Tips for planning, publishing, and branding your first podcast

 

Here at Audioburst, we feel that podcasting is a great way to share your thoughts, personal experiences, and unique point of view with the world and the American public agrees! 70% of the U.S. population is familiar with the medium and 32% have listened within the last month. (Edison Research)

Even more staggering is the news that there are now over 700,000 podcasts in the Apple Podcast directory!

With competition this steep, it can be overwhelming for a new podcaster to figure out how to set up a podcast for success… but never fear! We’ve put together a series of posts to get you from podcast novice to pro in no time.

In this first post, we’re going to talk about:

  • Planning your podcast

Before you begin

The most important place to start when thinking about how to promote your podcast comes before even recording your first second of audio. Taking a moment to sketch out why you are creating a podcast and who your target audience is will help you clarify your goals for the project.

Start by writing down the basics:

When approaching the ‘why’ and ‘what’, you might want to take a look at this post from the NPR Training series.

It advises you to be intentional and ask yourself some “deep and difficult, even existential questions” such as:

  • What is this idea? No, really. What is it?

The answers for the rest of the questions (who, where, and how) are the qualities that make up your ideal listener.

Here is a ‘burst’ from the Duct Tape Marketing podcast discussing how you can define your ideal client….or in this case, your ideal listener:

Listen to Defining your ideal client | Audioburst
Aired on Duct Tape Marketing: marketing strategy started really and on course as you have to think about how you can…
search.audioburst.com

Knowing your target audience will help you focus in on the type of podcast you’re going to make, as well as where you will ultimately choose to promote your show.

If you’re struggling on where to begin, start by looking at podcasts in the genre your show will be part of:

  • What social media channels do they have a presence on?

Examine these questions for several shows and see if there’s any crossover or patterns. You should start to see what kind of person listens to this type of podcast. From there you can sketch out how your perfect listener is similar and more importantly, how they are different.

Providing quality content is a must

Once you know who your audience is, it’s time to sit down and actually start creating content.

Many people will tell you how easy it is to create a podcast, and while they’re not wrong in the sense that the medium is highly accessible and requires minimal equipment, this accessibility can be a double-edged sword.

The market is highly saturated and if you’re not producing quality programming, all of the promotion in the world won’t convince listeners to stick with your show.

So, what makes quality content?

Excellent sound

Making a show sound good is equal parts recording and editing.

Everything from choosing the right equipment and recording environment to how you handle discourse markers (filler words like um, uh, etc) can have an effect on your finished product.

For tips on how to master the sound of your show, take a look at this post from Buzzsprout’s blog. It gives the following pointers for creating a great sounding podcast:

Source: How to Record, Edit, and Mix a Great Sounding Podcast via the Buzzsprout Blog

Planning

While it may be tempting to just hop in front of the mic and start talking, a little planning can go a long way.

Wondering what a podcast script might look like?

The Parents on Demand (POD) Network produced a video which has some great tips on script writing and delivery that will help step up your content game:

Why Your Podcast Needs a Script or Outline via YouTube

In the video, Sunny Gault walks you through one of her own scripts step by step. When it comes to advice on how to write scripts of your own, she suggests that you:

  • Think about your show in sections and block them out, including how long each section might run

Gault also advises that half of the battle of recording a semi-scripted podcast episode is the delivery.

Her recommendations for producing natural-sounding audio are:

  • Pretend you’re talking to one person

Pro tip: The linked script above is a google doc which Gault has made available for anyone to use. She suggests saving it to your own drive so that you can use it as a template for your show’s script. Check it out!

Naming your podcast

If you haven’t already picked a name, it’s time.

Podcast hosting platform Messy.fm suggests making your show name both memorable and search-friendly by thinking of the two items separately:

The Title’s job is to be memorable — something catchy, fun, a little inside-jokey, that listeners will easily remember.

      

      

The Sub-title’s job is to be search-friendly — have descriptive keywords that give more information about what exactly the show is about that are also likely terms a potential listener would type into the podcast directory when they are searching for a show like yours.

