What You Need To Know About Branding Your Podcast

This is usually the first question I will ask someone who is asking for my help in launching their podcast. This is probably the most important question a new podcaster can answer. It is a question only they can answer. And the answer to this question will guide them to success.

Failure to adequately answer this question will almost always guarantee failure!

If you say, “I want to reach everyone,” what you have really just said is, “you will reach no one.”

Many people, myself included, when they first start out, again, either with a podcast or a business, make the rookie mistake of thinking, “I do not want to exclude anyone. I want to make my podcast so as many people as possible will listen to me.”

It would be like the old “General Store” of some small town. A little of this, a little of that. Really good if you needed a fuse for a circuit box or to grab a role of tape and you did not want to drive 10 miles into a larger town. But if you were looking to buy a state of the art television, would you go into the General Store and look at three-year old models, dusty and sitting on the shelf? NO. You would take the extra effort to find a store that sells TV’s – new TV’s. Latest and greatest TV’s.

Your marketing needs to be the same way.

Another rookie mistake is to advertise the same way the “big guys” are advertising. Do not try to copy other people’s ads! Especially when you are just starting out! They have huge advertising budgets. They have marketing departments. They have graphic art departments. They have access to budgets that spend more on lunch than you do on advertising in an entire year. Do not try to copy what they are doing!

This is called “mass marketing.”

It is also called “branding.” That is a fancy term that is in play today.

“Well, shouldn’t I be branding my name? I just want to “get my name out there?”

Let me put it to you like this.

How much money does “Coke” spend on their advertising in a year? Magazines, bill boards, television, radio, the sides of buses, etc.? Don’t forget the major sporting events either. Probably BILLIONS of dollars, right?

That is mass marketing or “branding.”

The last time you walked into a store and bought a coke, Why did you do so? What made you buy a coke? You probably bought a coke rather than any other brand (and I am using coke, but if you are a Pepsi drinker, it’s the same thing). You probably bought a coke because, subconsciously, that is what you thought of because you were thirsty. You did not stop to look at all of the alternatives. You did not stop to read the labels and compare everything. You did not stop to look up the scientific discussions on your smart phone about the benefits of coke versus a bottle of water. You were thirsty and reached for a coke!

THAT IS BRANDING!

It cost Coke billions upon billions of dollars over many, many years, to achieve that level of name recognition.

That is the amount of time, effort and MONEY it will take for you to compete at that level to “Get your name out there!”

So don’t do that!

One more quick example…

I enjoy golf. The first time I ever went to play golf, I shot a 99 score! That’s right, the very first time I ever played golf, I shot a 99!

When I tell people this story, they are really impressed.

What I then explain is, I had an appointment and could not meet my buddies on the first tee. I met them on the 10th tee. I shot a 99 on the back 9 holes. Not quite as impressive now, is it?

But, on first glance, it sounds impressive. It sounds like maybe I was pro material… able to go out and compete, with a little practice, against Tiger Woods and those PGA tour professionals that shoot 67 on 18 holes. Pro’s who played golf for years and years and years and have spent multiple ten’s of thousands of dollars to get where they are at.

If I would have decided to try to compete on their level, it would have been a miserable failure. They could hit their 9-iron farther and more accurately than I could it a driver.

Why am I telling you this, DON’T TRY TO COMPETE WITH THE PRO’s YOU SEE ADVERTISING!

You will fail.

You will lose your most precious asset right now – MONEY!

So, define in very specific terms WHO your target audience is going to be. Then design every single piece of advertising, promotions and, of course, every single episode of your podcast around reach them!

What single thing can you do that will push you on towards success?

Identify who your one and only target audience is going to be! Others may join in, but you must reach that single individual in everything you do!

Creating Audio Files For Use in a Podcast

If you are like most people, you are not very technical and creating a podcast sounds like a huge project that is way over your head. In fact it really is quite simple to record and edit an audio file. Once you learn the basics of the editing software, you will be able to create future podcast files in less than an hour.

