Category Archives: How To

Information on How to set up or run podcasts

Use a Selfie to your Podcast's Advantage

How To Use the Selfie to Your Podcast’s Advantage

The Sinatra song goes: When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling. Then the whole world smiles at you…

Selfies are big business because you can capture the moment by pointing a camera at yourself. Watching social media I see a lot of people are doing the “Ellen Show selfie” hoping to break a record on Twitter. Unless they have Bradley Cooper taking the picture, Samsung hosting the photo, or Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, or other major stars in it during a prime time event, you’ll most likely not hit that number.

You WILL get noticed, though.

Ellen can selfie, so can you

Ellen can selfie, so can you

A selfie is a great way to capture the moment. Wherever you are and whatever you do. Add a little bit of post-processing (slight blur, highlights, etc) and you could have an image that says what your podcast is about.

Before the Selfie, there was… the Selfie.

We have been taking selfies long before the term was coined and the front-facing camera was invented. As a musician I would go out in the crowd taking pictures of us at gigs. I was known to take a selfie or two.

Even in my podcasts, I have been known to snap pictures while recording. I have also ventured in the basement and taken not only photos, but rolling selfies – a 30 second video of my show.

Geek Smack Logo from Geekazine on Vimeo.

The right picture can become a great cover photo for what you do. Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, I am able to speak volumes with a selfie.

Some people call it “Selfish”.  It is also called self-promotion. After all – the podcast is self-promotion in itself. Therefore, a selfie should be a regular part of that.

I decided to do selfies while at SXSW to see what would come of it. Usually I focus more on interviews and snapping quick pictures with my phone or Google Glass. But this year I turned the camera on myself and this is what I got:

Dan Harmon from Community. Simon Helberg from Big Bang Theory. Shaq, Seth Rogan, Michael Pena (American Hustle), Guillermo (Jimmy Kimmel), Jim Breuer, Rosario Dawson, Jason Ritter, and Adam Savage.

Selfie with Adam Savage

Selfie with Adam Savage

I also got a host of other people I know. Whenever I saw Google Glass #teamsky I wanted to take a picture with them. All with smiles – mine and theirs.

With those pictures, I got a lot of comments and likes. Some people wondered where I was. Others congratulated me. And to think – if I was to do what I did a year ago, I wouldn’t have none of those mentions and potential listeners to my podcasts.

Don’t worry if you are not next to Shaq or Seth Rogan to get a Facebook photo. You don’t really need to be by anyone to take a good selfie and promote yourself.

Podcasting can be a lonely profession. Most of us are doing it singularly. Therefore, if you want to take a pictures of yourself you will have to connect a camera and do it yourself.

Chris Pirillo Head

Chris Pirillo Head

Chris Pirillo was a smart selfie person. For a while, his headshot started up all of his articles whether they had media or not. Either a surprised shot, a happy shot, a cur-fuddled shot, or whatever – you started out the post with a smile.

That is why YouTube creator playbook says to create a close up image with an engaging face in it. It doesn’t have to smile but it does have to give you a look that states what the video is about.

In my last article: How an Audio Podcast Can Go Viral I talk about how using the 1280×720 image at the top will help your audio podcasts.

Can an Audio Podcast Go Viral? 5 Ways it Can

Can an Audio Podcast Go Viral? 5 Ways it Can

Did you know you can put pictures into your audio podcast? The cover art is a great way to do that. Instead of putting your artwork in the cover art – next time put a selfie in there. See what happens!

Add your selfie to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles. A smiling face greeting people to your posts can be the difference on interaction.

Selfies to Your Website Search Results

Did you know you can set up your profile so when you publish an article, your selfie shows up in the Google search?

HTRP Google Result with My Selfie on it

HTRP Google Result with My Selfie on it

Here is what you do:

  1. Set up your Google+ Profile. Within the contact information, you must verify your email.
  2. Another section of Google+ is the Contributor section. Add the websites you write articles for.

    What websites do you contribute to?

    What websites do you contribute to?

  3. In your blog, you must have an Author section. This is an area that allows you to put in code pointing back to your profile. If you are using WordPress, About the Author is a plugin that will help.
    1. Within the About, you must add the “?rel=author” code as a link back to Google+. For me, I would add:
    2. <a href=”https://plus.google.com/u/o/+JeffreyPowers?rel=author”>Google+ Profile</a>
    3. You would change +JeffreyPowers to your unique ID.
  4. Once that happens, your selfie will show up in search!

These are only suggestions on getting more leads. You would be surprised how someone will be attracted to your face when its smiling back at them!

Use a Selfie to your Podcast's Advantage

Use a Selfie to your Podcast’s Advantage

Can an Audio Podcast Go Viral? 5 Ways it Can

Can an Audio Podcast Go Viral? 5 Ways It Can!

A couple months ago, Stan Alcorn posed the issue that while videos, websites and photos can do it, podcasts might not have the ability to go viral. But that is really not true. While its not as visible as Kimmel’s Twerk hoax, or lovable as a Kitten photo, an audio podcast has not only gone viral before, I believe it can happen again.

Therefore, I propose 5 ways to help an audio podcast go viral.  It may not be as simple as recording a show and posting on iTunes, but if you do it right, anything can happen.

