Podcast Publishing Checklist | Process StreetPodcast Publishing Checklist – Process Street

Why Is Podcasting Important?:

The facts

According to research in 2014, there are over 150,000 podcasts in the world. Podcasting is a medium that grows around 30% year on year, with podcast directory Stitcher hosting 40,000+ podcasts alone. That seems like an awful lot, but the subject matter is extremely diverse and anyone with a specific enough niche has an equal chance to stand out.

Back in 2013, iTunes announced it had hit 1 billion podcast subscribers and way back in 2011, Libsyn hosted over 10,000 shows, with over 1.6 billion downloads from 18 million monthly audience members.

The growth seen by podcast hosting services since Apple popularized the podcast in 2005 is very significant for businesses.

By now you probably get the idea: podcasting is a very big deal, and if you're not tapping into it you're missing out on a big chunk of your potential audience. Let's get underway and take a closer look.

The podcast's purpose

The purpose of a podcast is mainly to generate interest in your website. Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome cites podcasting as the #1 way people find his website. 

Companies and individuals have been podcasting for over 10 years. Going by internet-time and how quickly media can become obsolete, this is a digital lifetime. 

The sheer amount of different podcasts means you really have to pick a niche to fill. Don't be scared about being too specific. The podcasts with the most attention in the world of video games, for example, are not about all PC games ever but about just one, and maybe just the competitive professional side of that one game.

This post has ten tips for podcasters who are serious about making quality content for their audience.

Reinforcing your brand

The more consistent information and marketing material about your business is out there for people to see, the more solid your brand will be. This includes your website, your email campaigns, your advertisements, your logo, your slogan and now, your podcast. 

The more exposure your target audience has to your brand, the more successful you're going to be, so don't overlook the importance of adding an extra layer of branding to the mix in the form of a podcast. A podcast is your chance to tell people what you're all about and connect with them on a personal level, building trust, giving information, maybe making them laugh. 

Having something to listen to on a regular basis creates loyalty, where the customer will keep coming back and listening intently to what you have to say. If you're starting out with just a podcast then you can leverage your initial audience to create something bigger in the future.

Gaming podcast The Angry Chicken gets all of its funding via Patreon, a site that allows listeners to pledge money monthly, creating a monthly wage for the podcasters. When the milestone of $5,000 per month is met, the podcast promises to branch out and run its own events; when $20,000 is met, the podcasters will be able to quit their jobs and work full time podcasting, meaning daily content for the fans. 

Spread your message through all media types

Just the same as it's important to post your tweets to Facebook, it's important to have a podcast. Covering all the different ways people consume media can really help boost your appeal. People can't read blogs while they drive to work, but they can have your podcast on. Similarly, if a fan of yours is doing something visual like playing a video game, they can also listen to your podcast simultaneously - audio is a very diverse and accessible form.

Research:

Preparing talking points and notes for your podcast should be just as simple as reading about things you love.

Read the blogs

What's new in your world? Keep up to date with what's going on and you're sure to be able to create interesting and fresh content for your listeners.

I love marketing blogs, take a look at the inbound.org top 50 marketing blogs and you will find many of my favourites. 

Listen to similar podcasts

You can find similar podcasts to yours by searching by genre through iTunes or the categories on Stitcher. This can really help for some inspiration; think about how your favorite podcasts are structured, the tone and the style of content delivery are probably part of the reason you like the podcast in the first place. What's good about it?

Read the news

Being knowledgeable about current affairs, whether they're directly related to your topic or not, is incredibly useful for podcasters. You'll be chatting with your guests and you'll never be sure what's going to come up. Be prepared. 

Use Google Alerts to Stay Up to Date

Google Alerts makes it easier for you to keep yourself updated on companies, specific people, jobs and much more. With this site you can choose what topic you would like to receive notifications about, and Google Alerts will automatically filter all that information and send you a concise email that includes any new content about your chosen topics. This includes articles, blogs, news and any other kinds of updates.

