Hello, and welcome to Marketing Speak! I am your host, Stephan Spencer, and today I have Rob Walch with us. Rob is a VP over at Libsyn, which is an awesome tool I use for my own podcast shows. We can talk about that in a bit, but he’s also co-author of the book, Tricks of the Podcasting Masters, published by Que. He’s listed as the fifth most influential person in podcasting in the book, Podcasting for Dummies, published by Wiley. He’s consulted on podcasting for such big names as Jack Welch, Senator Edwards, Governor Bill Richardson, Noah Shanok of Stitcher, and Tim Ferriss. He’s been podcasting since 2004, so he is a real veteran. Rob is also the host of the award-winning podcast, podCast411 Podcast, where he’s interviewed such prominent podcasters as Quincy Jones and Walt Mossberg. He’s also the host of the Today in iOS Podcast, which is all about iPhone and iOS tech stuff and all sorts of goodies. We met at Content Marketing World-out in the hallway and we were geeking out about formulas for iTunes New & Noteworthy and how that’s calculated, and we’ll talk about that too. Welcome Rob, it’s great to have you on.
Stephan, thank you for having me on the show. I appreciate it. Thank you for the great intro.
You bet. You’re quite a storied podcaster. You’ve been around for so long and you’re an industry great. Everybody knows who you are who’s in the know with podcasting. In fact, I just saw you speak at Podcast Movement and you crushed it.
If we could start by like-what is the main “secret sauce” that you want to tell people about podcasting as a vehicle for marketing? What’s the big deal about podcasting versus, let’s say, blogging or having a column on Entrepreneur.com or Forbes, or a YouTube channel? What’s so magical about a podcast?
One thing I can say about podcasting, there’s more time in the day for people to consume audio content than there is any other medium. When they’re driving the car, when they’re walking the dog, while they’re working out, doing yard work, doing housework, and working-for that matter, they can be listening to this podcast or any podcasts. From that point of view, it gives you the opportunity to reach an audience when you can’t reach them from any other medium. That’s one of the key reasons. The other one is, the differentiation of the other mediums. Bloggers, no offense to bloggers, but they’re a dime a dozen. There are 600-million bloggers out there. A lot of those blogs are robots, but podcasters-there are only about 350,000, quote-unquote, podcasts that are in iTunes, and of those 350,000-maybe, half are active. As a podcaster, who you are competing against is a much smaller window, and it really separates you from the other 2,000 people that are blogging about the same topic that you are now talking about as a podcaster, and you’re not competing with bots. Bots aren’t coming in and creating fake podcasts whereas, as you already know as an SEO person, there’s some really good bot-generated blogs out there with good algorithms that steal space from search results because these bot farms know what they’re doing. You can’t game it like that with podcasting.
Yeah, that’s true. Very true. These spam blogs or “splogs” are just filling up the internet. It’s crazy. But, there are a lot of really lousy podcasts out there too. I mean, there’s a lot of noise.
Oh yeah, absolutely. There are some podcasts that are absolutely horrendous. I mean, I listen to them and go, “Oh my! No wonder you only have 12 listeners.”
Isn’t that the majority? The majority are crap? And so, having a decent podcast will set you apart from everybody else?
The majority of television shows are crap. The majority of movies are crap. The majority of songs are crap. The majority of blogs are crap. Everything is. Any medium where there’s art being created. The majority of plays that are written and the majority of books that have ever been written, compared to the classics, you’re going to say are crap, but that’s just any content medium.
Right? YouTube, oh my God. You want to talk about a medium with a lot of crap. What’s the average number of views on a YouTube video? What 2? The person who uploaded it and his mother?
At least with podcasts, the median number is 170 downloads. That’s the median, so half the episodes that are created, we see are 170 downloads while half are 170 or greater. That’s really good when you compare it to what the number is for blogs or other mediums out there.
So, 170 downloads per episode or per month?
Per episode when an episode is 30 days or older.
Actually, when an episode is 30-60 days so on average, when it’s 45 days old. It’s about 170. It’s the median number. The adjusted average, when we take out the top half percent of podcasters, the ones that are really crushing it-the Dan Carlin’s, the Joe Rogan’s, and the Marc Maron’s-then, the average number is about 2,000, and it’s been consistent, by the way. Since 2012, that 2,000 has been very consistent, and the median number has varied between 150 and 200 so it’s been very consistent on the median and the mean-adjusted mean, I should say.
You mentioned Marc Maron and some of these other big name podcasters that our listeners may not have heard of-what sets them apart? What makes them such a phenomenon? We’ve probably all have heard of Serial and StartUp, but-
Yeah. I mean, if you look at Serial, which is the, quote-unquote, breakout hit of podcasting, right? It’s been listened to by less than 1 out of every 10, much less than 1 out of every 10 podcast consumers.
Then, you take a look at M*A*S*H, which was a huge breakout hit, which was watched by over half the television audience.
Yeah, back in the 70’s or 60’s.
Right. You know, quote-unquote, what’s a breakout is still only been consumed by single digits of the audience out there. Some people think podcasting started when Serial started, but the reality is, podcasting made Serial. Serial didn’t make podcasting. Podcasting has been going along steadily. Now, what Serial did is, it brought some more notoriety to podcasting and that caused more media coverage, but the reality is, without podcasting as a medium, you could have never gotten that Serial show up on radio-traditional radio. It needed the medium of podcasting to get that message out.
Why is that?
Because it’s niche, and that’s the beauty of podcasting. You could do a podcast about anything. There is a professional chameleon-raising podcast. There is a professional pig-racing podcast called the SwineCast. There is a tree-climbers association podcast. There are podcasts about every niche and topic you can pretty much think about. That’s the beauty of podcasting because when you are a podcast about professional pig-raising, The SwineCast, and you get 200 downloads in an episode, you probably hit it out of the ballpark. How many professional pig raisers-not just pig raisers, but professional pig raisers, are there out there?
You have to look at the ability to get your message out to your target audience when they are the most available to consume it-while driving in the car or working out-and now, you can do this in this medium called podcasting, which has been around now for almost 12 years. That’s the beauty of podcasting-it’s getting out any message that you want.
Podcasting has been around for 12 years. I actually started podcasting, maybe it was even 2005 to 2006, so it was a long time ago. It didn’t really do much for me. I had this podcast associated with my previous agency, Netconcepts. I called it The Netconcepts Podcast, and I interviewed Tim Ferriss, David Allen, and some pretty big-name people, and it just didn’t really do anything for the business. I got kind of tired of it and I stopped by 2009.
It’s called podfading. You podfaded.
Yeah, I podfaded. When it really took off again, it seemed like it got a whole new life with what Apple was doing-really pushing the podcasts in the iTunes store and so forth. It just really got me excited about doing it again. I launched Marketing Speak last year and my other show, The Optimized Geek, last year as well, and they’re picking up speed, picking up momentum, and getting a lot of anecdotal kudos so it’s great, but where is this headed? Is this going to die back down again? Is this like the cusp of some huge breakaway success story?
