Tag Archives: Podcast Seminar

New eBook!


Virtual Podcast Seminar eBook

For almost 5 years I’ve been blogging about podcasting.  One of the series of posts that I did in the past was something I called the Podcast Seminar.  It was a virtual podcast seminar that would show the beginning to intermediate podcast the basics of podcasting.  The posts have been very popular and are still available on the site.  However, it was in need of some updating and expanding.  Rather than put all that effort into more posts, I went ahead and rolled it up into an eBook.  That way  you can download and consume it in either print form or on your computer or other PDF compatible device.

Here are the topics covered in the eBook:

  • Choosing a topic for your podcast.
  • What length should your podcast be?
  • What type of podcast do you want to produce?
  • What equipment/software do you need?
  • Should your podcast be daily, weekly, monthly?
  • Creating your podcast with a blog.
  • Marketing your podcast.
  • Show notes and SEO: Why are they important?
  • Podcast metrics: Who’s listening?
  • Monetizing your podcast
  • Spreading the word through social networks.
  • The Wrap-Up

Thanks for visiting the site and for considering purchasing my ebook.  Good luck with your podcasting endeavors.

Virtual Podcast Seminar Ebook – Only $5


Podcast Seminar: Spreading the Word Through Social Networks

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we cover the topic of Spreading the word through Social Networks.

First off, what is a social network? Here’s a good definition from Wikipedia, “communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.”  (You might get this term confused with social media; I know that I do.  The great part is that the two are connected.  According to Wikipedia as well, “Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio.”  So, because you have a podcast AND you are thinking about using a social network, the buzz term social media is now yours to throw around how you see fit.  Now back to social networks.)

Secondly, what are some social networks that you can use to share interests and activities? There are a lot of them to choose from and depending on your location in the world, some might be more popular than others.  Here’s a short linked list of ones that might fit you:

  • Facebook – originally for college students, it’s now open to all
  • MySpace – The grand daddy of social networks, great for musicians
  • Twitter – The original Web 2.0 social network
  • Pownce – Share files and music with your followers
  • Plurk – Very recent entry into the social network race
  • Jaiku – Purchased by Google, what are they planning?

New social networks pop up every day, and thanks to Ning, you can even own your own social network that is just for you and your listeners/viewers.

Facebook LogoNow the third, and most important topic on Social Networks, how do I use them? Too many times I see posts on the social networks that I frequent that are just promoting their blog posts or latest episodes of their podcasts.  Social networks are about more than just sending out a note that you have a new blog post.  It’s about engaging an audience and sharing, as the definition above implies.  If you do a podcast about a certain subject, like marketing, ask questions about marketing.  Share what ways you’re using the topics in your podcast in your business.  Give examples of how those in your network could use your latest podcast to make them money.  Again, the word is engage.

Twitter LogoSo let’s look at an example someone who engages his audience, and in my opinion does social networks correctly.  That person is Jason Calacanis.  Jason uses Twitter to blast out information about his latest venture, Mahalo.  But he also talks about his dogs, interesting articles, holds giveaways and he engages the community in a conversation. He’s there to market his company for sure, but he’s also there to comment and respond to those he is following and are following him.  He’s even termed a name for the group, Jason Nation.

And finally, for Heaven’s sake, do not employ a bot to constantly make post on your behalf.  There are tools that can help you more productive when interacting on social networks, but a bot is not engaging anyone in conversation.

MySpace LogoSo are social networks important for your podcast?  Sure, but make sure the social networks that you choose are not just used as a cheap press release medium.  If you’re excited about using social networks to promote your podcast and build a community, there are others out there that can help you in the best ways to leverage social networks.  One person you definitely have to check out is Chris Brogran and definitely sign up for his newsletter.

And while you’re looking into these social networks, be sure to follow me on Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, Plurk and Jaiku.

That’s it for the topics that I had planned for the Podcast Seminar series.  Next time I’ll wrap it up and give a sweeping over view of everything covered.

Podcast Seminar: Monetizing Your Podcast

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we discuss a popular topic, monetizing your podcast.

If you talk to 10 different podcasters and ask them how to monetize your podcast, you’ll get 10 different answers. A few of the popular models that I’ll discuss in this post are donations, “premium” subscription, promoting products, pay per episode, advertising, sponsorship, and affiliate links.

First off, let’s get this ugly fact out of the way; unless your podcast is a standout in the thousands of podcasts in iTunes, there’s a good chance you’re not going to make a dime on your podcast. If you’re getting into podcasting to make money, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. At least for right now. There are opportunities to make a few bucks, but basically the monetization model for podcasting is far from fleshed out. Even though that’s the case, let’s take a look at the models listed above.

