Episode 9 – Full transcript
If I am to have any hope of producing a hit podcast and getting people to listen to it then I am going to need to do some serious marketing and that includes learning how to do social media marketing.
I’ve been looking for some examples to learn from this week as the main show idea starts to come together.
Some “podcast” social media is great. Some of it is downright unengaging!
I’ve been making notes as usual and I wanted to share some of my observations and learnings while they are fresh in my mind.
So this week it’s all about “podcasting and social media”.
- Gimlet Academy podcast
- What makes social media “share worthy”? (article)
- Ira Glass tweet sitting in a cupboard (home made sound studios)
It’s episode nine of my quest to make a hit podcast and this week it’s a bit of a “roundup week” of other observations I’ve been making, which I couldn’t fit into earlier episodes so I will get back to the main process next week, but I think you’re still gonna find some of this useful.
For example, why getting a blanket off your bed and putting it over your head could transform your podcast sound and what I’m finding actually works on social media and what doesn’t to get engagement.
hello and welcome to can I make a hit podcast.com.
Last year I almost quit podcasting for good after several failed attempts, but I decided to give it one more go and I want to answer the question once and for all, “Can someone with a full time job still produce a podcast from their home computer, which becomes a hit and rivals the quality of the big production companies”.
I’m documenting that journey as I go along and sharing what I learn with you. Live updates most days with one to two observations tips on learning and the story of the whole process on social media at @hitpodcast2020, that’s @hitpodcast2020 on Twitter and Facebook, and Instagram.
This week I want to tick off a few things, which I have been noticing associated with podcasting but I had another chance to fit in.
So let me set the scene first of all though, if you are a newcomer to this podcast.
What I’m trying to do is to make a hit podcast and I’m following along with the Gimlet Academy podcast, which is a podcast series that they put out from Spotify from one of the big podcasts makers.
These are the people that have come from that whole NPR, Serial, This American Life background. If you’ve heard previous episodes, you’ve heard me say this a million times before.
But that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to follow their process to see if it actually works.
So what I did, first of all, was to come up with a concept for the podcast that I want to make, and the basic idea is “how do people stay young and refuse to get old when most of the society kind of expects you to get old and slow and boring as you get old”. “How do you make sure that you stay young for all your days?”
That’s the concept, so then I started turning that into a story outline, which I was talking about previously and the next thing I need to do is to start thinking about how I’m going to get the guests to bring that story to life.
Now, certainly I am passionate about this idea because as I add a few more years to my belt, it’s something that I want to hear, how other people avoid that. but I think this one makes sense because it is something I care about and it is something that I think can reasonably and emphasize reasonably be easily be produced in this sort of NPR style from home.
So I’ve got the concept. I’ve got the storyline. If you’ve missed any of that so far, have a listen back to the previous episodes. The next step is to find the guests who are going to fill in that structure with the color and the detail that Gimlet say you have to have.
But as I say, I want to get across a couple of other observations I’ve been making over the past few weeks, which I think you will find useful and they center around social media cause I’ve obviously been trying to build up the social media around this feed. “Can I Make a Hit podcast” to try and get more people to be aware of it.
And I’ve been trying a few different techniques to see what actually works compared to what you think works.
One of the first ones was to experiment with motivational statements.
Let me read it to you…
” Producing a podcast that rivals major production companies is not going to be easy, but I think it is possible providing we keep saying, yes, it’s hard, but how can we do it anyway?”
So a motivational comment. There are lots of these out there and perhaps not surprisingly it got a bit of engagement, not a lot, but more than I would normally get on a simple ordinary tweet. Now you see these sorts of motivational quotes on Instagram all the time. They seem to be incredibly popular. You know, the very generic. They’re like “be all you can be”, “just be yourself and you will win” and they get lots of likes because who’s going to argue with something that makes people feel better, but to me, I just skim over them instantly, they don’t stand out or mean anything to me.
And I think the reason this one had a little bit more impact was the fact that it was geared up to podcasting.
You can’t miss the fact that this was about podcasting. It wasn’t just a generic “Be all you can be”. It actually referred to the difficulty of making a podcast and I think that really helped.
So it’s pretty obvious that motivational quotes clearly do work. They are quick to read and who’s going to disagree with a quote that encourages you to be happier or to achieve more in the particular nice that your podcast is all about. So I’m definitely gonna do more motivational quotes , quotes that I’m actually using my own head to motivate me through this process or that I’ve said in the podcast.
Now, have you seen on Twitter in particular people asking for podcast recommendations?
Yeah, it’s pretty common isn’t it?