Some people think it’s a fad. All this publicity, but the reality is, podcasting consumption and the number of podcasts haven’t exploded. There hasn’t been an explosion in the last two years. What’s happened in the last two years is, there has been a lot of media coverage. You had a podcast called Serial, whose psychographic were newspaper reporters, and guess what they did? They wrote about podcasting, and many of them hadn’t written about podcasting in many years so they said, “Oh, podcasting’s back.” That’s just plain arrogance on the people who were doing this. They didn’t take the time to really research it, but the reality is, it’s been steady growth. Podcasting has steadily grown year after year after year. The real driving factor of the growth of late wasn’t Serial or Gimlet or any of these other stuff, it was a smartphone. The mobile device. Your smartphone has become the device with you. Everyone has it now, and wherever you go, you have this opportunity to listen to a podcast. Consumption of podcasts now, we saw in June, 77% of all downloads are directly to the mobile device. A few years ago, it was opposite of that so it’s changed quite a bit in the last few years with, basically, smartphones becoming ubiquitous. That’s really the future and the current state of podcasting-it’s mobile. Now, some people want to tell you, “Oh, it’s the connected car. The connected car is coming.” The connected car is nothing more than glorified Bluetooth speaker. That’s what the connected car is. And you know what it’s connecting to? It’s connecting to your smartphone. People who listen to the podcast before-they get into the car, they listen while they’re in the car, and then they listen when they get out of the car and walk around the grocery store doing their shopping. That’s podcasting. It’s mobile. That’s what really helped more so than when you were podcasting originally in 2005 to 2006. People have to download the podcast into iTunes on their computer, then remember to sync their iPod to their computer, before they left to go to work that morning.
I remember those days.
Yeah. You don’t have to do that anymore. That’s why podcasting has been taking off. It’s become so easy. If you can play Angry Birds, you can listen to a podcast. That’s the beauty of it.
Yeah. You said it’s been steady growth-you’ve been in this space for a very long time-what sort of metrics are you measuring for you own shows? What’s the growth been looking like? What do the numbers look like for you if you don’t mind?
No. To let your listeners know, I’m with Libsyn. I’m the VP of Podcast Relations at Libsyn. Libsyn is the largest of the podcast hosting companies. This year, we’ll do over 25% of all of the downloads and streams that come out of iTunes or the Podcasts app. To put that in perspective, no one else is even 10% so we have a pretty good view of the stats. Maybe iTunes has a better view, but next to iTunes, we probably have the best view of what’s going on. We had 1.6 billion downloads in 2013, and it went 1.9 billion in-so, 2012 was 1.6, and then it went to 1.9, then 2.5, and then last year was 3.3 billion. That’s how the growth of podcasting has progressed.
Great! You have several shows. Is it three shows that you-
Oh, personally? Yeah, personally. Again, for podcasting, you can’t look at the individual show and say, “Has there been growth in podcasting?” Because some shows, their audiences decline for various reasons. In other shows, they’re shot up 300-500% Tim Ferriss-look at his show is. It shot up 10x from where he was a year to two years ago so you can’t look at that. You have to look at it in aggregate. Aggregate, again, the average for the shows hasn’t really changed when you take out the top shows. What there is, is there are more shows, of course-more shows, and that’s why that number keeps growing. What we see in podcasting is, steady growth. We see more new unique users coming in, and it’s been a steady number of new unique users coming in, month after month, and that’s a good thing for the podcasting world because it’s not a fad. This isn’t a fad. However, the other side of it is, is if you’re getting into podcasting thinking you’re going to make a quick buck, you’re looking for this hockey stick. I hear people saying, “There’s going to be a hockey stick.” There isn’t a hockey stick. When you actually look at the average number of downloads and adjusted average since 2012, it looks more like the skating rink-it’s flat. It doesn’t look like a hockey stick. Again, that’s not a bad thing. We have growth, but it’s steady growth. It’s not a fad, and I believe that podcasting will be around for a long, long time because people have time in their day to listen and more than do anything else. Because of that, podcasting will be there to fill that void.
Right. Let’s say we’re watching our downloads for our show or shows, and we see it kind of slowly picking up steam and, let’s say, it’s a 1,000 downloads a month, and then after about six months, it’s maybe 2,000 downloads a month, and then maybe a year later, it’s 3,000 to 4,000 downloads a month-is that typical? Or, do you expect to see like 40,000 downloads a month within six months or a year? What the graph-what would you expect to see as a quality show and not like-?
As a quality show, you may get up in to the 50,000 range and that puts you in the top 1%. Five thousand puts you in the top 8.4%. The joke I like to say is, that’s 1 in 11 so, 1 out of 11 shows gets the 5,000. Five thousand is important because that’s the number if you want to monetize via advertising. If you’re getting into podcasting for advertising reasons, you have a better odds at the racetrack with 1 out of 8 or 1 out of 10 horses, depending on the track you’re at. Then, you do podcasting at 1 out of 11 getting to that 5,000 number so, the majority of shows never see that 5,000 number-never get there. It really does, too, depend about what you’re podcasting about. If you have a comedy podcast, and you get 100,000 downloads for an episode, you’re funny and you have a good successful show. If you’re getting 200 downloads for that comedy podcast after three years, you’re not funny.
I mean, I said that once before, and someone emailed me and they said, “Oh well, if I heard you, I have a show and it’s been over a couple of years, and I haven’t gotten to 200, and if I heard that, I would have quit a long time ago. I’m glad I didn’t listen to you,” and I’m like, “Wow. Okay. Not only is he not funny, but he doesn’t have a sense of humor.”
Never knows when to quit, right?
Right? Again, we go back to the professional pig-raising podcast-you get 200 listeners to a professional pig-raiser podcast, that’s great so you have to look at what your niche is about. If your podcast is about website design, and you get 1,000 people listening to your show, that may be more valuable to you than a comedy podcast at 100,000. Look at what you are doing. Don’t look at the top. Don’t look at Tim Ferriss as an example. Don’t look at Marc Maron as an example. Unless of course, you’re Louie Anderson, then you can look at that, but if you’re not a professional comedian, and you’re coming into this from a content marketing point of view, and you’re going to be talking about manila folders-there’s a podcast from Smead about folders, right? It’s kind of little manila, but if you have a podcast about fire folders, don’t expect a whole lot of downloads. However, the ones you get are great because their podcast is really about organization and heading towards office managers. That’s what they’re podcast is geared towards, but it is from Smead, and you can go find it in iTunes. It’s brilliant. It works well for them, and they consider it successful. However, they’re numbers aren’t Dave Ramsey numbers or Joyce Meyer numbers so you have to really look at your audience and who your addressable audience really is, realistically.
Right, but the main metric that we kind of banter around is the downloads.
And that’s all we got. I know where you’re going on this. You were going to go, “Can you measure plays?” right?
Yeah, you can’t. The reality is, 86% roughly come from iTunes, the Podcasts app, and other aggregator apps, and they don’t report information backs so all you can ever tell is, how many people downloaded it. You don’t know if they played it. You don’t really want to care about your subscriber number because that’s an old way of looking at things. What you want to look at is what I call the “core audience,” and that is how many people are listening to your episode when it’s three-weeks-old, and how many of them are coming in via aggregator apps, meaning they have subscribed. That’s iTunes-it’sApple Core Media, when you look at your user agent information, iTunes, Overcast, Shifty Jelly Pocket Casts, thing like that. iHeartRadio now, and Google Play Music. How many people are consuming it that way? When you look at that number after your episode is released three weeks, is that number going up episode after episode? Is it staying flat or is it going down? That tells you how your show is really doing. The only show you ever should really compare yourself against is your own show, and just try to work to grow your audience.
