podcast logo

Designing Your Podcast Logo and Social Media Artwork: A DIY’ers Guide on Giving Your Show a Face

What did you do over the Labor Day weekend? The “last” weekend of summer? Did you manage to get out with friends or family for dinner? Maybe even enjoy a barbeque?

How about your business? Did you do any work on it? Just because it’s a holiday weekend doesn’t mean you can’t work on it! In fact, if you do, you’re just that much more committed to what you’re doing than those who took time off!

Personally, I worked a bit on Saturday and Sunday.

As I mentioned in the podcast from last week, Maria and I took pictures at the AMS MuncieMan Tri on Saturday. Always fun to get those posted and see all the reactions and comments come in afterwards. Personally I like this particular triathlon because it’s the MECTC championship race and has been for several years now. Always cool to see the different college uniforms of the athletes who showed up.

As for Sunday, I managed to do a little update on the podcast’s “general cover art” that’s seen in iTunes. You can see the difference below:

 

Why an Update?

Well, good question. I mean, I did have the same one on iTunes for over 100 episodes. Why change it? Well, a couple of reasons.

One, after 100 episodes, I have a much more focused picture on what the show is about. When I first started, I can’t say that was the case.

At the beginning, the idea was to have a few co-hosts on regularly to talk about being successful in life in general. What I realized, though, was that we were starting out WAY to broad. Soon after, however, I started using the format that we know today.

Secondly, I noticed that when viewed in iTunes, it didn’t necessarily jump out. So, sticking with the nautical theme, I opted to add a bit more liberty into it by giving it a bit more noticeable red, white, and blue. I mean, Angles of Lattitude does translate directly to Perspectives of Freedom after all!

Here’s a comparison of what I started with compared with the update:

podcast logo

Prepping for the Design Work

There are some things you’ll want to consider before starting on your design. Once you have the following ready to go, then you’re ready to start. That said, if you don’t want to do the work yourself, you might want to check out Fiverr, UpWork, or 99Designs.

Software

Personally, I use Photoshop for most of my work. (Currently running on CS5.) But there’s also free alternatives out there such as GIMP and Canva. If you don’t consider yourself artistic, Canva is a great option as it comes with layouts mostly designed for you. However, if you’re going for a certain theme, like I was, then you’ll probably want to use GIMP.

 

Image Specifications

When designing your podcast’s cover art, you’ll want to think about where you’re going to place it. For me, I currently have one image for the generic cover art, and then I have another format that I use for each individual episode. Last, but just as important, is a “social media” image that I make that has the same content as each individual, but laid out a little differently so that it fits within the post space in Facebook and Twitter a little easier.

 

Here are the specs for the canvases of those images:

 

Canvas Size:

Cover art: 1400×1400 to 3000×3000 pixels – Personally I use 1400×1400. Even with 4k becoming the standard more and more, I simply don’t see a need to make it much larger.

Also, make sure it looks good at a smaller size. Remember when folks are looking for your show, you’ll want it to pop out at them amongst all the others that are on that page.

Social Media: 1200×627 pixels – This is the canvas size for Facebook posts. Since Facebook no longer allows you to change this image manually, you’ll need to add it to the meta information you’re linking Facebook to. In WordPress, you can do this by changing the image used in Yoast SEO Premium. (This is a plugin that just about every WordPress user should have if they want to have good SEO.) If you don’t have this plugin, Facebook will more than likely use the Featured Image you have set for the post or page.

 

Pixels (Dots) Per Inch: 72 is the minimum. Personally, I use 300 dpi.

 

Colorspace: Use RGB (not CMYK)

 

Design

Ok, so you have everything ready to go and you’re looking at a blank canvas. Now is the time to ask yourself, what is this thing going to look like?

Crafting a design for the cover art is really no different than designing a logo. You see what you like out there, and then mimic it.

In this case, you can use the popular list on iTunes and see the covers of popular podcasts there.

Once you get there, you might notice that there’s a ton of shows that have the host on the front. If your brand is about you, or you’re tightly involved with the brand, you’ll probably want to put yourself on the cover.

If that’s not that big of a deal to you, then you can get a bit more creative and use more symbols in your artwork.

Since AoL is all about discovering other’s takes on personal freedom, I opted to stay with the original compass idea. However, I dressed it up a bit by surrounding that compass with the sentence “Not all who wander are lost”. This is one of the trending thoughts that i’ve learned through the first 100 sessions.

From there, I retouched the main title a bit and moved that up to the middle. I realized I had a ton of empty space in the last version and hopefully the title (now with a subtitle) will grab potential listeners’ attention a bit more!

 

Social Media Image Notes

If you’re wanting to change the social media image a bit per platform, there’s one thing I want to mention. Make sure that the theme stays the same from platform to platform. Use the same colors, same fonts, and just about anything else you can from one to the other. You want to make them look like they’re connected.

In the AoL Podcast social images, I even go as far as to use the same image of the guest of that session.

The only platform that I drift away from this approach is Instagram. From what I can tell, you get a bit more attention if your posts are visually engaging. So I try to change things around a bit and make the layout of the image reflect the long-form quote and the image that I have of the guest (which goes along with that quote).

 

Action Steps

So now that you’ve seen my new cover art, what do you think? Hopefully it inspires you to change your old one up a bit if it’s been awhile since you’ve modified it. I know several folks who make it a year to modify their artwork yearly.