Donations – The donation model of monetizing is very much like a PBS television station or NPR radio station. The hosts solicit money from listeners or viewers. There is usually a button on their website that says donation or tip jar. The donations can be one time or setup as monthly. Paypal is the usual suspect here in setting up a donation scheme. For an example of this model, check out any of the TWiT podcasts. Leo Laporte has a donation button on the twit.tv site where you can sign up to give a one time amount, or give monthly. You could also call this a benefactor model.

Premium Subscription – When you subscribe to a podcast, it’s not like subscribing to cable. No money changes hands. You simply add the podcaster’s RSS feed to your aggregator of choice. In the premium subscription model, you still subscribe to the podcaster’s feed, however this time you have a username and password and you pay the podcster to subscribe to the feed. This model is much like the premium channels like HBO. You pay an agreed upon amount each month. There are a few services that can provide this type of service, but the one that’s getting a lot of use is Premium Cast. Check out The Bitterest Pill for an example of this type of podcast monetization.

Product Promotion – If you sell a product as part of your business, then this is the monetization model for you. I made a reference to Gary Vaynerchuk of WinelibraryTV in a previous Podcast Seminar post. The Winelibrary is Gary V’s business. Each episode of the show he uses some of the product available in his store. He doesn’t push the product, but instead gives an honest review of the wines. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I don’t doubt the the number of bottles flying out the Winelibrary has gone up by a large amount due to the show. Take a look at the show and see how to sell products without making each episode of your podcast an infomercial.

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Podcast Seminar: Podcast Metrics

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we cover the topic of Podcast Metrics.

A metric is a standard unit of measure or a way of quantitatively measuring or assessing a process, event or institution.  That’s the definition at least.  When it comes to your podcast and the website/blog that is supporting your podcast, it means a couple things in particular:

  • How many downloads am I getting?
  • How many people are coming to my site?
  • Where are people finding my podcast?
  • How are people finding my podcast?
  • What keywords are getting sent to my site?

I recommend a couple of services for podcasters to get information about what kind of traffic their podcast is receiving.  The three services are Feedburner, Statcounter, and Google Analytics.

Feedburner is a recent Google acquisition.  They provide a few services but the one I’m recommending here is the feed stats.  By using Feedburner you can see how many downloads of your podcast have occured, what podcast aggreagators your listeners are using, and how your podcasts are being used.   The service will also let you know how many subscribers you have to your feed.  If you are a WordPress user, the FeedSmith plugin will be of great use to you.  It works wonderfully integrating the Feedburner service into your WordPress blog.  Feedburner is free and is one of the easiest ways to get stats on your feed.

Statcounter was the first metrics site that I used.  It is incredibly easy to setup and use.  Sign up on the site and get the bit of Javascript and HTML code that they provide and insert that into the page you’d like to keep track of.  Statcounter provides information on popular pages, entry pages, exit pages, keywords, came from, search engines, visitors, pageload activity and more.  Statcounter also has a plugin for WordPress that will insert that bit of code they give you into every page on your blog.  Statcounter is free for up to 500 log entries, paid packages start at $9/month.

Podcast Metrics ExampleGoogle Analytics is the service that I currently use for most of my blogs/podcasts.  It provides information on your visitors, new vs. recurring, and trends, traffic sources, keywords, adwords, top content, top landing pages, and exit pages, etc.  It is very comprehensive.  One additional feature is Goals.  Goals are basically funnels that a visitor may follow.  I use this in the most basic way to see how many site visitors are heading to the subscribe and about page from the home page.  Google Analytics is also shareable among partners/co-hosts so everyone can see what’s going on at the site.  All users must have a Google account.  Google Analytics is free.

Now that you have an idea how and where to get your podcast metrics, how do you use them?

Beyond answering the basic questions above, I use the information on these services to decide on what to post about.  If I see a whole bunch of people finding my site when I talk about or write about a particular topic, I might write about it more.  I will take a look at the number of downloads and decide if I need to upgrade my hosting account to accomodate more podcast downloads.  I may also decide that based on the metrics that I need to focus more advertising on one site or another.  The uses are almost endless.

If you’re unsure about how to read the statistics after you get them, this page will give you primer on reading the statistics.

Next time, the host bed topic of monetizing your podcast.

Podcast Seminar: Show notes, keywords and SEO, why they are important?

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we answer the question, Show notes and SEO, why they are important?

SEOI’m not going to pretend to be an expert on SEO.  I do however understand keywords and their importance in your show notes and blog posts.