Got it. So, let’s say that you’ve launched a new show, and you want to get into the iTunes New and Noteworthy. Like you said, 86% of the listens and downloads and all that are going to be coming from iTunes. Isn’t that kind of the Holy Grail-getting into the New and Noteworthy within that, I guess, it’s that eight-week time window?
Isn’t that the magic time window?
Yeah. That’s the formula that the folks try to sell you on these Mastermind groups. They charge you X hundred dollars to join and their magic bullet is, go into New and Noteworthy and get strangers to rate and review your show, and they’ll rate and review your show, and we’ll drive you up in New and Noteworthy. The only problem with that is, it doesn’t work on the main page of iTunes. It doesn’t work on the comedy page, which are 100% hand-curated by Apple, and the pages it does work on are subcategory pages-at best, you’re going to see a bump of about 100. If you only have 50 downloads an episode, 100 seems like a 200% increase-that’s great, but the reality of the situation is, that doesn’t help you in long term. There are no huge podcasts that are hugely successful that will say, “Oh, I got this way because I got a feature in New and Noteworthy because I had strange people I didn’t know game the system to drive my numbers up.” The other reason people want to get featured in New and Noteworthy I love is because they want to take a screenshot of iTunes and say, “Hey! I was featured in New and Noteworthy! Come on my show and be a guest on my show.” I always tell people, “If that’s the reason you’re doing it, just learn Photoshop, and just send them a screenshot, showing them that your show is featured.” If you’re going to lie, do it more efficiently.
Oh, that’s funny.
New and Noteworthy is the most overrated thing in iTunes. If you get featured in one-great. I’ve seen people that have stopped doing a podcast and relaunch the podcast, I asked them why they stopped and relaunched and they said, “Oh, my first show didn’t featured in Note and Noteworthy, so I stopped.” I went, “Really?” It’s so overrated and the bump you get from it is so, in most cases, meaningless-depending on the category you’re in.
Right. So, what does matter then?
The number of new subscribers in the last seven days, and that will bump you up in the top 200 list, and the number of subscribers all time. The search algorithm in iTunes-you’ll appreciate this, it’s like Alta Vista in 1996-it’s the title of your show. That’s it. And the author tag-sorted by the total number of subscribers all time. Apple is getting really picky now, and they’re sending out warnings to those who are trying to game the author tag. That was the other one that people would do. They would say, “Hey, put all of these keywords in your author tag, and you’ll show up in all of these search results.” Now, Apple sends that little note saying, “Yeah, you’re author tag isn’t really representative of your show. You say you interview people, and one of them you’re saying you’re going to interview is Zig Ziglar,” which is a great example of one that’s spammy out there. Launched in September last year, it says, “I interview people like Zig Ziglar and Seth Godin and others,” and for people who know who Zig Ziglar is, he died two years ago-almost three now. He died before this guy launched his show so it’s not going to be a very engaging interview. Whatever you’re thinking about this interview, that one will be much more boring.
That’s funny. With all due respect to Zig Ziglar, who was amazing. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You kind of enjoy figuring out the formulas-like, you figured out the New and Noteworthy formula years ago.
Yeah, the top 200 formula.
The top 200 formula, right.
The top 200 formula-okay, if you got stat geeks out there, this is what it is. It’s based on the number of new subscribers in the last seven days with a weighted average for 24, 48, and 72 hours, and it works like this: 4 times the number of subscribers in the last day then, 3 times the next day, 2 times the next day, plus the next day, the next day, the next day, and the next day so, those seven days and divide it by 13. That gives you a weighted score, and that updates on, basically, on an hourly basis, half hourly basis in iTunes. Apple did this, and it’s brilliant why they did this. It’s a simple algorithm, and it makes the list dynamic. If they didn’t do that, if they did it by all-time subscribers, the list would never change so they’re doing it based on the number of new subscribers in the last seven days with a weighted average of 24, 48, and 72 hours, and that makes it a very dynamic list. But that’s important to know that formula because if you launch a podcast in iTunes, and you send out an email list to your email list, “Subscribe to my podcast,” if you get 5,000 new subscribers in the first 48 hours, you’ll be in the top five in iTunes. That’s all it takes for that period of time, and then you’ll drop, of course.
Within a week?
Yeah, and you’ll drop quite a bit after that week. You’ll really fall off, but that’s nice because Apple gives everybody, big or small, the opportunity to get featured in those top 200 lists, and that’s a good thing. The search results are based on the total number of subscribers of all-time, and that’s a good thing too because that rewards long-time shows and shows that are probably going to be more relevant that have been around and people that have had more subscribers, and they’ve clicked that subscribe button so, more likely, those shows are relevant if they have a lot more people click subscribe.
Yeah, go ahead.
Which is why you don’t want to quit doing a podcast because it didn’t get featured in New and Noteworthy and start a new one because now, you’ve lost all the juice that you had to start with.
Got it. So, if it’s relevant and you have been around for a long time and you’ve got a lot of subscribers over that period of time, you’re in a good place, but let’s say that, it’s not really that relevant, you can have an amazing number of subscribers and you’re still not going to show up in the search results, right? Or, conversely, if you’re highly, highly relevant, but you’re a new show and you hardly have any subscribers yet, but it’s like-this is the most relevant thing for the search query on iTunes.
Right. And again, the search query is what is based on what’s in the title and author-really, what’s in your title. What that tells you is, you don’t want to have a funky title. You don’t want to have the Cheese Doodle Podcast if your podcast is about gun repair or something like that. You want it to be relevant. I had a friend, his podcast was called The 5th Race Podcast, and nobody knew what The 5th Race Podcast was about. If you search in iTunes for what his show was about, he didn’t show up, and it was a Stargate podcast. It was really Inside the Actor’s Studio, you know? Only Stargate fanatics would know what a 5th Race Podcast meant.
I’m a Stargate fanatic, and I don’t even know what The 5th Race Podcast meant.
Well, in Stargate, there was the 5th race so, they talked about that-
The elders. It was an ongoing theme.
Okay, I’ve must have missed that because I have seen every single Stargate episode ever made, and I don’t remember that.
Yeah, but that’s a point though. You’ve watched every episode of Stargate. If you were going to Stargate into iTunes and look for a podcast about Stargate, would you search for a 5th race or would you search for, I don’t know, Stargate? By him just changing his title to, A 5th Race Podcast: An Unofficial Stargate Podcast, he jumped to number one in the search results.
That’s so simple.
Yeah, and the change was instant. If you have a podcast, look at the title of your show and make sure it has a relevant keyword in there. Now, don’t go overboard and put 20-50 keywords in there, Apple will penalize you and they’ll never feature you if you’re spammy. They’re sending out letters about warning to getting kicking people out, but it’s good to have two or three of your keywords built into the title of your show. That’s just plain common sense, and that’s how you have to do your show if you want to relevant in iTunes.
Yeah, and does the word order matter?
No, not at all.