The Audio Podcast That DID Go Viral

There is at least one podcast that has gone viral. To the point that it is in the Guinness Book of World Records. Back in 2011, Adam Carolla didn’t like the fact that Ricky Gervais held the most downloaded podcast (261,000 downloads in a month). Carolla issued a challenge to beat that. Continue reading “Can an Audio Podcast Go Viral? 5 Ways It Can!” »

Podcast-Resolutions

10 Podcast Resolutions You Can Make (and Keep)

It’s a new year! The best part about the new year is that you can forget what happened last year and start anew. You can change up your show to hopefully bring in a new or expanded audience. But in order to do it, you must first make the resolution to do it. But what should you change? Hopefully this article will help out. I order what I believe to be the top 10 changes you can make to inject new life in your podcast.

podcast-music

Change the music to your intro

10. Change the music

Intro and outtro music is one of the best ways to bring new life into a show. Maybe you are looking to brighten up your show a bit – a good intro can change the mood of your podcast.

Did you know you can find intro music for as little as $2 on Pond5? There are many titles to choose from and the music is yours to use for your show (check the full agreement for terms of use).

You can also get a local musician or band to provide intro music. Just ask them! Most are happy to have the publicity.

calendar

calendar

9. Setting a new schedule

Have you always recorded on Mondays but feel another day would work better? Make the plan to reschedule your show now!

Television does it all the time for shows. They find by moving the show, the target demographic could get reached. While podcasting doesn’t have a set day-time to consume, you might still get a better audience if you release shows as certain times.

For example – I moved my iPad365 show to release at 4PM on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. These are actually the best times to release a video or audio podcast. Especially on Sunday – 4 PM is a downtime for most as they get ready for the work week. It also doesn’t conflict with prime-time, which still affects anything happening on the Internet.

You never know – people may even talk about your show on Monday morning at the watercooler…

Create a Podcast Intro

Get someone to do a voice-over for you!

8. Get a voiceover to Introduce you

Just like with music, adding another voice to your show might help spruce it up. Did you know you can get someone to give you high quality voiceover scripts with Fiverr.com? For $5, they will read most anything you want. Male, female, english, british or whatever you need for your show.

Get Artwork re-done

Get Artwork re-done

7. New Artwork

When was the last time you updated your show artwork? It might even be time for a new logo altogether. Especially if you haven’t updated your artwork to the iTunes recommended 1400×1400.

Fiverr.com once again is a great resource for getting ideas. You can poll your audience and barter for link love if someone creates something for you.

In 2013, many companies switched to a “Flat” logo look. Basically two colors with no shading or gradients. They also removed the rounded corners to utilize the square logo.

Podcast

Official Podcasting Icon

6. Update Your iTunes Information

Do you have a description on iTunes that has 5-10 words and starts with “A podcast about …” ? Did you know people might be skipping your show simply because the description is lacking?

Let people know how passionate you are! For my Day in Tech History podcast, the first line in my description is “I love history.” A positive and informational description can show how dedicated you are to your podcast.

If you are not comfortable with writing a description, then fear not! Enter in Fiverr again! For $5, you can get someone to write 100-200 word description of your podcast!

review

review

5. Get Honest Reviews and Show them Off!

One thing I always hate is any podcaster that would post in the message boards: “You give me a 5 star rating in iTunes and I’ll do the same for your show.” The point of iTunes rating is to not game the system, but to get honest reviews. People that listen and like your show.

When you do get a review, mention it on your next show. Good or bad (unless the content is NSFW) — because believe it or not, bad reviews bring more people and more reviews. “Hey! I got a review from listener3432 and he says…”

It might be difficult to get a review at first, but keep asking your audience to do it. Eventually, someone will. If no one does, then you might need to re-evaluate how you do your show.

Write a Book

Write a Book

4. Read a Book, Take a Course, or Get Some Help!

No one person knows everything about podcasting. There are a lot of cogs to this machine. If you don’t like the way your microphone sounds – if you don’t know your editing software that well, if you want to add another avenue of promotion to your show – then learn how to do it through books, forums, and one-on-one support.

I always cringe when someone says they want to podcast but don’t do {insert task here}. Most of us podcasters have to put together script, record, post-produce and post our own content. Some pay people to do editing or write posts. Nonetheless, the best way to understand how things work is to get your hands dirty with the task. That way if the world turns up in chaos, you can at least get your show out.

I have two great resources for you – The Podcaster Community at Google+ and my Podcast Coach Help at Google Helpouts. Both of these have free options to ask questions and get help. If you need a book, then check out all the Podcast books at AmazonThere are many options for beginners to those who need a reference manual.

Promote your Podcast

Promote your Podcast

3. Make an Effort to Promote Your Podcast

You might have used Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to promote your show. Did you know that if you put a fun image into your show notes and post on Pinterest, you might get a new audience?

Jennifer loves Reddit — although I personally don’t get into this social network. We are working on a plan to promote my shows through Reddit so it doesn’t feel like I’m spamming the community (which can get me banned).

Earlier this year I realized how spammy my Twitter profile was, so I changed how I used it. Not only did I start personalizing my posts, I also “pruned and grew the tree”. There are still pre-programmed link posts, but this new process has been helping me gain followers that interact. In fact, the last 6 months I was able to add another 1,500 followers to my account while I got rid of all those dead or spammy Twitter accounts.

I also joined Empire Avenue. The best part about this network is people will tell your worth simply by investing in you. This isn’t a measure in your podcast, but it can promote your show to new audiences.

2. Cleanup your Website, Archive Your Shows

Geekazine.com has been in operation for 6 years. In that time, I have moved the website to a new host, added and removed plugins and created thousands of posts for the show. I have also moved my old podcast audio to Archive.org so it has a permanent home. After all – I want to preserve my shows, but how many people listen to a news show from 2008?

