Don’t be baffled by the terminology, podcasting is simply the production of audio content which people can download from a web page and listen to either through their computer or on an MP3 player like an iPod or mobile phone.
You don’t need any special equipment or training to record and produce a podcast and it is a great way of communicating because people can listen to it at their own convenience, wherever they may be. I often listen to them during a coffee break at my desk, or download a whole series to listen to while running or on a car journey.
The real strength of podcasts is they enable you to engage in such a powerful way with your audience. People who you have never met will hear your voice and connect with you in a way that is much more compelling than simply providing the same content in written form on your web site.
So how can you go about creating first class podcasts?
1. Know your material. It probably goes without saying but if you speak about a topic that you know inside and out, such as yourself or your area of expertise, you can give people real value.
2. Know your audience. Who are you aiming your podcast at; prospects, customers or a particular sector of your audience? What level of knowledge do they already have about your subject? Do your homework and know who you are speaking to so you can gauge their expertise so that you don’t talk down to them or above their knowledge level.
3. Be suitably prepared. There is a fine line when podcasting between being too prepared, so you sound as though you are reading from a script, or being under prepared so you go off at a tangent and end up far afield of your topic. Try to create an outline of points that you want to make, and talk confidently about them.
4. Don’t try to cover too much. You can choose to cover one or two topics in depth, or a few more in less detail. But don’t try to go into lots of detail on lots of topics as you risk confusing your audience. If you have lots of information to get across, break the podcasts down into a series so your listeners have time to digest one lot of information, before moving on to the next.
5. Cut out external noise. Make sure you turn off or divert all phones and computer sound alerts, the last thing you want is to record a perfect hour long session, only to have it interrupted by a new email alert! Also close your office window – lawn mowers, the neighbours dog or children in the garden all add background noise to your recording.
6. Get comfortable. Make sure your chair is comfortable and you are sitting comfortably, moving around while recording will be picked up so try and avoid it. Have a glass of water to hand and if you’re using a headset to record your podcast, I’d recommend a straw.
7. Introduce yourself. Podcasts often get passed around or downloaded and forgotten for a while before they are listened to so make sure you introduce yourself and your business, and give your web site URL. Also tell them the title or topic of the podcast and a brief outline of what you will be covering. If it’s in an interview format, don’t forget to introduce your guest in the same way.
8. Inject some personality. Be yourself. Yes, you are producing a professional podcast, but your listeners will be looking to indentify with you too so relax and treat it as though you were talking to a handful of friends around a table. Don’t be afraid to inject a little self deprecating humour if that’s your natural disposition.
9. Close effectively. Don’t forget the purpose of your podcast, the reason why you are putting it together in the first place. If you are building your mailing list, give your listeners a compelling reason to sign up and give them the URL. If you are promoting a product or service, give them a reason to act now and again, give them the URL.
10. Say thank you. At the end of your podcast don’t forget to thank any guest speakers and also your listeners. Tell them again how to contact you and about any products or services that may interest them.
One word of warning, podcasting is addictive. Once you start you’ll end up recording everything. So get started now and you’ll soon have a whole range of information products in the form of podcasts, that you can sell or give away free from your website.
About the author:
Justine Curtis is the director of My Virtual Assistant Limited which is currently expanding across the UK with a team of virtual assistant licensees and founder of the UK Association of Virtual Assistants (UKAVA) which offers free resources and information to its subscribers. Justine is the author of Setting Yourself Up As A Virtual Assistant and passes on the benefits of her vast experience of the VA role to aspiring and progressive virtual PAs as a co-founder of the VA Success Group. Justine is also a co-founder of Academy for Online Business, a company devoted to helping self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs to build their own online business empires.
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