This May Be the Fastest Way to Grow Your Audience!

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Just as guest blogging has long been one of the fastest ways to grow the readership of a blog, podcast guesting (being a guest on another podcast) just might be the fastest way to grow the audience of your podcast.

Mark Deal of Podcast Guest Academy joins us with tips on how to land interviews on other shows to drive listeners back to your podcast.

Learn more about Podcast Guest Academy here

Notes from Kent:

Podcasting is the new blogging, and “podcast guesting” is the new “guest blogging”. When you interview a guest on your show, you’re sharing your audience with that guest. Similarly, when you’re a guest on another show, that podcaster is sharing their audience with you. It’s one of the most powerful tools available to you for growing your audience.

So how do you land interviews on other podcasters?

First of all, start with common sense. You’re a podcaster so it shouldn’t be hard to put yourself in the shoes of another podcaster. If you interview guests on your show, what kind of guest pitches do you respond to? Which ones are turnoffs? Approach other podcasters the way you like to be approached by potential guests.

Beyond that, Mark Deal gives us several terrific tips:

  • Don’t make an interview request all about you.
  • Listen to their show and identify things you like about it.
  • Talk about why you like the host/show, then talk a little bit about your expertise and “ask for the date,” so to speak.
  • Mention in your initial outreach that you’re very happy to share the interview with your audience.
  • Keep your initial outreach simple. Don’t include links, PDF attachments, etc. In the first email, just make your call to action a simple question: Would you like to have me on your show?
  • After a week or so, follow up. If you don’t hear anything back, follow up again in another 3 or 4 days.

Mark also runs through a rough template for your first-contact email when you reach out to a fellow podcast host.

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When You Interview a Guest, Do You Legally Own That Content? (You Might Be Surprised)

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When you interview a guest on your podcast, you might assume that you automatically own that interview and its content because it’s on your podcast. But you might be wrong. “The Podcast Lawyer,” Gordon Firemark joins us with insight and advice on how to make sure you, and you alone, own the rights to your podcast interviews.

Learn more about Gordon Firemark and his resources at PodcastLawForms.com.

Get Gordon’s FREE podcast release form at PodcastRelease.com.

NOTES from Kent:

Most podcasters assume any interview content or audio within their show legally belongs to them. That is not automatically the case in every instance. Gordon Firemark is here to explain when you’re likely to solely own the content of your interview, when you might not, and what you can do to ensure that you own exclusive rights to your content.

According to Gordon, if you’re the one handling all of the recording, you’re likely (in U.S. courts) to be deemed the legal owner. However, if you’re recording a “double-ender,” where your guest is recording their portion of the interview locally and uploading the audio, he/she could make a strong case that you have joint ownership of the content. But there’s one way to be certain that you, and you alone, own your content: Use a release form and get it in writing!

Quote of the Day:

“Think small to grow big. Keep your eye on the bigger picture but don’t slip on attention to detail.” — Richard Branson

 

 

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Feeling Discouraged About Your Download Stats? DON’T!

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If you ever look at your download stats and feel discouraged, you’re not alone. Most podcasters experience that. But here are two big reasons why you should be encouraged and NOT disheartened at all! Longtime Rachel Guinn joins us with some encouraging words.

Learn more about Rachel Guinn and the D.U.H. podcast at DuhWebsite.com

NOTES from Kent:

Most podcasters know the feeling. You log into your hosting account, pop open your stats and hope to see your download numbers ballooning … or at least edging upward. Instead, you walk away wondering if your podcast will ever catch on quite the way you’d hoped.

When you feel this way, chances are you’re getting caught in the comparison trap. You’re comparing your download stats to where you hoped or expected them to be at this point and/or to the audiences of similar shows (or what you think their audience may be). If you feel your numbers don’t compare favorably, it’s only natural to feel disheartened.

But you’re probably doing better than you think you are, and today we’ll give you a couple of reasons to keep your chin up!

First of all, there are benefits, both personal and professional, to podcasting that have little or nothing to do with your download numbers. We’ll talk a little bit about those benefits. (And, by the way, download statistics don’t tell you everything you need to know about the growth of your audience.)

Second, there absolutely ARE steps you can take to increase your numbers. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s just a matter of what you must do to increase your audience.

Keep at it! You got this!!