If you have a show, I’d love to hear why you designed your cover the way you did.

Also, if you’re thinking about starting a show, you can check out my other podcast related posts here:

microphone logo

How to Get a Microphone Logo: My Mic Flag Design Writeup

In observance of the 4th of July, I wanted to keep today’s post relatively short. I know a lot of you are busy and doing fun things today. Hanging out with friends and loved ones.

You might call this an ironic post as well, because on a day where it’s the “in” day to be patriotic here in the states, I’m talking about a flag.

But – it’s not that kind of flag. It’s a mic flag.

What is a mic flag?

Keep reading.

 

The Story of the Mic Flag

As you guys know, I wrote up a full writeup of all the software and hardware that I use to make my podcast back in three separate posts. My goal with those posts was to give you an “inexpensive” way of starting your own show.

I only spent money where I knew it was important to do so. The biggest purchases I made was the software (Logic Pro X) and my mic – an Audio Technica at875r. For the most part, everything else was done with price in mind.

I also tried to use Pat’s tutorial as supplemental info in my tutorial so that I didn’t have to create the wheel. I figure his is such a great tutorial – and it’s what I started with – why change it?

Here are those posts:

There was one thing that I was missing, however.

And that was a mic flag.

 

What is a Mic Flag?

If the term mic flag is unfamiliar to you, you’re not the only one. I didn’t know what it was called either.

It’s the little thing that sits either on a mic itself. By itself, it looks like this:

However, you might be more used to it the way that Pat and John Lee Dumas use it:

pat flynn mic flag

Smart Passive Income Podcast Mic Flag

JLD Mic Flag

Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast Mic Flag

 

Well, considering I don’t have a handheld mic, I figured I’d opt for the “above the mic” location.

But where to get it?

 

Getting a Mic Flag

So, 80+ episodes into the AoL Podcast, I finally decided to get one. Why? Because I’m tired of not doing Facebook LIVE events because I don’t feel ready. This was just one more thing on that list to do before I felt ready.

So where was I going to secure one similar to what Pat and JLD used?

Well, let’s Ask Pat!.

So on one of his recent Ask Pat! LIVE shows, I asked him who the maker of his mic flag was.

His answer: Impact PBS.

 

Choosing the Right Size:

Getting a mic flag through Impact PBS is pretty amazing. Their customer service “liaison” (at least that’s what I’d call her), Ellen, is probably one of the main reasons why people recommend them. She was very careful and precise in making sure I got exactly what I wanted.

We emailed a few times back and forth about the sizes of flag I might need. In fact, she even dug into their archive to find out what size Pat had – who he’s had his flag since 2012 – if not earlier!

We ended up opting for the 2.5” x 2.5” after I emailed Pat about how much clearance he has on his “mic mount bolt” and the bottom. Which he ended up sending me this image to actually show me:

pat flynn mic flag

The great thing about asking Pat something is that you don’t have to ask him through his podcast. You can simply just email him. He seems to almost always respond. Maybe because I’ve emailed him off and on throughout the years. Maybe I have my own inbox?? Haha – one can believe, right?

 

Designing the Flag:

Anyway, once I chose the size of the mic flag, I had to create the design for it. If you’ve ever designed business cards, this is a very similar process. You get a template, work on it in your preferred image editor (mine’s Photoshop) and upload it to the site.

In this case, Ellen emailed me the template which I used to make three different sides. 1 of which would be used twice.

Impact PBS Mic Flag Template

2.5″ x 2.5″ Mic Flag Template

Mic Flag Side 1Mic Flag Side 2 and 4Mic Flag Side 3

Once I was done, I resubmitted the Photoshop file back to Ellen through Dropbox. She removed the black lines and sent me a proof of what it was going to look like.

Impact PBS Mic Flag Proof

Impact PBS Mic Flag Proof

 

After a few consent forms and paying just under $70 (with shipping), my flag was being made!

 

Receiving the Mic Flag:

It wasn’t even a week later by the time they were made and I got my package in the mail. I think I ordered on Monday the 26th and got them on the 29th? Pretty amazing turnaround, I have to say!

Anyhow – here’s the final result:

NI Impact PBS Mic Flag Side 1 and 2

 

Oh, and I also received a thank you letter and some chocolates! How awesome!

 

Considering it was the last of June, they turned out pretty good! 😉

It all tastes the same, right?

 

Action Step – Getting a Mic Flag?:

If you want a great product to add brand recognition to your videos (live or otherwise) without you having to mention who you are, mic flags are the way to do it. They just give a more professional effect!

I can’t be any happier than I am with the final product.

Check out Impact PBS if you want a great mic flag (high quality plastic!) that you’ll have for years to come!

P.S. In case you noticed, I have opted to get a Heil PL-2T mic boom since my original podcast posts. I was able to score it for essentially half the price from eBay. If you can find it – go for it. I love mine.

starting a podcast

Starting a Podcast Case Study: How I Went from Interviewing Friends to Well Known Creators in 50 Sessions

When starting a podcast, many first time podcasters might be thinking somewhere in the back of their minds, “Who am I to start a show? There are so many other people out there who do this better than I do”.

And my response would be something like, “Sure, there are people who make great shows. Chances are your show isn’t going to be as great as theirs from the get go.”

