Before You Push “Record”
Getting Your Podcasting Ducks in a Row
Expert podcasters and broadcasters are able to just hit record and create an informative and entertaining podcast. But, that ability came after many years of practice. As a former radio broadcaster, when I was just beginning, I had to have notes. And spend the time while the music was playing to practice – often times, again and again and again – until I could get the presentation just right.
I had to “hit” the introduction of the song just right, so that when I got to the end of what I was saying, I wasn’t talking over the singing. I had to make sure that I covered all the important information (who, what, when, where, why and how) in such a way that the listener would understand, and if it was supposed to be entertaining, I had to do it in such a way as to entertain.
Those skills do not come naturally – they take time to develop. So, too, does the ability to just ad lib on a topic in one take. So, do yourself a favor – be a “Boy Scout” and “be prepared!”
YOUR PODCASTING SCHEDULE
How often will you put out a new episode? Will yours be daily? Weekly? Monthly?
Big names can get away with producing a monthly podcast and still attract a large audience. Andy Stanley produces one podcast a month in his leadership category podcast. One. And, its on the top of the charts. But, that’s Andy Stanley! Don’t expect to attract a large audience with a once-a-month podcast unless you’ve got a name as big as his already.
Weekly podcasts are useful to your audience, yet, doesn’t put too much of a burden on you as a beginning podcaster. A weekly 30 minute or so long podcast can take quite a bit of time in preparation, recording, editing, writing show notes, et cetera. But, it can be quite rewarding, as well. That’s one of the reasons your church meets on a weekly basis. It’s effective and efficient to manage.
Daily (or Weekday) podcasts are good for reinforcing an idea, subject or topic in the minds of your listeners. You can spend more time on one point of a topic, while reminding the listener of the information already covered. This is good for building relationships quickly, and for training your listener to learn the truths you are teaching.
Before you decide, why not do a test run and see how long the process takes. Realizing that the more you go through the process the easier (and quicker) the process will be, you will be able to determine which frequency you’re best able to serve your listeners with.
If you need assistance in everything but the actual prep and recording (editing, show notes, posting the podcast and show notes, finding appropriate photographic images to go with the posts, etc.) Contact us about our podcasting production services. Our low-cost services will help you maintain your schedule, and we’ll keep you up to date on the latest techniques that will help you be better podcasters in the future.
Remember, if your podcast will be covering current news items specifically geared for your audience, you might want to produce podcasts on a daily basis, at least on a weekly basis. If you’re covering evergreen topics, then frequency is not as much of an issue.
HOW LONG IS YOUR PODCAST?
Decide now how long your podcast will be. A test run will help you get a realistic idea of how long an hour, or half hour will be. When I was in radio, it was difficult to explain to advertisers that you can put a lot of information into a 30 second or one minute long commercial. Then, I’d get them to talk for a timed 30 seconds about their business. Typically, they were amazed at how quickly they ran out of things to say.
Podcasts that are over thirty minutes in length stretch attention spans. It’s typically better to produce more quantity of shorter podcasts than fewer episodes of longer lengths.
Once you get your podcast going, of course, you’ll be listening to your audience. Get their feedback, listen to them, ask questions. They’ll be glad to inform you of your performance and their needs, including the length of the podcast. Just listen.
If you’re a good communicator, and can just run off of an outline, then, by all means, use an outline. But, for the most part, you’ll want to start with a script. It’s good to use a pre-written script to keep you from rambling or doing off-topic. But, your task, as a communicator is to not read the script. Use it as a guide, knowing that the information is there in front of you if you need to glance at it.
If you’re going to be interviewing guests on your podcast, create more questions than you think you’ll need. When working in radio and TV news, I typically had about 10 more questions than I ever needed with a subject. It has paid off with huge dividends.
Sometimes, the interviewee won’t, or can’t speak on a topic – for whatever reason. But, if you find yourself with a shy or non-talkative subject, its better to have an abundance of questions to ask to find something he or she may talk about more freely.
Additionally, you may find that the subject has a little bit more time to speak with you, and you’ll need the extra questions to fill the time. This is especially beneficial, since you can save those responses and use them at a later time.
If you’re using music in your podcast, make sure you have legal permission to use it. Get written consent from the composer, artists and producers to use that music in your podcast. It’s a hassle. So, make sure you cover your bases – it’s not fun talking to lawyers about something you should’ve done in the first place.
To avoid the legal issues you have two options. (Maybe three) First, you can use music in the public domain. These are old songs that aren’t covered by copyright laws any longer. You can search for this information through the Library of Congress’ website.
Second, you can find “royalty-free” or “needle-drop” fee production music. There are several sites on the internet that provide for the purchase of downloadable music files for production purposes.
Third, you can commission someone to compose and produce a piece of music for you.
You’ll also want to make sure if you’re using information that is not original to you, that you credit the creator of the information. Provide a link to that resource, and if you’re using it directly from the original source, make sure you ask for permission to use that information in the way you intend.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Get excited about what you’re doing before you begin. Make sure you’re smiling while you’re recording. And, by all means, make sure you have that picture of the one member of your audience in front of you. Talk to that person. Don’t call his or her name out, but just talk to them. You’re listener will appreciate that you are talking directly to them!
There will be frustrations along the way. Especially when you’re just beginning. But, through these difficulties, you’ll learn how to be a better podcaster – and a better communicator. Like any other skill, it takes perseverance and practice. But, it won’t take long before you’re making excellent podcasts – quickly!
Now, you’re ready to begin – almost! You’ve gotten your topics, you’re prepared to record. But, you need to make sure you have the proper equipment ready for the process of recording and editing. Stay tuned!
To help you in this endeavor, I’m asking that you complete the following steps:
Please subscribe to my podcast, and to my weekly newsletter. By doing so, I’ll be able to send you audio and video podcasts to help you learn how to podcast your church.
If you’d like to get a jumpstart on the podcasting movement for churches, download this free e-booklet that will give you the basics of developing your podcast.
If you’d really like to get into podcasting more quickly, purchase the DeKnumi Church Podcasting Manual for $20. You’ll get a manual on how to set up your podcast, how to record it and make it sound professional, and even how to move your podcast up the chartes in the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes and other directories.
And remember, you can be DeKnumi – you can show God, today.