Welcome back to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. This episode is all about starting a podcast, because Rob is broadcasting from the Podcast Movement Conference in California. There will be two different focuses for this episode. Firstly, the emotional motivations for podcasting and secondly, the technical nitty-gritty of the process.
The most important thing when starting a podcast is to figure out your motivations: why do you want to start a podcast?
- Rob’s motivation for starting this podcast was really clear in that he has a lot of concepts and viewpoints that are unique to him, and he was presenting them to the world with Facebook posts and courses. However, he got sick and tired of running courses because it is a challenge to get butts on seats consistently and organize all the minutia of the course. Rob loves teaching, but the process of organizing it was annoying enough that he wanted to stop. However, he still had lots of ideas so the podcast seemed like a good idea.
- Knowing he wanted to say something, Rob made an agreement with himself to do a 6-week trial run and it was pretty much a podcast disaster because of the sound quality, or lack thereof. However, he wanted to say something, learned how to improve the sound and got enough positive feedback from his initial crew of fans to keep building it from there.
- Tuff Love Groupies! Morgan of course is a consistent muse, Rob’s Mom tunes in to every single show, Elvis and Jo always show up and there are about 7 or 8 other people that show up consistently enough that Rob feels responsible for their 10am PST to keep him motivated. Knowing they’re out there has been enough to keep going. All of us have something to say but many of us are afraid to say it, so we sit on the fence and don’t do anything. So the first step is to figure out what your motivation is for starting a podcast.
- A second benefit and motivation for Rob has been using the podcast for his platform. It’s a platform for his book and a source of material for marketing by extending the reach via the Zoom videos and sharing them on social media. The video of the ‘why I don’t teach men to touch anymore’ video had about 15,000 views on Facebook which is the most successful video Rob’s had. When you do a podcast, you’re creating content and we’re in a content hungry world. We’re always looking for content and there is a way to leverage the podcast into blogs as well. It’s a powerful way to get the things out of Robs brain and into the world.
- The third motivation for Rob in podcasting is it scratches an itch. Just like Christian Slater in the move Talk Radio, it has been a platform to speak his truth, which is an itch Rob wanted to scratch.
- Every podcaster Rob has listened to has said there’s almost always a long lead time between starting the podcast and having listeners. Rob had 300 downloads per month for a long time, about 10 per day. Then it rose to 500, then 600, then 800, then 1000 downloads per month and now it’s at 8000 downloads per month but it took over 18 months. If you’re in this for the short term game, it’s not the right game for you.
- One challenge with Tuff Love is that it doesn’t quite have a niche. That’s confusing to people because it’s hard to describe and market so many different topics. It’s a challenge to try to find a clearer niche without cutting out all the different buckets of topics that Rob loves to teach on.
Here are some pragmatic points of how to build the podcast.
- A podcast is an audio recording that you upload to the web so that people can listen, so you need a way to record it.
- The most important thing is the microphone so invest in one. Rob started with no mic, then moved to an AudioTechnica AT4040 and recently bought a Shure SM7B. You need to know how to properly use your microphone too, like which direction and how close to speak—to get the best sound. It will diminish the reach of your podcast if the sound sucks.
- You need a way to attach your microphone to your recording device. There are a lot out there, including the Zoom recorder, or you can connect it directly to your computer and you will need an XLR cable and an XLR-USB connector. Rob started with a Blue Icicle and brought an M-Audio M track 2×2. There are many configurations out there and you need to figure out what is best for your budget.
- Figure out a way to record. Rob’s format for running a show is he uses Zoom because he’s a crazy podcaster that does a live show. Not many people do their podcasts live, most people record by themselves and then edit a lot. Rob uses Zoom to transmit the show out to the world so people can log on and listen, but it also records the video and the audio for future use.
- Put your audio file into an audio editing software. There are many out there, but Rob uses GarageBand, which is free. Audacity is also free and oldschool.
- Then he gets music and puts them into his show. There are many ways to get free or paid stock music for podcasts, but Rob likes to evoke feelings using karaoke tracks of popular songs that he finds on YouTube.
- Rob adds what’s called a bumper, which is usually him introducing the episode and sharing about what went well or something amazing the guest said. Then he exports the show from Garageband into an MP3 file.
- There are all sorts of podcasts out there. Tuff Love is more talking and reporting, but there are some, like This American Life and The Butterfly Effect, which are more story based and in a documentary style with more editing and music to set the mood and emotions. You can do whatever you want with podcasts and get really creative. Think outside the box and think about what would be really fun for you.
- Once you have your MP3 file, you can upload it to your website and/or a service that will host your podcast. Rob uses Blurberry to host his podcast, and another one is Libsyn, or SoundCloud. They’re services that are designed to handle thousands of downloads.
- Rob also uses a WordPress plugin called PowerPress, which allows you to listen to the podcast straight from the Tuff Love website, and also it pushes the show automatically to iTunes and Stitcher. This is important because iTunes is the most common place people listen to podcasts, so Rob highly recommends PowerPress as it does all the work for you.
- The main way to market is to be consistent, which means you need to do it every week. Rob records every week and then publishes on Monday so people can learn to expect the show each week. The best way to build your audience is consistency and the best way to increase downloads is to get people to subscribe so it automatically downloads each new show.
- Use social media marketing, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to spread the podcast.
- Figure out what your niche and topic is. Tuff Love has been pretty consistent in the structure of having a rant and then doing live coaching at the end, as well as having guest stars on too. Guests are great too because they will hopefully promote the show to their audience as well.
- Think about your motivation in terms of downloads. If you have small numbers, focus on the fact that you’re helping those 50-100 people each month. Think about the impact you have.
- Passion comes across, and so does lack of passion. People will feel if you’re phony, so find something you’re passionate about. It’s ok to change course after starting. Continue to work on your brand and evolve with it.
- The bare minimum branding you need to get started is the name that works and is slightly unique. You want to do a little research to see what else has similar names and ensure that the name isn’t being used for another podcast.
- Then you need a logo. Rob had his friend do it, but he also recommends Fiverr.com because there are so many artists out there willing to do your artwork for you on the cheap. Over time Rob has expanded his branding.
- Rob has a set structure where he has guests on the 2nd and last Thursdays of the month, and the other weeks of the month are his solo rants.
- Listen to other podcasts, borrow and steal ideas, get inspired and creative. You don’t have to do this all in a vacuum.
- There are different lengths of podcasts. Some are 10 or 15 minutes, some are 5 – 6 hours like Hardcore History. Rob recommends going shorter rather than longer because people will make decisions about whether to listen or not based on that.
- Reviews on iTunes are really important because it increases the visibility of your show. When you first launch if you get a lot of good ratings and reviews you can be put in New and Noteworthy on the iTunes list.
- Remember, you don’t have to do it live like Rob. You can record it and then delete it if you hate it, you can edit in post-production and find the balance between the two.
In summary, figure out why you want to do it, get a good mic and just do it. Be consistent, fall in love with it and go from there!
Books about podcasting that Rob recommends