There was a time when it seemed everyone needed a blog. Then they were all jumping on YouTube with video podcasts. The algorithms have changed, and neither are the in-bound content silver bullets they once were, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a good fit for you. If you’re trying to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert, build a closer connection to your target audience, or just love to teach, ’casting may be right for you.
Want to give it a try? Here are twelve tips to consider
- Create an editorial calendar. Before you begin, know that you have at least a year’s worth of shows lined up. If you can plan more than that, great. But don’t launch without a clear content plan to get you through the first twelve months. Trust me. Life gets in the way, and the newness wears off. The more you can make this easy to execute, the better.
- Don’t try to be the only voice on every podcast. Bring on guests, do interviews, or use excerpts of other podcasts (with permission). It’s more interesting for the audience, and gives you more access to content.
- Get a professional opener and closer made. It doesn’t have to be your voice that introduces you. You can hire professionals for it. Write a snappy script and use music and/or graphics under the voice. Let the start of the show come in on top of the music.
- Get permission, or purchase rights for everything you use! You’ll have to purchase rights to any music you use, or snippets of video or podcasts you pick up. There are packages of sound effects you can purchase, but check the rights usage. You may be limited to editorial and educational uses only – that rules out e-commerce and retail.
- Use quality recording equipment. Get a quality microphone and camera. The camera on your computer may work, but test it first. The microphone will not—trust me on this. Look at a quality lavalier microphone or desktop version like the Blue Yeti.
- Find a spot to record that is as soundproof as possible. You don’t want someone’s barking dog to ruin your perfect session. And find times to record when you won’t be disturbed. If you’re using your computer to record, be sure to disable notifications.
- Create some test recordings. When you hear how a location sounds, you may not like it. Too few hard surfaces can sound “dead” and too many can be tinny or echo-y. Experiment too with your recording methods. In-camera options can range from your smartphone’s video to high-end digital SLRs. Computer-based programs include Zoom, Go-To-Meeting or BlueJeans. As you work with them, editing and uploading, your favorites will quickly emerge. If you experiment first you won’t be stuck fighting the limitations of a system that you hate.
- If you’re videocasting, pay special attention to your background. Busy backgrounds are distracting. But a blank wall can be boring. Find a location and experiment with the lighting and the color. Go for a flattering and professional setting that matches your brand and message.
- Don’t create a word-for-word script. The exception would be openers, closers and any ads you run in-show. For those, you may want a detailed script. But everything else should feel natural and conversational, and that’s best accomplished without a tight script.
- But don’t wing it, either! Do have at least an intro, an outline and list of questions if you’re interviewing someone. Know what the plan is for the show and set some timeline goals so you know when you need to be switching segments or wrapping up.
- Have more content for each show than you think you might need. This is especially true for shows with a promised length. Have a related story you can share, details you can go into or more questions you can ask if you’re interviewing someone.
- Decide where your ‘casts will live. YouTube and Vimeo are natural for video, but we love Wistia if your videos don’t need to be searchable. It has a beautiful interface and better controls for how videos play on a website. For audio, Stitchr and Apple podcast are most common, but Spotify also showcases podcasts. And if you don’t need your audio to be searchable, we love InstantTeleseminar.
That’s a dozen ways to make sure your video or podcast series looks and sounds its best, while extending your reach and your brand. Now, get out there, become the star you know you are and let the world —and your audience—fall in love with you!