I have done all the research for you to be able to create very inexpensive and professional sounding recordings for your podcast. Here I have listed six steps to get you started in creating audio files for your podcast.

Download and Install Audacity

Audacity is free and open-source software that you can use to record and edit your audios. This software is quite user-friendly and has all the features you will need to create and edit a basic podcast. Do a search for Audacity download, go to the download site, pick your computer platform (Windows or MAC), and follow the prompts to save the file and install the software.

Download the LAME MP3 Encoder

Now, don’t let the technical name of this step scare you. This encoder is really just one file. Do a search for LAME MP3 Download to find what you need.

When you download the file, write down the directory where you put it. I would recommend downloading it to the directory where you placed the Audacity files to make it easy to find. On my PC that directory is c:/Program Files/Audacity. If you can’t find the Audacity directory, then just choose a directory that makes sense to you.

You will need this file later because it will be required when you save your file as an MP3 format. MP3 is the popular file format used on the web for audio files. This format is smaller in size than other formats and is widely utilized by most software capable of listening to audios.

Setup Audacity

  1. Open Audacity using the shortcut created for you when you installed the software
  2. From the Menu bar, select Edit > Preferences
  3. Click on the File Formats tab in the Preferences box
  4. Under the Bit Rate field, select 64. (This bit rate will give you a good quality recording while keeping the file size small)
  5. Click OK
  6. You should now be all set to start recording. There are many other options to play around with, but for now, the defaults will be more than adequate.

Start Recording

To record all you need to do is click on the button that contains the red circle. This is the record button. Once you press the button, recording will start, so be prepared to start speaking right away.

If you make any errors while recording, just keep on going. You will be able to edit those pieces easily later on (Look for Part II of this article to learn how to edit with Audacity). If you have too many long pauses in between your sentences, you will be able to remove these later as well.

If you find that you really botched things up and just want to start over, click on the X in the top left corner of the audio track that popped up when you started recording. That will delete the track. When you press the Record button again, a new track will pop up. Make sure if you create a new audio track, you deleted the bad one, otherwise, when you play the recording both tracks will play at the same time.

When you are done recording, click the button that contains the yellow square. This is the stop button.

Save Your Project

Once you are done recording and are happy with your results, you will want to save the project. Audacity uses the .aup extension. This extension will allow you to reopen your project at a later date and edit it or add to it.

Export Your Audio to MP3

In step 5 you created an .aup file that can be used to edit your audio file at a later date, but in order to add your file to the web for listeners to hear, you will need to export your audio as an .mp3 file.

  1. From the menu bar, select File > Export as MP3…
  2. During the very first time you try to export to an MP3 file, Audacity will ask you to find the LAME MP3 Encoder that you downloaded in step 2. Just browse for this file and select OK.
  3. Next you will be asked to enter the directory and file name of the mp3 file.
  4. Click the Save button.

Congratulations! Your audio file is now ready to be uploaded to a server for access to your customers and listeners!

That is really all there is to recording an audio and getting it ready for the web. When you are ready to get into a little more with your audios and learn how to edit, look for Part II of this article, which will walk you through the steps of editing parts where you messed up and want to re-record. You will have the option of removing parts of your audio, adding to it, and re-doing some of it.

Using the Facebook Algorithm to Grow Your Podcast

The Facebook Algorithm is updated constantly. The various weights and relevance Facebook may assign to these areas can be changed. But the overall use of the Four Factors should remain fairly constant. If used properly, you can use Facebook to your advantage in promoting your podcast, your profile or your business.

When the Facebook Algorithm looks at your posts, it does so in four areas: Inventory, Signals, Predictions and Scores. I talked in a previous article in-depth about what each of these areas actually represent.

Each person who has an account on Facebook is given their own individual score through the algorithm. This score is unique to each person and determined by their own connections, interests, and how they interact with various content.