Right. So, if I wanted to rank for, let’s say, internet marketing and the show is called, Marketing Speak, and it’s two words, thankfully, and I put Marketing Speak: Discussions on Internet blah-blah-blah-blah, but marketing was preceded in that phrase and then the word internet, and I want to rank for internet marketing not marketing internet-is that going…?
They don’t care. Their search query is an “and” not a “together.”
Does it have “internet?” Does it have “marketing” in the title or author tag? Yes? Okay, that gets into the search results. Now, sort these guys by how many subscribers they have all-time.
Right, and what about the episode titles? How important are they?
Episode titles are also important because that shows up in the other part of the search results. When you release episodes, a really bad episode title is “Tii Item 300.” I’ve seen people do that-“Episode 300,” “Episode 400”-not even putting their show in there. That’s what they have for the title of their episodes. They just do the episode number and are done. What I do for Today in iOS, which is my main show, I put in the title of the episode, words I think people are going to search for. For my July 22nd episode, my title was, “Tii-Item 399: iOS 10 Beta, iOS 9.3.3,” because I figure people are going to be searching about iOS 10 Beta and they’re going to be searching for iOS 9.3.3, and those were two things that were just released so boom, and it goes.
Hmm. Do you recommend having the episode number in the episode title?
I do because a lot of people who listen to podcasts are sight-impaired, and having the episode title at the beginning makes it easy for sight-impaired people to find the episodes.
All right. Because I don’t mention my episode numbers in the beginning of my episodes.
Yeah, I do. I always tell people the first thing is “Tii-Item 399-July 22nd 2016- iOS Beta 3-iOS 9.3.3,” and that is how my intro of my show would be. That would be kind of the title of my show sans the date, as well, but I always say it right at the beginning so someone that’s flipping through and trying to find my episode on an iOS device or any other mobile device, if they are sight-impaired and they’re listening, as soon as they hit play and they hear the beginning, they hear the episode number, they’ll know if they’re on the right episode or not.
Does it date the episode though to mention the date in the beginning of the podcast?
I don’t put it in the show notes, but I do put it at the beginning of the episode.
In the audio?
In the audio. I do that because my show is news-related. If you came across the episode, and you thought you were listening to the latest episode, and you didn’t put a date in the beginning, and someone just found that show, and they thought it was my latest episode and they go, “Man, this show is out of date.”
Well, now, they know. Right. Yeah. My content is not evergreen. It has a very short shelf-life when you’re talking about latest news and updates for the iOS devices. I put the date in there deliberately so that someone that listens to it for the first time knows whether or not it’s a recent episode so that they don’t go, “Oh well, this show is just horrible. I was hearing about this two years ago!” Well, yeah, because the episode is two years old. That’s why I do it. If you’re content is evergreen, there’s no reason to put a date in.
Yeah, I don’t. My content is more evergreen, but one thing I am thinking about doing to shake things up in term of the beginning of my episode audio is-I, currently, and have been since I launched Marketing Speak, have this intro that’s the same every time. It’s an intro or bumper for 30-45 seconds or whatever it is, and then we launch off of the podcast episode. However, I’m thinking that some of these shows are taking little snippets from the episode-like, some really great sound bites, incorporating that into the beginning of the episode to whet people’s appetite. Like my fiancée whom you met at Podcast Movement, her show is called Stellar Life. She does this, and it’s really compelling. I love it. She’s got this little snippet towards the beginning.Well, first of all, she starts with this kind of theme around stars and exploration into space and stuff so she’s got some sound effects that sound like you’re going to blast off into space, but then she pulls a snippet. She would start it by pulling snippets from different missions into space, which was really cool like you hear discussions with mission control and that sort of stuff, which was fun, but then now, she’s starting to take snippets from the episode like really compelling bits. What do you think is the best practice or the thing that’s going to work best for folks who are podcasting?
It depends on the type of show. If it’s entertainment-based, that can definitely help. It also depends on how much time you have as a producer because that’s a lot of work to do that. I mean, you’re adding you’re adding half-an-hour to 45-minutes to your workflow to really do that well, and think about, “Where was the right clip? Where in the show? Okay, got to bring this in, and bring it back, and was that the right one or not?” so you’re adding time to your episode. I can’t recommend against it because if you can do it and you can do it and you can figure out how to do it efficiently and you know, “Okay, this is definitely the segment I want to do,” while you’re editing, copying, go back to the beginning, place it in, and leave that spot open every time-go for it. I mean, yeah, you’re giving a little preview of what the episodes by. Some people come to your show every week because they know your show so you don’t have to worry. I mean, the question I would say is, does this help the new listener? That’s what always what I want to say. The beginning of your show-does it help a new listener or does it chase away a new listener? That’s what you really have to decide on because it’s not about the people who have already listened to your show, they don’t care about your intro, all right? They may even hit the 30-second fast forward button twice because they know your show well enough to know, “Okay, I’m going to skip that. All right, now I’m at the beginning.” I used to listen to TWiT, and I knew exactly how far you have to go in because Leo would talk with a bunch of folks in the first five minutes of the episode. Every episode was just them talking about themselves and you don’t get any tech news until at least eight minutes or seven minutes into a TWiT episode, right? So, you just go to seven minutes and then you start listening.
For those of you listening who don’t know what TWiT is, it’s This Week in Tech by Leo Laporte.
Right. But that’s the banter. That’s the way that Leo likes to do, and they have banter, but I always like TWiT for-tell me the tech news. If you’re a new listener to a show or I should say, as a producer, think about the new listeners to your show. What message do you want to get to them? I try to have something different in the beginning of my shows where every episode I have a different piece of music that’s played from a listener that they send in so every episode has a slightly different piece of music. I have a segment where they and I have a promo giveaway segment. I do all that upfront. It’s kind of formulaic. Then, about five minutes in is when the news starts. Some people have told me, “Ah, I’ve just skipped through the first five minutes,” while other people say, “Oh, don’t ever change that. I love that,” so I was like, “Yeah, there’s a fast-forward button,” and you’re never going to make everybody happy.
Yeah, true. You take something away that people don’t seem to care about or use like, for example, Google took away the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button and then there’s a huge outcry. Very few people were ever using the button, which takes you to the very first search result directly, but then, part of Google’s personality or whatever they took away, and people were just really upset and were like, “Bring it back!” and so they did. What about people listening to a show at 2x speed or 1.5-speed, is that something-
I listen to all of mine and one-and-a-half speed. Every podcast I’ve listened to is at one-and-a-half speed, which is funny because some of the podcast I listen to on a regular basis like Mac OS Ken or the Revolutions Podcast, I also talk to those people in real life, and whenever I talk to Mike Duncan or I talk to Ken Ray, I feel like they’re on Quaaludes. You know, if they’re talking to me, and I think they’re slow down, and I’m like, “Man, you’re talking slow today!” and I have to remember, “Oh, yeah! I was listening to them sped up,” but that’s how I consume. I consume at one-and-a-half because I can, and that’s just how I like to and I’m like, “Hey, I can get through this a little bit faster,” and you get to the next one, I consume a little bit more content. By the way, one-and-a-half speed isn’t really one-and-a-half anyway-it’s like 1.25 when it’s all said and done. Two isn’t really two-it’s like one-and-a-half, but it’s still faster. I don’t like two-two, to me, is just too fast, but I like one-and-a-half, and that’s how I’ve gotten used to listening to all the podcasts I listen to you.