Create great show notes that give an overview about what you talked about and more people will find your site, and your podcast, than just posting an audio file alone. Use the keywords in your show notes that you expect someone to type in Google to find your podcast. If you type “podcast studio” into Google right now, The Podcast Studio is the #1 search result. That’s not by accident.  Most posts that I make I try to get the keywords “podcast studio” in there at least once.  The same goes for your domain name.  If you can include the keywords in your domain name, all the better.

For goodness sake, do not stop here in your search for SEO goodness.  Search Google for SEO techniques that will take your podcast and your blog to the top of the searches.

Next time, Podcast Metrics.

Podcast Seminar: Marketing your podcast.

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we discuss, Marketing your podcast.

Getting your podcast out into the ears of your listeners is the next necessary step. There are a couple of initial steps you must take. After you have produced your first show and posted it, submit your podcast to iTunes. If you aren’t in the iTunes Podcast Directory, you don’t have a podcast. Add your podcast to as many podcast directories as you like. You will get listeners from them, but the lion’s share of your listeners will come from iTunes. It’s sad but true.

iTunes Subscribers

After getting your podcast into iTunes, go ahead and submit your podcast to all the other directories. As you can see from the graph above, it won’t make too much of a difference, but it includes all listeners that might want to listen to your show.

How about promoting your podcast? One easy way to promote your podcast is to send an announcement to your contacts that would be interested in your podcast. Invite them to check out your latest show on your blog or website. Another way to promote your podcast is by publishing a related article and sending it off to article banks, e-zine publishers, etc. A popular way that a lot of people promote their podcasts is by commenting on another podcast or blog. If you use this method, please remember to add some value to the blog you’re commenting on and don’t just add a link to your podcast. That’s a good way to get your comment deleted. Lastly, there are many podcast related forums that allow you to promote your latest show. Podcast Pickle and Podcast Alley come to mind.

Remember, your podcast is a product. Any method that you might use in promoting a physical product or web site can be used to promote your podcast.

Next time, Show notes and SEO, why they are important?

Podcast Seminar: Creating your podcast with a blog.

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we discuss, Creating your podcast with a blog.

RSS IconBlogging and podcasting go hand in hand. Both are distributed by RSS feed. A podcast feed is differentiated by the use of the enclosure tag to add the podcast content to the feed. Because of this similarity, one of the easiest ways to create an RSS feed for your podcast is with your blog.

Blogging can also add more content to your site and that will attract readers that may turn into listeners as well. Later on, in this series we’ll discuss SEO as it relates to your blog.

There are a lot of blogging services that can support your podcast. You can choose from Blogger, Movable Type, TypePad, and WordPress. By far my favorite of these platforms is WordPress. WordPress is an open source blogging platform that can be extended with Plug-Ins to make it do almost anything. One of the Plug-Ins that makes it even more suited to podcasters is the great Podpress Plug-in. Podpress makes the publishing of podcasts effortless. Podpress also adds all the custom iTunes tags to your RSS Feed.

WordPress can be hosted on any server that supports PHP and MySQL. It’s not for the complete beginner, but it can be the last blog/podcast server software that you’ll ever need.

Check out all the blogging platforms. See which one fits your needs.

Next time, Marketing your Podcast.

Podcast Seminar: Should your podcast be daily, weekly, monthly?

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we answer the question, Should your podcast be daily, weekly, monthly?

How often do you want to do your podcast?

Do you have content to share with listeners every day? Podcast daily. Can you roll up that content and make it a weekly show? Podcast weekly.newspaper

It depends on the content you’re sharing. Sports scores of the Angels game is old news if offered up every week or worse by the month. But, the latest trades happening in baseball might work on a weekly basis. The biggest tip I can share with you here is BE CONSISTENT. If you do a weekly show, release a show weekly. Don’t be sporadic in your show schedule. Listeners have very little tolerance for shows that put out an episode only when they want to.  They’ll then apologize through the first half of the show explaining why they missed their scheduled release date.

Do yourself and your listeners a favor…Stick to a schedule.

Next time, Creating your podcast with a blog.

Podcast Seminar: What equipment/software do you need?

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week, What equipment/software do you need?

I’m not going to go into all the different types of microphones, mixers, software programs, etc. Search for each of those items here on the blog and you’ll find a bunch of links to great podcasting gear and software.

So…my first question is, what do you have?

Do you have an MP3 player with a microphone? You can have a podcast.

Do you have an iMac with a built-in microphone in iSight? You can have a podcast.