This is mostly helpful for those who may not have the time to constantly follow their favorite news topics, companies, or icons. With Google Alerts, you can weekly, daily or continuously receive updates on the topic of your choice. 

Create Alerts

Follow the sub-checklist below to help you navigate through Google Alerts.

  • 1
    Go to www.google.com/alerts. 
  • 2
    The site will give you some suggestions of content you can follow. If those aren’t what you’re looking for you can create your own.
  • 3
    Enter a topic, term or phrase into the box that says Create an alert about.
  • 4
    For this example I will be using Android. 
  • 5
    You have lots of options as to how you would like to filter your content such as choosing how often you would like to receive your email notifications. 
  • 6
    You can also select what type of sources you are looking for such as blogs, news, web, finance, etc. 
  • 7
    Select Create alert once you are finished.

Research your guests

If you have guests on the show, make sure you're ready to talk to them about themselves by preparing some notes and reading deeply into their work. Start by filling in the form fields below.

That way, the conversation will flow easily and you'll have a lot more to talk about once you start.

Charlie's Secret

Use Charlie to learn more about your guests - https://charlieapp.com

Take your time to get it right

You should also take your time in getting the show right. Why do professional podcasters only release 1-3 episodes a week?

It's because they need time to validate their facts and write an episode worth listening to. While some podcasters get a huge amount of listeners just rambling on their way to work, your target audience probably listens to you for information on a particular niche, not just thoughts off the top of your head.

Don't disappoint them; learn and share your knowledge with others.

Prepare your notes

Now you need to prepare some notes for the show. Upload a copy of the notes using the form field below.

These are your personal notes for the show, not the show notes you will release as a text supplement to your recording. They can be as rough as you like!

As long as you (and your guests, if you have any) can understand what they mean, it shouldn't matter too much about the content - just make sure they're written in a way that will make the show flow nicely between topics, from the start to the finish.

Here is an example outline from How to Podcast, who also have a useful article regarding notes:

Divide your notes into sections

Once you have the notes saved and prepared, you need to divide them up into sections. Think about how long you want to spend on the intro, the outro and the topics in between.

Write a script, if you have one

If you show will have a script, it's time to write just that! As with the show notes, upload a copy of the script using the form field below; that way all of your information is in one, easily-accessible place.

Script-writing is good practice for podcasting, and if you find yourself in need of a script it is probably because you just need more practice at on-the-fly conversation. A fantastic PDF guide can be found here, with one of the most interesting tips being "write for the ear, not for the eye".

This means trying to focus on sentences that are easily understood after just one repetition and not complicating things without quite a bit of clarification afterwards.

Finalize the show notes

Show notes are an important way of summarizing the takeaways for listeners as well as providing SEO content for search engines. They also help you out when recording, but you could use separate personal notes for this purpose.

Setting up:

Move your phone away from the technology

The last thing you want in the middle of a perfect take is the sound of phone interference in your headphones being picked up by the microphone. To be safe, put your phone in another room.

Put your phone on silent

Even if your phone is in another room, another disaster while you're on a roll would be a blaring ringtone interrupting the take. Triple check that your phone is on silent to avoid disappointment!

Make sure you know your talking points

To save time editing, it's best if you can record smoothly in as few takes as possible. You can use Process Street to note down a checklist of things to talk about, or simply edit and expand the sub-checklist below to suit your needs!

  • 1
    Upcoming tech products
  • 2
    Recent blog articles
  • 3
    Electricity's weird, isn't it?

Check the acoustics

Make sure you're positioned in a neutral space and that your mic isn't pointed towards any sources of background noise.

If you can, turn off anything that's humming or making noises you don't want in the podcast. This wikihow guide gives you an in-depth look at how to acoustically treat your recording space if you're really serious about getting a great sound. 

Check the microphones

Make sure you're not taking input from your internal microphone by checking all the connections. Fill in the form fields below to record the details of the mic you're using for later reference.

