Podcasts are a brilliant way for us to educate others on a myriad of subjects. There are topics ranging from general music and film to more niche subjects such as Greek mythology or like our very own podcast about China. Podcasts help us consume a large amount of information when we don’t have time to […]
Once you’ve recorded your podcast, the a job isn’t done yet. There are quite a few bits and pieces that you have to remember to add before you upload new episodes to Amazon or wherever you host your podcast.
By now you should have already created your podcast cover art, but if you haven’t you can download the SOP for that here. Make sure that your cover art is ready to go before you upload your first episode to the servers.
GATHERING THE INFORMATION TO UPLOAD YOUR PODCAST
Before you upload your podcast, you need add your podcast information into iTunes. The information you need to add are things like the title, album artist and other metadata that will be pulled from the MP3 that you upload. This information will be seen by your listeners and subscribers of your podcast.
Most of you will also have a page on your website that contains information about your podcast. It’s important to keep the titles and other information the same on both so as not to confuse your listeners. If you’re interested in creating podcast show notes, you can take a look at our Podcast Show Notes Template.
If you’re using WordPress, you can use a plugin called “PowerPress” that will help you publish your podcast once you’ve uploaded it to your hosting server. This is simple plugin that also pulls the information you write in your blog post show notes into the iTunes description of your podcast.
One of the things you need to have prepared for uploading other than your podcasts cover art, is the MP3 file of your episode which should be 100 MB or less so that it doesn’t take your listeners a long time to download it. If your MP3 file is much larger than that, you should definitely consider shrinking it down so it’ll be easier for your audience to access it as well as take up less space on their phone.
Once you have the audio file in the correct size, you will edit some of the text content that appears in the information section of the files, such as the title of the podcast. This title should clearly explain what the current episode is about. Hollie and I have experimented with the titles of our podcast Two White Chicks in China and found that stating the topic directly is better than creating a clever title that sounds cool. People just want to know exactly what the content is instead of having a clever sounding title.
Another piece of content that you’ll need is the show name of your podcast. Make sure that you use the exact same show name for every episode. You may also want to include a brief description of the episode in your metadata. To be honest I don’t know where this shows up, but I imagine that it helps with the keyword search in iTunes so it’s best to just stick a few lines in there to take advantage of this space.
QUICK CHECKLIST FOR NECESSARY PODCAST INFO
- Title of the current podcast episode
- Episode number
- Shortened name of the podcast (example: Two White Chicks in China podcast would have a shortened name of “TWCC”)
- Creators of the podcast (this will appear as the artist/composer in the MP3’s metadata)
- Official show name of the podcast (this will appear as the “album name” in the MP3’s metadata)
- Episode summary (Write a few sentences to describe what topics are covered in this podcast)
- Podcast Cover Art
You can upload your podcast to any hosting server, but the instructions provided in this SOP will give you a clear step-by-step procedure for how you or your freelancer can upload episodes to the Amazon S3 server. You can modify this SOP if you are hosting somewhere else before passing it to your freelancer.
There are so many great podcasts on the market, so it’s no longer just enough to upload your podcast and then walk away and hope that people listen and subscribe to it. It’s important for you to know what other podcasts are out there that might be competing for a similar audience that you hope are listening to your own podcast.
Based on my own experience of listening to podcasts I’ve often searched for one topic, for example “true crime”- that’s my podcast weakness. iTunes will give you other related podcasts that you can you can also check out. You may call it ‘judging a book by its over’ but even before I’ve listen to a podcast I’ve been turned on or turned off by the podcast cover art or by the level of information that the podcast gives me in the metadata. Look at your competitors and decided what you find attractive or off-putting about your competitor’s podcast.
VALIDATING YOUR PODCAST IDEA USING COMPETITORS
Identifying your competitors is also a way to validate your podcast idea. If there are no other competitors on the market today, it is more likely that this is a sign that your topic is not really something that people are interested listening to. If you’re truly passionate about the topic of your podcast however, don’t just use the lack of competitors to decide whether or not to do the podcast. This is not ultimately the deciding factor. The point is not to be scared off by the presence of competitors because it means that there truly is a market interested in this topic.