It doesn’t take a huge studio full of equipment to record a podcast. Hundreds of people recordDSP-400 podcasts every day and record them with just about every piece of audio and video equipment under the sun. If you’re comfortable doing research and shopping online for audio hardware, check out Musician’s Friend or Music123 and search for podcast. You’ll find some really easy to setup podcasting kits that will get you started right away. Start from there and if you really enjoy it and you’re building an audience, then think about upgrading. Seriously, you might think you would like to podcast and then get into it and realize it’s not for you. Then you have a trunk-load of audio equipment gathering dust in your closet.

Here’s a no-brainer for hardware to use on an audio podcast. The Plantronics DSP-400 USB headset is an excellent place to start and can be used for Skype if you decide if podcasting isn’t right for you.

On the video side, there are so many inexpensive flash, mini-dv, and hard drive based camcorders available on the market today that you could close your eyes and choose a camera that will work for your video podcast. As I mentioned above, you could also start with a web cam. The quality will undoubtedly be inferior to even the least expensive camcorder.

Audacity LogoSoftware wise, if you are doing an audio podcast with Windows, download Audacity and learn how to use it. It’s free and will get you started with no money. When you’re ready to step up to a more full featured editor, consider Soundforge. For video, Windows includes an adequate video editing program called Windows Movie Maker. Start with this and move up to Adobe Premiere, or Sony Vegas if you really get into video podcasting and want to add more effects. If you are using a Mac, you can also download and use Audacity for creating an audio podcast. But if your Macintosh includes Garageband, and most do, that’s the tool for you. For a video podcast on a Mac, if you have iMoveHD, you’re golden. If you don’t have it, you can purchase the iLife suite and get both Garageband and iMovieHD. When you want to take the next step up, look at Final Cut/Express and Adobe Premiere.

Maybe this isn’t the answer you were looking for on this topic. Were you looking for a shopping list? I could tell you to go out and buy brand X mixer and brand Y microphone, and don’t forget brand Z headphones. Any “consultant” who tells you to go out and buy some piece of equipment without first finding out your needs is doing you a dis-service.

What hardware and software you use to produce your podcast depends on:

  • your level of commitment
  • your budget
  • your audience
  • your skill level
  • your experience.

Next time, Should your podcast be daily, weekly, monthly?

Podcast Seminar: What type of podcast should you produce?

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we answer the question, What type of podcast should you produce?

In general, there are two types of podcast you can produce, audio and video.

MicrophoneFirst let’s discuss audio. In audio there are basic podcasts and “enhanced” podcasts. Basic podcasts are most times encoded with the MP3 codec though they can be encoded in WMA, OGG, or AAC. Basic audio podcasts can be produced on Macs, PC’s, portable recorders, etc. The options to creating a basic audio podcast are almost endless. Also the number of devices that can listen to basic audio podcasts is almost limitless.

The enhanced podcasts are those that are created solely for use on iTunes and the iPod. They contain chapters, images and links that the listener can click on when they are at their computer to get more information on the topics that the podcaster is discussing. Enhanced podcasts are created with a Macintosh computer and the iLife software, Garageband. If you’re only targeting those listeners with iTunes and/or an iPod, this might be the format for you. Keep in mind that enhanced podcasts are more time consuming to produce than basic audio podcasts.

DiggnationHow about video? Breaking down video subtypes, I would make two broad categories: screencasts and traditional video. Screencasts are first person videos where the podcaster/presenter shows you their screen and records a voiceover to explain what and how they are doing on the screen. Screencasts are almost as easy to create as audio p0dcasts with the correct software. I highlighted a free tool called CamStudio that you can use to get started in screencasting with little more than a microphone. You can also checkout the post I made about the Camtasia. If the aim of your podcast is to show users of the software your company makes how it works, then this is the podcast type for you. Also, there are new and better tools being made for this type of video, so don’t stop here if you are interested in making screencasts.

Traditional video is the final type of podcast. Traditional video podcasts come in a huge variety of styles. It could be recording you and a buddy on a couch, Diggnation style, or a fully produced show like TikiBar, or a man or woman on the street show like Mahalo Daily. Traditional video podcasts are going to be the most time consuming to create, edit, encode and the most costly to distribute.

In order of ease of production are audio, enhanced audio, screencasts, and then traditional video.

Basically it comes down to this; will your content be conveyed in an effective manner through audio, enhanced audio, screencast or video?

Other things to consider in choosing your podcast type:

  • equipment needed to produce your podcast: camera, microphones, mixers, lights
  • time required vs. time available to edit your podcast
  • costs for producing your podcast: talent, equipment, opportunity cost
  • costs for distributing your podcast: hosting, bandwidth

Next time, What equipment/software do you need?