And then I continue…

“However, if you get started, stay the course, and have good guests on, you’ll get there quicker than you might expect.”

At some point in every entrepreneur’s career, there comes times of doubt, delay, and division. But there are ways of tackling those head on.

If you’re serious about making a great show, one thing that will definitely help boost your popularity is having recognized people on your show as guests.

Today I’m going to share with you how I went from interviewing friends to interviewing recognized experts in their field that will give you credibility as you build your show.

 

How I Used the New Craft Practitioner Approach to Get Well Known Guests

As you can see below, I have an upward climb in listenership since I started the show in September of 2015.

Here’s a current snapshot of my show’s growth over its existence. I’m proud to say that there is some pretty normal growth there.

Podcast Growth (May 2017)

Growth of Angles of Lattitude Podcast as of May 2017

There have been 4 guests that have been on that have had the most attraction: Ashley Zahabian, Drew Badger, Cam Adair, and Dane Maxwell. All four of those episodes continue to perform well.

Also, from those interviews, I’ve been able to land interviews with other guests, and even have testimonials from those guests.

cam adair

 

ashley zahabian

Both of these have been vital in helping my podcast and brand grow.

But – here’s the thing.

You can do the same thing for your show… even if you don’t know these people yet.

 

Four Steps to Get Great Guests

There are four options a New Craft Practitioner can use to get great guests on their podcast.

  1. Start with what you Have
  2. Add Value & Add-a-Friend
  3. Ask a Friend for an Introduction
  4. Just Be Friendly

The reason I call this approach the New Craft Practitioner Approach is because these are options that anyone who is starting a new craft can utilize. They’re just poking around and seeing what opens up their new path.

In this case, your new craft is podcasting. And, as a practitioner, while you’re not an expert, you’re highly engaged in learning the craft and experimenting to see what works best for you.

Start with what You Have

At the beginning, you just have to take action. Some call it taking dumb action.

Just get started.

But if you want an idea of what you could do, find a podcast (or better yet, a couple) you want to emulate and use it as a framework. What do they do for the actual conversation part of the show, what kind of artwork does it have (if any) and what kind of guests does it have?

You’ll need to create your own versions of those things.

Do you want to have co-hosts?

I did. (But I soon had to change how many due to scheduling headaches.) For me, I knew I had to start with doing sessions with people I already knew. I knew both Jon Ridge and Brian from all my years in school. And Trin was one of the first people I met in Fizzle when I started my new journey of building New Inceptions.

If you do start with a team, this might be the kind of group that you start with as well. Like friends from high school, don’t be upset if they eventually go their different ways.

Life happens to all of us and it’s just part of growing.

 

Add Value to New Friends:

Just like I went different ways with the people I went to high school with, I knew that for me to grow my show, I had to continue to meet more and more people.

Easiest way to do that? Hop on Facebook and start adding friends.

There’s a good way to do that and a not so great way. The not so great way is just adding random people by clicking “add friend”. I can’t tell you how many people who have sent me a friend request without sending at least a message introducing themselves. Don’t be That Guy.

Instead, make your mission one where you “add value”.

Now, I know this phrase is used around on the net pretty regularly and with very little substance.

So let’s try and define it.

Well, to me, adding value basically means helping people out with their questions and problems through Facebook groups (1 – 999 members) and mega groups (1000+).

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the groups that I like to visit.

I can add value to the folks in all of these groups – just by answering questions where I can.

And that’s also why I’m focused on just 6 – because if you have many more, you’re going to be stuck answering questions all day as opposed to what you should be doing in building your business.

After a few engagements back and forth, it’s totally fine to add people as friends on Facebook.

I mean, there’s a reason why there’s a limit of 5000 friends!!

Eventually, with that new friend – ask them if they want to be on the show. You’d be surprised how easy it is to approach people this way.

I used this method to land Cam and Drew on the show.

 

Ask a Friend for an Intro

If one of these friends you have is friends with someone you’d like to have on a show, see if they can make an introduction.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is how I landed the interview with Dane. Daniel and I were just discussing life and had a little bit of one on one with him and it just came to me to have Daniel ask.

He did and voila – we booked a date to do Dane’s first interview as a musician.

However, that said, don’t go “making friends” with people just so you can use them to connect with “higher” people. Not only will that person feel like you used them, but you might be eliminating any further connections you might get with them.

Through Cam, I’ve landed about 4 different interviews. One of which was Ginger, who later became a co-host of the show.

 

Just Be Friendly

Another way to invite folks on the show from Facebook is to simply send them a cold message and see if they’d be interested in coming on.

This worked for me when I invited Ashley on the show. Here’s the messages I sent her:

ashley zahabian chat

Sometimes you just have to reach out!

Something to note is that I had to follow up with that initial email a couple of times. Actually took about a month to get her booked and on the show after all was said and done. I had to ask her what her email was to make sure it was going through. Even after that, I had to keep nudging her assistant.

So be patient and don’t be afraid to communicate.

 

Action Steps:

You can see how the snowball just starts to roll.

I hope you can see yourself using this approach as you’re beginning.

Yes, it takes hard work and especially TIME to create something great.

But with this approach you now have a method to start lining up those future guests ahead of time. Also using this approach, while slower than using guest finding services, is a foolproof way of building your following as well as your credibility. You’re not buying fake credibility here. You’re actually making it yourself from scratch!

