ASP 31: How to Maximize Your Author Platform with Podcasting

Quote of the Day:

“It’s the beginning of a new medium, and no one knows the rules. That’s what makes it exciting and attracts pioneering creators.”

– John Northwick

Today, we answer a number of questions about podcasting for authors.

Tell us about the growth of podcasting in the last few years.

Podcasting is growing as mobile technology expands. It’s easy for people to consume the media. Some say podcasting will grow 30% per year. These days, people look at their mobile phones as a “mobile university.”

Podcast of note: Serial Podcast

Why should authors consider doing a podcast?

It’s a case-by-case scenario. If you have an extra hour a week, it’s a good way to reach a new audience. It’s also a great way to show your personality.

How do you decide what to podcast about?

Whatever you’re writing about is what you should podcast about. For example, J. Thorn is a horror writer, and hosts the Horror Podcast: TheHorrorWritersPodcast.com. Your readers follow you because they are interested in your genre and voice, so stick to that.

How do you choose a topic for your podcast?

You could do a little research to find out what needs you can fill. Then, before every episode, prepare by listing questions or bullet points. Have your topic guide written ahead of time.

One way to research is to poll your email list or ask a Facebook group to see if they’d be interested in a certain topic. You can also check out iTunes to see which podcasts are trending, and what people are interested in listening to.

What different types of podcast are there?

  • One or two people talking – Back and forth questions.
  • Interview format (e.g., EOFire) – Bring in a different expert on every episode.
  • Combo – Combination of interviews and hosts conversing.
  • Solo – Mostly question and answer. Audience member asks a question and the host answers.

Steve’s previous blog was entitled Self-Publishing Questions. Scott Voelker hosts The Amazing Seller Podcast. Pat Flynn has The Smart Passive Income Podcast.

SpeakPipe is a great tool that allows you to ‘receive voice messages from your audience directly on your website.”

What kind of equipment do you need?

You don’t necessarily need to buy top-of-the-line equipment. Just find decent equipment and get started.

Steve’s tools include the Blue Yeti Mic, Pamela.biz (for Windows), Ecamm Call Recorder (for Mac), and Skype.com.

Barrie and Ron use ATR Audio Technica 2100 (a mic) and On Stage Foam Ball-Type Mic Windscreen.

Pat Flynn’s podcasting tutorial is also full of useful tips: How to Start a Podcast: Pat’s Complete Step-By-Step Podcasting Tutorial. And PodcastAnswerMan.com has a comprehensive Podcast Equipment guide.

What are the first few things you need to do to get started once you have a topic?

First, buy basic equipment and software. Then do a test run. After that, launch with a few episodes already recorded, and finally promote your podcast.

How often should you record a podcast?

Aim for once a week. This keeps you relevant, but isn’t so busy as to take away from your other important tasks.

How long should it be?

The length of your podcast varies depending on your frequency. On average, aim for around the 30-minute mark. But if you air for more than once a week, consider short, condensed episodes (15 to 20 minutes).

How do you come up with unique topics for each podcast?

What works for us is to keep a dedicated channel in Slack.com for podcast episode topics. You can keep a running list of topics that comes to mind, and draw from that when you need new content. You can also look in related forums and blogs and see what people are currently interested in. Finally, if you are still drawing a blank, open up your book and talk about a chapter, or pick a blog post that you’ve written and talk about that.

What do you do once you record your podcast?

We distribute our podcast via Libsyn.com. The service automatically updates your iTunes and Stitcher, as well as other platforms, so it’s quite convenient. You will need a 1400 x 1400 logo, and you may want to create show notes about each episode for your website or blog. Finally, create a call to action—perhaps mention your email list and try to get people to sign up.

Before you get started, buy a domain that you can quickly mention while you record your podcast. This gives you a chance to cross-promote yourself. Ours is APChecklist.com.

Finally, LeadPages.net offers a premium option for a landing page.

What are the costs involved?

Mics will run you $70 to $100. Skype is free (which is great), while Pamela.biz will cost you $30. Other things you might choose to invest in include a podcast logo, intro and outro media, an editor for your show, and an editor for show notes.

How about sponsorships?

Some podcasters recoup their money through sponsorships. I think this works best if you run a mass-market type of podcast. You need high download rates to attract advertisers, otherwise it isn’t worth their investment.

Pros and Cons:

Podcasting takes time, but it’s a “quick” way to build an audience. The audience for podcasts is growing, and offers a great opportunity for the growth of your brand. It’s also a lot of fun, and a great way to shortcut your learning curve.

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