Quote of the Day:

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

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BONUS: One Critical Question Every Podcaster Must Ask … and Our Answer

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Here is the one critical question that YOU and I, and every podcaster must ask themselves immediately and continually. And we’ll explain how and why the answer to this question is leading us to change some things with this podcast.

Mentioned in this episode:

School of Podcasting with Dave Jackson podcast

Podcast Pontifications podcast

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Big News from Apple Podcasts is Good News for YOUR Show – News Update with James Cridland

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Two big recent announcements from Apple could be good news for your podcast! That’s the word from PodNews.net Editor James Cridland. He also explains what a recent study revealed about podcast statistics, and how you can tell whether your podcast stats are trustworthy.

Notes from Kent:

James explains Apple’s recent announcement about its shakeup of its podcast categories and why that’s good news, particularly for niche podcasts. And he discusses the Apple Podcast app’s big shift to the homescreen within Apple’s new IOS. James also discusses a recent study from Daniel J. Lewis, which accidentally uncovered a significant problem with the way some podcast hosts count and report podcast statistics.

James Cridland is a media consulatant and conference speaker who speaks to audiences around the globe about changes and trends in media and podcasting. Learn more at James.cridland.net.

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Podcast Movement Co-Founder Jared Easley on How They Built the World’s Biggest Podcasting Event

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Podcast Movement Co-Founder Jared Easley opens up about early struggles, the times he thought about quitting, and what it took to build the biggest podcasting event on the planet. We also get the inside scoop on what will likely be the largest event of its kind ever: Podcast Movement 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Learn more about Podcast Movement at PodcastMovement.com

Notes from Kent:

You may already know that Podcast Movement is the biggest podcasting event in the world to learn how to podcast or take your podcast to the next level. But today, to quote the late, great Paul Harvey, you’ll learn the rest of the story.

Success didn’t come easy for Jared Easley and Co-Founder Dan Franks. After Jared effectively worked two full-time jobs for a year and a half to make the second Podcast Movement event in 2015 a success, they found themselves $40,000 in the hole. Jared thought about calling it quits, but they stuck with it and overcame the challenges to make the event what it is today.

Despite his eventual success, he’s as down to earth as anyone you’ll ever meet. I had a chance to meet Jared in person last month and I was immediately struck by his approachability and humility. If you’re a brand new podcaster with zero listeners, he’ll interact with you the same way he talks to the biggest names in the business. He’s not the kind of guy who shakes your hand while peering over your shoulder to see if there’s anyone more important in the room. It’s not false humility. He’s the real deal. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know Jared in this episode as much I enjoyed talking to him.

We’ll also get the inside scoop here on what to expect from Podcast Movement 2019 and how attendees can get the very most from this event.

Mentioned during this episode:

Starve The Doubts podcast

Lore podcast

Serial podcast

How I Built This podcast

TED Radio Hour podcast

Bight Sessions podcast

Ear Hustle podcast

Challenging Stage:

One challenge today: Go to a podcasting event! Podcast Movement is the largest event of its kind, but it’s not the only one. There are a number of great podcast conferences you can attend. But if nothing else, simply get out to a local meetup! You’ll get a lot out of talking with other podcasters. Inspiring and learning from one another is a powerful thing!

Quote of the Day:

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” — C.S. Lewis

 

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The ONE Big Mistake You’re Making with Your Podcast Artwork

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Chances are you’re making one big mistake with the design of the podcast “artwork” that represents your show in directories like Apple Podcasts. We’ll tell you what that mistake is and how to fix it so that your show jumps off the page at potential listeners.

Notes from Kent:

Suppose I were to tell you that your podcast artwork “is a work of art!” You would probably take that as a compliment.

But you shouldn’t.

I’m not trying to be mean here, but the problem is with the very term “artwork.” You see, your podcast artwork is not art. Its purpose is not to be expressive or to look pretty. The purpose of the podcast artwork that represents your show in directories is to: 1) grab attention and 2) drive the potential listner to take action.

Well designed podcast artwork more closely resembles a billboard than art. It should be simple, uncluttered and make effective use of contrast to grab the eye.

Also keep in mind that people may be viewing your podcast artwork at an extremely small size. When I search any term or category in the Spotify app on my Galaxy S8 phone (not a particularly small phone), the images in the search results are physically smaller than a dime. If your podcast image doesn’t work at this size, it doesn’t work.

Always shrink your podcast artwork down to that size and judge it at that scale before approving it.