Remember, this approach can be used in building other entrepreneurial skills. Just remember to start with what you got

If you’d like to tap into my ever growing network, I’d love to have you part of it.

Join us at the AoL Networking Group on Facebook here and introduce yourself to the group!

 

Bonus:

As of this post, Ashley is officially a TEDx speaker.

Check it out her presentation below and don’t forget to check out her AoL interview!

How to Inexpensively Start a New Podcast: Exporting and Distribution

In this third and final installment of this beginner’s podcast guide, I’m going to be discussing the final parts in starting your podcast: exporting and distribution. Of course, if you’re new to podcasting and are wondering what the other installments are about, you can find them here (Equipment and Software) and here (Planning and Production).

Also, just a reminder, we’re loosely using Pat Flynn’s 2012 video tutorial as the backbone of this tutorial. However, we’re focusing more on doing it for less than what Pat recommended at the time.

So let’s get started…

Let’s start with Pat’s video in where he shows how to export your podcast in Garageband:

Logic User Differences:

Again, I’m not sure if Pat still has his team use Garageband to produce the SPI podcast or not, but I do know that if you’re an audiophile – you’re probably using something a little more professional.

If you want to go the more professional route right out of the gate, Logic is a good choice. You’ll have to pay for it ($200 at the Apple Store), but you’ll definitely learn a lot more along the way about production – if you want to.

Again, Chase talks about them in his tutorial on Fizzle.co (that’s a link for free trial to Fizzle) because he uses Logic to produce the Fizzle Show.

But to save you some time, here’s the export settings that you’ll want to configure Logic to export or “bounce” your project to:

Logic Bounce Options

My Logic X Bounce Options

Now, when you do this, you’re going to have a rather large file still as you’re publishing to a raw audio format. Most podcasts are in mp3 format.

“Why not go with mp3 here?”, you ask.

Well, you could and I’m sure many people do. But in Chase’s video he explains that your audio is more than likely going to be in stereo if you export directly from here.

There’s nothing wrong with that if you like to have your audience feel like one person is on the left and another person is on the right and so on.

Like Chase, I prefer to have the audio in mono because it shrinks the file size of the final file by half.

Here are the settings that I use in Compressor ($50 via Apple) to shrink my show to small files (because it’s mono) but still reasonably good quality audio:

Compressor Settings

The settings I have for Compressor

You should know that Compressor is typically used for video files (specifically Final Cut Pro files) but you don’t have to have Final Cut for it to work.

Normalizing and The Levelator:

One of the things that Pat mentioned in his tutorial that he used to do is use the Levelator to bring all his voices and sounds to the same volume level.

It’s a great simple solution.

However, if your show is designed to have manual fade-ins and fade-outs, or you purposely alter the volume to censor cusses, or anything that changes the volume, then using the Levelator is not going to be your best choice. It will basically destroy all those fine tunings.

This has been my case.

I use Fade-ins and outs to transition from one part of the show to another. The Levelator destroys those transitions.

So for the longest time I’ve been struggling with making sure that everyone sounds good on multiple speakers. In my office, many of my shows sound great, but when I got them to my car which has a much different setting than my office, my side of the conversation would sound much fainter.

I think I’ve fixed that as of session 59. Per Chase’s advice via the Fizzle forums and Podcast Master Cody Boyce’s help, I’ve started altering the output level of the entire track. Hopefully this will be a welcome chance to those of you who listen in your cars as well as your headphones.

After Exporting but before Distribution

Tagging:

Ok, so getting back on track here. The next thing that Pat talked about was tagging your new mp3 file. (We’re at the 15:13 mark in the first video in the process if you’re wondering where we’re at.)

Only thing I’ll say here is that Macs have it easy because you can do it in iTunes. However, if you don’t want to get iTunes on your PC, you can use Mp3tag to do it. It’s free, but if you use it quite often, you might want to consider a donation. 🙂

Here are the tags that I use for my show (depending on who my cohosts are):

podcast-tags

Tags for the Angles of Lattitude Podcast

Artwork:

You probably noticed that as part of my tags, I have my “generic artwork”. Artwork is huge. You can’t forget it – and unfortunately, many podcasters do.

You want to make sure that you have some sort of generic piece that you’ll be able to post on all of your shows.

dane maxwell unplugged

Feel free to make personal cover art for your guests!

Pat used and continues to use one piece of artwork for his podcast. If he’s changed it since then, it wasn’t much.

That said, I change mine every show based on who I’m talking to. I give each one of my guests their own individual “cover art”. And when you have a template going like I do, it doesn’t take too much longer to add this personal touch.

 

The artwork that is in the tags is usually what the player will play in your listener’s player – unless it uses the generic artwork provided to the place where people are downloading your show from.

I know that you can’t change Stitcher and Google Play’s artwork as they overlay the generic artwork that you’ve chosen to register with them. On the other hand, iTunes, SoundCloud, and any player that actually downloads the file to your listening device, will more than likely use the artwork you provide for that particular file.

So my recommendation is definitely have a generic artwork image that you use per show. But if you have an interview based show, feel free to give your guests a little more appreciation by giving them their own cover image!

