As I’ve mentioned previously, I recently helped launch a new children’s podcast called Bear King and Bobo Chico Stories. After having recorded their podcast in our las Vegas studios, Vicky Hastings, who is responsible for the marketing efforts of this new podcast, has given a lot of thought to many of the myths associated with the Four P’s of Podcasting™ (Plan, Produce, Publish, Promote). She has graciously allowed me to share her thoughts with PodWorx clients and website visitors.
So you wanna be in podcasting? Much like becoming a Hollywood actor, there is a lot to know and do.
I’m part of a small team producing our first podcast series. Called Bear King & Bobo Chico Kids Stories, it’s based on original children’s fiction written by my husband Bob Hastings for our grandsons and grandnieces. Since he uses funny voices to tell the tales, we encouraged Bob to record and share them beyond family.
Great idea, right?
Well, actually, we had no idea what we were doing. I know a lot about digital marketing but had never produced or promoted a podcast.
Fast forward to today. With the help of professionals, our first series of 13 episodes are in the can and we’ve just started promoting it.
If you’re toying with the idea of starting a podcast, you can benefit from our experiences. Here are some of the lessons we learned along the way.
Myth #1: Anyone with an iPhone can record a podcast.
Reality: True, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. For better results, record in a professional studio with the right support team who can modulate volume, make sure there is no distracting background noise, help with music and effects, edit the work, properly manage the files, help with SEO, and so much more. We worked with Podworx, Inc. in Las Vegas and are so glad we did! Yes, we have smartphones, but there is no way could we have done this on our own.
Myth #2: It’s an audio medium, so all I really need to do is figure out what I’m going to say.
Reality: There’s no question that engaging, quality narrative content is critical. Plus, the sound quality also must be top-notch. But there’s more to it than just that. A music intro and outro will help establish your brand identity. Eye-catching cover art will distinguish your podcast from the gazillion others out there. Select the right category on the podcast directories, too, and tag your files with the most appropriate keywords. Your professional podcast producer can advise on this.
Myth #3: Build it and they will come.
Reality: Actually, it’s not easy to build an audience. Unless you’re a celebrity with a huge social media following, people won’t automatically find out about, let alone subscribe to, your podcast. First, as our producer is quick to remind us, make sure the content is either entertaining or educational — or both. Then announce it via social media, email, and text — any way you can send a link to your podcast site. Reward people who subscribe to your email list through giveaways and prizes. Continue posting new episodes on your social channels and explore other searchable ways people can find it, such as through YouTube videos. Keep at it. And at it. And at it.
Myth #4: My friends and family will listen and spread the word for me.
Reality: They probably won’t. They may click on the link, think it’s cool, and even give you a thumbs up. Just because they know you doesn’t mean they want to listen to a podcast about your topic. And if they do, unless you specifically tell them to download, follow, subscribe, rate, and share, they probably won’t take the time to do so. Even then, social media advertising might be more effective in growing your fanbase. That way you can target people with the specific interests your podcast addresses.
Myth #5: I’ll start with the first podcast and then add to the series each week.
Reality: You certainly can do that. But it’s a lot of work and it’s important to sustain your momentum. If you get busy and go several weeks without publishing a new episode, you could lose the audience you worked so hard to build. Based on advice from our producer, we recorded 13 episodes all at once, launched three to start, and then published one a week thereafter. With a podcast hosting platform like Buzzsprout, which we use, you can schedule “go live” dates in advance.
Myth #6: Since anyone with a smartphone can make a podcast, it’s not a big deal.
Reality: It is a big deal! It’s a lot of work but very rewarding. OMG, it was so exciting to see our podcast when it first went live on Spotify and Apple. We were driving down the road and boom, suddenly there it was in the directory! It was truly thrilling. We were on cloud nine for days.
Podcasting really can be a lot of fun. It’s a lot easier than getting into the movie business! You don’t need an agent or a screen test. You are your own writer, director, and leading actor. If you like being your own boss, give it a try!