There are many plugins I have added and removed from my site. From SEO, to analytics and even plugins that make posting my show easier. Two plugins I use religiously, though.

1. Search and Replace – This is great, especially if you add sponsorship information to a show. I can search for specific text and replace it. If you ever had a sponsor change affiliate companies, this plugin saves a lot of time in finding the bad links. I can also have the plugin look for the old URL of my audio and change it to the new location.

2. SEO Ultimate and the 404 monitor – Broken links are not good for your website. Being able to disable those links within a few clicks saves time and improves your search performance. Especially if your show episodes contain multiple news links.

Ditch Feedburner

Ditch Feedburner

1. Get Off Feedburner

Why is this so important? My latest Helpout call pretty much summed it up. He was concerned his latest episode was not showing up in iTunes. Further, he changed the description because he was in the “New and Noteworthy” section and wanted to optimize as much as possible. However, he had his RSS go through Feedburner and his show had not updated in the last 24 hours.

We went for about 30-40 minutes and I gave him some more information about the process of his show posting. Ultimately, a Feedburner post can take 2-3x longer to post than if it was not there.

An hour after we talked, the changes finally showed up in iTunes.

I’ll tell you another secret — Feedburner is ghosting (on cruise control or whatever you want to call it). That means the site is there, but only gets changed if there is a problem or a critical update that is needed. Looking at the Feedburner website, the last fix happened on 02-2013 and the last blog was when they turned adsense off in 2012.

What that means is if the site has a major crash, you might see longer waits for updates of your podcast – or your iTunes feed get disconnected and your subscribers left out in the cold. If you have any show that runs Expirable content (usually news podcasts where time is of the essence in posting), any delay could mean the loss of hundreds, or even thousands of listeners.

There are other services if you really don’t want to control your RSS feeds. The best situation is to run directly from your self-controlled RSS feed to iTunes. Need help with it — you can always ask on the community or through my Podcast Coach options I mentioned above.

Of course, there are other resolutions you can make for your podcast. The most important thing is to pick one or two so you don’t overwhelm yourself with changes. When you are comfortable with the change, then make another resolution. It doesn’t have to be at the new year.

Here is to your success in podcasting in 2014! Let me know how your show changes this next year!

Podcast-Resolutions

Podcast-Resolutions

Podcast from Mobile device

Podcast or Interview from your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Device

The best part about podcasting is how mobile it has become. Even back in 2007, you could get a digital recorder which allowed you to record audio. I recorded audio for a podcast once from my old HTC 8125 Windows phone. It was a fun and eye-opening experience for me because I saw what we were able to do in the future of podcasting.

Add to this some great microphones you can add to your smartphone or tablet, your podcast options are a lot better than before. Also add the fact you can instantly upload to server location so your podcast could be published the second its done.

We’re going to look at items you can get to put that mobile rig together.

Mobile Podcast – Smartphone, Tablet or Other?

iPhone 5S

iPhone 5S

A lot of people create audio right from their smartphone. It’s easy and convenient because you don’t have to bring another device with you. Of course, we know that not only can you record a decent audio conversation from your iPhone, Android or Windows phone, but also can take photos and some video if you want.

However, a tablet like a Kindle Fire or iPad can bring a little more screen – especially if you use a podcasting app to record the audio or video with. The tablet also keeps your phone free to take calls or SMS messages. After all, it really sucks when you are interviewing someone important and your phone goes off…

There are other options like an iPod or an older deactivated smartphone. I have an Android phone and an iPhone 3GS which I use for those reasons. An iPod touch can be dedicated for audio or video podcasts – meaning more room for longer interviews.

Microphones for Podcasting on iPhone, Android

iRig Microphone

iRig Microphone

There are a few ways you can go with extra hardware for your mobile recorder. One item is the Audio-Technica 2100 USB/XLR combo microphone. With a lightning-to-USB connector and a good long USB mini cable, you can put the microphone in the vicinity of the speaker and get the best audio possible.

Another device is called the iRig microphoneThis microphone will connect to the audio jack of your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows phone. A downfall is the cord is a predetermined length and cannot be changed (unless you can find or make a 3-pole extension cable). Another option is the iRig-Pre Interface, which allows you to connect your favorite microphone, especially those which require phantom power.

Podcasting Apps for Recording

Bossjock

Bossjock

You can definitely use the audio recorders built into your device, but if you need more oomph, here are some apps you want to look at to record or even create your whole podcast.

  1. Bossjock for iOS - This is a great app for audio podcasters that gives you a full soundboard so you can add intro-outro music, effects and more. You can even record an interview and have it ready and queued up to podcast out later in the day.
  2. Garageband for iOS – This is a great go-to app for podcasting. You can do post editing and get the audio sounding great before sending to someone else for finalization. If you team-podcast, this is a great way to collect multiple audio segments for post-production shows.
  3. Spreaker for AndroidSpreaker for iOSSpreaker is a site to create your own podcasts. You have to sign up for the service, which also allows you to find other great podcasts.
  4. iRig Recorder for Android – With your iRig, you can download the recorder app to record those interviews. You can then record to a .wav or .ogg file format – up to 192 kbps.
  5. Windows Phone – There are a series of audio recorders for Windows Phone 8, but nothing podcast-centric. Audio Recorder for Windows 8 looks to have some great functions to it – even uploading to Dropbox for later editing.

With the combination of device, microphone and app, you can definitely make your podcast on the go. Of course, video podcasters also have some great options, too. iMovie for iOS can do interviews and you could edit right from the iPhone or iPad.

What combinations do you use to podcast through mobile devices? Let me know by commenting below!