Once you’ve found a name you like, be sure to run it through a username check tool –there is nothing more disappointing than choosing a name and then finding out that every username even remotely related is already taken!

Bonus: Even if your name isn’t taken on the username check tool, just do a quick Google search to make sure your chosen name isn’t being used somewhere online. This will come in handy when you begin to think about SEO, social media marketing, and creating a website.

Select a reliable host

You have the audio, now where to put it?

As you might suspect from the name, a podcast hosting platform is the service that ‘hosts’ the audio files for your show.

Aside from providing an easy way for you to store your episodes in the cloud, a host is often who will supply you with your RSS (‘rich site summary’ or ‘really simple syndication’) feed, which allows you to easily distribute your content to podcast apps, directories, and audio search engines like Audioburst 😉

(Note: You can also create your own RSS feed, but it can be a bit more complicated. To find out more about RSS feeds and how to create your own, listen to this podcast episode of ‘The Audacity to Podcast’)

These days there are many hosting services out there and choosing one will come down to your specific needs.

The factors you will want to consider when researching are:

  • Storage: How many episodes can you store?

To get you started on your search for the perfect host, here are some widely used platforms to consider: BlubrryLibsynBuzzsproutPodBeanSpreakerAnchorMessy

Creating content for the ‘Netflix’ generation

We’re living in a world where dropping an entire season of a TV show all in one day is the norm, and while podcast listeners are used to having to wait a week to hear the next installment, should you consider queuing up two or three episodes for your launch date?

There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there on whether or not this is a good idea, however here are a couple of things to consider when making your decision:

Ease of production

How long does it take for you to research, record, and produce an episode of your podcast? Will stockpiling episodes push back your launch?

Is your content evergreen?

Podcasts tied to current events may not work as well when recorded too far in advance.

Launching with multiple episodes can give your new listeners the chance to get to know your work, create more opportunities for engagement, and help build anticipation for your next release, however, if your episodes take a long time to produce or your content is reliant on timeliness, then it might do more harm than good.

When it comes to determining success, there are plenty of shows on each side of the argument.

In the Dark, an investigative journalism podcast whose first season focused on the 1989 Jacob Wetterling kidnapping case took the approach of having two episodes queued up for their 2016 launch day:

Episode list for In the Dark via Overcast

In contrast, Gimlet Media’s Homecoming podcast, a scripted fiction program that would later be picked up for TV production on Prime Video, didn’t launch with any additional episodes:

Episode list for Homecoming via Overcast

Both podcasts have done well despite their different choices on episode count at launch. One might speculate on reasons for each approach, such as Homecoming’s star-studded cast (Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer) not requiring as much build up as the 27-year old true crime case featured in season one of In the Dark.

However, with such strong, quality content, it’s likely that both productions would have been successful regardless of how many episodes they dropped on launch day.

Probably the best advice one can follow when it comes to making this decision is from Colin Gray on an episode of The Podcast Host:

“When it comes down to it, what we’re saying is don’t procrastinate. If creating three is going to make you hold back for ages on launching then don’t bother. Just put one out and see what happens…Whatever helps you get your show out quicker is better.”

 

Think about branding

As audio people, we’re definitely all about the content, however, in the land of marketing, packaging can be just as important.

Yes, we’re talking about cover art.

We know, we know. You’re a podcaster, not Andy Warhol. Don’t worry. You don’t have to do it yourself, nor do you need tons of money to get something designed.

The first thing to do when considering artwork is to think about the personality or ‘voice’ of your podcast. Is your show more:

  • Funny or Serious?

The reason you examine your show’s voice is to ensure that whatever art you create is in-line with who you are.

Here’s an example:

Cover art for the Still Buffering podcast

Still Buffering is a podcast hosted by three sisters. Sydnee and Teylor were teenagers in the 1990s, whereas their younger sister Rileigh recently finished her freshman year of college. Each week the three ‘Smirl Girls’ compare and contrast their teenage experiences.