Take a look at the images below. If you’re viewing this on a large screen, shrink the images to a size smaller than a dime (hit command or ctrl + the minus key to view images at a smaller size). You’ll quickly see that some of the images still pop while others become completely unreadable and unnoticeable.

If you’re reading this on your phone, you might actually need to zoom in just a bit.

For me, How to Be Awesome at Your Job and Startup Stories are the clear winners from these two screenshots.

The winners here? On the left it’s The Comedy Button, and it’s not even close. It’s simple, uncluttered, bright colors, stark contrasts and it features an attention-grabbing object (the red button). On the right, News Beat is my winner, but Rogue Theory isn’t bad either.

Okay, one more set …

2000 Books clearly stands out more than the others on the left, particularly when the images are scaled down smaller than a dime. On the right, it’s Household Name.

Mentioned during this episode:

The How to Be Awesome at Your Job podcast

The Household Name podcast

The Mixergy – Startup Stories podcast

Quote of the Day:

 

 

 

 

 

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Grow Your Audience with One “Overlooked, Transformative Tactic”

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Today we’re stealing (with permission) an incredible value bomb from successful author, speaker and podcaster Jay Acunzo. Doing this one thing is something he calls “the single-best decision I’ve ever made.” It’s simple, powerful, and anyone can do it … but few podcasters do.

Mentioned during this episode:

MarketingShowrunners.com blog

The Unthinkable podacst

Author and speaker Jay Acunzo

Notes from Kent:

This is the kind of advice that can separate the average from the next-level performers. Seriously. Find people who perform at a very high level and figure out what they do differently. That’s what we’re doing today. Jay Acunzo (and John Lee Dumas) give us incredibly valuable advice here. Most podcasters don’t do this. So you just have to figure out if you want to be “most podcasters” or something more.

Quote of the day:

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Google is Changing How People Find YOUR Podcast … and Other Big News with James Cridland

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James Cridland of PodNews.net catches us up on the biggest developments in the podcast industry. He also tells us what to expect in the months ahead and how all of it impacts YOUR podcast.

Sign up for free PodNews newsletter at PodNews.net.

And learn more about James Cridland at James.Cridland.net.

Notes from Kent:

It’s really important for us podcasters to stay in formed about what’s changing in our industry. And there’s no one better to learn from than James Cridland. The info here is fantastic, and everything sounds cooler with a British accent!

I was shocked to find out how much cash Spotify has poured into podcasting. This industry is exploding, folks! It’s becoming hypercompetitive, which means we podcasters have to continue to step up our game!

Challenging Stage:

Challenge #1: Get your podcast out far and wide. If you’re one of those podcasters who only submits your espisodes to Apple … you’ve got to fix that asap. Start with Apple, Spotify and Google Play, but then get your podcast into as many apps as possible. Make it easy for listeners to find and access your show wherever and however they want to.

Challenge #2: Sign up for the PodNews newsletter. James isn’t paying me to tell you this. 🙂  Seriously, do it. Stay in the know about what’s happening in our industry!

Heard within this episode:

Luminary podcasts (platform)

Spotify podcasts (platform)

Soundtrap (“one-stop shop” for podcast creation)

Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 (This is an Amazon affiliate link to the Kobo e-reader)

Quote of the Day:

Remember: In this context, even if you don’t charge for your podcast, your “customers” are the podcast listeners.

 

 

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There Are Two Kinds Of Microphones. Which One’s Right For You?

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For podcasters, there are two primary types of microphones. On today’s Tune-Up edition of Fast Lane Podcast University, we’ll ask Chris Curran of the Podcast Engineering School which one is right for you and why.

Learn more about Chris Curran and the Podcast Engineering School at podcastengineeringschool.com.

And hear the latest episode of The Podcast Engineering Show here.

You’ll find a full transcript of this episode below.

NOTES:

For podcasters, there are two primary types of microphones: dynamic and condenser.

Condenser mics:

There are diffent kinds of condenser microphones and, of course, many different models. But generally speaking, condenser microphones capture a wider frequency range and are more sensitive than dynamic mics. They often produce, as Chris Curran put it, a more “high definition” sound.

However, the sensitivity of condenser mics can be a problem for many podcasters. They tend to capture small sounds you may not even notice until you listen back to the recording. Condensers are designed for use in a well sound-treated studio.

Condensers also usually require external “phantom” power, meaning they must be plugged into a mixer, USB interface or other device designed to provide power to condenser microphones.

