Friday, August 14, 2015

Podcasting for Authors by Jim Hart

 I love podcasts – there are a number that I listen to on a regular basis. If you haven’t discovered podcasts yet I encourage you to seek some out and giving them a listen. They are informative and entertaining.

But in this blog I want to encourage you to consider if YOU could produce your own podcast. As a writer and author these are the benefits of producing your own podcast:

1.      Podcasts can grow your platform. A podcast will help you reach a different and potentially wider audience. Those who may not read your blog may discover your podcast.
2.      Podcasts are more personal than reading a blog. Podcast can present more of your personality in a way that blogging alone cannot.
3.      Podcasts are easily digestible. They can be listened to while driving to work, exercising, cleaning, doing yard work, walking your dog, etc.
4.      Podcasts can generate income. If your podcast becomes large enough you can find a sponsor or other advertisers.

If you’re not a regular listener to podcasts, find some that interest you and listen carefully to them. Note what you like and what you don’t like. Carefully consider the style and quality. Emulate the things you like and avoid the things you don’t like.

Here are just some quick things to consider when contemplating starting a podcast:

1.      What will your podcast be about? If you’re a non-fiction author, this a great way to present content based on what you’ve published. If you’re not yet published then a podcast can definitely be an asset in growing your platform.

If you’re a fiction writer, do you have expertise in some field that qualifies you to speak on a particular subject? Do you have a hobby in which you’ve become skilled? Things   like baking, woodworking, music, collecting antiques, history, Bible based devotions, organic gardening, etc? 

This is still a great way to connect with potential readers by exploiting common interests. And you’ll always be able to quickly plug your current book – just remember that your entire podcast should not be just a commercial.
Podcasts are a great forum to interview another person who works in the area of your podcast subject. If you are able to interview a well-known person or author that increases your own visibility.
2.      How long will your podcast be? My favorite podcasts range from five to thirty minutes.   Writing an outline will keep you on track while recording
3.      How often will you release a podcast?   As in blogging, consistency is important. Once a week or every other week, on the same day of the week, is my suggestion.

There is a bit of technology to master when producing a podcast and you’ll need a minimum of equipment:

1.      A quality microphone. A condenser mic (which I would suggest) can be found starting at $80. A good used mic could be your best bargain. If you have the budget there are a couple of broadcast quality mics that you can find for around $300. Keep in mind you do want quality sound.
2.      Headphones.
3.      A program to capture and edit the audio. There are free programs, such as Audacity, and there are inexpensive programs and apps like GarageBand. Again, if your budget allows there are programs called ‘digital audio workstations’ that widely range in price. A barebones package is all that you need.
4.      Intro/outro music. Look for ‘podsafe’ music. You can’t just pick a song you hear on the radio and use it in your podcast as there are legalities involved. But a royalty-free snippet of music can be found for just a few bucks. And there are apps that can easily create a loop of music that would be perfect for podcasting.
5.      Title and cover art. Make sure your cover art and photograph are professional looking.
6.      Internet connection/hosting.

If this is all foreign to you, and seems overwhelming, look for a friend or acquaintance with the technical know-how to help get you started. There are also numerous YouTube videos on podcasting.

Here are some good links with more detailed information:


James Shupp said...

This was a great article. Thanks Jim for the advice.

Angela Breidenbach said...

I just started Grace Under Pressure Radio this month :) I bought an ATR-2100 for about $50. Comes with cords and stand. Love it! Great sound. I also use Libsyn to host only. Yes, there are a few things to learn, but it's so fun!