Should Authors Start A Podcast?
Everybody's crazy these days about content that they consume on THEIR schedule. We no longer live in a world where you have to be in front of the TV on time or else risk missing your favorite show. Between Netflix and Hulu, Spotify and SoundCloud, BuzzSprout or PodBean there are TONS of ways that potential readers can pick up content that interests them in the format that interests them.
So where is your content?
Overwhelmed With Marketing
When you are an indie author and struggle to be seen among the noise, it can be quite overwhelming to consider all your choices when it comes to marketing.
Most hate the daunting task of marketing their work to the point where they'd rather just not even try getting their message out to readers!
But for those who look at SnapChat and YouTube with a cringe, there is another option: podcasting.
Should You Podcast?
Strictly audio, podcasts are basically a radio formatted program that helps one focus on the content of the message without being distracted by the video aspect. You don't have to do your hair or makeup, you don't have to clean the room behind you and you can do it in your jammies. It's hard to argue with an outlet like that!
For those who hate the sound of their voice, I hope you will consider the authenticity that a podcast can offer your overall brand. New fans want to feel a connection with you before they go ahead and make that all important purchase. Getting the chance to hear from you directly in a podcast format can help them across that bridge.
What Should You Say?
Content is always a stressful element of any and all promotion, no matter what format. But don't think you have to do hour long broadcasts daily in order to make an impact. Even 20 minutes once a week can be enough to give your listeners great content!
Tell us about your writing journey
Explain how you got the idea for your book
Talk about your genre and why you love it
Let us know what recreational reading you're doing
Get into your process and why it works for you
Share your favorite ways to get inspired to write
Provide beneficial content to uplift and encourage
Another thing to consider is taking time during a podcast to read to your audience. This can be your own content that's ready for purchase or the upcoming beta work. Regardless of how strange your voice might sound to you, nobody can put the right inflections into your own work better than YOU! It lets us in and gives us that 'inside look' that we crave.
On the other hand, that means there are things you shouldn't talk about. Be aware that rambling or venting aren't necessarily professional. Talking about things way outside your genre can also confuse listeners. And, although it's your podcast, don't simply make it one big infomercial blasting off about your book.
Don't ramble (Consider a script if it might help)
Don't vent about personal topics or loved ones
Stay within the scope of your genre
Try to stay away from religion and politics if not applicable
Don't make the podcast one huge commercial about you
How To Make Time To Podcast
So between the kids, the day job, the pets, volunteer work, laundry, gardening, parents, friends, co-workers and the latest on Netflix, you barely have time to write - let alone podcast!
It's easy to make excuses because our day is already filled to the brim with responsibilities. If you're anything like me, you might even put everyone else ahead of yourself to make sure your 'to-do' list stays under control.
But you CAN make time if you want to badly enough. And, for as much as you are correct in thinking that it will take an investment of time that will take away from overall writing time, by switching gears and podcasting, you can open up your creative energies to help make your writing time more productive.
Working the Day Job - commute time A hands free voice recorder on your phone might allow those endless highway miles to pass while you are creating content. Also consider a lunch in your car once a week, if possible.
Stay at Home 'Mompreneur' or 'Dadpreneur' - naptime or quiet time Naptime won't last forever, but usually by the time they grow out of naps, they transition into afternoon quiet time or start a full day school schedule. Spend a few afternoons writing up a script of sorts and record once a week.
Home Schooling Parent - homework time Think about assigning yourself homework once a week around a time when kids are either handling their own work or reading. Again, take a few days of this assigned time to craft what you want to say so that your recording day is most effective.
If you are already a busy podcaster, tell us how you make time in the comment section below!
Where To Upload
These days, there are as many places to upload a podcast as there are distractions keeping you from podcasting! Many are paid sites, but some are free. Depending on how you might need analytics, a paid account might be best as it can give you the feedback you need to check on your progress. For those just starting out, however, it might not be necessary to pay up front.
Hosting sites like Buzzsprout have a 90 day free option before you have to upgrade to a paid account. PodBean also has a temporary free option, but then you have to upgrade to a paid option to continue using their service.
Places like YouTube often have podcasters upload their episodes there with a simple stationary image to serve as the 'video' aspect of the upload. YouTube is free and might be an option to some who want to start sharing episodes on a trial basis.
For those using WordPress, hosting sites like Blubrry or Castos might be the best option as they work best with WordPress websites. Both require paid accounts after a free trial and some limit upload amounts, so take note of the space they provide first!
I'd like to mention MessyBun here as that is where my podcast is at. I am starting out with a free plan, which allows me to get to know the software and get into the swing of editing a podcast together without a paid account yet. The free option is always available and has no time constraint. The only thing not available to the free account is access to analytics. But it is an easy site to navigate and already has over 100 podcasters providing content, so there is no shortage of variety!
Once you have the podcast made and uploaded, it's a matter of sharing it in your social media platforms, linking it to your website and even sending out reminders and snippets in your newsletters to fans. Put links on your business cards so that you can give new people an easy way to find your podcast. Don't forget to consider sharing the podcast episode to iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play and other sites.
For a personal example, once my podcast is finished in MessyBun, I'm able to download the completed episode so that I can use it on my website as a .wav file. The account you create there also generates an RSS feed so that you can run the podcast on iTunes and other players.
Podcasting isn't for everyone. Neither is spinach. Could you learn to like it? Anything is possible. Is life too short to spend energy being overly anxious about how your voice might sound on a podcast episode? DEFINITELY! <haha>
What could it hurt? Take a week and brainstorm on topics you could share with readers. Take another week to flesh out your favorite idea. Find a quiet corner for 15 minutes, even if it's your car, and record your thoughts, scripted or off the cuff. Try a site to upload it and share it around. Your voice is authentically yours and can touch a reader like none other. We can read your blog and laugh at your Facebook posts, but to have you speak directly to us takes things to another level.
Consider my podcast, 'A Writer's Life - The Creative Insider Podcast' over at MessyBun. Let me know what you think. Share your own podcast in the comments below and tweet me at link to your latest episode over on Twitter at @aully1 - I would love to hear it!