If you're using a USB microphone, the process is simple. Check the mic is feeding a signal into your software and you're good to go.

If you're using a traditional XLR / audio interface setup, you will have far more to check before you can get to work. Check the interface is powered on and it has an input and output. Check phantom power is on if you need it.

The importance of using an external, good quality mic cannot be overstated! Check out this video comparing different types of mics that are geared towards podcasting.

Check the software

Although this step is primarily about checking the software you're using, be sure to record what that software is in the form field below.

Whatever kind of software you're using, you need to make sure it's set up for podcasting before you start up. A little bit of mindfulness in this area can save you an awful lot of trouble later. 

For a simple, free piece of open source audio editing software you should check out Audacity. For details on how to use Audacity to edit a podcast, check out this great tutorial video.

Check the levels in your headphones

There's no point in recording anything if the levels in your headphones are not set up correctly, so you now need to check them.

Make sure you can hear yourself (and your guests) clearly. If you're picking up any unwanted sounds in your headphones, know that it will also be audible in the final cut.

If you're using Skype, call the Sound Test Service first

This is a pretty self-explanatory step; if using Skype, make sure that you call the Sound Test Service first.

The in-built sound checker on Skype is a valuable tool for seeing if you're going to run into any problems when you interview a guest for your show. It tests input and output of sound as well as video, showing you where exactly the problem is if you have one.

Do a test run

Save you (and your guests) time and sanity by doing a small test run before the main recording.

Record a small segment where you and your guests speak. Play it back and see if it sounds right. If not, repeat the above steps until you find the issue.

Keep water nearby for you and your guests

The power of a little water is often vastly underestimated - ensure that you have some handy!

Room-temperature, or better yet, warm water is best for your vocal cords. Cold water tightens them and can make it harder to speak fluently and clearly. Unfortunately for most, it's also recommended not to drink coffee on the day of recording - this may mean recording later on in the day when you've woken up a bit!

Recording:

Now you're set up, let's take a look at the steps you need to take to ensure a great sound recording.

Secure the pop filter

Pop filters are a must-have for any podcaster (or, really, anyone looking to record clear audio). Make sure that yours (and your guest's) is secured and set up.

If you're not using a pop filter, this video stresses just how important they are, as well as showing you how to secure it properly, where to place it and how it works.

Record a little background noise

Taking a quick profile of the background noise in the room (if there is any) means you can remove it later using the noise removal plugin on tools like Audacity. 

This video shows you, quickly and easily, how to remove noise with the free software, Audacity.

Check your compression

Compression is the limitation of dynamic range and also needs checking. Simply put, it makes sure there are no parts of the recording that are really loud or really quiet, making the whole thing audible at a comfortable volume on headphones or speakers.

Any good audio editing software, including Audacity and Propaganda, will have a compression unit. Play around with the settings until it sounds natural yet controlled.This Q&A, answered by a professional sound engineer, will give you some insight as to the exact settings you want on your compressor. 

Check the headroom

Next up in our recording checks is the headroom! No, we don't mean how much space you have to stretch.

Giving a recording headroom is the practice of recording at a lower level than intended playback volume. Keeping all recordings at a safe -8db on the input channel should be a foolproof way of ending up with an undistorted podcast.

Combining headroom and compression should result in a consistent recording that comes across loud and clear.

Check the EQ

Equalization is another aspect which you need to check.

Equalization is the process of adjusting the volume of certain frequencies in the mix. If you have a rather bassy voice you might consider taking out some low frequencies (80-200hz) so the recording doesn't sound muddy.

If you find that your 's' sounds are too pronounced, see if you can EQ them out on the higher end of the spectrum. The guideline is between 2-10kHz, but this obviously differs according to individual.

For an in-depth breakdown of common audio recording problems, see this fantastic guide.

Back up your audio files

After the recording process is done, it's good practice to save everything to Google Drive or Dropbox so you have access to it on any computer you use, or to make a copy of the files on an external hard drive/USB stick.