Distribution:

Ok, now we want to get our podcast into the world. How do we do that? The best way to do it is to use a remote host to do the work for us. Pat will explain this in detail here:

Through my experience, Libsyn is a great option for all the reasons Pat mentioned.

Another thing to note is Libsyn is set up in a way that you can upload it at one point and then it will become available whenever it is published. Before it is published, you get a link for where it will be linked from.

This means that you can get all your show notes all ready to go before the actual launch of that particular show. Essentially you can set it to go off and then work on getting your marketing ready to go.

This is a great thing.

However, the more bang I can get for my buck, the more I’ll want to use a particular option. For Chase and I, we both use SoundCloud as the host for our show.

And while we can’t actually set it up before hand like Libsyn (SoundCloud only gives their file link after it’s published – and even then you have to look for it in Settings > Content. Then copying and pasting the rss feed URL to another tab and then searching for “URL=” in that page of code to find your files. Ugh.), all the metrics that comes with Libsyn’s middle pricing tier is available through the basic tier of SoundCloud.

So, I’ll say this. If getting your content ready to go ahead of time is priority and you don’t do things at the last minute like Chase and myself, then you’ll want to definitely go with libsyn. If you just want to go the least expensive route – SoundCloud is currently the way to go.

That said, everything else as far as setting up Blubrry hasn’t changed – so I’ll leave Pat’s last video here:

Action Steps:

Alright, guys. There you have it. That’s the basics of how I do my podcasts. Again, mad kudos to Pat and Chase for their help in teaching me this process.

Now it’s time to start your own show.

I hope this gives you a little more insight into the behind the scenes of doing a show so you can start yours or make your current process a bit more efficient and/or easier on the wallet.

If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to contact me using the contact page. I’d be glad to help you out in any way I can!

podcast planning

How to Inexpensively Start a New Podcast: Planning and Production

In this second installment of this three part series of starting a podcast, I’ll be looking at the actual process of recording the show. Now that you hopefully have all your gear, you’ll need to learn how to put it all together and use it. Let’s get started.

There’s plenty of tips and tricks that I could give you in this post. There’s so many things that go into making a podcast that I could make a course on it myself… beyond what Pat has!

 If you’ve forgotten his tips or haven’t seen them, here’s that video:

Here are 6 more tips that will help you make an impression with your podcast:

Planning

So let’s start before where Pat started in his tutorial – which is the planning stage. This particular stage shouldn’t be taken lightly. So I’m going to cover it more detail.

The one thing he did cover was how long the podcast should be. And, I couldn’t agree with him more.

1. Who’s your Audience?

The first thing you’re going to have to consider just like all any other independent creator, is to figure out what your audience wants. What makes them, well… them? The best way to do this is to make a list of 20 some people who you think might be interested in your potential show. Find out from them what they’d want to hear discussed.

Not sure who those 20 people are? Ask yourself what kind of people do you want to help or entertain? What kinds of things do they geek out about? Do they appreciate their time? Do they like to kill time? How can you add value in that space?

listening-to-podcast

Who’s Your Audience?

2. Length of Your Show

Once you’ve determined who your audience is going to be, you can start thinking about the length of your show.

Let’s start our first by thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish with your show. Here are three potential examples of popular shows.

  1. Action based. Meaning, are you going to be giving plenty of tips? Are you going to be interviewing people like Pat does to help others do something?
  2. More general conversation – a Hybrid. Where you’re actually just sitting down with the person to get to know them and have them share their expertise a little bit. That’s what we do on the AoL Podcast. Try and get a little bit of both.
  3. Deep conversation about anything and everything – Maybe you’re just going to have a podcast where you’re just talking about everything and anything that’s going on in general in your specific topic or with your specific guest? Not focused so much on actionable discussion, but high content. More like a radio show.

Generally speaking, as you progress from specific action based discussions to a more  conversational show, the longer your podcast is going to be. It just takes time to get into a good discussion that will captivate your audience.

That’s one reason why Tim Ferriss’ shows are so captivating. His longest shows at times are often his best ones. Some of those have been known to go 2 or 3 hours! He’s even said a couple of times that’s why he does have such long conversations – to dive extremely deep.

That said, he doesn’t release a new show every day, either.

So, here’s a thought. If your plan is to give tips, tactics, and actionable items on your own or with one other person. The more you can do it, the better. Think of Entrepreneur on Fire or Ask Pat.

If you’re going to be more in depth with a person, maybe a 45 minute to an hour chat, make it, at most, twice a week. Art of Charm is a good example there. Maybe throw in a Q&A call.

And if you’re going to go in-depth, make it once a week.

 

3. Interviewing Style

If your show is going to have guests on it, you’ll need to figure out what your interviewing style is.

What do I mean by this?

Here are three types of interviewing:

  1. Highly Structured – Ask basically the same questions with every guest you have
  2. Loose Structure – Use a framework to form questions based on the guest.
  3. Low or No Structure – Engage in regular inquisitive conversation.

Regardless of the type you use, make sure you communicate to your guest what’s important. Let them know what kind of structure you use. Also, it might be a good idea to keep in contact with them before the interview actually happens so they know it’s a for sure event.

Larry King - Legend of Low Structure Interviewing

Larry King – Legend of Low Structure Interviewing

High Structure:

Obviously, asking the same questions is going to be more scripted sounding. Whereas inquisitive conversation is going to be based on what the guest is saying at the time.