The show is personal, funny, and relatable. To relay this feeling, the show uses artwork that shows each sister’s individual personality. The handwritten tagline almost gives off the feeling of a diary, or school notebook, drawing back to the subject of their show.

For other examples, you might look to podcasts that have the same feel as your show.

Podcast ‘Comedy Classics’ in the iTunes store

What characteristics does their artwork focus on? A clean image of the host? The show’s title? Once you’ve eyed the competition, jot down a few ideas about what you’d like your cover art to look like. This can either be a few bullets on the copy, color scheme, and types of graphics you like, or you can sketch it out. Whatever you’re comfortable with.

Then you’re ready for design.

If you’re artistically inclined, you can take a stab at it yourself, or alternatively, you can look into getting artwork designed by a freelancer through a service like Fiverr or Upwork. While prices on the platforms vary, you should be able to find an option for just about any budget.

Search results on fiverr

Want to up the ante? While you’re at it, you may want your designer to whip up artwork for your show’s future social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc).

For info on formatting requirements for various platforms check out Sprout Social’s Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes.


We hope these tips have inspired you to take your podcast idea from paper to reality. Stay tuned for the next post in this series where we will discuss the basics of promoting your podcast and amplifying your reach.

 

Podcasting is one of the most popular forms of media available today, and while living in the age of self-production may make it easy to break into the field, staying afloat is not always as simple. There are approximately 540,000 podcasts in existence, but given how many have suffered the dreaded ‘podfade’, it begs a content creator to ask the very basic, yet extremely important question:

“How do I get people to listen to my show?”

 

As a podcast creator, you work hard to create entertaining, valuable content. From researching topics to obtaining guests, to actually handling the technical aspects of production, putting together a podcast takes a lot of time and effort.

Given how much heart and soul goes into every minute of your show, your content deserves to be heard, so here are five tips to help you increase your listener base and get your voice out there:

1. Have a website

I know, I know. Creating a podcast is already a lot of work, so the prospect of having to spend additional time slaving away as a Webmaster may seem rather unappealing. However, having a website for your podcast helps listeners find you. You want people to discover your show not just through podcast directories, but also when they are searching for keywords related to your podcast on major search engines such as Google.

In addition to just getting your name out there, a website is a hub for your brand. Have links to everywhere listeners can find your content, or better yet, embed your content right on your site for ease of access. Recent data from Edison Research shows that of the people polled who were “familiar with the term podcasting, but had never listened”, 48% weren’t sure how to listen and 37% weren’t entirely sure what a podcast even was. At this stage of the game, everyone knows what a website is and embedding your content right on the page is definitely a smart move.

Other great items to have on your website are extras –pictures related to your content, the social media links for your show guests, time stamps for important moments in each episode, and episode transcripts. Transcripts are great additions to your site, as they are helpful for referencing specific moments in your show, they allow for those who are hearing impaired to enjoy your content, and of course, they help improve your show’s search engine optimization (SEO).

Which brings us to….

2. SEO — It’s a thing, even for podcasters

If you’re somewhat internet-savvy, you’ve probably heard of SEO before, however, it may seem like a strange, elusive concept if you have no previous experience in online marketing. The basic idea is that you want to make sure that when people search for terms that are related to your brand, product, website, or in this case, podcast, that your show will be one of the first things that they see in the search engine’s results. This is accomplished, in part, by considering the aforementioned search terms and making sure that you’re using the same terms in your page titles, links, and content.

As a podcaster, this also means that you want to make sure that each of your episodes has a descriptive title and that on your website you’re including episode recap pages where you summarize the content of the episode, including listing your guests. It’s also a good plan of action to go through your episode transcripts, pulling important terms and using them on your site. Being smart about SEO will help improve your site’s search engine ranking and can help gain visibility.

3. Be social. On the internet.

Much like in high school, being a wallflower rarely pays off. One of the best ways to gain a following is to interact with current and prospective listeners, not only through your episodes but up close and personal on social media as well.

Create a Facebook Page and/or Group for your show as well as Twitter handles for both your show and your show’s host. Use these channels to reach out, promote your brand, and share other relevant content that you believe listeners might also be interested in.