Ideally, upload the main recording to the form field below, along with a link to the Google Drive or Dropbox folder.

Editing Audio:

The process of editing usually takes about as long as the recording process. Streamline your workflow with these easy steps.

Stitch the takes together

You're not going to get it right every time, but you're probably going to have enough material at the end of the session to stitch together one perfect finished product. Hence, it is now time to put together your perfect episodes from the various takes you've recorded.

Audacity makes this incredibly easy, as shown in this video tutorial.

Remove the awkward silences

To make your episode sound as free-flowing and natural as possible, cut out any long pauses in conversation. However, be wary of cutting it too close; you want to still sound like real human beings.

Add your intro and outro

To make things uniform and professional it is a good idea to set up a template for your intro and outro. An Audacity project with the faded in sections of audio at the start and end is very useful for this; all you have to do after you've finished recording is put the spoken segment in between.

If you're looking for some 'podsafe' music (e.g music with a creative commons distribution license that is free to use on your shows), you should check out this website. There are plenty of different places to find podsafe music, so explore these sites to find what's right for you.

Normalize

Normalization is the process of increasing the volume of the whole finished recording to the point where it is as loud as it can be without being distorted. Audacity has this utility built into it's 'Amplify' effect. Clicking 'Amplify' then just pressing enter is the quickest and easiest way to do this.

Export as .wav

A .wav is a sound file that will play on Windows, Mac and Linux, and it's also what you need to export your episodes as. It's the first generation of any recording and the purest, highest quality version.

Naturally, a high-quality file means a large size, so a .mp3 is the favored method of distributing podcasts and music alike. Weigh in on the differences between .wav and .mp3 with this Stack Exchange Q&A.

Convert to .mp3

As you probably know, .mp3 files are the way of distributing audio. While not flawless, the quality is good enough for human ears and many claim the differences between .wav and 320kbs .mp3 files is indistinguishable. You're going to need to have a .mp3 of your podcast to upload it to distribution sites like iTunes and Stitcher.

To convert from .wav to .mp3 using Audacity, download LAME here and then watch the video below to see how.

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Publishing your Podcast to the Web:

You've recorded your podcast, now you need to make sure the world hears it.

Host your podcast

Arrange for your podcast to be hosted online. If you already have an arrangement with a host, you should be all good, but if not you might want to check out PodOmatic, Libsyn, Archive, Soundcloud or Buzzsprout.

The host is where your raw .mp3 file will stay, ready to be listed in directories like iTunes or Stitcher.

Here are some great resources for hosting:

In addition to hosting, Blubrry also offers analytics, reporting and podcast advertising services from $8 /month.

Submit your podcast to directories

Now that it's hosted, you need to submit your podcast to various directories.

Directories are places your podcasts will actually be seen. Unlike hosting services, which basically provide you with a link to the raw mp3, directories are what get you noticed and talked about. If we're being honest, anything apart from iTunes and Stitcher are pretty much irrelevant. If you're only on these two sites, don't stress about losing exposure.

Sites like iTunes, Stitcher and PodOmatic are all popular choices.

Podcast distribution services like Stitcher require you to submit an RSS URL. If you have no experience with this, don't let it worry you. Google runs a free service called FeedBurner that will do the trick at the click of a mouse. Read this guide from Feedity for more information.

Feedity is a great RSS solution for podcasters because it can also link to Soundcloud directly.

iTunes requires a slightly different process and asks you provide an iTunes specific tag in your RSS feed. It's not a huge job, but the guide on how to do it is here.

Submit to YouTube

Whether your podcast has video elements or not, it's no secret that YouTube is the world's biggest resource for streaming content. It makes no sense to ignore it, and so you now need to submit your podcast to Youtube.

Audio podcasts with a logo as the video are more than acceptable and being on YouTube is sure to get you some extra attention.