Podcast from Mobile device

Podcast from Mobile device

Add Backlinks to Podcast Show Notes

Why Add Backlinks in Podcast Show Notes

Most of us who podcast don’t want to write show notes. We just got done putting the audio or video together and the writing of what happened seems a bit redundant. Unfortunately, podcast show notes are a necessity – it increases our SEO, therefore brings in new consumers. WordPress helps uswith this but we can do more to not only make posts more searchable, but also keep people on our sites longer. Lets take a look at how backlinks can do that.

What is a BackLink?

A backlink is simply a link going back to another article. I can backlink to this website or another website I run. For example, I could tell you about a great article I wrote on how to add thumbnails to YouTube. You might then select that link either when done reading this one or if this article bores you (which I hope it doesn’t).

I can also backlink to an article on another site such as this cool iPad app called BossJock. I have even made it easy for you to read all these articles by choosing to open in a new window. Either way, I might have kept you on my websites 2-4 times longer than you thought.

Find Backlinks through the linking tool in WordPress

Find Backlinks through the linking tool in WordPress

Should All BackLinks Open to a New Window?

That is personal preference. It does separate regular links from backlinks. It also lets people load up the adjoining articles while finishing the current one. However, new window links can annoy some, so use this option sparingly.

Backlinks in Podcast Show Notes

There are many different ways to do this. In iPad365, I try to put the previous episode link at the bottom. Sometimes I forget and miss out on the back link.

I always make sure my RSS feed, iTunes feed and other applicable links are in my show notes. These links are what bring more subscribers.

Privacy Policy and Footer Backlinks

On the bottom of some show notes, I have a footer and privacy text. For Geek Smack! it reads:

Geek Smack! is a weekly video show and podcast that comes out every Tuesday evening. Your host: Jeffrey Powers – talks tech news, IT news and geek news for the week. Geek Smack! is ©2012 under a Creative Commons no-deriv license. Never take candy from strangers. If you would like more information about what is technology, recent news, Geekazine, and Jeffrey Powers, feel free to contact him. Jeffrey Powers does interviews, just ask!

My footer notes link back to my Creative Commons license and my contact page. Even if no one selects these links, they are noticed by SEO practices. It also adds to my word count.

Ryan Connolly is a GOD! Look at how he backlinks in the show!

Ryan Connolly is a GOD! Look at how he backlinks in the show!

Mention Backlinks in Podcast with Bit.ly

The guys at Film Riot make it easy to check out a previous episode. Whenever Ryan Connolly wants to refer to a previous episode, the team will make a Bit.ly link and promote it on the show. They will try to make it easier to type in by customizing the link to the title.

Rinse and Repeat

By saying “Check out my YouTube page at YouTube.com/geekazine” on the air during multiple episodes can bring more clicks. After all, that one person who wants to go to your YouTube page might have missed the first time you said it, but won’t miss the 2nd, 10th, 100th and more. If they miss you saying it – the link is in the show notes.

Create a Template

If you are switching back and forth between posts, a template might be the way to go. There are two ways to create a template. You can either create a post, then copy – paste that information into the new podcast show note post or you can get a plugin to do it. Simple Post Template plugin will help in that area. I also use the Duplicate Post plugin that will create a new, clean post with the content inside.

Rule of Thumb

Rule of Thumb

Rules of Thumb – Backlinks in Show Notes

Even though you cannot have too many backlinks in an article, you can have too many backlinks in a row. What do I mean by that? Your links need to even out through the text of an article. 1 link per 50 words (for example).

Another thing is to space the backlinks if you are giving multiple choices – make those choices feel like they need to go to one or the other. For example, you want to promote your YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS Feed, iTunes and Google + Page. Just reading that line is overwhelming to some. Instead, try it like this:

Contact me at FacebookTwitter

You can also Subscribe to my RSS Feed – iTunes Feed

More video can be found at YouTube.com/geekazine

Advanced users – check out LinkedIn or Google+ page

By adding backlinks, you add more content to your posts and possibly get more subscribers in different areas. You can also get people to stay on your site longer if they easily find content that interests them. Longer times on the site can also entice an advertiser.

Add Backlinks to Podcast Show Notes

Add Backlinks to Podcast Show Notes

Portable Sound Proof Box for Podcasting

How to Make a Portable Sound Proof Vocal Box for Mobile Podcast

I am seeing a lot of podcasters with mobile rigs lately. This is great – you have to get our your podcast but your environment changes. Maybe you podcast from your dining room table or you take this rig to a hotel with you because your podcast is time-sensitive (TV show podcast, major event, etc).

One problem you run into is external noise – Maybe the walls in the hotel are thin or you are two doors away from the elevator, even the air conditioning is pretty loud. Heck, maybe the laptop fan is too loud, which is harder to get rid of because you need the laptop close to podcast.

Well fear not! I have an item you can easily fold into your suitcase then pull out if you need to kill some external sound.

Closetmaid 5066 Fabric Drawer

Closetmaid 5066 Fabric Drawer

Turn a Fabric Drawer into a Podcast Box

This item is the Closetmaid 5066 Fabric drawer. It is 8 inches by 15 inches by 17 inches so it will fit a microphone just fine. It has a cardboard-fabric bottom, which will allow the box to stand on its side without any issue.

Get the Closetmaid fabric drawer #5066 at Amazon

Simply open up the box, put the cardboard-fabric insert in, place your microphone inside and you are ready to podcast!

