Focusing on technology
Hey, you have a condenser microphone and a copy of Adobe Audition. That’s wonderful. But what is your podcast about, why are you doing it and who is your intended audience? Have you planned your first six to 10 episodes? Don’t start recording until you understand what your podcast is all about (unless you just want to play around as a learning experience).
Email the MP3 file to everyone you know
Ok, this business about RSS and iTunes is admittedly a little confusing. But please figure it out before you start podcasting. YES, you can certainly email a LINK to your podcast to clients, associates, friends and so on, but make sure that your podcast actually lives somewhere where there is at least an RSS feed! Why? Because the beauty of podcasting is both its portability and its serial nature, which are enhanced by your file being received by people who want it – without them having to remember to go somewhere to get it.
Don’t bother learning how to use a microphone
Some people say, “I paid 200 bucks for this mic, so of course my podcast will sound great!” Yes, with an expensive microphone you certainly have the potential to produce a podcast with lovely sound. But do you know how to USE the mic? Have you practiced? Have you found the sweet spot? Unless you want to assault your listeners’ ears, take the time to learn how to use your equipment. I’ve seen people sit six feet away from the mic and I’ve seen others get so close they look like they’re eating a popsicle. Find what works for you.
Don’t consider your listeners’ needs
“Our content will be so compelling that our listeners won’t care if we don’t make it easy to listen to us. After all, it’s not like there are lots of other podcasts out there, right?” Some successful podcasters sit down and record in one take with no edits. They have a rare talent that most of us don’t possess. At the very least, if you’re to going to edit your audio at all, please even out the sound so that people can hear you. If there are two or more people talking, make sure they’re all at the same volume. The Levelator is a terrific tool for this. And it’s free.
Forget about shownotes
Yes, they can be a pain. But there are two very valid reasons for producing shownotes:
1. They make it easy for your audience to know what your show is about before they listen, and to find content after they’ve listened, especially if they’ve been at the gym or on a bus, away from their computer.
2. They make your podcast visible to Google and other search engines.
When I look at my pod stats, it’s apparent that most of the people who listen during the first couple of weeks after a podcast episode is published are regular subscribers. But then for months later – forever really – people are discovering the podcast by searching for certain terms. Without the shownotes, how would they find the podcast? They wouldn’t.
(Based on episode 71 of the Trafcom News Podcast, February 2008.)