25 Mar Crafting a Podcast
In today’s DIY world, people of all ages are crafting and making things. It has never been easier to access tutorials and learn how to do new things right from your home using Google and YouTube. These days recording quick audio or video files explaining how to do specific projects and techniques are a great way to engage with your customer and become a one stop source for crafting inspiration, know-how and materials. Previously, we published a post on How to Produce Marketing Quality Video Using your Smart Phone. That will help you with the basics of filming, but let’s delve into whether podcasting is right for your craft business.
Podcasting – What is it?
The definition of podcasting is the distribution of pre-recorded audio or video files through the internet. A podcast is generally a series of recordings based on a given topic that can be accessed or downloaded with a computer or music player. You can listen to the content either once or as many times as you would like. Podcasts allow people who access your material to subscribe to your stream of content and get notified when the next episode becomes available. Providing information on various issues in an electronic file enables users to listen on the go, anytime, anywhere.
Creating a Successful Podcast
If you think you’re interested in podcasting, let’s take a look at the elements that are necessary to creating successful podcasts. Creating excellent podcasts require some effort. Remember that if you choose to creating a podcast, you need to provide a consistent benefit to your target audience to keep them coming back for more.
Keeping that in mind, several aspects will go into every podcast. These include: planning, designing the show, gathering content, getting the equipment, actually creating compelling content, developing a media strategy to reach your target customer, and launching the podcast. It may also include traveling to shows or places where content is generated, and conducting interviews with experts or inspirational crafters in your industry. Each one of these aspects is dependent on the others to make your podcast successful.
Planning Your Podcast
When preparing for your podcast, there are many things that you need to consider. Some of these things include the number of episodes, the length of each podcast, the topic or topics to be discussed, researching the topics, production time (recording and editing), if you’ll be working with a guest in a given episode, and who will be hosting the podcast.
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is the topic or topics to be discussed. The topic will help determine the number of episodes that may be required to fully cover the topic and the length of time for each episode. For instance, if you are developing a podcast where you are teaching subscribers to knit, you can focus your episodes on materials required to knit, types of stitches and techniques used in knitting and reading and finding patterns to name a few.
Do you want to produce a podcast episode on a regular basis, or do you want to produce episodes as needed? If you have a general topic you want to cover, and there are lots of different subtopics, you could record episodes and air them regularly. On the other hand, if you want to focus on short tutorial videos, you might only add new content when you have new techniques or crafts you want to try. The important thing is to decide at the outside what a reasonable schedule looks like for you. Leave enough time between episodes that you have time to come up with compelling topics, engage with experts in the industry and research the topic, and plan out how you’ll address each topic. You’ll also need to make sure you have time set aside to both record your podcast, and do any editing you wish to between episodes.
You do not want to rush the production and miss important information that your users will need.
Being a Good Host
Now that you’ve decided you might want to try this podcasting thing, it’s time to decide who will be hosting your podcast. For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume you’re going to be the host, but everything we discuss is applicable no matter who your host will be.
Let’s talk about what will make you a great podcast host. First, you need to be a good listener. You’re inviting a guest to come and share their knowledge with you and your audience so you need to listen to what they are saying. If you are only partially listening, your guest may not want to return for other podcasts. Second, make sure you’re prepared for the podcast. Know your guest and material being covered, and get your questions ready ahead of time. If you have a guest that is known for her knitting patterns, do not ask her about crocheting. Finally, make sure you’re polite and thank your guest for spending time with you and your subscribers and sharing their expertise.
After you have your topic(s) selected and your host secured, then you can decide if you want to include guests on your podcast. If you do, focus on engaging guests who can provide expertise on whatever topic you’re exploring, and deliver that information in a clear and compelling way. Your guest lineup should include people who are experts or inspirational crafters that your industry follows.
The guest should be able to break down whatever they are discussing, be it technique or pattern, into easy to understand directions for successfully navigating the issue. Your host should ask your guest questions from your target audience’s perspective. You can solicit these questions from your subscribers or you can try and brainstorm the most frequently asked questions and provide answers for them during the podcast.
Designing Your Show
The podcast should have a natural flow. You need to start by introducing yourself as the host, the topic you’ll cover and the guest speaker you’ve invited to the episode, if applicable. If you’re producing a tutorial, the introduction should contain all the information a subscriber needs to participate in the tutorial successfully (materials needed, techniques used, etc.). If you’re speaking more generally about a topic, it’s useful to keep a running document of items you discuss with weblinks to further resources. You can produce these “show notes” so that your subscribers can learn more after the podcast airs.
If you’ve got a guest speaker, you should then give some background on the guest speaker, introducing the speaker to the subscribers. You or the guest speaker should then dive into the content of the episode. It will be useful to both you and your guest to create an outline of what content you’ll be covering prior to your recording session. Make sure you have defined what points you want to be sure to hit, and any schedule that you want to adhere to.
Make sure you leave enough time at the end for questions, and consider preparing your questions beforehand so you and your guest are answering the right questions. Don’t head into an interview or a podcast unprepared, because you won’t end up with a show you’re happy putting out.
The equipment that is necessary to create the podcast depends on whether it will be an audio or video show. You’ll need an audio recording device and microphones in either case, and a video camera if you’ll be shooting video. If you need to edit the recording, you will need a computer and editing software. You may also require conversion software to create the right file format for the platform the podcast will be running on. As with anything there are some free programs you can use to accomplish these tasks (Skype, YouTube, etc.) or you can invest in professional software (iMovie, Final Cut Pro, etc.)
Social Media Strategy
During the planning stages of the podcast, you should have done an avatar exercise to determine who your target audience is. Now you’ll need to identify the social media strategy that is best going to reach that audience. Figure out which target group you’re trying to capture and which medium they use the most. Are your subscribers active on Facebook, or are they all on Instagram or Twitter? Are they YouTube watchers or do they get most of their content from iTunes?
As you craft your messages, make sure you’re consistently building buzz around your podcast. Post about upcoming episodes, either boosting posts with paid advertising or just using your own social media channels. Remember that you want to tell subscribers what content you’ll be providing, what makes you different from other podcasters (what do you bring to the table that no one else does?) and where to find you. Don’t forget to include links and information so that they know where to go to subscribe!
Once you have created the buzz about the launch of the new podcast, make sure that everything is ready to go. If you say the podcast will happen at a particular time, make sure you have the file available at that time. There’s nothing worse than leaving your audience waiting! Launching the files a little earlier may help you to ensure that they are available on time.
To help offset some of the costs of creating a podcast, you may want to find sponsors. If you’re creating consistently good content and you’re attracting subscribers, companies in your industry will want to sponsor your podcast. Sponsors can benefit from the podcasts because they can reach their target market through you. Reach out to businesses that cater to your craft: craft stores, materials suppliers and manufacturers, etc. At the end of your podcast, always thank your sponsors and give the users information on where to purchase the sponsor’s products.
Deciding whether or not you want to podcast and creating the right podcast can be cumbersome on your own, but there are lots of resources available to you to help you make your decisions. Stitchcraft Marketing’s Episode 31 of the Business of Craft Podcast features guest Stephen Woessner who talks about his book, Profitable Podcasting, and covers everything from how to launch, to how to make money, to how to avoid rookie mistakes in podcasting. If you’re deciding if podcasting is right for you, or want help in reaching your target audience or launching your podcast, contact us today and we’ll help you get started!