you want to listen to and star in. Determine the length of your show––Is this a 1-minute tips show or 2 hour deep dive? You decide, just take into account the production requirements of your decision. Pick a publishing schedule––This sounds easier said than done. If you are going to publish every Tuesday, don’t change the schedule unless you are going to increase the frequency. Once you train your audience to expect episodes at a certain time, you risk losing their attention by mixing up the schedule or worse, skipping some episodes. Consistency is key to audience growth. Create an outline––What the heck are you going to do on this show, beginning middle and end. Write it down then experiment to get it right. Write your intro––This is the hook in the first few minutes of the show to hold the listener’s attention. Let them know what to expect, share some excitement. Determine your calls-to-action––Here are some things you might want the listener to do: Leave a review, download something, share on social, visit your website. Buy from a sponsor. Deciding this ahead of time will make it easier to deliver a compelling message. Write an outro––A good place for your call-to-action Research your subject––You are the host and are in control. The research will help you act like it. Plan your show notes––Is this a transcription or a full-blown blog post. Show notes help the search engines discover your content and give readers an opportunity to experience some of the value of the recorded episodes. Pick a place to host your show––SoundCloud and Libsysn are the two most popular podcast hosting services, and with a little setup, they will syndicate your show to the major podcast players: iTunes & Stitcher. The key in podcasting is to stand out. Find out what other podcasts in your niche do, and make yours better. If all of the others are interviewing the same people and asking the same questions, ask different questions. Then promote your podcast as the one that asks the questions people want answers to. Brand your show so it stands out Podcasting for personal branding is simply another way to reach more of your audience and being recognized among the folks that matter to you. That said, it’s important to brand your show, so it has a higher likelihood of being heard. Here are some things to consider: Give it a catchy name––Short and sweet, so it’s repeatable and is legible when included on your cover art. Design great cover art––In the podcast world this is a visual 1400pixels square that is used as the thumbnail for your show on all of the podcast players. Differentiate––How are you different from the other shows out there? Whether it’s a point of view, production quality, your sense of humor or shock value. Take a stand and lean in! A beautiful landing page––People view things on the web, so that means you need a landing page may be one of the first ways that find out more about you and the show. The page needs to inspire people to listen and share. You might want to skip over to chapter W for Website to get more ideas for your landing page. Write great copy––Chapters A,B,C & E all cover aspects of copywriting that you may want to review before you start writing the copy for your podcast. The bottom line is that good copy compels people to act and yours needs to motivate people to listen to your show. Don’t skimp here. Launch with a bang and don’t stop spreading the word While you don’t need a massive audience to create a powerful impact for your brand, you still want to launch with the biggest bang that you can, and that means giving yourself ample time to crush it. Things to get squared away before you go live: Record a few shows in advance––This will give you time to work out the kinks in production without having the clock ticking. Get your website setup––This can be an extension of your personal branding site or a whole new site altogether. It all depends on how far you want to take it. Write your show notes––At least for the first few episodes, then you hone your format and fine tune the layout on your website while it’s still in draft (private) mode. Shore up your branding––We discussed podcast branding above, this is just a reminder that you should get this done pre-launch. Some pre-launch promotion techniques: Tease your mailing list––Let everyone on your mailing list know that an amazing new is coming, involve them in the process, share some of the design, have them vote on the name. Don’t stop building your list––Your email list will be the fuel for spreading the word about your new show. Create a pre-launch landing page––A pre-launch landing page will help you tell your story before the show is live, give away something of value in exchange for email addresses of future listeners. Guest post on topic––Create content around the subject matter of your upcoming podcast and include a call-to-action to sign up to receive the episodes when they go live. Guest podcasting––Combine being a guest on the shows of others with the launch of your podcast. See the section above and include a call-to-action in each show you are on to drive listeners to the pre-launch landing page you’ve set up. Talk to friends and family––Do not be secretive about your new show. Tell everyone you know that you are launching a new show and could use their help making it a success. This will be your launch squad. Keep them informed, ask them to share on social, ask them for feedback. Call them, text them, direct message them on social. Involve them in the entire process of success. The odds are that none of your friends or family has ever had their own show and if they have, all the better, they can help by being your coach. Solicit early testimonials––This could be a chapter all by itself. Social proof in the form of testimonials will help you sell the show before it’s live. Consider privately sharing some of your yet to be released episodes with friends and influencers to get the testimonials and feedback. Take a look at chapter I for Influencers to spark more ideas on the testimonial front. Build early awareness on social––Give and give more, share your insight, contribute to the topic your show will focus on, build the buzz before the show goes live. Connect with all of your friends, family and colleagues on the social channels that matter to you. Pick a date––Countdowns are powerful, pick a date and escalate the promotion velocity as you get closer to launch. Promotion once your show is live— Besides replaying the pre-launch techniques described above, there are a few things to consider once the show is live. Promote each episode––Just because the show is live, doesn’t mean anyone will remember to listen to it. It’s your job to get the word out for each and every episode. Use a social scheduling tool––Use something like Hootsuite, Buffer or Edgar to share episodes on all your social media platforms. If you host with SoundCloud, you can use the embed feature as well for instant playing. Buffer & HootSuite allow you to schedule episode sharing in advance, so you aren’t chained to your laptop. Send an email to your guests––If you have guests or mention individuals or companies on your show, send them an email when the episode goes live asking them to share with their audience Top 10 list strategy––Search Google for the “best your niche here podcasts.” Copy every single post you can find that your podcast is not a part of but should be. Then, send an email to the blog owners asking if they would add your show to the list. Submit your show to podcast directories. Ask your launch squad for reviews––Unfortunately, reviews don’t happen all by themselves. Ask your friends and family one by one to write a review for you. Don’t stop until you have at least 25. Email your list––Let your list know every time that a new episode has arrived, give them a reason to listen. Revisit E for Email to learn how to craft this. Check out the slideshare for more details Good Guide to a Great Podcast from Seth Price Seth Price I’m on a mission to transform the way you think about personal branding to empower your life’s work. My keynote speeches connect me with audiences all over the world. Join me in creating ideas for bringing your brand to market.