The pros of having a scripted show is that you and your audience will always know the questions and points that are going to be discussed.

The cons of this type will be that you might run the risk of being too scripted and come across as a robot. Or, even if you don’t sound scripted, it might still get repetitive. If patterns of answers start forming with your guests, you might lose parts of your audience because they already know the answer.

Loose Structure:

The middle ground interview type. Instead of having the same questions each conversation, this structure works more on a framework. In Pat’s tutorial, he mentioned that his favorite podcast at the time had different parts to the show. That show sounded like it uses a framework. In the AoL Podcast, we also use a framework for our conversations too. The overall structure is the same, but the questions change from show to show.

The good thing about using this type of structure is that it saves some time with your interviews and it won’t get super repetitive.

The bad thing is that it might sound like you’re trying to cram a ton of stuff into a single show without really going deep into much of it.

Low or No Structure:

True masters of interviewing typically use the Low or No Structure approach to their interviews. Every show is different because every conversation is different.

Essentially you let the guest lead the conversation and paint the picture.

The good thing about this type of interview is that it’s very relatable. Listeners will feel more like they’re part of the conversation as it naturally progresses.

The problem with this type of format is that it’s only done well in long format. To even scratch the surface of the guest, it might take the interviewer an hour. And even then, they might not get everything answered that they’d like to. Interviewing novices probably shouldn’t attempt this format as you they might not ever get the guest to truly open up – especially if they ask the wrong questions.

As a bonus, if you’re good at the low or no structure approach, guests will appreciate your company more because you’re not coming with agenda. That’s why Cal Fussman and Larry King have been able to make so many friends over the years of their career. They’re genuinely interested in the interviewee.

4. Finding Topics to Discuss

I used to produce a couple of shows that have since discontinued. One of was full topic based while the other was a hybrid show consisting of topics and interviews.

One thing that you should consider when discussing topics is, again, how pertinent they are to your audience. Three great ways to find topics is by discussing popular posts on blogs, threads in forums, or questions that are asked by your audience.

Remember that a lot of the media these days get their “news” from reddit.com

Production

When it comes to production, there’s going to be a ton of differences between how people get things done. Whether you have a PC or a Mac, use Garageband or Audition, or even how you record everyone. Personally, I have everyone record their side so there’s no hiccups from the Skype connection (I think Chase calls this dovetailing).

But there are a few things everyone can do when it comes to doing things inexpensively.

Dovetail Recording: Everyone on the show has their own Audio Track

Dovetail Recording: Everyone on the show has their own Audio Track

1. Intro and Outro

The intro to your show is part of it’s personality. It’s how people will recognize that they’re listening to the right show when they’re busy doing something else – be it driving, working, or exercising.

A lot of people will say that you need a short intro. To keep it to a minimum because people have short attention spans.

While that might be true in some instances, I really think it depends on your audience whether or not that advice is relevant.

If you’re audience includes people who are looking for a quick show, then yes. You’re going to want to have a quick intro. Or perhaps your topic is headline or news material, than yeah. A short intro is better.

However, if it’s a deep dive and you’re planning on having shows that approach an hour or more, then it’s not really going to matter that you have a minute to a couple of minutes long intro session. It really helps if you give an idea about what the show is going to be about so your audience can determine if they want to spend their time listening to it.

Same thing for the outro. If you have a long chat, make room for a proper outro. The worst thing you could do with an epic chat is just do a sudden drop. Have a wrap up and a call to action.

Also, as a little side note. If you’re going to use music with your intro or outro, you can take Pat’s advice to go buy stock music. Or, you can search for Free Stock Music and use that instead. There’s tons of samples out there on Soundcloud, YouTube, even Microsoft had some at one point. Just make sure you give credit if the artist asks for it.

2. Have a Backup Recording

You can never have too many recordings of a conversation. I mentioned that I use dovetailing to get everyone into the conversation without any skips. However, you can’t count on your guests or co-hosts to have their copy of the conversation.

That’s why you want to have something that actually records Skype.

If you have multiple people on the line, it’s good to have a control document. That way the flow of the conversation goes in the right direction at all times. There’s nothing worse than going over the same information twice on an hour long show and/or wasting your guest’s time because someone lost track of what was being discussed.

Also, play with the settings of your hardware and software so you get the best quality – and have your co-hosts and guests do this too. If it’s completely alien to you or them, find a tutorial in how to use your equipment when it’s brand new.

Action Steps

This time around, I want you to start thinking about your audience. The people that you want to help, influence, or entertain.

What kind of stuff do they want to listen to? Do you know for sure? Are there already other shows out there that’s like what you’re thinking about creating?

If you’re not sure, ask a few of them.

Once you get a good idea on what they’d like to hear about, determine how you want to deliver it based on what we talked about above.

And then, start familiarizing yourself with that hardware and software you should already have. It really helps to look up YouTube videos on this stuff.

Learn to Sweeten Your Podcasts with Chase!

Learn to Sweeten Your Podcasts with Chase!

Chase on Monitoring (Headsets)

Chase editing the Fizzle Show (with Logic Pro X)

Or, better yet, you can get 5 weeks (as of this writing) of free Fizzle and take a course where Chase illustrates some tricks of how he does the Fizzle Show. If you’re thinking about using Logic Pro X, I highly recommend it. I learn something new each time I watch it!