That brings us to another key idea that you need to consider when looking at your competitors- who exactly is your target market? There’s a lot of information online which will help you to define your target audience, and you can use that to find the podcast which you believe have the same target audience. These are most likely your competitors.
LEARN FROM COMPETING PODCAST BUT STAY UNIQUE
Something that you should consider when you look at your competitors is that they may not necessarily be in the right. What I mean by this is that just because your competitors are following a certain format, you don’t necessarily have to copy the same script or set-up of those competitors. Let’s go back to my true crime podcast obsession. Some of those podcasts are narrated by a single person while others are acted out as the narrators recreate the true crime events. Both of these are successful formats and there may be other ways out there to present that would work as well. The purpose of studying your competitors is to collect ideas and make adjustments to find that unique offering that your audience will love.
As Hollie mentioned before, identifying your competitors will help you to be aware of what kind of metadata they provide in the podcast marketplace that attracts their audience. Taking a look at the title of their podcast, the description and the cover art will help you to understand how your podcast fits into the market. In addition to that you’ll want to take some time to listen to some of your competitors podcasts to see if the actual content has elements that you are missing or is missing elements that you have so that you can figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your content.
Identifying these competitors will also give you an idea for what types of advertising opportunities may be available once you’re ready for making money. Considering these other podcasts have similar target audiences, you may also want to contact some of these podcasts in the future for affiliate marketing.
SOP FOR FINDING YOUR COMPETITORS
You can pass the SOP provided above directly to someone else to help you identify your podcast’s top 5 competitors. Giving this task to somebody else will give you fresh eyes (in this case “ears”) on your own podcast and inspire you with ways that you can continue to improve. The SOP gives step-by-step instructions for how to use keywords to identify your competitors and will ask the person who is completing this task to sample those podcasts in order to find the elements that they like and don’t like about your competitors. Finding this information will help you to improve your podcast which should help you to reach a wider audience as you develop your show.
Everyone and their mother has a podcast these days. You can find topics ranging from fixing your car to breast-feeding and of course much, much more. Podcasts are a great way to absorb information while you’re doing something else and as a podcast creator you know that most of your marketing is done through audio. Since there are lots of podcasts out there and the market is getting more saturated, you should think about spending a little extra time on your podcast cover art.
What you should remember while when designing your podcast cover is that you should use images you use are related to your podcast. That might seem really obvious but this is a great with you to play on the name or brand of your podcast.
For example, podcasters who interview successful or skilled people such as Tim Ferris have an image or photograph of themselves as Tim Ferris is his own brand. There are also podcasts such as those that I myself listen to like the Myths and Legends podcast that has an image of a castle on the cover art.
Having a great image will definitely help your podcast to stand out in iTunes or wherever else you upload your podcast. Remember that often this image is just seen as a small thumbnail on people’s phones so you want to choose a graphic that is simple enough that it is clear when it’s really small.
Likewise, you want to make sure that it looks good when it’s large because in some marketplaces you will see a full size image. You want a good balance between being simple and being informative enough to explain what it is that your podcast is all about. Keep in mind this is also probably the only image that your listeners will see related to your podcast so keep it general enough to cover any topic that you might discuss on your show.
Because most of your listeners will only ever see a thumbnail of your podcast cover art, try not to add too much text. Also try to limit your font types to two or less so that it doesn’t confuse or detract from the image of your cover art.
If you’re not a designer, in order to look more professional you might want to outsource this task so that people see your podcast as professional. Often people will judge your podcast content based off of your cover art rather than taking the time to read the description of what your podcast is about. Make sure your designer adheres to all of the requirements outlined by iTunes or wherever you planning to upload your podcast.
The SOP provided outlines all of these requirements. You can pass this document directly to your designer or freelancer.
WHAT IS A CONTENT CALENDAR?
Whether you’re working with a group of freelancers or you’re going solo to produce content for your site, it’s easy to get bogged down with content. You can easily keep track of who is writing an article for you, on what subject and at what stage they are at in the writing process with a content calendar.
A content calendar is also known as an editorial calendar. Not only will it keep you and your content more organised, but it also creates accountability for yourself and other team members. Everyone knows their deadlines and responsibilities which in turn helps streamline your business. If you set dates for when you will publish your blog posts, you’re more likely to write and post on those days if they’re scheduled in your calendar.