So if you interact more than your friends or relatives concerning a post or article, your score for that post will be higher than your acquaintances. The Facebook algorithm will use this information to show you other content it thinks you will interact with as you move forward.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this:

Assume a friend you work with gives a post about robotic technology being implemented in your company. The post discusses how it will make the shipping and receiving area more efficient and will save the company millions of dollars per year in expenses.

Your friend then comments that it will cut the employee workforce for that department in half and that is where the savings will come from.

You “Like” that post. You then “share” that post and “tag” a couple of other co-workers in the process. You comment that you do not like it when “computers take over.”

Your friends then “like” and “share” with their social profiles. They leave comments as well.

Over the course of a few hours, the original poster, you and those who have commented carry on a conversation. You may even post a few links to other content the supports your viewpoint.

Others that do not work for your company also see this and interact. Leaving comments and sharing the post with their followers. Some of them post it into groups they are in and that generates additional comments and shares.

The Facebook Algorithm takes ALL of that data and gives this post a HIGH SCORE. There is a lot of interaction. A lot of sharing among various interests and groups. This is the type of post Facebook will promote to other feeds and timelines – even those whom you do not know. They could be “friends of friends” (in Facebook terminology).

In the process, Facebook determines that you need to see more from the person who originated the post. The Algorithm has determined you will probably be commenting and interacting with additional information this person posts on their own timeline and feed. Which, once you see it, you do!

The same would then go for other people. Facebook will show them more information from YOU.

Have you ever received those “Friend Recommendations” from Facebook? Those are not random recommendations. The Facebook Algorithm has determined that you and those people you are not connected with have a lot in common. They are trying to get you to connect so further interactions can occur between their contact list and your contact list. This in turn will grow Facebook!

Have you ever had one of those posts where you share something with the world – and nobody notices? Your mom may give a “like” but that is about it? I know I have. That used to confuse me. How can other people get tremendous traffic but I get almost none?

Well, here is how that works and the reason why those posts fail.

It involves scoring of the Algorithm again. But this time, a “low score” rather than a high score.

Let’s say you make a post about something that you have not talked about with your group before (or it has been an extremely long time since the last time you shared something along that topic line).

It could be something as random as posting a memory about your high school graduation.

Nobody comments. You may have 800 likes. But nobody comments. You may have 1,000 views. But only three comments and one share.

The Facebook algorithm is not going to give this post a high score at all. It will get a relatively LOW score, even though you had 800 or 1,000 likes. Facebook does not judge “likes” the same as “shares,” nor does it judge “shares” as much as comments and interaction.

Because this post has such a low score, it will not be shared among the majority of your contacts. Maybe your immediate family will see it. But that is about it. Unless you start to actually have a conversation with someone (anyone, even your family), this post is going nowhere.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, every single social media platform out there, uses an algorithm to support the platform. This algorithm is used to determine what other people will interact with on the platform. Links that take people away from the platform receive lower scores.

This is important to remember as you post your information on these social media sites. If you want to increase your visibility, especially on Facebook, you need to use the algorithm to your advantage.

Benefits of Being Interviewed on a Podcast

Podcasting is simply a way for people to have a radio show on the internet. It’s really no different than regular radio programs except that the show is delivered via the computer. There are several benefits of being interviewed on a podcast (radio show). These include convenience, a potential increase in audience reach, and cost.

You don’t have to travel

When you are interviewed on a podcast you don’t have to leave your house. The interview is conducted remotely – over the telephone (preferably a land line). This not only saves you money on transportation and gas, it also allows you to be interviewed by someone in the next, city, or state.

This is an especially attractive option for work-at-home parents because some podcasts air during evening hours or on the weekends when childcare issues can be prohibitive.

It can also mean that you don’t have to also find a babysitter and you don’t have to adjust your travel time to include drop-off and pick-up.

It doesn’t matter what you wear because it’s an audio interview.