Do you watch YouTube videos 2x-speed or one-and-a-half speed as well?
No. I wouldn’t do video that way, but it’s audio. That’s the beauty of audio. I’m from New York, anyway, so I’m used to people talking fast-originally. My mom’s from Brooklyn then I moved the Midwest, and it was like-okay, it pulled it back to a half-x speed.
Yup. If you watch a lot of training videos and things like that, the MySpeed plug-in is really helpful because that does allow you to speed up YouTube videos to one-and-a-half or whatever. It’s pretty cool!
And there are some apps out there for podcasting that allow you to adjust the speed quite a bit. Overcast is really good about taking out dead air and automatically making things faster even though it’s not speeding up the sound.
All right, so is that the app that you use for consuming podcasts?
I use Overcast and Podcasts app from Apple. Those are the two main ones, and then if the podcaster has their own personal app. With Ken Ray, I listen on his app. Same with Ben Greenfield, I listen on his app. However, Overcast and the Podcasts app are the two main apps I use. I tell all podcasters-if you’re on an iOS device, you have to use the Podcasts app just for some of the shows you listen to so you understand it because that’s the one that the most people listen to with, and if you don’t see how your show is working and how that Podcasts app works, your show may not be well-represented in the Podcasts app so understand it-understand its limitations and abilities of it. Some people give the Podcasts app a bad rap, but I actually like it. I think it’s good. It’s a lot better than where it was, but Overcast has much more tools and bells and whistles if you really want to geek out.
Yeah. I bought the Overcast app. I don’t use it. I switched back to the Podcasts app. I listened to some Ben Greenfield Fitness recently, and I didn’t even know he had his own app.
Why would you use his app instead of just consuming through the Podcasts app?
He releases some video-only content-that he doesn’t put into his RSS feed, so he tries to keep his RSS feed audio-only, and then he releases some video content just to the app.
Oh, okay. Got it! That’s clever. So, speaking of video, Libsyn has a new feature where you can publish to YouTube so you have an audio-only podcast, and you want to be represented on YouTube and include YouTube videos with your podcast episode content. Tell us how is that working and what the value prop is for that?
Well, that’s one that I personally love because I used to take my audio, convert it to a video, and then upload it to YouTube, and it was a pain. It’s the last thing I want to be doing at three in the morning-doing that and getting the episode up on to YouTube when I’m just happy to finally get the episode done. I did it for a while, 50-60 episodes, and then I quit doing it. Internally, I was pushing, but other people were saying, “Hey, externally saying, you guys need to do this as a feature. Just convert it and make it easy,” and so we did. We launched it and now, you publish, it’s automatically converted, and you get a little email in your inbox a few minutes after you published your episode saying, “Your episode video is now available,” and you’re like, “Cool.” Now, it’s on YouTube. Is YouTube the best place to consume audio? It wasn’t. But with YouTube Red, it’s getting better because YouTube Red, if anyone has YouTube Red, it allows YouTube to play in the background audio so if people live in the YouTube app, now having that audio in there, it, at least, gives you an opportunity to get out in front of that audience, you may only 5 or 10 views an episode, you may get 20 views an episode, but those are 5 or 10 or 20 more than you would have gotten if you hadn’t set it up, and it takes you all of two minutes to set it up, and then you never have to do any additional work, and boom-from that point on, it’s all just return of total profit, I guess, you could call it.
So, the audio is the episode audio and then the video portion is just a still frame-
Still frame for that episode’s artwork so if you have custom artwork, each one of your videos then will have a different looking artwork, which I highly recommend podcasters do. It’s to have custom artwork for each episode.
I do that. I take a picture of the guest, take a quote from the interview content-I get all of my episodes transcribed-so I pull something out that’s interesting or a nice soundbite and include that in the artwork. However, I don’t use that artwork on iTunes, I just use that for promoting on social media and I put it on my show notes page so it’s great for Pinterest, for Instagram, and Facebook. I don’t see, really, anybody using custom episode art inside of iTunes.
No, there is there, and it’s hard for it to be shown, but it’s there. Apple doesn’t make it easy to see it, but if you look at Today in iOS, every episode at Today in iOS has custom artwork. It’s had custom artwork since episode 70-something. Every episode, I have a different listener create me artwork so I let the listeners create artwork for me on an iOS device, and that’s kind of the play. Each episode has a custom song created on an iOS device, and the piece of custom artwork created on an iOS device. Showing people what you can do with an iOS device was the idea a long time ago, and it stuck, and it works well for my show. It’s also a job sourced out to my listeners.
It’s even better! I mean, if you can get your audience to do stuff for you-absolutely do!
Yeah. Speaking of which, what would you recommend for a podcaster to do to get audience involvement? If people are just passively listening and that’s all they do, there’s not much of a conversation happening there, but if you have SpeakPipe installed on your website, and people are leaving voicemails through that, and they ask questions, and you answer those questions, it’s like the Ask Pat Show by Pat Flynn. That’s a great way to have much more engaged conversation by directional kind of situation happening. What do you suggest or what are some of the cool things that you’ve seen?
Yeah, that’s what I do a lot on Today in iOS. One of the most important things is have a call-in number. Having a call-in number, putting that number at the beginning of your show notes, and repeating that call-in number multiple times on your show. It’s really vitally important to get feedback because people are listening on your device. Most people won’t go to your website. Most podcast listeners will never go to your website so you have to make it such that they can do it directly from their mobile device and not having to visit your website. SpeakPipe is good. I’m not saying don’t put it on there, but understand the majority of your voicemail feedback isn’t going to come from SpeakPipe. It’s going to come from people calling a call-in number or emailing you in the number-emailing in the feedback that they recorded on their mobile device so, have a Gmail account so they can email you in large files, have a call-in number, go to Kall8 or get a Google Voice number or whatever it is, have a voicemail number where they can call in, and say that number or multiple times each episode. Say it at the beginning of the episode, say it a couple of times during the episode, and say it at the end of the episode. I hear people tell me, “Oh, I can’t get any feedback to my show,” and I’m like, “Well, do you have call-in number?” “No.” “Okay,” “I have an email address.” “Well, how often do you mention it on the show?” Well, then, yeah, of course, you’re not getting feedback! You’re not trying to get feedback. If you are not getting email from someone saying that you mention your phone number too often, you’re not mentioning it often enough. That’s when you know how to dial it back-when you start getting emails saying that you mention your call-in number too much. That’s when you know, “Okay, I’m doing my job.”
Okay. Makes sense! So, do you have what? Like, an 800 number with Kall8 or something?