Podcast Box Extended with Microphone inside

Podcast Box Extended with Microphone inside

The canvas sides and cardboard-canvas backing will reduce any noise coming from the sides or behind the microphone. You will need to use a podcast microphone that can fit inside the box – this won’t work with iPhone headphones or if you use the mic straight from the laptop (if there is a fan to deal with). Make a couple holes to run cables through (it shouldn’t affect the sound too much) and you can put the laptop behind your box.

Placing the cardboard insert into the fabric box

Placing the cardboard insert into the fabric box

Adding Extra Sound Cancelling Foam to Podcast Box

I get weary when people just say “go buy audio foam and that will solve all your problems”. Truth is, you need an equal amount of bounce and cancellation. Too much foam and you’ll never get the high frequencies of the microphone or your voice. Your podcast may sound really bass driven, which could turn off listeners.

If you’ve ever walked into a recording studio, you might have noticed the walls are not completely made of foam. They have wood slats in pre-determined spots to bounce certain frequencies across the room. A wood floor is also noticable in recording studios. This makes the microphone sound much livelier without getting annoying room reverb.

Dow Super TUFF-R

Dow Super TUFF-R

To accomplish a sound block and still have a bounce in the box, I recommend going to your local hardware store and getting Dow Super Tuff-R 1/2 inch thick insulation. This insulation will kill a lot of sound inside and out, yet still have a bounce to give your microphone the high frequencies. They come in 8 foot by 6 foot sections, and your home improvement store might have smaller ‘scrap’ sizes or be able to cut the foam for you.

If you are a videographer, this stuff is great because if you flip it, the metallic-looking side acts as a reflector. Place a tap-light in the box to shine it up nicely.

Podcast Box with egg foam backing and Tuff-R insulation on sides

Podcast Box with egg foam backing and Tuff-R insulation on sides

With a piece of egg-foam or soundproofing foam behind the microphone and the TUFF-R insulation cut on the sides, this podcast box will kill outside sounds and still capture all the frequencies you throw at it.

Wrap items around the box for more protection

Wrap items around the box for more protection

Need More Sound Proofing? Use a Towel!

That’s the best part of a hotel – they usually have towels to spare. If not a towel, use a blanket. You can place the towell in the box, or even outside the box to further kill outside noise. Wrap the box in the comforter for more padding.

Towels add extra padding to your sound proof box

Towels add extra padding to your sound proof box

How do I Know I Have the Right Frequencies?

I install and use a program called TrueRTA or Real Time Analyzer. The idea of this program is to show you which frequencies are too much and which are not enough.

The idea is to get the RTA to display an arch effect. The lowest and the highest of frequencies will not be as loud as the mid frequencies.

Example of what the RTA should look like when eualized

Example of what the RTA should look like when equalized

This will get a close reading, but not exact. In order for that to happen, you will need an RTA microphone to really read the room frequencies. This simple setup will help tune in your microphone a little better.

The fabric box was $10. Insulation was $3-4 (but you might be able to get scraps at the hardware store for cheaper). The cancelling foam might just be the most expensive piece in this design.

Other Uses for a Sound Cancelling Box

There have been times where I was asked to record a panel of guests – where I only have a couple microphones to do so. By putting them in the box, I could have helped with room noise while the mic pointed at the speakers.

If you are micing a guitar amp, this box helps keep out other sounds. Sometimes, guitarists will have plastic shields that do the same thing.

Other tips: move the desk around to a street-facing wall. Use more towels around the outside of the box. It might not get rid of all the bad sounds but it can reduce them to a level where you can use software to fix the rest.

Now you are armed with a sound proof addition to your podcast. Get that show out and have fun. Let me know how your sound proof podcast box works out!

Podcast with iPad

Podcast with iPad

Portable Sound Proof Box for Podcasting

Portable Sound Proof Box for Podcasting

5 Tips to Make Your Podcast Better, Fresher, Newer

5 Tips to Make Your Podcast Better, Fresher, Newer

Podcast

Podcast icon

So you’ve been podcasting for a few years now. You like your show but there has been something nagging in the back of your head saying things are getting a little stale. Your numbers have been stagnant for a while now and you want to push the audience a little more. But what do you do?

Well fear not! Today we’ll look at 5 things you can do to breathe some new life into that old podcast. It might just bring more listeners / viewers and make you excited about podcasting again.

1. Change the Name of the Podcast – Or at least Amend it with 2.0!

My flagship podcast – the Geekazine Weekly Podcast – was way too long and hard to promote. Two years ago I decided to make the change and shorten the name.

I went through many idea – searching the Internet to make sure others don’t have that same name. Geek Smack! was one of 20 names I had on a list – From Geek Rock! to Smack the Geek! Geek Smack! was short, had a URL I could attach to it and gave the podcast new life. I could add the tag line “Where we smack the geek out of ya”.

You might not want to change the name of your podcast. Consider putting an addendum to it. YourPodcast 2.0 or YourPodcast Reboot. A name change adds a level of freshness to a show. People that have passed off on your podcast might just come back to see what you’ve done different (So you better wow them).

Update your Podcast Artwork

Update your Podcast Artwork

2. Change Your Artwork

Actually, you should make a plan to change your artwork every 2 years. Partly because iTunes changes the rules. New artwork also is a lot like a name change – makes people feel they should catch up on the show.

When you create artwork, you should have the following banners created: 1400×1400 for iTunes, 600×600 for other podcatchers. 300×300, 250,250 and 144×144 for different sites. 1000×250 for a header banner, 125×125 for any ads or Facebook/Google+ cover art.

Most Important: have one 1280×720. This is for video covers and use on YouTube. If you have a featured image on your website, using the 720p resolution image will let you know you work in HD (even if you don’t do video).