In addition, there are many groups on Facebook, as well as hashtags on Twitter (#podernfamily, #podcastmafia, etc) that are related to podcasting. Some of them will allow you to promote your content in them freely or may have weekly threads where content creators swap new episodes. Others may not allow promotion, but often have great discussions about the craft and industry, which in and of themselves can be extremely helpful when you’re just starting out.

The main idea is not to be an island, but instead, become part of the community. Come on in, the water’s fine!

4. Meet people where they are

People are creatures of habit that tend to stick to whatever platforms and applications they are most comfortable with. This means that listeners who always listen to podcasts via one platform will likely be unwilling to go to a different one to find new content.

The best way to combat this issue is to broaden your distribution. This can be done in many different ways, but a simple way to achieve it is to list your show in multiple podcast directories. Each has their own list of benefits and cater to different audiences, making sure that you’re able to attract a wide array of listeners no matter what platform they are most familiar with.

5. Get creative

This last item is fairly broad and is only limited by your imagination. Essentially, the advice is to think outside of the box.

Maybe you’re an artist and you draw a cartoon that goes with every episode on your website. Or you’re a writer who decides to start a blog where you compliment your episodes with interesting original written content.

Sure, podcasts are an audio-only medium, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make videos out of your episodes and upload them to YouTube, making a connection with new listeners via a different platform.

The sky’s the limit…take some time and discover what you have up your sleeve that can set you apart!

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that there is actually a platform for podcast creators that can help you with everything mentioned in this article?

Audioburst Creators takes the heavy lifting out of promoting your podcast by providing you with the tools you need to amplify your reach. With Audioburst Creators you get the following, all for free:

  • Automatic Episode Transcription — get a full transcript for each episode delivered right to your inbox moments after you hit publish.
  • Automatic Episode Segmentation — using natural language processing (NLP) technology, the Audioburst platform listens to, understands, indexes, and segments your content into searchable clips, or ‘bursts’, that are easily shared.
  • Edit, Share, and Embed tools — have the power to create your own bursts, share them across your social media channels, or embed them on your website for greater accessibility.
  • Video Bursts — turn your audio content into video clips designed to reach an entirely new audience.
  • Monetization Opportunities — discover new ways to distribute and monetize your content through promotions, sponsored playlists, and personalized offers.
  • Inclusion in the Audioburst audio library — content showcased in the Audioburst library is broadcast via mobile apps, smart speakers, car infotainment systems, and through the products of our partners, including big names such as Radioline, Samsung, Bose, and Harman.

 

Join Audioburst Creators today and take your podcast to the next level!

 

 

Get more from your audio content! Audioburst allows broadcasters and content creators to easily reach out to a wider audience and engage new listeners –Transcribe, Clip, and Share your audio content for Free. Just enter your RSS feed and we’ll take care of the rest!

 

Getting Noticed

It wasn’t so long ago that becoming a successful actor, musician, artist, or writer seemed like a pipe dream. Aside from tremendous amounts of blood, sweat, and tears, hitting it big, for the most part, took a whole lot of luck. Artistic creators not only had to excel at their craft, but they also had to get their work in front of the right people. Without the help of an agent, producer or big-name publisher, it was unlikely that their work would ever see the light of day.

These days it’s an entirely different ballgame. Technology has completely changed the way content is distributed, monetized and absorbed, allowing anyone to develop and promote content independently. On the one hand, this allows anyone to be a writer or podcaster. All you need to do is create and hit publish. On the other hand, in a world where anyone can put out content, how do you get noticed?

Spoiler alert: It’s hard!

Gaining exposure for your content takes a lot of time, effort, and in most cases, money. You need social media presences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A blog or a website. Knowledge about search engine optimization (SEO) so that your content will pop up readily on Google. And then once you’ve got all of that, you still need followers!

 

Audioburst has been hard at work figuring out how to make self-distribution and promotion of audio content more accessible, and we’re happy that we can finally announce our new tool: Audioburst Creators.

