MF 411 : Podcasting in 2022: Best practices and wrap up
Today, I cover some best practices for solo and interview podcasts, tools to help promote and supplement your show, and your last assignment: launch your show! More at www.bemovingforward.com.
Oops, I meant to do that (not really)
Last week, some of you got a sneak peek of episode 410 as I accidentally released it on Monday. Ironically, I mentioned Anchor's ability to pre-schedule episode release dates, admitting I was wrong on the past miniseries, in which I said it lacked that capability. However, like a cosmic punchline, I somehow forgot to set the episode's release schedule and so when I hit publish on Monday, it went out immediately. I only noticed earlier that afternoon when I saw the episode started getting hits. I checked and sure enough the episode was out on Anchor and streaming on all the major syndicated channels.
Moreover, I discovered two errors on the episode. First, the outro music and credits faded in too soon, overlapping with the last ten seconds of the episode. Second, I neglected to talk about file compression to create a 1 mg : 1 min ratio for podcast audio files, which is relevant for paid hosting services that allot a monthly storage queue. I decided to unpublish the episode by changing the date rather than leave it. Interestingly, the episode disappeared immediately from Anchor and Spotify. Amazon Music, Stitcher, and Google also removed the episode within a few minutes. The only laggard was Apple which took about an hour or two.
I corrected the outro error, spliced in a segment covering file compression, and replaced the file. By then, the listens for the episode were in the double digits, which was awesome and flattering.
For those who listened to the whole episode early, I hope you found it helpful. For those who saw it or started it and came back later only to discover it was gone, sorry about that! Hopefully, you got to tune in after it re-released on Thursday.
While I'm not an avid fan of these types of errors, this particular one provides another important lessons when it comes to podcasting and content creation in general. Mistakes happen. Don't panic if they do. You can always correct files, update dates, unpublish and re-publish episodes.
Podcasting best practices
When it comes to recording solo or interview episodes, below are some general recording tips and best practices for maximizing your time in front of the mic.
Speak approximately 2-3 inches from the mic (or pop filter) for optimal recording.
Three-second pauses before you start can help you collect your thoughts and calm those "recording light is on" nerves.
Pauses are also good during the episode. Our natural inclination is to fill up every second. However, a thoughtful pause during a monologue or while transitioning points can help you center yourself and your thoughts.
Move on from mistakes or do a cold restart. If you have a fumble or two, correct or ignore it and move on. Don't obsess over editing out all of your mistakes. If you find you're off kilter at the start of an episode, stop, take a break and start over rather than doing a lot of post editing.
Scheduling episodes for one-off or occasional interviews can be done over email or with an intake form (more on this later).
Avoid pre-calls as it can be a large time waster and will sometimes sap the energy and spontaneity from the actual interview. The exception is if a guest requests it or the topic is highly technical or on a sensitive area such as that a pre-call is necessary to discuss interview logistics and protocals.
Before you begin an interview, make sure you have the proper pronunciation of names. Check with the guest(s) even if it's obvious.
Let the guest(s) know when the episode will air and how or where they can find it. Use the intake form to get their social media information and permission to post and tag.
Best practice: say out loud that you are hitting record. This will let the guest know while acting as a proactive reminder to record the interview.
Ask simple questions. Often, guests will be an expert in a subject matter or area. Don't be afraid to ask them to define acronyms or terms of art. Even if you know what they mean, your listener may not. In that regard, follow-up questions in general can be very powerful with interviews.
Remember there is always one additional person(s) in the room who won't ever say anything during the interview. Your listeners. Be mindful of them when interviewing guests.
Multiple hosts: figure out the best way to mix and match styles, duties, etc.
Multiple guests: make sure to balance out the questions, conversations, and follow-ups.
If the power, wifi, etc goes out, don't panic. Reconnect (by phone or email) and try to resume the interview or reschedule if necessary. Prompt the guest with the last questions asked beforehand. If it's early on in the interview, it may be easier to simply start over.
Additional tools for your podcast
Google forms: great for creating intake forms for guests. Some areas to cover in your form.
Permission to record and publish the interview.
Permission to use the interview material or quotes for derivative works such as articles or books (if applicable).
Basic information on the podcast: subject, time, questions or topics covered.
Option for video or audio only interviews (if you plan to have video as an option).
Scheduling dates and times.
Social media handles / presence and permission to tag when posting the episode.
Scheduling: Google forms is fine if you're scheduling occasional guests but if you're doing a 100% interview podcast, you may want to consider a separate scheduling tool. Back when I did all interviews, I used Acuity, which at the time had a free option and was excellent for scheduling appointments and for intake purposes. Today, it's subscription based, however, there are many out there so search and shop around. If you're looking for a free, simple alternative, Doodle is a great and simple scheduling alternative.
Social media: decide if and how much you want to use social media to promote and engage with potential listeners and guests. Factor in your time, goals, and ROI.
Headliner: an excellent tool (with free and premium versions) to create clips for your podcast. You can integrate graphics, text, and captions.
Website: as with social media, decide if your podcast needs a website and/or if it's worth the time, money, and effort to have one.
Existing business or blog: if you have a website already, consider integrating your podcast into it using your host providers' integration tools (html players, RSS feeds, etc.).
Linktr.ee: an excellent tool (free and premium versions) if you just want to create a simple list of links that can act as a website. You can create a custom Linktr.ee address such as linktr.ee/johnlim. You can also purchase a domain and have it re-direct to a Linktr.ee address. For more on Linktr.ee check out MF 316.
If you're new to the podcast and want to learn about podcasting, I recommend you begin with the earlier episodes in this series. Don't rush. You don't have to follow the lessons and assignments in real time with the episode release dates. Some of you may still be in the earlier stages. Spend time planning your show, getting a handle on your exit, topic, theme, goal and result. Practice to get a sense of your format and style. Choose the right equipment, host service, and software that fits your needs and your budget.
To recap and review:
Launch your podcast! While I'm an advocate for planning, don't spend too much time such that you procrastinate actually launching your show. Once you have your podcast mapped out, and have some practice episodes under your belt, get your show up and running. Start, even if you're not 100% sure of what you're doing or don't feel fully confident yet. Take that leap and get your voice and your wisdom out there. Most of all, have fun!
Additional Podcast Resources
My books on Poshmark
The perfect white elephant gift or stocking stuffer
Check out the Moving Forward mini-series collection
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Morning Brew (affiliate link): a fantastic free newsletter that's a quick read and a great way to get your morning briefing on what's happening in the market, the economy, and the larger world.
What I’m reading / read
Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Saga by Mike W. Barr (***)
Audiobook narrated by John
Get a free trial to Audible and I Am a Professional Metalhead (Audible affiliate).
Support the Podcast
The Poshmark Guide for Individuals and Small Businesses -and- The Poshmark Journal for Individuals and Small Businesses are available on Amazon.
The Corporate Cliches Adult Coloring Book: makes the perfect stocking stuffer or white elephant gift.
Try out Audible (affiliate link).
Try out Amazon Prime (affiliate link).