Dynamic mics:

As with condensers, there is a wide range of dynamic microphones on the market. Dynamics are generally more durable. They’re also more forgiving than condensers. They don’t capture as much background sounds or even small clicks or other noises you might unknowingly make with your mouth.

Some dynamic microphones produce a brighter sound than others. In my opinion, dynamic microphones are at their best when used in conjunction with a microphone pre-amp, such as the dbx 286s or the ART ProMPAII

Dynamic mics are typically quieter than condensers, and pre-amps help to boost the signal, while also giving you options to tweak and brighten the sound.

However, a pre-amp is not necessary, particularly if you’re using a quality condenser mic. And some podcasters achieve a nice sound without a pre-amp using only a relatively low-cost dynamic mic.

And unlike condensers, dynamic microphones do not require external power.

As Chris Curran notes in this episode, for most podcasters, a dynamic microphone is your best and safest choice.

Quote of the Day:


Keep moving! Don’t let fear, uncertainty or perfectionism keep you from taking constant action on your podcast. You’ll learn from successes and mistakes. You’ll learn by DOING! Keep the momentum rolling!

Mentioned during this show:

All links below are Amazon Associate links. If you happen to purchase via these links it supports the show and we greatly appreciate it! We will never post a link to a product we don’t believe in. These are all good products.

Electro Voice RE-20 Cardioid Microphone (dynamic)

Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Episode transcript:

KENT: Welcome into our very first Tune-Up edition of Fast Lane Podcast University! I’m Kent Covington.

And Tune-Ups—just to explain what we’re doing here—these are shorter versions of the show, usually very focused on one narrow topic or particular lesson or thought. So we’re trying to keep these focused short, sweet and to the point. And today we’re going to explain the two main types of microphones for podcasters. So speaking broadly, there are really just two kinds, and we’re going to simplify it and explain what the strengths and weaknesses are of each so that you can understand what’s right for you and what’s going to get you sounding great.

And here to explain all of that is somebody you’ll be hearing a good bit on this show. It is Chris Curran with the Podcast Engineering School. Aand that, as the name would suggest, is a school that teaches you how to become a podcast engineer. So that’s how to be an expert at recording and editing audio, which is of course a growing field these days.

But Chris also has a long resume as a recording studio engineer in the music industry, and he’s just a really smart guy all the way around.

So let’s jump right in. Chris, how you doing sir?

CHRIS: Wonderful. Thanks for uh, inviting me.

KENT: Absolutely, yeah! So, all right, there are two main types of microphones that we need to know about as podcasters. What are they?

CHRIS: Yeah, for podcasting it really comes down to dynamic and condenser. Condensers are very, very sensitive. They’ll pick up a lot more background noise and room noise and just way more sensitive, even little mouth clicks and all that stuff.

Dynamic mics are not as sensitive, and that’s why typically they’re good for broadcasting and podcasting. And dynamics can usually accept a higher sound pressure level, which means you can be louder. They can accept a louder signal before distorting. So with dynamic mics, that’s why it’s good to get close to them because they pick up less of the room, but then they can also handle a louder signal. So when you get close to it, the signal to noise ratio is higher, which means that your voice is louder and the room noise is much lower.

KENT: So if you’re not in a a well sound treated room or an actual studio, homemade or otherwise, if you’re not in a place that’s well sound treated to block out noises and cut down and reflections and echo and all of that, then a dynamic is is probably the way to go.

So what’s the upside of a condenser microphone if you are in a studio or a well sound treated space? Are there any advantages to a condenser microphone?

CHRIS: Yeah, condensers in general are, are much more articulate. So it’s more, I would say, lifelike. If you heard a dynamic versus a condenser, the condenser would just sound sharper and clearer, almost like high definition clarity. It’s subtle, but it’s, but it’s there.

On music albums, when singers are in a studio, they always use condensers, but they’re the really expensive ones that sound awesome. And of course they’re in a quiet environment. So if you’re ever going to sing lead vocals on an album, then definitely you would want to condenser. But of course a quiet studio as well.

KENT: So would you say for most podcasters that a dynamic microphone is probably the way to go?

CHRIS: Yeah, and there’s a lot of good dynamic mics. So there’s almost no need to go condenser just for a podcast. Okay. It’s really not a need. So it’s almost like why, why risk all that noise and nonsense when you can just get a good dynamic and you’ll sound great.

