Allan Karl is this week’s featured podcast interview. You can find more details and a link to when the interview goes live tomorrow on the event page here.
Everyone is a storyteller. And storytellers need a platform to share their stories. Published authors, nonfiction and fiction alike, can deliver more to their audience and attract new readers and fans through podcasts and/or live-streaming.
There are several reasons every author needs a podcast. First, a podcast is an excellent way to add value to existing readers and build a larger audience. Authors can use the platform to bring awareness and market new books, online courses, and more. Finally, a podcast is a great way to grow and diversify your audience by featuring fellow like-minded authors as guests.
An author’s podcast also can strengthen relationships with readers and audiences. For example, an author can feature an “Ask the author” episode where readers and listeners submit questions and you answer them. Or, consider doing a Livestream where listeners can ask questions and get answers in real-time. That Livestream then becomes another podcast episode readers can listen to later.
Podcasts and live streams are excellent tools for authors to create content that keeps their social media exposure fresh. While authors can create audio-only podcasts and post them to their YouTube channels, a video podcast posted on YouTube will get much more engagement.
So how can an author start podcasting and or live-streaming? Starting a podcast is relatively simple. However, keeping it up consistently can be challenging. There are six simple steps and decisions you must make.
First, you need to define your audience, niche, style, and title. This could be as simple as an extension to your catalog of books for nonfiction authors. For example, if you write about customer service, go through your book titles and find a theme and create a title that leverages that theme. Regarding style, you need to determine the format of your show and if and how often you will feature guests.
Secondly, you need to choose an interval for your podcast and then establish an editorial calendar of episodes, including the topic and if and who will be a guest. Whether you choose a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly distribution, you need to decide if you’re going to a podcast regularly or in real-time. Or if you will record podcasts in batches and then queue them to release based on your interval. If you are featuring guests, you might consider using a convenient scheduling tool such as Calendly.
The third thing you need to start podcasting is a quality microphone and a platform or software to record the podcast. I use a Shure SM7B attached to a RODE Studio Boom. This setup may be too pricey for beginning podcasters, but a quality microphone is essential. Look at less costly faves of podcasters such as the Blue Yeti, Rode PodMic, or the Shure MV7X. If you plan to host your podcast on location, there are many other considerations you’ll need to address. However, assuming you will host your podcast remotely and feature remote guests, you can use Skype or Zoom to record audio or video podcasts, but if you want more features and flexibility, you should consider Riverside.FM, Zencastr, Squadcast, or StreamYard. Each of these platforms offers free and paid plans with varying feature sets. They all have pros and cons depending on how you plan to use them. I use StreamYard because it allows me to create custom branding and inject photos, videos, and other graphics. StreamYard enables me to record the video podcast or Livestream it directly to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you’ll need to edit the file and prepare it for uploading. So the fourth decision you need to make is whether you want to edit yourself and hire an audio/video editor. If you plan to stick to an audio-only podcast and if you’re a Mac user, edit your podcast using the free Apple GarageBand app. Other audio editing solutions include LogicPro, Adobe Audition, or Audacity which is not only excellent, it’s free. For video podcasts, authors can choose between iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or for editing on an iPad, LumaFusion is an excellent choice. These apps will also help you create and edit a branded intro and outro for your podcast.
Finally, the fifth choice you have for your new podcast in which host and distribution platform to use. These platforms host the audio version of your final edited podcast episode and ensure it is syndicated and available on the most popular podcast listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Audible, and others. Most distribution platforms offer limited free plans, but you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want more storage and features. I use Libsyn, one of the most popular and cost-effective options, but Anchor.FM, PodBean, Blubrry, and SoundCloud are good alternatives.
The possibilities and benefits of podcasting for authors, especially nonfiction authors eager to build their platforms, are enormous. To be sure, these five decisions will get you started with your first podcast and out there in the big world of podcasting. I’ve kept this list as simple as possible, and for the most part, the tools and services I’ve recommended are among the most popular. But as your podcast gains traction, you will discover more valuable tools, podcast resources, and communities that will help you grow and get more from your podcasting efforts.
Allan Karl is an author, professional speaker, Host of the Journeys Webcast and Podcast, content creator, and coach and consultant. Listen to his WorldRider Podcast on Apple Podcasts, his Journeys Webcast, and subscribe to his WorldRider YouTube channel and follow him on Instagram. If you need help starting your Podcast Allan does offer consulting/coaching packages that will help you wade through the maze of getting your podcast started. Contact him here.
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