3. Script Key Points

I hear too many people say a script is too much like work. Reality is, a script is familiarity to a listener. If you create scripts for key parts and practice them, people will notice.

I talked about this for Creating a Podcast Intro that People will Remember. You don’t have to script the whole show – just areas that you want to run solid. Like the first 2 minutes of your show.

Another reason to script – you keep the “Umm” out. There is no tripping over what to say because you already know what to say. Best part is you can add catchphrases which people might start associating with you.

4. Show Structure – Add Breaks to Your Podcast

If you run a 7 minute podcast, I wouldn’t worry about this too much. If you run an hour podcast then you might want to consider adding a break or two.

Geek Smack! is usually 40-45 minutes. I broke it up into 4 parts – Opening section, Part I (Tech Smack!), Part II (Geek Smack!) and an editorial at the end. Each section gets an intro and about 2-3 seconds before that intro starts.

There is a reason why television shows have their content 7 minutes at a time (OK, maybe two reasons). One is to sell product, but the other is to give your mind a mental break. You get a chance to soak up the information given to you so when you come back, you are ready for another 7 minutes of information.

It also gives you the chance to add the tease. “Coming up, Polar Bears dancing in Tutus and umbrellas!” Thats what they do on the news. Some TV shows start with the ending at the beginning, then rewind the situation. Or maybe it will be at the 35 minute mark and we are invested enough to want the climactic conclusion.

You might thing a break is dead-air. It’s actually a place to reset your audiences’ brains.

Create a Focus List

Create a Focus List

5. Refocus Your Show

When I started the Geekazine Weekly Podcast, the tech new centered around Mac vs. PC. Today its gone to Apple vs Android, Google vs Facebook, Google vs Bing and it seems that Microsoft is not to be found.

We also moved from desktops to mobile devices. At one point I didn’t talk about smartphones. Eventually that changed. I also talked more on IT in government, but as I moved farther away from that in my own life, it lost the spot in my show.

Back in March I wrote an article in a series called Create a Focus-List. I compared it to American Pickers’ Frank and Mike’s list they hand out to all the people they meet. If you watch the show, you know that Mike will geek out on bicycles and Frank will geek out on oil cans and old toys.

What do people associate your show with?  If someone wants to find out tech news related to Apple, do they come to your show? If you do comedy, do people know you to be a slapstick comedian or a thought-provoking comedian?

You can veer off topic from time to time. Just don’t do it too much. Stick to your focus list and you might find equal-minded people start consuming your show more.

8 Other Ways to Make Your Podcast Better, Fresher, Newer

Some other suggestions to get re-invigorated include:

  • Upgrade some equipment: Maybe a new microphone or software to record. Get a tablet or just a new chair
  • Learn something new and share with your audience: If you are learning a new language, give people a word of the day
  • Get the community involved: What do you think of this? Email me with your comments
  • Improve show notes with full tagging
  • Improve your grammar: Doesn’t hurt to get a couple speech classes or learn a few things about your voice
  • Set Goals for the shows: Some people have a “Secret word” which they try to put in the show. A call to action is another goal to have
  • Smile more: I’ve said it in Podcast Using Hand Gestures and I’ll say it again. People can hear your smile. So do it.
  • Listen to your shows: The only way to learn is to know you did something right – wrong.

The bottom line is you have the opportunity to refocus, reboot and reinvigorate your show. Make your voice heard by working on it slowly. Nothing happens overnight. Beethoven wrote a lot of music before his Symphonies were heard and enjoyed by all. Shakespeare’s early works were probably pieces of crap. So work on your show and you’ll notice the people showing up.

5 Tips to Make Your Podcast Better, Fresher, Newer

5 Tips to Make Your Podcast Better, Fresher, Newer

YouTube Live Events: How to Set Up your Channel for Live Streaming

YouTube Live Events: Setup Your YouTube Channel for Live Streaming [How To]

YouTube

YouTube

Update 8-7-13: Subscriber qualifications have changed. You now only need 100 subscribers. 

Last week YouTube announced that in June, all YouTube accounts that meet certain criteria will start getting YouTube Live Events. You will be able (with the help of 3rd party software) to stream straight to your YouTube channel. With the new YouTube instant processing in place, your event could be up online within minutes of finishing.

I had Live Events for a while now and have been playing with the features. In this video I show you what requirements you need, how to enable YouTube Live Events and how to create an event to Live stream.

Is Live Events Different from Hangouts?

Yes. With Google Hangouts, you are bringing in up to 9 other people to your video. With YouTube Live Event you can do this solo. Sure, you can bring Hangouts into your Live Events to make it more interactive but its not necessary.

Another advantage is the quality of the Live Event. Whereas hangouts are limited to 480p (right now), Live Events HD can bring your cameras up to 1080p – 6,000Kbps – if you have the bandwidth to do so.

Requirements for YouTube Live Events

According to YouTube, you must have an account that is in good standing. If you have any major copyright violations against, you will not get Live Events until you can rectify that.

You must also have at least 1,000 subscribers (changed to 100 subscribers on Aug 2, 2013) to the channel. Now before you do something like go to Fiverr.com to get your 1,000 subscribers – don’t. That could put your account in bad standings.

How to Enable YouTube Live Events

In the Channel Settings – Account Features you will see all the items you are approved for. At the bottom, you will see “Live Events” with a button next to that. When you press the button, you must fill out the information and agree to the Terms of Services (TOS)

Basically, the TOS says that you will not live stream any copyrighted material – audio or video – unless you have the proper consent to do so. You could instantly get taken down if YouTube notices you are violating any copyright and could lose your status.