HOW DO YOU USE A CONTENT CALENDAR?
My editorial calendar is often where I start my day. I know what content I need to work on or at what stage another article might be at. Although I use Google Docs and often use a filename to quick search a document, having all the links and information for every single piece of content allows me to quickly access documents for all our blog posts, podcast notes or video scripts all from one place.
In the beginning, it may be easy to remember what content that you have written about in your blog but consider that you may be running this blog for several years or even decades if you’re successful, so you may not remember all the topics that you’ve covered months or years down the line. A content calendar is a quick way to sift through all the content that you’ve already posted to make sure that you avoid duplicate posts on the same topic. You can do a quick search by using the ‘find’ tool in Google Docs.
Of course, you can always add other content as well as blog content, however, I like to keep my various different mediums in separate tabs of the same spreadsheet. You can easily add a new tab to the template by clicking the + button on the left-hand side. Some of my additional tabs include video, podcast and pages for the site. However, I keep my social media separated because it’s quite extensive and this is something I outsource to a freelancer using a Social Media Schedule.
I often use our editorial calendar to brainstorm ideas for future blog posts, podcasts etc. I may have a random idea and just add them to the calendar without including a publishing date or even started writing any content. It’s great to to go back through the the ideas that I’ve had as sometimes they can help prompt me in the future to write content for these ideas and titles.
Since this content calendar is a spreadsheet, it’s easy to move content around. So, even though I often use the editorial calendar to brainstorm ideas I can move my content easily so that all the content that I’m working on at present is altogether and easiest for me to view and work on.
There may be times when you have an idea for content that would be better published at a later date, especially if it is a keyword that might get a higher search during a certain holiday. For example, an idea about goal setting might be more relevant at New Year than during the summer. Some topics may have lost popularity by the time you come to write it, but there may be a chance to write something in the future, so keep these ideas for a later date.
ADDING NOTES FOR UPDATING BLOG POSTS
A content calendar is also good place to add notes about the posts that you’ve already published. For example, you may need to update images and content at a later date and you can this information to remind you in the future. You can also keep track on when your content was published, updated or may need updating again, especially if you have seasonal posts.
You might also want to use the editorial calendar as a way to highlight which posts are more popular. This will be extremely helpful for creating content that will more likely to engage your audience.
OUTSOURCING CONTENT CREATION
If you working with a team of people who are writing content for your blog, the editorial calendar is the perfect place to make sure everyone stays organised and knows when they are expected to post content. If you have freelancers who are researching or writing blog posts they can also add information so you can keep track of that progress.
You should make sure that your freelancers keep track of their work by filling in the content calendar where necessary. Forgetting to update the status of an article they are working on, this will slow down efficiency and create more work in the long run.
Even if you’re currently working as a ‘one-man band’, consider that as your blog expands you may want to add more content writers to your blog. Getting in the practice of using an editorial calendar is good exercise in staying organised and will greatly benefit any future writers who work on your blog. It is a small and easy way to look professional and make an easier transition from working on the blog by yourself to employing team members to help you. Retrospectively filling in this content is way harder than filling it in as you go. That’s why this template is extremely valuable even if you are working alone.
CUSTOMIZING YOUR CONTENT CALENDAR TEMPLATE
Although there are many paid content calendars available now, using a content calendar spreadsheet is not only free but is also easily customizable to fit your own personal (or team’s) needs. In my own editorial calendar, I use colour coded tabs so that I can easily scan through my sheets and see which posts are in the research, writing or published phase. This also means that well researched and written content never gets forgotten!
If you’re using Google Drive you can easily add the links of all your content, so that you can easily access any blog posts that are currently being written, as well as view images, audio or video files that will be part of your content.
Although I have a main sheet that I use to schedule blog posts that I’ll publish or update during the week, I also have individual sheets for each type of content. For example, this spreadsheet includes sheets for blog post, reposts, videos, podcasts and any important social media campaigns we currently have running.
You can download our Content Calendar Template by entering your email in the box above and having it send to your inbox. You can start using the content calendar immediately to organise and streamline your content creation.