They seem to come out all the time and they get loads of responses. Lots of people or perhaps bots put out the question. “Anyone got any podcasts recommendations?
And the tweets get shared widely and they get lots of responses. Podcasters just like me, and I’m sure you anxiously wanting to share our episodes so that people have a look and try and get more people to listen and enjoying our content.
But you see so much of this, I couldn’t help but think, but that actually, this isn’t about asking for recommendations at all, but about getting exposure for that particular account.
So I tried an experiment. I put out a tweet with the hashtag #podcastrecommendations and sure enough it reached probably three times as many people as normal within a couple of minutes. It just went boom.
So clearly there are people watching out for that keyword and it is clearly a way of generating attention to your account.
But there was another twist with the way I actually put this out. I didn’t just ask for podcast recommendations. Instead, I shared an observation about them, and I think a lot of podcasters are doing this wrong.
This is what I said in my graphic.
” it’s a shame. I was looking for new podcasts to try, but most social media just says my new episode is out. I want someone to tell me WHY their episode is great or why I should listen. It’s a shame because I know there’s a lot of great content out there.”
Now I was genuinely looking for podcasts to listen to
Now this then really got me thinking about what actually works on social media, what grabs my attention ? So what I did one night this week was I sat down with my phone and I started going through my social media feed, and I actually recorded myself so here’s some observations first.
got a little video of some people talking into microphones. Don’t know what it’s about an entrepreneur mindset during covid-19.
It sounds like every other podcasts out there about entrepreneurs.
Got picture of someone on a bicycle, another picture of someone holding a microphone I’ve got a little video clip.
So there’s a couple of guys having a bit of fun talking about. Some equipment or something. someone sitting on a sofa. I’m so excited to announce a skin is in podcast. What does that mean?
156 likes, so clearly they’ve got a lot of followers. But I don’t know what that’s related to or why I should be listening.
here’s one that grabbed my attention. It said a true crime podcast. Men’s rain. I don’t know what mens REA means. So I’m clicking open on the message and it says, I love checking out new podcasts. Each have their own style and flair, but first what this means right mean, which was my first observation, men’s razor, legal principle of intent. That must be proved. It means literally guilty mind.
Got a graphic here saying turn on post notifications to never miss valuable content, but, I’ve absolutely no idea what the podcast is about someone smiling again.
Now here’s one that’s grabbing my attention. It says, going live in one minute stick around my guests died once. Now that in a short sentence has grabbed my attention.
Here’s another good one. Would you watch a 12 hour Harry Potter film? If every detail from the book was kept in you can’t help but read it and then find yourself wanting to answer. Yes or no. So a question is clearly a good way of engaging.
And here’s another question. Have you ever been drawn into a true crime case or conspiracy theory or event or topic? We all have haven’t we it says I have my theories. Do you have yours too, so it starts to get you engaged with it with questions .
Good. I like that.
So this is me back now with a normal episode. So what did I get from spending an hour going through my social media feeds?
One thing was ask questions and be relatable. Ask questions, which your target audience might have thought of before whether that was about the Harry Potter one or about the true crime one as well.
Say why people should listen to your podcast. Just saying I’ve got new episode out is completely meaningless unless you’ve got a big following and you don’t want any new audience .
clearly you do need something that you could glance at and fully understand in a couple of seconds.
If there is too much writing, which I probably do with mine, then it’s too much effort to read it. I saw one graphic in there which had different boxes all over the place. I didn’t know which one to look at first, and I found myself skimming over.
So there’s a few observations on social media. One thing I would say is what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you, but if we are a reflection of the audience that we’re trying to reach, then if it works us, theoretically, it should also work for the kind of people that we’re trying to reach as well.
There is another twist to this as well because you don’t want to just say listen to our episode as I say that’s meaningless, but also you don’t want to sound like you just blatantly plugging because that gets a bit boring, so I started looking around for podcasts who plugged their episodes, but “without” plugging their episodes.
So there was a great one I found from, I think it was from NPR and it had a quote that said something like “this has to be one of the most moving pieces of content this year”, and that was the entire quote, and then it had some audio which you had to click to listen to and it was this really powerful quote from this person had been through quite a serious situation.
They’d actually given a reason to get emotionally involved in it, and I thought that was brilliant. I want to look for more ways of doing that.
I did have a quick look as well for articles about the main characteristics of making content shareable, and I will share one of the articles in the show notes on this but I’ll give you the quick bullet points off it as well.
The main reason that people share content is because it allows them to share their own opinions, ideas and actions through someone else by proxy. So if you say something like this person is wrong and they agree with that, they’re more likely to share it because it helps to provide evidence to support their view to their friends.
