In learning anything new, there is always a sharp learning curve, and you’re sure to make a few mistakes along the way, we all do. However, to save you some grief and embarrassment along the way, I’ve compiled a shortlist of some common mistakes and how to avoid them. So, read on and enter the podcasting arena a few steps ahead of the competition.
Number One – Reading from a script. While I strongly recommend writing out an outline of what you want to cover in your podcast, it isn’t necessary to read verbatim from a script. When most people try reading directly from a script, they wind up sounding like Ben Stein. “Bueller?” It isn’t entertaining, and you’ll lose your audience before you even have a chance to get started. So, unless you have a background in acting or extemporaneous reading, it’s probably a good idea to forgo the script.
An easy solution is to make a list of talking points, note cards, or even a more detailed outline of what you intend to say in your podcast.
So long as the format leaves room for improvisation, it will come across as more friendly and conversational. It may take a few tries to get used to “winging it,” but you’ll sound much better. It’s still advisable to rehearse and edit your podcast whenever possible, you not to the point where it seems too scripted or contrived.
Number Two – Sound. While not everyone can afford slick production values, it is essential to appear at least somewhat professional. This means investing in a good quality microphone, some headphones, and an editing program of some sort.
This doesn’t necessarily involve a substantial investment, however. The mic and headphones can be obtained for a reasonable amount, and you can download a free program like Audacity, which will allow you to edit your show. Audacity will let you lay down tracks of music, edit out coughs, “ums,” or even portions of the podcast that you aren’t happy with. It’s also worthwhile to do a soundcheck before spending 15 to 30 minutes recording a podcast that is unintelligible. Check that the mic volume is adjusted correctly and that there isn’t any background interference.
Number Three – Infrequent episodes. No one wants to subscribe to a show if it only airs sporadically. Why? Mainly because it’s hard to get into and maintain interest in a show if it isn’t on enough to keep you engaged in the content. At the very least, try to have shown broadcast every other week if not weekly. Indeed, some shows are only released monthly, but generally, the more frequent the show airs, the higher its ratings are.
Number Four – No call to action. A listener will rarely come to find your podcast in the context of your site. Most people will probably stumble across your podcast via podcast directory that’s why it’s essential to make sure you include a call to action at the end of your podcast. The fact is that if you don’t provide a clear way for people to interact with you, then they won’t.
Number Five – No album art. This only applies when submitting your podcasts to the various podcast directories. iTunes, for example, allows album art, and often people don’t even take a second look at the podcasts without it. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and you can also use your logo as the album art so long as it communicates something about the podcast.
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