 

To be Continued…

Ok, so that’s it for part 2 of this 3 part series.

Next week, in part 3, we’ll be bringing it all home. Learning how to export your podcast and then figuring out where your going to post it so others can start hearing your great message!

start a podcast

How to Inexpensively Start a Podcast: Equipment and Software

When people think about starting a podcast, they believe that they need something that’s super duper professional and expensive. That’s truly not the case.

Back in 2012, Pat Flynn was one of the first to share his setup for his award winning podcast.

That post was just over 4 years ago.

In this first of three posts, I’ll be sharing with you my setup for starting a podcast. It includes reviews from two other sources, Pat’s tutorial, and Chase Reeves of Fizzle.co, as well as what I’ve found on my own after 50+ episodes of doing the AoL Podcast.

Please note that there are Amazon affiliate links in this post!

If you want to get better deals or aren’t an Amazon Prime member, you can always check and see what you can find on eBay. However, if you’re on a schedule and you need to start as soon as possible, you might want to buy new from Amazon. I had to send several items back in the process of setting up my show. Took me a few weeks longer than I would have liked.

Most people who want to start a podcast these days will more than likely stumble onto Pat Flynn’s podcast tutorial.

It’s a great tutorial. In fact, I used it to get started on the first podcast I produced. But as with anything on the web, time passes and things needs to be added to or altered in some way.

Pat’s done a great job in changing it up since he created it in 2012, too. There’s tons of great information there that I think will prove beneficial to you!

However, one thing that many podcasters who are just starting out might not have is an abundance of money to pay for everything that Pat recommends in his tutorial.

Let’s Start with the Mic2016-01-14 16.07.49

Take for example, his recommended microphone, the Heil PR-40. It sounds great! But, it costs $300 or more depending on where you get it. Whereas the mic that I found via Fizzle’s Chase Reeves Microphone Shootout, the Audio-Technica AT875R, was $169.

When you factor all the additional hardware pieces that you have to get for each setup to get to the point where you’re ready to hit the record button, Chase’s “Best Buy” solution comes out to about half the price.

And, in my opinion, if you listen to the Fizzle Show, you can hear that it produces great quality.

Here are the two videos for you to compare even more. Pat’s is very too the point, where Chase’s Shootout is very technical – almost MythBuster like!

Check it:

Pat’s Podcast Tutorial Video 1: Equipment and Software

Podcaster’s High Quality Microphone Shootout:

Beginner’s Best Buy:

By the way, if neither of these mics are in your price range, a really great option that sounds pretty decent (if you tune it correctly), is the Audio-Technica atr2100 for $79. It’s a USB AND XLR compatible mic that I have many folks grab as their first mic. The great thing about it is that you don’t need a mixer for it to work. You can just plug it in via USB like many mics you might be already used to.

Other Hardware

Mixers:

The mic isn’t the only piece that you’re going to need to get started. In fact, both of the ones that Chase and Pat recommend need what’s called a mixer.

You heard me also mention XLR – this is where that comes into play. It’s the three pronged connection type you see most professional mics have. It’s an old analog connection. Meaning if you go with a professional mic, you’ll need a mixer.

Pat’s mixer for his tutorials was the Behringer Xenyx 1002FX, priced at $90. What Chase recommended for Fizzle members was the Mackie Onyx Blackjack, priced at $99. (I got mine used from eBay at $80.)

Arm Thingy / Stands / Booms:

Along the mixer and the mic, you’ll also need that arm thingy. These are called boom stands, and you’ll need to order one for where you intend to use it. As you saw in Pat’s video, there are booms that are specific for certain mics, but there’s also generic ones.

The generic one I got was this one at a whopping $13. It gets the job done.

In contrast, Pat’s Heil boom is $120. Go for it if you “want to be like Pat”.

Oh and there are taller ones if you want to stand up or while doing some video work (you can use the same mic over your head). I got this one by Griffin for my course videos sometime down the line.

Headphones:

Now, this is something that Pat didn’t talk about in his hardware piece. It looks like he had some sort of Beats headphones, but not being super familiar with that brand before it was bought by Apple, I went with what Chase recommended in one of the videos inside of Fizzle:

Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphones

If you see a better deal on eBay and they’re from China, don’t be afraid to get them. Just remember that it might take up to three weeks for them to come in vs 3-5 days with Amazon.

Computer:

Now, this is something that neither Chase nor Pat talked about in their review because they probably think you already have one of these.

However, the truth is that they both use Macs to do their work. You can tell in Pat’s tutorial he uses Garageband (I’m not sure what he has his editor use now these days) and Chase uses Logic Pro X. We’ll get to those in a minute.

If you’re in the market to get whatever’s easiest to do the job, I recommend getting a Mac. The software is just that much easier to work with.

Where do you get an Inexpensive Mac?

Not at the Apple Store!

First, let’s just get one thing straight. I don’t ever by brand new technology unless I’m forced to.

That means computers just as much as it means cars.

The only way I’d pay for an expensive new piece of tech is if it was a custom piece. A custom computer… or a custom car. Like a Tesla.

If you listen to Dave Ramsey or Robert Kiyosaki, you know that technology and cars are not assets, they are liabilities. So buy them as low price as possible.