Before we leap into Creators and help you get internet famous, let’s take a minute to explain what Audioburst is and why you need it.

Audioburst

Audioburst is an AI-powered audio search platform which connects listeners to audio content. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, we analyze, index and segment audio into searchable ‘bursts.’ Bursts are stored in our extensive audio library where they can be accessed to provide a more dynamic and personalized listening experience for users across mobile apps, search engines, in-car infotainment systems, digital assistants, IoT gadgets, smartphones, and more.

As an audio content creator, partnering with Audioburst offers several benefits that you won’t find anywhere else:

  • Greater Content Distribution
  • Extended Shelf Life for your Content
  • New Monetization Opportunities

And now, with Audioburst Creators, you’ll be able to not only reap the long-term benefits that come standard with inclusion in our library, but you’ll also be able to control your content’s destiny through features like:

  • Transcripts
  • Improved SEO
  • Social Sharing

And the best part:  You’ll get all of these things for free!

Are you excited? Us too! Let’s take a look at the Creators tool:

Overview:

See which bursts are performing the best from your show, or search for show bursts by keyword or topic.

Show Highlights:

Audioburst pulls the highlights from your most recent episodes and makes them easily accessible. Have control over which bursts are pushed to the Audioburst library, share the best via your favorite social networks, and use the editing tool to give you the flexibility to ensure that every burst reflects your best efforts.

Editing:

Audioburst’s sophisticated AI platform ensures that bursts are automatically ready for prime time right out of the gate by analyzing the full text of the audio, identifying the context and segmenting the content accordingly.   

However, if we ever miss the mark, there’s no need to worry. Our new Editor puts you in complete control of your content, allowing you to capture the perfect moment by sound or transcript. Then you only need choose your title and thumbnail, adjust your tags and then you’re ready to go!

In addition, Audioburst is founded on machine learning. Every edited burst assists the platform in advancing its understanding of human speech and helps improve the quality of the service as a whole. In other words, it’s a win-win!

Sharing:

All bursts can be shared with your favorite social networks directly from the Creators portal.

Alternatively, you can even embed a player on your website for easy content access.

Transcripts:

Each time a new episode of your show is added to the library, the transcript will be emailed directly to you for use in tagging, further content creation, and SEO improvement.

The transcript is also available right in Audioburst Creators. Content when you want it, where you want it.

Show Page:

Make sure your brand is on point by managing your show’s Audioburst page. Add custom icons, banners, and ensure your listeners can always stay in touch by linking to your social networks.

We think Audioburst Creators is going to change the way audio content creators promote and distribute their work and this is just the beginning. A slew of new features are in the pipeline, and we can’t wait to share them with you (Video bursts, anyone?!)

Ready to get started? Visit our Creators site to submit your show to the database and start harnessing the power of your content today!

Everyone knows that storytelling is the oldest form of an educational aide. Parents and grandparents passed down history and information from one generation to the next. However, through time, the delivery method of these stories changed. From direct word of mouth to books, then onwards to TV, video and beyond.

With so many mediums to choose from, one might stop and ask: Is one method better than another? Might there be benefits for kids focusing on using aural means over video or text alone?

Benefits of Audio

In an article from 2015, The Atlantic discusses why the brain is captivated by audio stories. The article explains that the advantage to audio is that “listening to audio allows people to create their own versions of characters and scenes in the story….unlike looking at a written page, (audio) is more active, since the brain has to process the information at the pace it is played.”

This intense engagement is particularly helpful for kids in the classroom. In a post on KQED.org, Linda Flanagan explored how audiobooks can help kids learn. Teachers and school librarians found that when children have exposure to audio content, it increases vocabulary, improves reading skills and grabs the attention of kids who might otherwise be restless.

 

Audioburst to the rescue!

Audioburst recognizes the need to interact with children aurally, and we are working to provide a wide selection of children’s programming in our library. Our content consists of an array of podcasts that focus on either interesting facts or storytelling, providing kids audio that is not only educational but fun!