It’s 206-666-6364 so 206-MOONDOG is the number for Today in iOS, and then the other one for podCast411, which is where I originally did it, is 206-MOM-HELP, which is 206-666-4357. I just mention that on the show multiple times like, “Call in to this,” and then I have, obviously,firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, and I say, “Record your comments on your iOS device or your mobile device and email it to me.”And that’s how I get a lot of feedback. Every episode, I have multiple audio feedback from listeners. I have multiple email questions. I set up a Google+ community for my show. I recommend you set up a community. Facebook community seem to do better, but I like Google+ because you get the advantage of some Google juice there even though Google+ hasn’t been an overwhelming success, but it is what it is. However, you have to have a moderated community. If you are going to do a community, it has to be moderated, and you have to spend time moderating it. You can’t just let it become a free-for-all and a negative community. You have to make it a positive community, and anybody that comes in who is a troll, kick them out-one strike. I have a one-strike policy in my community. One F bomb to someone else in the community-you’re gone. I won’t give you a warning. I don’t say, “Nope, you should be nice.” Any Android fanboys that slipped through my initial screening, as soon as they rear their heads, they’re gone. I do actually screen everybody I submit so I check for spammers. I look at every Google+ person that wants to come in, and I look at their posts. If their last three posts were the exact same image or app, hmm, guess what they’re going to do the second I let them in my community? A promotion for the app for the marketing firm they’re working for.
Yeah, so I just reject that. Create a nice and happy environment where people can go and ask questions, answer those questions, pull that content into your show, and mention them.
Got it! Do you mention your Google+ group multiple times just like you mention your call-in number?
Yeah. Every episode, I have a segment where I talk about the Google+ community, and I will read at least one question, and then the responses, and I tell people to go to www.todayiniOs.com/community, which redirects them to my Google+ page so you have to have it easy to remember-the URL. Obviously, the Google+ one is not so create that easy-to-remember link and mention it. Then, a couple of times throughout the show, I may also drop in some other interesting questions or feedback that came in from the Google+ throughout the week.
So, what if you have an interview show like we’re doing right now?
Do you take questions from the audience? How does that work? Do you do that at the end? Is it kind of like a Q-and-A thing or what?
Well, interesting-when Twitter first came out, I was one of the Top 25 Most Followed People on Twitter, and that meant 400 followers, by the way, to put in perspective, but what I use Twitter for, when it first came out, was I would put a tweet out saying, “Hey, here’s who my next guest is going to be. What are some questions you want me to ask?” You can do the same thing as an interview show in your community. Say, “Here’s going to be the next guest. I’m going to record on Thursday at such and such time. How many questions for him? Let me know,” and then during the interview, you can pull out two or three questions from your community that you liked and say, “Hey!” and they could be even questions you were going to ask anyway, but now, you’re giving that person in your community some kudos, and they’re likely to tell their friend about your show every time you give a kudos out. You read that question and say, “Hey, this one comes from Martha in Martha’s Vineyard, and she asks-“and work it right into the interview.
Hmm. I like it! Cool! What about working into the discussion on the episode a mention of texts-kind of short code and keywords to use to get whatever-a checklist or a downloadable transcript or anything like that? What’s the best practice on that? Any kind of tips you’d recommend?
Make it really, really human-friendly. You don’t want to be saying, “Oh, go to my short link, Apple.app.co/853dW-“ Make it human-friendly, and then on top of that, put it in your show notes. And then say, “Just look in the show notes,” so make sure it’s in your show notes for the episode. Any podcast you’re listening to, if you tap the artwork while you’re in the player, it shows the episode show notes so mention that to your audience. They may not know that’s even there. Go, “Hey, if you’ve got the Podcasts app when you’re listening, just tap on the artwork right now and you’ll see the show notes.” Educate your audience. Don’t do it every episode, but educate them once a quarter on how to find it.
Got it! That’s really cool! And that’s because of the ID3 tag, correct?
No. Used to be that you used to pull it from the ID3 tags-now, they pull it actually from the description field for the post so if you go in to the Podcasts app, and you tap on that, you will see those are the actual show notes that you would-if you have a Libsyn account-that you put in a description field for that episode.
Yeah. It will definitely vary from show to show. I always recommend the first two things that should be at the top of your show notes. If you go to Today in iOS-and the Podcasts app is the perfect one to look at-look at the latest episode, tap on the artwork, and then you will see the first thing is the call-in number so you can just tap on that call-in number to actually call the show. There’s also an email address and you can tap on that to email the show right from the iOS device.
That’s very cool!
Yeah. You will notice the artwork is not custom artwork in the Podcasts app because Apple doesn’t really use the custom artwork all that well in the Podcasts app. Well, actually they don’t use it at all so no matter how much you want to use custom artwork in the Podcasts app, it doesn’t show up, but it shows up in other apps like Overcast and others. I think Overcast pulls it from the ID3 tags. However, the Podcasts app, for the show notes, it’s actually come from your description. If you go and look in there, you’ll see. It says, “Give us a call when you tap the number or you can tap the email as well.” Then, the show notes are linkable so those links actually work. Don’t forget how the Podcasts app works. That’s why I tell people to make sure to use it. Then, educate your audience. Don’t assume that they know how the Podcasts app works.
Mm-hmm. Great! So, ID3 tags are still worth doing because the Overcast app uses it-
So, don’t give up on it.
Don’t give up on it. Overcast app, for those who don’t know, is the number two app for podcast consumption on the iOS platform. Number one is the Podcasts app from Apple.
Which is, by default, installed on your phone.
On your device, which is great. Now, people are consuming on Google Play Music on the Android side so you have to make sure your podcast is in Google Play Music. You’re not a podcast if you’re not on iTunes and in Google Play Music. If you’re not in both iTunes and Google Play Music, you don’t really have a podcast.
Yes. Let me just kind of go back to this idea of giving something away to people who text a short code or whatever-
So, I use the LeadDigits feature within LeadPages. I also do this when I’m presenting at conferences. I’ll say, “Okay, if you want PowerPoint for this presentation, just text 33444 with the word, “Google.”
Very simple and I’ve been thinking about incorporating that sort of thing into my episodes as well. I think that’s pretty simple. I mean, of course, it would just be easy if I just-
What do you do when you gather that? I’ll turn it to you-what do you with those people who do text? Do you use it and text-market them later on?
The first text that they get from me is an automated one that says, “Provide your email address so that you can get this PDF,” which is the thing that way promised. Let’s say it’s a transcript with the checklist.
Because where I’m going with this is-what I tell people to do is, I always say, “Email me.” I want people to email me. Email me when I give up promo codes. “Email me “Zombie” in the subject line for the giveaway for this promo code,” and then I collect all those emails and now, I create the email list from that. In any of my giveaways, I do the giveaways, and I do have that in every episode-I try to, at least. Most episodes have a promo giveaway where people are emailing me in, and I’ve had thousands and thousands and thousands of emails from those promo giveaways. Now, I have to say, I’ve got this nice list, but I’ve never actually used it.
I know. That part of it-I’ve done everything right up to the part where you have actually have to do something with it because you know what? I don’t know what I want to do with it. I know it’s a good idea to have it. I don’t want to really be overly spammy. I don’t have anything to launch right now to really talk about. I always felt that if I ever launched my own app-a newer app where something not just about the podcast, but something where it was for sale or something like that, that I’ve really had a project that I wanted to promote, I have this great list, and it’s my people who have listened to me. However, I didn’t want to abuse the list beforehand for something trivial.
Yup, but the list is going to get stale if you haven’t communicated with them.
You have to send them an email on a regular basis to keep that list alive.
Yeah, that’s the thing. I haven’t put it into anything. I have it in a spreadsheet so I haven’t done anything yet with it.
Okay. I would suggest you start doing something with it. Like, at least send them an update every week saying something like, “This is the best of this week’s episodes.”
