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Podcasting - why you should talk the talk!

Podcasting - why you should talk the talk!

Posted 12th February, 2020 by Sarah

10-minute read

Podcasting has become the quiet revolution of the 21st century.

Whereas the daily commute used to be the time for listening to broadcast radio – which is why the early evening show on almost every radio station is still called ‘Drive Time’ – nowadays the sound systems in people’s cars and the buds in their ears are increasingly playing podcasts.

There are so many podcasts out there, covering such a wide spectrum of subjects, that there’s something for every interest.

So, have you thought about creating a podcast yourself?

They’re a fantastic way for people running small businesses to get into the ears and minds of potential customers. Whilst podcasting itself might not make you rich overnight, it can be a valuable part of the content marketing mix of your business.

For those who work in the various tech industries, or those how are just passionately interested in the latest developments in the world of tech and consumer electronics, the go-to podcasts are produced by the British Tech Network.

The network offers a range of shows that take a knowledgeable – but not entirely reverential – look at various types of tech.

Ewen Rankin has been the host and general Jedi Master of British Tech Network since 2008. So, when it comes to podcasting, he definitely talks the talk.

He generously gave us his thoughts about the benefits podcasting can bring to a business. Over to Ewen:

What can podcasting do for business?

The sport of podcasting is played on a level playing field. It’s definitely not a game that only the big boys can play. Literally anyone can podcast. You make your content and you throw it out into the void and whoever catches it as it flies past is your listener. The diversity, breadth of interest, content, people and communities that exist in and around podcasting are almost endless.

Also, podcasts aren’t trying to be all things to all people. Not every podcast you listen to will be to your tastes and some may be downright opposite to your viewpoint, but that’s the brilliance of the platform. It’s a great way to discover something new and exotic, or to dig deeper into something you already love.

If you want to share your enthusiasm about your business, in the form of a podcast, you have to do it carefully. If you create an out-and-out sales pitch, you’ll very quickly find that no-one is listening. However, a tried and trusted formula, is to wrap your advertising in entertainment. A short promotional read within the podcast has always worked well for us and those that we have as ‘sponsors’ are really that, people who support us no matter what.

As for the content of a business-focused podcast, the way to keep ’em listening is to give away some free information or offer your take on techniques in your field. These are good ways to make listeners gravitate towards your brand, to keep your subject relevant to your business, but to do so in a way that isn’t too in-your-face.

What tech do I need to start podcasting?

You can go as complex or simple as you like. At the British Tech Network, we started with a MacBook and a plug-in headset mic. The audio quality wasn’t great with that, but we quickly improved. That was more than ten years ago. Good tech is very affordable, now.

So, get yourself a good mic, then use your computer’s onboard sound capture software to record the audio, and you’re a podcaster. Software packages we’d suggest you try out are Garageband on Mac OS X, which is perfect.

Quicktime also has an audio recording interface and there’s a Windows version you can download onto your PC, if you aren’t all Macked-up. Apple’s support for that ended in 2016, but it will still happily work on Windows 10 and earlier versions. Alternatively, you can use Audacity, which is a free, open-source, cross-platform audio-recorder available for all operating systems and it offers great quality.

We now have a ‘Skype wall’, which allows up to six people to dial in from around the world and interact with each other, with video and audio in real-time. That’s pretty complicated stuff, so I wouldn’t recommend you try and start with that, as even we have had the odd technical hiccup. But, the style of our shows are such that our subscribers indulge us, because - never forget this - content is king! Don’t get bogged down in the tech and forget to entertain people.

How do I decide upon podcasting content?

I can’t say this too often: content is KING!

Pick subjects that interest you; stories that you’re passionate about. That passion will come across to the listener! Also, allow for debate if you have a panel format or, if it’s just you, pick stories which are entertaining and informative. You want to generate engagement with your listeners, so encourage them to get involved, have an opinion and make a contribution. A podcast can almost be a conversation between you and your listeners and, if you’re in business, that means between you and your potential customers.

We do panel shows and solo shows. Our Daily Show is produced and presented by Kyle Swager by himself. I do The Photo Show by myself but The Mac Show and Big Tech Show are both panel shows with people from across the globe. All of it works. That said, if you invite a panel and then hog the mic, no-one will listen.

Our Daily Show is a mix of all of the tech news of the previous 24 hours, all boiled-down to a five-minute show; so editing it down to the top few stories is tough, but we always finish with an ‘And Finally’ story that is light-hearted or a real poke at something or someone who is taking themselves a bit too seriously.

Our talk shows have a format that is ‘mates down the pub’. That needs very little preparation beforehand and often I’m finding stories for The Mac Show 20 minutes before we go live. The Big Tech Show needs even less prep, as our guests bring their own stories to discuss. So, you don’t need to spend hours writing a full script. It’s always good to know your stuff, mind, but don’t plan to the point that you are in a 'preparation strait-jacket’. That won’t be fun for anyone, least of all you.

How do I publish a podcast?

You’ll need to create an RSS Feed and validate it. Then, submit that feed to ‘pod catchers’ which will help with distribution. There’s a list of those here, but do your research to check out which ones you want to use.

You’ll also need hosting space, which tsoHost can help you with, to hold the media files for your podcast and the RSS Link will point people to the content so that they can hear it. Don’t be precious about your copyright. Get every outlet you can to carry your podcast’s RSS feed. The content is hosted by you so they are listening to YOUR file, not the catcher’s. There are plenty of apps out there to help you write a feed and stats analysis program that will tell you who is listening.

How do I market my podcast?

Start by letting the world have access to it. Don’t put it behind protected sites or paywalls. Let anyone who wants to listen, listen. That’s the most important thing. Then, promote it through social media and word of mouth. It’ll happen slowly. Don’t expect a direct return on investment on your efforts, though. Just keep producing and peddling and people will follow. Our sense of community is perhaps our greatest asset. And that, ultimately, is what it’s about: Building a community. This is why we encourage the listeners to get involved.

So, what are you waiting for? The best approach is just to dive in. You don’t need any training; you learn by doing. So, record something and play it to a few people whose opinions you trust and be self-critical when you listen to it yourself, but not too critical, most people hate how their own voice sounds when they listen back to it. Then, after that, the feedback you get from listeners is invaluable. When you get your first piece of ‘hate mail’ you KNOW you’ve made it.

Over to you.

We are always keen to have new shows on the Network. So, if you have a particular passion for tech, or any other subjects that you think people might like to hear about, feel free to submit an idea or a pilot show to us. We’re always happy to host them and give new podcasters an instant audience. Just drop us a line at BritishTechNetwork@gmail.com.

Categories: Tips, Small Businesses

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