Some of the shows that can be found in the Audioburst library:

All of these shows are lively and guaranteed to keep kids actively engaged whether at home or on the go. Of course, in the words of LeVar Burton, “You don’t have to take my word for it!” Here is a sampling of the type of kid-approved audio Audioburst aims to deliver:

 

Keep an eye out for upcoming announcements about how Audioburst is capturing the imaginations of children and adults alike. In the meantime, don’t forget to visit Audioburst Search for all of your news, sports, and entertainment needs.

If you’re like us, you’re always on the hunt for a new podcast to add to your rotation. The trouble is that sometimes wading through the options can become overwhelming. Luckily, there is a way to make the search a little less stressful–podcast networks!

Podcast networks are helpful for both listeners and content creators alike. If you are a listener, then podcast networks make finding a new show easy by curating quality content and putting it all in one place for you to find. If you are a content creator, then being part of a podcast network can help increase your revenue and broaden your listener base.

There are many well-regarded networks out there, but to get you started, here are five podcast networks that we know you’ll love:

#1 Maximum Fun

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Maximum Fun was founded by San Francisco native, Jesse Thorn. The network began with Thorn’s college radio show, “The Sound of Young America,” an interview-based show which was later rebranded “Bullseye with Jesse Thorn.” The network boasts over 30 affiliated podcasts and also hosts the annual convention, “MaxFunCon,”  a three-day gathering of creative people that features live comedy, podcast, music, and educational sessions.

Here’s a clip from a recent episode of “Bullseye” where Jesse talks to Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, co-creators of the new Netflix show, “One Day At A Time.”

 

 

#2 Gimlet Media

If you’re wondering how Gimlet Media began, you don’t need to look any further than the first season of their inaugural show, StartUp. In a bold move, Alex Blumberg chronicled the experiences he had while launching Gimlet Media in StartUp’s first season. This story is also the subject of an upcoming ABC sitcom, “Alex, Inc.” in which Zach Braff plays Blumberg’s character.

Beyond StartUp, Gimlet hosts approximately 15 shows which cover a wide range of topics, covering everything from science to Black culture.

In this segment from Gimlet show, “Reply All,” hosts Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt explore the practice of ‘drop shipping,’ starting by investigating what happened when a man ordered a watch he found in an Instagram ad.

 

 

#3 Radiotopia

Radiotopia is a podcast network run by the Public Radio Exchange (PRX). They currently have just under 20 podcasts on their roster, including shows such as “99% Invisible”, “Ear Hustle,” and a new show entitled “This Is Love.”

In this clip from “This Is Love,” host Phoebe Judge helps tell the story of a couple’s challenges when attempting to become legally connected in a time before the legalization of same-sex marriage.

 

 

#4 Panoply Media

Panoply Media is a podcast network started by The Slate Group that is home to almost 200 podcasts. In addition to Slate produced podcasts, Panoply partners with many other big-name companies, such as Vox, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated, etc. to offer quality content.

In late 2017, Slate launched a podcast entitled “Slow Burn.” Hosted by Leon Neyfakh, the show tackled the Watergate scandal and received significant positive press. Click below to get a taste of “Slow Burn.”

 

#5 Wondery

Wondery was launched by former CEO of Fox International Channels, Herman Lopez. The network is backed by 20th Century Fox and has nearly 20 shows currently produced under the Wondery name, as well as an extensive list of partner shows.

Some popular titles under the Wondery brand include “Sword and Scale,” “Dirty John,” and the podcast adaptation of the National Geographic Channel’s hit TV series, “Locked Up Abroad.”

Last year Wondery came out with the show, “I Hate My Boss,” which despite the title, was a work advice podcast designed to help you love your job. The show is returning this month, rebranded as “Safe for Work.”

To tide you over, here are hosts Liz Dolan and Larry Seal fielding a listener question on how to cope with managing a team who are losing their jobs to outsourcing.

 

 

Finally, a Bonus Tip:


The Audioburst Search Engine is a great place to look for a new podcast. All you need to do is type in a keyword, hit enter, and you may just stumble onto the show you never knew you needed–check it out!