What do you recommend to podcasters on the SEO side? Because I know iOS, but I don’t know SEO-what do you see as podcasters not doing well?
Really leveraging the website. If you look at the show-either of my two shows’ websites: www.marketingspeak.com or www.optimizedgeek.com, I’ve really worked hard to make those two sites a destination that Google considers worthy of sending searchers.
And what are couple of key things to make your site Google-worthy of sending people to? What is it that Google looks for to make something Google-worthy?
Well, you need links. Authoritative, trusted links. Having something that looks legit and incorporating social proof into the site, I think, is really important so you’ll see “As seen on” logos with ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX because I’ve been on local affiliates of all those TV networks. In the last few months, I’ve done seven TV appearances in the last three or four months. I have a media page, which backs that up with clips of those TV appearances. That, by itself, won’t necessarily get me more Google juice, but it just gets me more credibility when somebody is thinking, “Well, should I blog about this show I just learned about or not?” then, they go to the website and go, “Yeah.” It might be the thing that puts them over the top. I have transcripts for every episode. I send that work out to the Philippines to be done because there are plenty of services like CastingWords and-oh, what’s that service I also tried that begins with an R-something.com? What are some of the services that do transcription?
I’m really bad about transcription. Since I write my own show notes, I don’t really transcribe. I just take my show notes out of Evernote and copy that. I never had transcripts for podCast411. I can’t remember the names of any transcription services.
Oh, it’s okay. Yeah, so www.castingwords.com is one example. But, I found somebody in the Philippines through a service called, www.onlinejobs.ph. I pay her really well, a very living wage, to do transcriptions of the three different shows-two of mine and one of my fiancée’s-and then create a separate blog post for the transcript for each of the episode so it’s not like this massively long page for the show notes. There’s a show notes page, which is the episode page with the episode art, functionality, and then there’s the link to view the transcript as a separate blog post article. I’ve also been doing this thing where I created a PDF transcript, which is nicely-formatted. Actually, I’ve decided I’m just giving that up now. I’m not going to do that every episode anymore because I have not gotten enough opt-ins for people downloading that PDF so now, I just do a checklist as a PDF. It’s all great searchable content, especially if you have a transcript. That’s a lot of material. That’s a lot of great text, and you want to expose that to the search engines.
An hour is what? 8,000 words roughly?
You know, I don’t know. Probably.
You also have to consider that YouTube is the number two search engine after Google so, if you do this thing of publishing to YouTube, you might want to check the quality of the automated transcription that YouTube does. You’ll probably find that as pretty bad. In most cases, it’s really bad. That’s searchable content as well so you can override that with your transcript.
Oh, I did not know that. That’s something I will have to take a look at.
Yeah. In fact, you can upload foreign language translations into YouTube of your transcript so they have to put time stamps and everything, but then people can watch your video with subtitles, and you’re searchable in those foreign languages. That’s pretty cool.
All right. Yes. Well, transcriptions is the one thing I haven’t done enough of-other than, again, taking my show notes, which I create in Evernote and copying out. I usually put it up about a week after an episode goes up. My workflow is usually put the transcription up for the past episode when I’m getting ready to start the next episode.
Mm-hmm. Yup. Another thing I do is, I have a Huffington Post column, and with some episodes, I’ll take some key points and write an article about it. I had an article published a few weeks ago on Huffington Post about Imposter Syndrome, which was the topic discussed in one of my Optimized Geek episodes.
Yeah. It’s a great article, and there’s a nice link directly to the episode page on my Optimized Geek website from that article. So, that’s a few SEO tips. We’re coming up to time here so I want to ask you a couple other quick things. Let’s do a little lightning round.
What do you recommend people do to kind of prep for an episode that they’re going to record?
Well, if you’re not good about talking to bullet points or if you have a very technical show, script it. The more technical your show is, the more need there is for scripting. Now, for non-technical shows, you can get away with just bullet points and maybe a couple of links to articles, and you and your co-host can look at that and just talk. However, if you’re doing a solo show, you’re probably going to have to do a lot more prep work than you will if you have a co-host.
Yeah. And if it’s an interview show? Like, you’re the host, but you bring on a guest each week?
Prep. Learn who you’re interviewing. Don’t send out the same standard form of 10-15 questions that everybody uses, and then ask them for the answers before they even come on the show. I’ve seen that and I hate that formula. I think when you had Jason Van Orden on, you talked about the issue of some interview shows where some people are doing the same exact questions all the time and they’re interviewing the same exact people.
Yup. I always have a look at the bio beforehand, and if it’s long, I cut it down. I pull out the bullet points so that I can intro the guest at the beginning of the episode in a very kind of non-choppy manner.
So, if I’m just reading off this long tone, it does not make for a good experience for the beginning of the episode. That’s one of my tips. Cool! Another question would be around-what do you do to make sure that you have a good episode recording? Are you using Skype to record? We’re using Skype right now with Call Recorder. Do you use Zencastr or some other similar web-based solution? What sort of things do you ensure are happening? Like, do you put your phone on airplane mode or that sort of stuff?
Right. When I do podCast411, which is an interview show, I record off the computer into a digital recorder. If you go towww.podcast411.com/mixer.pdf , you can see my set-up. I’ve used that set-up for almost 11.5 years now, and that’s bulletproof. It doesn’t matter if Skype updates their software, or if you update the software for the Mac or the PC, or if you switch from a PC to a Mac, it doesn’t matter because it’s all done external to the computer so it’s bulletproof, and you’re not going to turn on Skype and there’s a new version, and it’s blocking Pamela or something like that. That recently just happened, I think. Pamela’s the current one that is getting blocked by stuff. Recently, Skype did an update and blocked some other stuff too. I, personally, record it off the computer. I do have-where I’m recording here because I wasn’t set-up to record the other way. But, yeah, Skype, if it’s done right, will get you the best audio quality for remote interviews. I also do face-to-face interviews. I have set-ups for that as well. I’ve got some lab set-up where I can up myself and the person up. Sometimes, I use a single mic. Try to be in a quiet environment when you’re doing that.
Mm-hmm. So, like a smartLav plugs for-
Yeah. I actually have one from IK Multimedia. You can have myself and the guest up and record right on the iPhone.
Oh, nice! What was the name of that again?
It’s the iRig Mic Lav Duo Pack so you can get it at two packs. It’s only $80. It’s the iRig Lav 2-Pack. It’s what it’s called. iRig Lav 2-Pack from IK Multimedia. It think it’s only about $80, and punch right in to that iPhone headphone jack, and then use a bossjock app, which is $10, and you can record right in that way. You and your guest are both up, and you put the phone in between you in airplane mode, and start recording. You’ll have a nice and casual conversation, and you don’t have to worry about holding a mic.
Nice! So, besides being on airplane mode so that you don’t get disturbed while you are doing the recording, any other tips for the recording itself? Like I put my status on Skype to Do-Not-Disturb. Any other tips?
Oh, which I forgot to do! I used to do that one too. I didn’t do today, but luckily, I didn’t get pinged. Tell your family and your kids that you’re recording. I don’t know how many times I’ve done an interview with someone and someone has burst into the room-my room or theirs-because someone forgot to tell their kids or mine that there was an interview recording going on. School’s coming up so it will be a week from now when the kids wouldn’t be home yet or just be getting home so then with school season, I try to do as many of my interviews as possible during the school hours when they’re not here because two boys can be loud.