That said, a great site to buy used Macs from is GainSaver. They generally get their older macs from offices or colleges that always have the newest and best gear.

Personally, I have a 2010 Mac Pro (Model: MC561LL/A) that I do most of my work on and it runs like a champ. Also, I don’t have to worry about it overheating with intense use. Many people primarily use Macbook Pro’s for all their work, but I had two of them burn-up in the same year.

So, I primarily use my laptop for small projects and browsing the web.

Also, you might be wondering why I don’t have a newer Mac Pro? Here’s an image to show you why:

 

keep-it-simple

 

I’m not sure about you, I don’t need all that junk cluttering up my desk.

Speaking of Upgrades

If you want to upgrade one of the computers on Gainsaver (or Apple’s site for that matter), you can do that. But just like at popcorn at a movie theatre, they’re going to charge you even more than you’d expect

Recommendation? If you’re somewhat technically gifted (meaning that you’re the go-to person in your family that everyone comes to tech help), or have access to someone who is, go to a site like Other World Computing, find out what you need for your specific model, go over to eBay, and find it for a great deal.

RAM and hard drives are CHEAP compared to just a few years ago!

Best names in memory as of this writing is Kingston and Crucial. In hard drives, they’re HGST and Western Digital.

And they’re really easy to install in a Mac Pro. I promise.

Editing and Recording Software:

Mac Options:

Ok, so moving back to software.

If you go with a Mac, you get Garageband for free. It’s a great little app and frankly, really all you need for conversations. Your show’s quality won’t sound like The Fizzle Show, but it might sound like the early shows of SPI.

Nothing wrong with that!

garageband

Garageband

Let me tell you, as a beginner, Garageband (which is free with a Mac) is much easier to use than Logic Pro X is. The reason I use Logic now is because I see it as a personal challenge. I see it as a skill and artI want to develop. And, as of this writing (at almost 60 episodes), I’m still learning what I need to know to produce a show that sounds great.

If you don’t want to go through that process, go with Garageband.

PC Options:

If you go with a PC, there’s a couple of options I know of. One is a free app called Audacity (which I use for different things time to time) and a more professional option is Adobe Audition.

Audacity

While Audacity isn’t my go to application, you can get the job done with it.

As far as Audition goes, I personally don’t know too much about it. But with everything else, you can always find out how to use it via YouTube.

Recording with Guests and/or remote co-hosts

Now, if you find yourself hosting an interview based show, then you’re going to want to consider a few more pieces of software because you can’t do everything you want to do with what I’ve already discussed.

In fact, before you go editing with the other programs, you’ll need to record with what I’m about to tell you.

To record online for free, you’ll want to use Skype.

You can have multiple people on and the sound quality is pretty decent compared to other options – like YouTube Live, Hangouts, or Facebook Live (I’m not even entirely sure if that’s possible – but it might be!)

Skype has been around for years. That means that there’s plenty of other apps that you can plug and play with it – which, in this case, you’ll need to do to actually record.

Mac Skype Recorders:

Quicktime audio recorder

You have two options here. And honestly, I use them both when I’m recording. The first is another free app that comes on Macs only – Quicktime.

Most people know that this can play video files that are on their computer. But what they might not know is that it can actually record screen recordings (webinars anyone?) and whatever is spoken into the mic.

Great little tool to have.

ecamm-call-recorder

Ecamm Call Recorder

The only problem is that it doesn’t record what’s coming from the other side of the conversation. So for that, you’ll need another application called Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype.

It’s pretty straightforward, once you have it installed. Just hit record when you’re about to start and then hit stop when you’re done. Same with Quicktime’s audio recording.

PC Skype Recorders:

Ok, so I’m going to admit that the reason that I’ve never had a PC is just the complexity that many apps have to do something that it’s fairly simple to do on a Mac.

In this case, you’re going to need to get a program called Pamela. Like the Ecamm Call Recorder, you install it and it’s pretty close to being ready to go. However, the default settings are not set up in a way that would benefit you as a podcaster. To do that, you’ll need to set the recordings to stereo as well as change the format it records in. Here’s a video to do just that. Pamela currently retails at just under $28.

Pamela for Skype

Pamela for Skype

Also, something else to note is that from what I understand, PC’s can only record in one application/program (sorry, I use those words interchangeably!) at a time. So make sure that Pamela is working before you start your show!

Action Steps

If you’ve decided that you actually are starting a podcast, here is my call to action for you this week:

  1. Get a feel for how much you’re going to want to spend on this project. With a new Mac Pro (or Macbook Pro), that budget might be upwards of $1800 – $2000. But that Mac Pro will be useful for everything else in your business AND you can list all of this as tax write offs for the year. (Be sure to get at least 2 monitors if you don’t have them already.)
  2. Make a list of the parts that you need yet to get your podcasting show started on the hardware and software side of things. Think of it as a grocery list.
  3. Get stuff ordered.
  4. Start putting it together and experimenting with it

It’ll end up looking something like this… (depending on how many monitors you get):

home-office-2016

To be Continued…

Ok, so that’s it for part 1 of this 3 part series.
Next week, in part 2, I’ll continue with a few recording tips that have either changed or weren’t covered in Pat’s 2012 tutorial. I’ll be sure to include some of the more detail stuff that I have to do to get a podcast produced and ready to go out the door.