Colin Gray, founder of The Podcast Host, helps people launch, grow and profit from podcasts. In this interview he shares some tips on how to be successful with audio.
Colin is a speaker at How to introduce audio and video into your business, an event in London on 16 March that will explain how to use low cost technologies to get your message seen and heard by an audience of thousands. Book a ticket here.
How did you get into podcasting?
I actually started in higher educaiton. I was working at a university, teaching lecturers how to use technology to help their students, and podcasting came along as a new tech to learn. I figured it out, and ended up falling in love with the medium; just how much you could get to know a host, and how you could learn, launch and be inspired by content in otherwise wasted time. I listened avidly for a year or so and then jumped into creating. Best choice I've ever made!
What kit do you use to produce a podcast?
In it's simplest form, all you need is a USB microphone and a computer to plug it into. Or, alternatively, you can record an audio file on your smartphone. Nearly any smartphone has a decent voice recorder on-board. It's surprising how high the quality is these days on a smartphone or a standard USB mic, and so it's a great idea to start that way before moving up to the more expert kit in future. Nowadays I use a pro-condenser microphone on a boom arm stand, linked up to a Yamaha mixer and a Zoom h5 recorder. But, that's only because I kept it up. I got good at presenting, good at content creation, and so justified the investment in the long term.
Can someone produce a podcast on a budget?
Absolutely! Follow the advice above. Start simple, and only upgrade your kit once you're sure you're getting something out of it, and enjoy the process.
How do you source guests?
If you're podcasting about a subject you're passionate about, I'm sure you'll have at least a few initial guests in mind. No matter how famous you think they are, drop them a line. Podcasting is still fashionable and innovative enough that many people are delighted to be asked. The next step is asking those people who they'd recommend you interview next, and, even better, whether they'd mind making an introduction. You can end up with an ever expanding list of great people to talk to that way. If you run out, start to scour the new book releases on Amazon related to your topic. Authors with a book to promote always love to talk about it. Same with upcoming conferences and events; find the organiser and get in touch.
How do you promote the finished product?
Podcasts are hugely social. Listeners get really invested in a show. They really feel like they 'know' the host, thanks to the power of voice and the intimate nature of listening through headphones. That means that your initial audience is the biggest marketing weapon you have. Ask them, honestly and openly, to share your show with one friend. You'll find that they'll share it with a lot more than that!
Also ask them to give you a review on iTunes which helps you to climb the rankings and to appear when people search for terms related to your topic. Finally, the classic interview'marketing approach works a treat. It's an oldie, but a goodie. Make it really easy for your interviewees to share their own episode. They're in it, of course, so they'll love to share it around, but they might not bother unless you give them a prompt. Send them the link and some example text. The easier you make it, the more likely they'll do it!
Do you think podcasts are on the rise? Will listener numbers will continue to rise?
Yes, for sure! As an example, the last statistics I saw from the BBC showed that they attracted 24 million downloads in just one month in 2015, and that was up 36% on the same month the previous year. So that's about eight million new listens on BBC shows alone!
Rawvoice are one of the biggest podcast hosts out there, and they saw their listener numbers triple between 2010 and 2015. Finally, I can't talk about podcasts without mentioning Serial. That show jumped 100 million downloads last year, which made it the biggest podcast in the world. If that's not showing growth, I'm not sure what is!
Colin Gray is one of the speakers at 'How to introduce audio and video into your business', an event in London at 6pm on 16 March with expert tips on how to use podcasts, webinars and video to engage your customers. Book your ticket below.