KENT: All right, so what are we looking at here in terms of price? What does it cost to get a, a good condenser microphone versus a good dynamic?

CHRIS: A good condenser probably would start at about a thousand or maybe 800 bucks. Whereas on the dynamic side you can get the, you know, the Sure SM7B for $400 and you can get the Electro-Voice RE-20 $450, and those are the two best, typically the two best, dynamic microphones for broadcast and podcasting.

KENT: Okay. Yeah. And those are microphones, the ones you mentioned, with long-established reputations. And I’ve used an RE-20 most of my career for a couple of decades. But you can get a pretty good sounding mic for even less than that. Right?

CHRIS: Correct. And here’s the thing, I have a client—I’ve been producing her show for three years. Out of all my clients, she gets the most downloads by far. She’s very popular in her field. She’s killing it. She uses a $65 ATR-2100 to this day, but she has good mic technique. That helps a lot.

KENT: Oh yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that’s a good topic for another day. We’ll have to have you back on to talk about that sometime soon; about mic technique and what that means. But Chris, thanks for helping us out today, man!

CHRIS: Yeah, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

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KENT: Alright, that again was Chris Curran, and you can find him at PodcastEngineeringSchool.com. And he’s got a really cool “Daily Goodie,” a free a tip that he puts out every day on his website, so check that out. Also, check out his podcast, which is the Podcast Engineering Show. And you can find that on all of the major podcast platforms, I believe. And we’ll have the links, all of that, of course, on our website at FastLanePodcastU.com.

But we recorded that conversation a little while back, and I will let you in on the secret. Chris mentioned the RE-20 microphone, which, as I said, I’ve used for many, many years. It’s a microphone made by Electro-Voice. It’s a great microphone, and it’s been a standard in broadcasting for years and years and years. And I’ve got one right here. It’s sitting two feet away from my left foot as I talk to you right now. But I’m actually speaking to you on an MXL cardioid condenser microphone. It’s an MXL 770 that currently lists on as of the time of this recording, it’s listing on Amazon for $78 bucks. And I actually bought this microphone for my daughter because she’s sings in and we’re building a little studio for her in her room. And I got this for her and I tried it out, and I liked it better.

Now, I’m not [processing] this audio [on the way into my computer]. I don’t have a preamp. I’m not using processing or anything. Maybe if I did, I would like the RE-20 a little better, giving it a bit more clarity. But with the microphone going straight into the USB interface and then into the computer, I actually liked the sound of this MXL condenser better than the $400 microphone. And hey, listen, I’m open minded. I’m just trying different things out.

Now again, the thing is with with a condenser is—I am in a sound treated studio. I’m in a heavily sound treated room, and so I don’t have to worry about outside noises. I don’t have to worry about reflections and echo and all of that. And that’s key if you’re going to use a condenser.

But the point here is that you can still get a really good sound out of something that is pretty inexpensive, and the same is true for a dynamic. Again, I agree 100% with Chris that if you are not in a well sound treated space, you want to go with a dynamic microphone, but you don’t have to spend several hundred dollars on a mic to sound really good. It’s just not something you need to be all that stressed out about because there are microphones out there on almost any budget that’ll have you sounding good.

And then the other part of that really is, and it’s a conversation for another day, but you know, you’re recording space, your mic technique, which again, we’ll talk about another day—just keeping a consistent distance from the microphone, being in a good space where it doesn’t sound like you’re talking in a tin can, and stuff like that. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money though. There are a lot of options out there for a good microphone that’ll fit almost any budget.

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All right, we’re going to leave you today with a quote.

Our quote today comes from Tony Robbins and here it is:

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self fulfilling prophecy.”

— Tony Robbins

So the key word here is momentum. Just get to work! I mean whatever you’re doing in your podcast, if you have a business, or in your life, just keep moving forward and keep the momentum going! Keep going, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Let go of the perfectionism. Take the action, get it out there, get your voice out there, get your thoughts out there, get your podcast out there. Take action, keep the momentum rolling!

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All right, if you are enjoying the show, please subscribe to it. That would be awesome! You can do that at our website, FastLanePodcastU.com. Just click the subscribe link there at the top. And we’ve got links for Apples, Stitcher, Spotify, about a half dozen different platforms there. That’s FastLanePodcastU.com, and just click subscribe.

That’s it for today. Thanks so much for listening! We’ll talk to you next time.

 

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