Oh, and the most important thing if you’re going to do a Skype interview-force quit. Close every other application on your computer. Shut the computer down, reboot it back up, and launch Skype.
Don’t launch Skype with your email client running and a bunch of other programs running, and you haven’t restarted the computer in two weeks. Skype is a finicky little girl, and you got to be the only thing on the computer for it to be the best recording.
Mm-hmm, okay. What about a podcast launch consistency? Does it need to be at the same time every week or just anytime within that day? Does it matter that it’s on the same day?
The biggest shows out there often have the worst frequency of releases. Hardcore History gets four million downloads an episode. His last episode was back in March, and his next episode is coming up here this weekend in August, and then his next one is, who knows when? Dan Carlin once said recently on his other show, Common Sense: “I release my next episode when it’s better than the last episode.” If you’re going to be consistent about one thing, be consistent about quality. Now, if you can be consistent about quality and release schedule, that’s a bonus, but don’t release it on some artificially-set timeline because you think you have to do it. It’s better to release it when it’s right than right now.
Mm-hmm. Okay, last question-so, I’m a Libsyn customer, I recommend all of the listeners who want to be podcasting to be Libsyn customers as well.
What would be kind of the main reasons for somebody to be using Libsyn rather than using their traditional webhost for hosting their podcast audio?
Well, if your show gets popular, many of your web-hosting companies will shut you down. It doesn’t take many downloads to go past their bandwidth limit. Some of them will tell you, “Oh, there’s no bandwidth limit,” and then you read the fine print for the web-hosting and they say, “Oh, there’s a CPU usage limit,” so that will get you shut down. The other thing is, WordPress is great for websites, but absolutely horrendous and horrible for RSS feeds so you have to, then, add a plug-in to get the RSS feed to work, and then that plug-in is susceptible to other plug-ins, and the number one reason for using WordPress is plug-ins so now, you’re trying to run your podcast off your website, the bandwidth of your RSS feed alone-so even if you’re hosting on Libsyn for the media files, if your RSS feed is on your website, the bandwidth for the RSS feed can bring down your website. We’ve seen that happen. If you start adding third-party plug-ins to your WordPress site, that can break your RSS feed, which means you really have no control of your RSS feed if you have to worry about what plug-ins you put in. Keep your RSS feed and your media files as far away from your website. If your podcast is to promote your website, don’t let it break your website. Let it promote it, but don’t break it.
Yeah. It’s a great advice. Okay, cool! This was a ton of stuff! A lot of learning for our newbie podcasters listening in. Hopefully, people could be able to take this knowledge, apply it, and start podcasting. Is there some sort of Beginner’s Guide or-?
Yeah, yeah. I’ve got a free one for you. Go to iTunes and search for Podcast 101. It’s a free iBook I put out there. Remember Walch’s second Law of Podcasting? The value of the advice is inversely proportional to the price you pay for that advice.
Okay, got it!
It’s a free e-book or iBook in iTunes, Podcast 101, and it will take you step-by-step on how to podcast-from editing and recording in Audacity to other stuff. It’s a couple years old, and the new version is coming out, but it will still get you where you need to go to podcast.
Awesome! And if people want to get in touch with you like on Twitter or whatever-what is the best way?
Awesome! Well, thank you so much, Rob! Thank you, listeners! If you want to check out the show notes, which will have some links and have a checklist on there as well, that you’ll want to download in a nice PDF, which kind of summarizes some of the key actions to take from this episode, go to www.marketingspeak.com. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off. Will catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak!
- Tricks of the Podcasting Masters
- Podcasting for Dummies
- Today in iOS Podcast
- Content Marketing World
- Podcast Movement
- The Optimized Geek
- Podcasts app
- The 5th Race Podcast
- Stellar Life
- This Week in Tech
- Mac OS Ken
- Revolutions Podcast
- MySpeed plug-in
- Ben Greenfield Podcast
- YouTube Red
- Ask Pat
- Google Voice
- Today in iOS Community
- Google Play Music
- You’re A Fraud, And You Know It! Imposter Syndrome: The Plague For Successful People
- Jason Van Orden on Marketing Speak
- Call Recorder for Skype
- Rob’s Podcast Set-up
- IK Multimedia
- iRig Mic Lav 2 Pack
- bossjock studio
- Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
- Dan Carlin’s Common Sense
- Rob’s Free iBook: Podcast101
- Rob on Twitter
- Email Rob
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
☑ If you are considering starting a podcast, do it now-there isn’t too much competition. Start by listening to shows that you enjoy and brainstorming ideas on how to turn topics into your own.
☑ If your content is not evergreen, add a date to the into of your episode. When people listen to it, they will then understand that it’s an old episode, as opposed to thinking you released old news.
☑ For more information and tips on how to create a podcast, download Rob’s free iBook Podcast101.
☑ Take the time to learn your craft and perfect it. If you are going to try podcasting, you want to be the best at what you do to attract potential new clients.
☑ There are podcasts about almost every different niche and topic. To create a successful podcast, create ideas around what you know best-even if it’s obscure.
☑ Don’t quit doing your podcast if you don’t get featured in New and Noteworthy! Instead, focus on building your subscribers over a seven day period to get into the Top 200.
☑ The podcast search query is based on the title and author of your show. Make your show’s title relevant to what you discuss during your show, so you can attract people who are interested in
☑ Create custom artwork for your show! You will want to have a main image that you use for your show, and also artwork for each episode. This will help you with branding and marketing.
☑ Put relevant keywords in your titles. Don’t go overboard, but your show will be more relevant if you have have two or three of your keywords built into the title
☑ To encourage audience engagement and to receive feedback from guests, set up a dedicated calling number and email. Mention this information during your show so people know about it.
About Rob Walch
Rob Walch is the Vice President of Podcaster Relations for Libsyn. Prior to joining Libsyn in 2007, he was President and founder of podCast411, Inc. Rob is Co-Author of the book “Tricks of the Podcasting Masters” – Que 2006, an editors pick as a Top 10 Reference book for 2006 by Amazon.com. Rob was listed as the 5th most influential person in podcasting according to the book “Podcasting for Dummies” – Wiley Press 2005. He has consulted on podcasting for Jack Welch, Senator Edwards, Governor Bill Richardson, Noah Shanok (Stitcher), Tim Ferriss, and the Sacramento Kings/Monarchs to name just a few. He is also a monthly columnist for Podertainment The Podcast Magazine. Rob was Chair of the Education and Outreach Committee for the Association of Downloadable Media.
Rob started podcasting in 2004, and is the host of the award winning podCast411 podcast, where he has interviewed such prominent podcasters as Quincy Jones, Walt Mossberg, Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Ronald Moore (Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica), Phil Gordon (World Series of Poker), Larry Kudlow (CNBC’s Kudlow and Company) and Leo Laporte (TechTV, G4 TV). Additionally Rob is host of Today in iOS (iPhone) Podcast – The first and largest podcast about the iPhone – www.todayinios.com and also the KC Startup 411 podcast which covers the Kansas City Start up scene – www.kcstartup411.com