After agreeing to the TOS, YouTube will announce if you are approved via email. This took me only a day, but could change when they open it to everyone in June.

Live Event Page with One Event Setup

Live Event Page with One Event Setup

How to Create a Live Event in YouTube

To schedule a Live Event, you will see a new option in Video Manager – Live Events (this link will not work if you do not have approval). The event area is where you schedule all your events.

Choose “New Live Event”. A form similar to the Upload will appear with a few differences. An Event Settings tab will be present, the Start and End times of the event and Agree to TOC of streaming.

Some important parts to this form:

  • Agree to TOC – You must check this box to go further
  • Monetization -  Some may not have this option. You must opt-in to monetizing your videos.
  • Event Settings – Broadcast Delay - This option needs to be selected for insert advertising.
  • Enable DVR – If you don’t want people to rewind the video, uncheck this.
  • Recording - It is best to record in 2 hour lengths, so set up your event in 2 hour blocks.

3rd Party Software for Creating a Live Stream

Once you create the event, you must tell YouTube what software you will be using and what bitrate you will be encoding at. Choose an image for the Thumbnail, then select the bitrate for a 240, 360, 480p 720p or 1080p video.

Your encoder information will pop up. I used Wirecast in this instance, but you can use other 3rd party software.

Add a Camera

This feature allows you to add another camera source to your video. Maybe another computer with webcam, or a camera with a streaming box attached. They must be FMLE or RTMP compliant.

YouTube Live Event Control Room

YouTube Live Event Control Room

Live Control Room – YouTube Live Events

The control room allows you to start/stop the recording, Insert slates, insert ads or give broadcast alerts (such as a reschedule). The Live public video video will show a countdown clock until your show is on. This will be on the page you end up promoting during the week.

Setting up to Wirecast

I’ll be brief since I explain it in the video. When you set your Broadcast settings, you now have a YouTube option. Choose a YouTube stream option that works best. If you want ad insertions, choose the ad box. You can also choose the backup server, but only if there are problems.

Authenticate with Google and you will get your events in a drop-down to choose from.

Once the setting are configured and you are ready to stream, hit the broadcast button (satellite icon on top). That will send the feed to YouTube, but doesn’t start the recording. You will still have to go back into the web page and choose “Enable Preview”, then “Start Recording”.

*Note – this process can take a few minutes. If you are setting for a 9 AM start, you might want to get the preview set and record ready a few minutes before.

Congrats! You Have Streamed on YouTube!

When its all said and done, you will have successfully streamed on YouTube. It will take a few minutes for the video to show up in your video manager, which you can add or edit items. You will also be able to see the analytics of the live stream as well as the downloads.

As YouTube continues to grow this area, you might see more editing and other options. Maybe even a web interface to control camera angles. For now, happy streaming! Let me know where your events will be!

YouTube Live Events: How to Set Up your Channel for Live Streaming

YouTube Live Events: How to Set Up your Channel for Live Streaming

Corporation for Public Podcasting - The Company Invests in the Podcast

Corporation for Public Podcasting Pt 2: A Good Company Invests in their Podcast

In CPP Part 1, I talked about getting the podcast started. I discussed getting a position description and setting rules and expectations to the show. The guidelines are one of the most important parts of putting the podcast together. So now we move onto the 2nd important part – getting your company invested in the podcast itself.

Have the Job Invest in the Podcast

Have the Job Invest in the Podcast

Make the Job Invest in this Podcast

Last week I heard of a person who is making a podcast for their job. They are packing up their own equipment, then setting up shop at the job to podcast. Once done, they pack their stuff up and head home.

When the company doesn’t have any money in the podcast, they treat it as such. Its as important to them as the tchotchke you might have sitting on your desk. If your company puts no money into a project, the expectation is not great.

Create a Budget

Create a Budget

Create a Yearly Budget

It might sound intimidating but if you set a budget for gear, space and the show, your job will take the podcast more serious. Even if you ask for a few hundred dollars for equipment to buy a microphone, iPad and app to podcast with, it’s the companies’ money and therefore the company will want to keep an eye on their investment.

Think of creating a “Setup budget” for year 1 and a yearly budget thereafter. Assume your equipment will last you 2-3 years without need for upgrade (unless you move from audio to video). Case in point – a Blue Yeti USB Microphone is only $99.99 at the time of this post. The Blue Yeti USB /XLR Pro is $249.00 (because you can connect to a mixer or use the USB functionality). This microphone is a top seller because it works well and doesn’t break the bank.

In addition, if your podcast is to be sent out to the general public, then make sure you have budget for advertising – like a Google ad or Facebook sponsor ad. You can do a lot with a $200 ad buy budget to promote a show.

Website Hosting, Podcast Getting its Own Domain Name

If your podcast is for the world to hear, then make sure it’s accessible to the world. A lot of companies can spare disk space on a server so you can store the podcasts and make the RSS feeds for iTunes. However, add to your budget a yearly fee for a podcast statistic program and even a Domain name for your show. Even if its www.[YourCompany Name]Podcast.com. 

That can increase SEO on your companies website. Make sure you can show that in the yearly reports.

Get Space for Your Podcast

Get Space for Your Podcast

Get a Physical Space for Your Podcast

Don’t expect getting an office to turn into a studio. You might just get an empty cubicle to do the show in. The more important part is making your company carve out a spot for podcasting.