Promote your podcast

Check out our Advanced Content Promotion Checklist

==> Click here to access

Track your statistics

The site wp-curve has a great rundown of services you can use to track listening and download stats, but by far the most popular tool is Blubrry, available in free or premium packages

Blubrry shows you the most popular source of listeners in an easy-to-read way.

Tracking will help you see who needs more targeting, what's working and what isn't. Statistics include:

  • Realistic download totals
  • Distribution between podcatchers, phones, TV devices and Web browsers
  • Clients and applications (iTunes, Zune Marketplace, Firefox, etc.)
  • Platforms and operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.)
  • Country demographics (U.S., Canada, etc.)
  • Traffic sources (website origin of downloads from Web browsers)
  • And more

Source

Increasing your listenership:

Take steps towards expanding your empire.

Get the metadata right

Audio metadata, also known as ID3 tags, is vital for showing both the internet and real people what your mp3 file contains. It is broken down into these main sections:

ID3 tags are designed for music, so you have to know how to read and interpret the headings when tagging a podcast.

  • Track: this is your episode number. 
  • Title: the episode number and title of the episode.
  • Artist: the name(s) of the host(s) or network. 
  • Album: the title of your whole podcast
  • Year: the year you released this episode.
  • Genre: set this to "Podcast.”
  • Comment: This could be a summary of the content or your blog.
  • Copyright: your copyright information. “© 2015 Process Street, for example. The symbol always comes first.
  • URL: your website or a link to the transcript / notes
  • Cover / picture / album art: stand out with quality cover art (300x300px) and link it in this tag.

Share on social media

This is pretty self-explanatory; you need to remember to share the podcast on your various social media accounts.

Post to social bookmarking sites

Now you need to submit your content to social bookmarking sites. BE WARNED! This requires some preparation and thought; spamming a link will likely get you banned.

Ideally, you should become an active member of your target bookmarking site (eg, a subreddit) long before you submit any of your content. Read the rules, get familiar with the community (or at least the layout of posts that do well) and use this knowledge to your advantage when posting your own.

Email your guest and other people mentioned

You also need to email your guests and any people mentioned in every episode once it goes live. See below for a sample email!

Schedule your next recording session now

Once the ball is rolling, don't let it stop! Schedule your next recording session immediately and give a concrete date to both yourself and your audience for the next episode.

According to Jordan Harbinger of The Art of Charm podcast, the way he doubled his listenership overnight was simple: release twice as much content and release it on the same day every week.

Giving your audience a concrete date to expect your episode is a powerful marketing tool and will create excitement for avid listeners. These avid listeners are likely to be tweeting about your show, and as we all know, social media buzz is a self-perpetuating system. For Harbinger, upping the schedule to three releases a week gave him six times as many listeners as before.

Work on your SEO

Even though you're working with audio content, you still need to consider and work on your SEO.

Despite the fact that search engines work on text, not audio, there are a few tricks you can use to get the right keywords in the right places. Choose episode titles that are descriptive,

Add show notes and a transcript - link them on your site alongside the podcast and get some valuable keywords indexed.

Every podcast episode should be accompanied with a blog post. This is another chance to be really sneaky with your keywording and get the edge over other podcasts. 

Ask for reviews

Make sure to ask your listeners to leave a review on iTunes if they liked the show. A little bit of public recognition goes a long way in a world where almost everything is unrated and undiscovered. 

Blog about it - before and after

Keeping your listeners informed about the podcast will do nothing but generate excitement for your upcoming show. When it's ready to hear, make sure you write a blog entry about it so you have:

  1. Something to tie the two together
  2. Content to post on social media
  3. More exposure for your blog and your brand

Other great resources

The Podcast Man has done a great video series showing you how to get started. 

This checklist is a very in-depth look at each and every step.

The life-long learner talks podcast marketing here.

The podcasting success story and founder of Smart Passive Income has also created a handy podcasting tutorial.

Sources:

Relevant Checklists: