National Podcast Day – A Personal Journey, Building Pre-Launch Buzz And More

Dr. Ellen Britt

National Podcast DayToday, September 30th, is the first ever annual National Podcast Day! (Queue dance music, party horns and toss confetti.)

Hey, any excuse for a party! But seriously, why should you, as a digital content provider and reader of The Future of Ink, care about podcasting, much less celebrate a whole day devoted to spreading the word about it?

First of all, just to eliminate any confusion, let’s be clear on what a podcast is and what it’s not. A podcast is NOT simply a recorded audio file that you put on your website. There is one crucial difference.

A podcast is a recorded audio file, in mp3 format, which has been uploaded to a media host (different from your WordPress blog host) and then that file’s special URL, called an RSS feed…and here’s the magic difference…

through that RSS feed, your audio files are then syndicated (distributed) via a third party, such as iTunes and other directories. It’s the distribution that makes the difference and what makes a podcast.

Your listener does not have to go every time to your website to get a new episode, but can simply subscribe to your show and when new episodes are uploaded, iTunes automatically pulls those episodes via the RSS feed into iTunes and makes them available automatically for people who have subscribed to them.

Now you are probably thinking, Hey, podcasting is old school. This is not news. These things have been around since 2005. Why all the fuss now?

I’d like to give you a behind the scenes peek at my own thinking about this and let you in on how I’m building pre-launch buzz. Toward the end of 2014, I started noticing more and more references to podcasting, so I did some investigation and found there are four primary reasons why podcasting is enjoying such a remarkable resurgence right now. Not to mention the tremendous online visibility you can gain from having a podcast.

The more research I did, the more I liked what I found, so I immediately went into pre-production mode on a show of my own.

This process involved many steps such as defining my niche and target audience, deciding on my show’s format, frequency of publication, show notes format, getting my podcast cover art done, recording equipment selection and purchase and hundreds of other details.

podcast_092514

Now there are a lot of people who will tell you that you don’t have to go to a lot of trouble to get a podcast up and running. Simply use an inexpensive headset microphone, plug that into your computer, download free editing and recording software such as Audacity, record your show, host your files on a third party platform such as Libsyn or Blubrry (yes, their name doesn’t have any vowels!) submit your RSS feed to iTunes and you’re in business.

And yes, there is nothing wrong with doing it that way. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. For me, as someone who has hundreds of interviews under her belt and who wants to project the most professional image possible, I chose to embark on a slightly more complicated journey.

Right now, the day before this post goes live on The Future of Ink, my Pink Coattails podcast feed has been submitted to iTunes and I’m anxiously awaiting Apple’s approval.  Update: Just checked my email for the thousandth time and our iTunes approval just came through! Pink Coattails is now available in iTunes. (For the first few days after you submit a podcast, iTunes is a little wonky, so right now the episodes aren’t showing up, but you can still subscribe, download and listen to our first four episodes.)

Now the real work begins. Because even though I’ve put in literally hundreds of hours of work researching and producing my show, I know from experience that podcasting will not be a magic bullet. Just like any other form of digital content, a successful podcast requires (in addition to good content!) constant promotion to get listeners and build a loyal, engaged audience.

Pre-Launch Buzzzzz

Denise Wakeman, who has her own audio podcast derived from her Adventures in Visibility Hangout, encouraged me to build some pre-launch buzz prior to the Pink Coattails podcast going live.

Here’s what I did, step-by-step:

You can follow along and click through to the pages at the provided links to see what I did.

Oveview – As I get closer to launch, I want to communicate every day on all of my major social media channels that the Pink Coattails podcast is coming.

I want to leverage the power of the names of the folks I am interviewing as this builds not only anticipation, but adds to my perceived expertise and influence. And I also want to promote my brand.

1) I created a graphic for each episode using the headshots of the women entrepreneurs I’m interviewing, plus a quote of theirs and in that graphic I’m also putting their pictures next to my Pink Coattails brand.

KimCastleQuote

That associates my brand and me with their name. I’m going to use those graphics on the show notes page on my blog when their episodes are published.

But I can use them now to generate pre-launch buzz.

2) I set up a page on my blog to capture the names and emails of folks who have raised their hands and want to be on the 1st to know list (no bribe) See the page here.

3) Then I take the photo ‘graphic’ and post it to my FB business page (posting as the page, not as my personal profile) and write something about it. For example, one morning, I posted a graphic with Kim Castle and said:

Our Pink Coattails Podcast is just around the corner, with fantastic women entrepreneurs like Kim Castle! Get on our ‘1st to Know’ list here ~> http://pinkcoattails.com/first/

4) Then I change to my ‘personal’ page and Like the post and share to my personal profile,  say a bit more about it and tag the speaker so they know I’m talking about them.

5) Then I go to Google Plus and do the same. See the post here.

6) Then it’s on to Pinterest where I’ve set up a board called the Pink Coattails Podcast  and I pin the graphics of my guests. I edit the pictures so that when someone clicks on it this takes them to my sign up for the podcast 1st to know list.

7) Then on my phone I go into my Google Plus app, look at my Photos from Posts, tap on the one of Kim Castle hit the little gear symbol in the right upper corner of the screen and the Download choice. This lets me save the graphic to my photo roll.

8) Now I can go to Instagram and post the same graphic there. But 1st I went to my Instagram account and changed the link not to go to the main Pink Coattails home page but to the sign up page.

Imstagram, Kim Castle

 

9) And lastly, I go to Twitter on my desktop or in the native app and share there as well.

10) I will do this frequently leading up to our launch and this will be a preview of the type of promotion I’ll do for every show we do when the podcast goes live. Relentless, consistent, frequent promotion.

The number one rule in all of this is consistency and regularity. You have to be the number one ambassador for your show and for your brand.

Well, that’s it so far. I hope I’ve given you a glimpse into how podcasting can benefit you and a flavor for what is involved.

I’d certainly encourage you to consider starting a podcast of your own. And whether you are a podcast producer, a podcast listener or both, Happy National Podcast Day!

If you have a podcast, leave a link to your show in the comments. If you don’t have a podcast but are thinking about starting one, I’d love to hear your ideas!

Ellen Britt
Dr. Ellen Britt is the Social Media Influence Doctor, Mastermind Expert, Author and Online Marketing Strategist, Lover of Southern Food & Culture and founder of Pink Coattails, as well as the co-founder of The Future of Ink. Ellen is committed to the idea that every woman, no matter her education, experience or where she lives on the planet, can have a successful business if she so desires.
Ellen Britt
Ellen Britt