It also acts as a sort of badge and statement to their friends that they come from this perspective on an issue. So it leads to social validation.
It’s going to have visual appeal. It’s gotta be easy to see, easy to digest for both them and for the people that they’re going to share it with as well.
It’s got to appeal to their particular interest. There is no point for example, giving a left-wing point of view and hoping that someone on the right politically is going to share it. So it’s gotta be targeted to that niche.
As much as possible. It should be practical. So it should have some kind of tip that someone could use people like to share things which have value.
Now that doesn’t actually have to appear in that content that you’re sharing, but it should contain the promise of a reward. So your content might say the secret to X is to do this, but you will need to click through to a link to get there, but the point is it promises that reward.
And that just about sums it up. Those are the key points and as I say, I will put a link to that in the show notes.
So a couple more things I just want to round up before we get back to the main process next week, and the first one is how to make your voice sound a little bit better.
When I was in radio, we used to use these beautiful soundproof rooms and you couldn’t hear a thing out of. And it helped to a add a real sort of clarity and depth to your voice, because there was no echo coming off it.
Well, if you’ve not heard of Ira Glass, he is one of the key figures in the NPR, national public radio movement that created these amazing shows and he put on his Twitter account a while back a picture of him sitting in his cupboard surrounded by clothes, and the reason was is because it creates a sort of soundproof booth.
Now, this week I shared on social media, a little video of me climbing inside a blanket, which I’m actually inside right now to try and reduce the echo on my podcast recordings too. And it is really cheap and simple way of actually doing this. And when I was in radio, when I was a reporter out in the streets, you used to put your coat over your head and your microphone underneath it to try and create a “studio on the move”. So it is a very cheap and very simple way of getting a sort of clearer, more defined, more bass’y, more in-depth sound without you having to buy an entire studio.
Two more things to cover before I round up today, and the first one is about Google Search Console. Now, when I set up my website for this particular show, I didn’t register for Google Search Console and I advise people to do this all the time in my day to day job. I finally got around to it the other day, put it in there, set it up, and the first thing I could see is that the number of impressions, so this is where search engines serve my website as a result of people searching for other things, has started to go up dramatically. And that means that a couple of people have also started clicking through as well.
But the great thing with Google search console is you can also see what it was that got people searching for you so that you can start targeting those phrases and targeting those areas.
So I started clicking through the different parts of the platform and I spotted that 50 people had seen a mention of my site because of one particular search phrase. So I clicked on it to find out what it was and the search term was “Gimlet Media” and the show “Heavyweight”. So again, I was kind of curious, well how had Google found that I’d said that had it listened to my show?
Google now, supposedly has started to index podcasts by auto transcribing them. Now, I don’t know whether it’s done now, but I searched my site specifically in Google, which you can do by putting in the word “site:” and then your site, and it came up with the transcript page for that particular episode.
So if you have any doubts why transcripts are worth it because they can be painfully boring to make , but for the sake of SEO and being found on Google the figures speak for themselves. People found that episode because I had mentioned the Gimlet Media podcast “Heavyweight” and there are other search terms that are starting to appear as well.
I have to say my dislike of transcribing things suddenly started to change and that software I’ve been using. Descript does a really good job actually of automatically transcribing the podcast as well. You’ve got to clean up quite a bit, but a lot of it’s already done.
So that’s it for this week the next step is going to be very much to identify where to get the guests from for, the main podcast here, but one of the things they’re going to ask, as soon as I get in contact with them, is where, and how do we do it.
As I said before, unlike NPR. I don’t have time to go to Alabama on the off chance of finding someone, so all my interviews need to be done over the internet from home.
There are a lot of tools out there to do this and I’ve used Skype, I’ve used Zencaster and Zoom before with varying degrees of success.
So over the next week, I want to test some of these platforms and compare them. So when the guest says where and how? I can simply send them a link.
The week after that, finally, it’ll be time to start reaching out for some guests and I’m really looking forward to documenting that whole process of how to get them and how to persuade them to come on and give great stories.
Don’t forget to subscribe. Join me on social media. It is @hitpodcast2020, @hitpodcast2020. I’ve got updates on those social media accounts one time, two times a day with everything that I’m learning as I go along and the progress that I make, which I then round up in the podcast episode, so it’s @hitpodcast2020, @hitpodcast2020.
And I always love to finish off with this one statement. There is a lot of advice out there saying you can still make a hit podcast in the 2020s. If it’s right, then you and I could be making one by the end of this year. Speak next week.