Since most podcasts are done in an audio format (over the phone), you do not have to stress out about what to wear to that important interview. You can do the interview in even if you are having a bad hair day because no one will see you.

Exposure to a broader audience.

When you are interviewed on a podcast, you get exposed to the audience of the person that hosts the podcast. They may reach a segment of the population that you would generally not be in touch with. In this way your message gets delivered to people who would not have otherwise heard it. And that can be very good for business.

A no cost way for you to get traffic to your website.

It typically costs you nothing to be interviewed on a podcast. On occasion you will need to be responsible for the cost of the telephone call (which is a business expense). But you don’t have to find the fancy equipment or figure out how you are going to host or promote the podcast. The one hosting the podcast has taken care of all of that, oftentimes including advance mention of you, your business and website. Many podcasters have e-newsletters, blogs, and websites that they use for this very purpose. Plus they often announce on the air topics and guests for upcoming shows. All you have to do is show up and tell others about you and your services.

It helps solidify your position as an expert in your field.

As with all media visibility, your appearance or presence as a guest on a podcast adds to your credibility, helping to contribute to your role as an expert in your field. Listeners follow the show host’s cues; so if he or she positions you as someone who knows what you are talking about, listeners are likely to accept that and may even contact you for your services.

So now you want to be interviewed in a podcast.

Great, but how do you find podcasts on your niche market? Start with http://www.blogtalkradio.com to find a wide range of Internet radio shows. These show are particularly attractive because all that they require of you is a telephone. Another site to check into is http://www.podcastalley.com. It is one of the leading podcast directories on the web.

Being interviewed in a podcast is a fantastic opportunity for you to promote your business or service in a convenient, cost effective way that broadens your audience. So what are you waiting on? Start contacting podcasters today so that you can be a guest star on a podcast tomorrow.

Side Benefit

The podcast is generally archived on the host’s podcast site. That archive can be linked to your website or blog, can be added to your press room, etc. so that others can listen to interview at a later date.

Is It Possible to Stream a Podcast Live?

Let’s say that you have a podcast that you’re hosting on libsyn or some other service, but you want to start experimenting with creating a “live” show. Usually, podcasting services do not allow you to live stream your podcast, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. You just need to use a service that specializes in livestreaming content.

You can use sites like USTREAM, justin.tv, and more recently YouTube to stream the live recording of your podcast.

Personally, I like ustream for livestreaming shows. The reason for that, is that ustream has real time chatting tools that allow you to interact with your audience as the show is being recorded.

What that lets you do, is that it lets you ask your guests questions on the fly, from the audience. If you don’t have a guest, then it gives you the opportunity to interact with your listeners in a way that was not previously possible.

The downside to using a livestreaming service, is that you may need to purchase additional equipment. You may need to setup a video camera, or get an additional cable or two in order to make your recording rig be able to send your voice up to the streaming service.

Another potential issue, is that you need to have high speed internet access in order to ensure the best possible quality. No one wants to see squares moving around and talking on the screen. Make sure that your internet connection is fast enough to send the voice and video upstream.

There are other alternatives to using livestreaming services. You could also use a telephone conference line and just have people dial in to the line, just like you would with a teleseminar, and they can listen to you record your podcast live.

Just about any teleseminar service could function like this, the biggest caveat, is that you need to be able to record the call, so you can distribute it as a podcast later on.

A word of advice on the whole livestreaming thing, you may want to have someone monitor and moderate the chat for you so that you can concentrate on your content. It is really easy for trolls to get into the chat channel, specially if you’re advertising your live shows, and start to disrupt things. Nothing pleases a trol more than knowing that they have gotten under your skin.

If you’re going the phone route, make sure that you have the option to put all of the attendees in “listen only” mode or something to that effect. That way, you’ll prevent people from talking over you and you’ll also not suffer from the background noise from the one person driving home and listening to you on the speaker phone.