This is another way to vest interest in this podcast. It also gives the boss a visual so it keeps in their mind. If the mixer, microphone and computer are out in a cubicle and the boss sees you podcasting from it, they might not question its validity – especially when you are not around to defend it.

Get Podcast Logos Made

Every small business I worked at had at least one person who was the graphic designer. Have them design the iTunes art – even if your show is not going to be in iTunes. Have the web master put the image on the corporate Internet / Intranet with links to the media. Print out a banner that might hang in the cubicle, in the break room or wherever you need to remind employees there is a podcast. The more people see it, the better.

 

Make and giveaway some swag

Make and giveaway some swag

Maybe Some Giveaway SWAG….

Even if this is an internal podcast, everyone likes to get something for free. If the company makes swag for tradeshows or giveaways, approach the person in charge and ask to get some of those items – especially coffee cups and T-shirts.

Ask and budget for a few items with the podcast logo printed up. Then during your show, ask a question – win a cup. Draw a name from everyone who responds and get a T-shirt. If the winners are internal, you can walk the swag to their desks, or have them come on the show for a 2 minute Q&A.

Summary: The Company Invests in the Podcast

Keeping the crowd interactive – no matter who the crowd is –  will show. Result: a good boss will see the value of  the podcast. The equipment will always be at the job and not interfere with your regular duties because it will have its own space. Even if you are a small office, this line of communication can be ten times more powerful than any newsletter or memo. So don’t be shy in asking for a few dollars to make this podcast happen.

Corporation for Public Podcasting - The Company Invests in the Podcast

Corporation for Public Podcasting – The Company Invests in the Podcast

CPC-1-Getting-the-Podcast-Started-HTRP

Corporation for Public Podcasting Pt 1. – Getting the Podcast Started

So your boss walks up to you and says he wants the company to start a podcast. He knows you are a podcaster so he wants you to do it. Great! Mixing work with pleasure can be exciting, but it can also burn you out from the thing you love. So where do you start? What is the best direction to go?

Multi-Part Series on Podcasting in Corporate Settings

I have decided to put together a few posts on the issue. This series – called “Corporation for Public Podcasting” – will be a guideline to help you podcast for your job without the job taking over your podcast. This first part is to go over the best way to get the podcast for your job started.

Corporate Podcasting

Corporate Podcasting

Rule #1 in Corporate Podcasting: The Regular Podcast Rules May Not Apply

Think about it. You are now getting paid to podcast. If the boss wants an hour long show, he gets it. If they want you to pimp out their product 8 times in the show, you do it. You can suggest things, but in the end you make the show to what they look for.

I really hope the boss doesn’t ask those things. Even in corporate podcasting, it can become an issue.

Ok. Now let’s get started in…

Getting the Corporate Podcast Ready

Is this Podcast for the Employees or the customers?

This is the biggest question you have to ask yourself and the boss. Is this information that only employees will listen to or will it actually be consumed by gen-pop? Its a different game if you are relaying deals to salespeople or influencing the regional office to get their numbers up than to invite the public to learn more about your company.

I did an internal “broadcast” for about a year (this was before the term podcast was around). It had HR information, sales information, a couple facts about the company and more. I enjoyed doing it – but the world wasn’t ready for this medium and were confused how to listen to it.

Plan Your Podcast

Plan Your Podcast – Get a Position Description Made

Get A Position Description Made

There is a good reason why you want to write up a position description. So HR knows what the heck you are doing. If someone comes up and asks “What is this person doing?” they can pull out the description and spell it out. Its also something you can put on your resume.

You could find it breaking out of your normal duties and the boss may just review your position description and re-align your duties. A good description that you can follow could just get you a raise.

You as the podcaster should write up the position description and they should edit. If you leave it up to your boss, you might not have a good description of the job. It’s really not that difficult, but it will depend on what you will be doing with the podcast. For example, the first line should state

1. Create an (audio | video) podcast once (a week | every other week) for the (employees | public) to download and listen to.  - 8 hours total

1a. Podcast to be recorded on (day of week) for publish on (day of week). - 2 hours 

1b. Podcast will be published and distributed via (method of delivery) - 2 hours

1c. Possible interview of guests - 1-2 hours

1d. Editing and mixing - 2 hours

With this outline, you have put expectation forward. Of course, this will change for how you podcast, audio or video, The length of a podcast and much more.

Rules

Rules

Set Rules of Expectation for the Podcast

One thing people don’t realize is any show needs time to grow. If you are expecting this to be consumed by the office within 2-3 weeks regularly, then you might be in for a rude awakening (unless the boss makes it mandatory).

For that, you want to set a line of expectation for you, your boss, HR and anyone else that needs to be involved. Think of it like a contract that says you get 6 months or a year to make this podcast happen (where people are listening regularly). Just like with any podcast, give people a place (such as an email address) to make suggestions or comments. Set reviews every 6-8 weeks with your boss to review the suggestions and make changes.

Don’t Let the Corporate Podcast Ruin Your Love for Podcasting

Bottom line is: don’t get burnt out where you don’t want to podcast at all. If you cannot come up with content for an hour long podcast, let the boss know and get it shortened. Walk up to employees and ask for their input or even be on the show (if possible). If you podcast by yourself in the basement of the building where no one else sees you, then you might get people that say “You do a podcast for this place?”

This should be an easier podcast to do. Heck, you might even find people that have a love for podcasting and want to help out on your own shows. Build it slow and steady and you can be a successful corporate podcaster.

Questions on Corporate podcasting? We’ll get into more as time goes by. Feel free to ask questions – geekazine@gmail.com

CPC-1-Getting-the-Podcast-Started-HTRP