Published on March 11, 2014
How to Choose a Topic For Your Podcasts
Podcast Your Passion Podcasting is very rewarding and you will have the most fun if you're podcasting about something you love. You could become a celebrity on the internet or a recognized expert on your chosen topic. Here are some questions to help you choose a topic: • What hobbies do you have? • What do you love to talk about? • What things would you do whether or not you got paid? • What are your areas of expertise? • What do people ask you for help with on a regular basis?
Podcasting to a Niche • Podcasting is great for reaching small, focused and underserved topics of interest (niches). • By choosing a specific area of interest to focus on, your podcast can become a powerful source of information and enjoyment for others who share your interest. • You'll find it easier to market your podcast, maintain listeners and even make money with a podcast that focuses on a niche topic.
Examples of Podcasts
The Infinite Monkey Cage This British chat show is hosted by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince and consists of a panel of other scientists, comedians and celebrities. Each show has a loose topic of discussion like space exploration. The show is fast pace and very funny if you like British humor. The negative is the podcast only has a six week run twice a year, and shows are only 29 minutes each. New episodes won’t be out until June.
The Story Collider This is a really neat podcast where people tell stories about how science has touched their lives. The focus here is story telling. Participants and stories range from scientists falling in and out of love, bartenders studying quantum physics and people struggling with disease and grief. They are compelling tales that take a human look at science and technology. Podcasts are usually just shy of 15 minutes in length and come out .
The Dork Forest The Dork Forest is a safe place where all the Rangers of the Dork Forest can go as deep into whatever dorkdom they have. Comedian Jackie Kashian interviews people one on one about whatever obsesses them in life. The topics can range from beekeeping to comic books. Since Kashian is a comedian many of her guests are also standup comedians making for good banter and funny off topic asides. She also gets guests like comic book author Bill Willingham and novelist Lois Mcmaster Bujold. It is a grab bag of a show, where you always learn about something interesting.
Radiolab Radiolab is a beautifully produced podcast that weaves together science and personal narratives into a thematic whole. Host Jad Abumrad’s background in music composition and production adds a lyrical and poetic feeling. Every month the main show centers on a theme like bliss or color and is composed of several segments with interviews. The interviews can be with experts or just people with an interesting story to tell. Shorter features about specific stories, like ant invasions or the founder of the Heimlich maneuver, are released to fill in the gaps between the main shows. The main shows are about an hour and shorts between 15-20 minutes
10 Common Podcast Mistakes
Not Using a “Special” Web Host • Don’t use an online file storage service Using a special web host allows you to reduce your costs. Not Identifying Your Target Audience • Before you start speaking into the microphone, you need to know WHO you’re going to be speaking to. • Listeners don’t just listen to one episode, they download and tune in for all your stuff (assuming that it’s any good), so if you’re talking to skinny guys looking to gain weight and build muscle in one episode, don’t start talking to fat dudes looking to lose weight in the next.
Not Having a Professional Podcast Cover Image • Get a professional podcast cover done if you want to get attention from your target audience. Not Editing Your Recording • People don’t want to hear noise, or static, or really loud speaking (especially when they have headphones on). I recommend always speaking in the same volume , and running your recording through a Noise Reduction process while editing.
Not Making It Long Enough • The key is to get your point across and teach your audience something new without sacrificing the time and quality of your content. Not Using ID3 Tags • iTunes doesn’t read audio file names, you have to do the naming and the describing for iTunes in order for you listeners to know what they’re downloading. • There are free software programs that allow you to do this. You can edit the episode name, the author, the genre and even the cover that appears when they download it.
Not Submitting To Podcast Directories • A podcast becomes popular and gets lots of downloads when more people know about it. • Don’t just keep it on your blog, that’s like keeping it to yourself. Go out there and submit it to all the podcast directories and get found by thousands of people. Not Having A Call To Action • Podcasting is a powerful channel to distribute content and attract an audience. But if you don’t tell your listeners to follow you back to your blog, join your email list, or take any kind of action, you’re not using it as the powerful marketing machine that it truly is.
Not Getting Specific About Your Topic • Pick on your topic and stick to it. • Jumping from one topic to the next without proper transition will confuse your listeners Not Using High Quality Equipment • There’s no need to buy a $300 microphone, but your listeners can tell the difference between a crappy $12 headset and a $40 USB condenser mic. • Remember, a lot of them will be using headphones and having them listen to a low quality podcast with lots of static will damage your credibility and authority.
How to Get Started
Before Recording • Determine the nature of your podcast. What will the content be? Write it down so you don't forget. Come up with an outline or some sort of organizer to keep track of what you will discuss and/or promote. • Choose the products you'll use to Podcast. Most podcasts include a microphone (USB or analog), mixer (for analog mic) or even a new computer. There are different podcast starter packages out there you can buy for around $100. • Pick your software. If you have a Mac, you can record using Garageband (it comes free with every Mac as part of the iLife suite). There are free software packages (like Audacity) and expensive software (Adobe Audition). There are also tiered versions of software, like Sony Acid (music studio is only $50 whereas Acid Pro is $200). Some mixers and microphones come with free software to use.
Creating Your Podcast • Prepare your content. You may want to put together scripts for what you will say at the beginning of a show and when you transition from one story to another. Put your content in order so you can read down the list. • Record the audio for your podcast. This is probably the biggest step for without your voice, your podcast doesn't exist. Talk in a consistent pace and show passion in your subjects. Read the scripts and don't forget to thank people for being part of the show. • Save the audio file to your computer desktop. Make sure it's in MP3 format; a bit rate of 128 kbps is probably sufficient for a talk-show podcast, but podcasts featuring music will want bit rates of 192 kbps or better. • Create your RSS podcast feed. The feed must meet all industry standards for a valid 2.0 feed with enclosures.
Uploading Your Podcast • Put your RSS podcast feed on the Internet. Go to Feedburner and type in the URL of your blog and click "I am a podcaster!" In the next screen, configure the elements for your podcast. These are the elements that directly relate to the podcast. Your feedburner feed is your podcast. • Give it a second. In a few minutes, Feedburner should add this to your feed, and now you have an episode! You can submit it to iTunes or a number of other podcast directories to get it known. You may want to wait, however, until you have some experience, so that your podcast will be compared as a fifth episode to another's first.
Resources for Making Podcasting Simple http://www.hipcast.com http://www.libsyn.com http://www.podbean.com
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