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Welcome to Season 2 of The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson, where we give you information that you can immediately implement to increase your influence and market your books more successfully. This month, we are focusing on the topic of podcasts. In this episode, we are joined by Carey Green, Founder of Podcast Fast Track, Consultant, Speaker, and podcaster. 

About Carey Green

Becky: Today is a little bit special because we have Carey Green with us and Carey and his team happened to be the producers of the audio for our podcast. So we’ve gotten a little bit meta in these last few episodes talking about podcasts and how they can be a help in boosting your book. And today, we want to talk about the idea of should you start a podcast for your book and promoting it? And if so, what does it take to get there?

So before we dive in, would you be willing to share a little bit, Carey, about your background and your work in the world so our audience can get a sense of who you are and what you do?

Carey: Absolutely. I am, most of all, a follower of Christ. My past reflects that. I was a pastor for 20 years and so, after retiring from pastoral ministry, I had to find a way to put food on the table. I had a radio background as well, so podcasting was kind of a natural fit into that, and digital audio made it really easy. I began serving clients doing podcast editing, and it just took a life of its own in a way. Many people like you, Becky, and others who had the need for professional help to come along behind the scenes and get the audio done, really just came on board. We’ve got over 50 clients now and are working hard to make great content every week.

Becky: Fantastic. So would you tell us the name of your podcast and also the name of the company that does this audio production that you’re talking about?

Carey: Absolutely. The company is called Podcast Fast Track. My podcast is called Podcastification.

What makes a great podcast?

Becky: So you’ve worked on a lot of podcasts, you’ve produced a lot of podcasts, you’ve hosted a lot of podcasts, tell us, Carey, what makes a great podcast?

Carey: A great podcast is made by great content. You’ve got to have something that is helpful to your target audience, whoever they are. And helpful doesn’t necessarily mean practical, how-to steps. Helpful could be entertainment. Helpful could be some form of humor, that’s helping people laugh off the stress of a day. So helpful content is the main ingredient and then it has to be presented well, in a way that’s not harmful to the ears, not unenjoyable to listen to, but also is communicated in a way that’s effective and gets the point across.

What is important to consider before starting a podcast?

Becky: So if I have listeners today who have thought about starting their own podcast, what are some things that anyone should consider before embarking on this adventure?

Carey: I think, first of all, you need to think through a couple of really key things.

  1. Who is the audience you’re trying to help? 
  2. What is the message you are uniquely qualified to speak about that they need to hear? 

When those two are coupled together in a unique way, you find your audience over time, and you find your voice over time. And just like writing books, you have to find your voice in podcasting. You find your stride in that audience comes around, and your unique perspective resonates with them and you’re off to the races.

Becky: So thinking about my own experience, Carey, that we started our podcast, I think it was last year. We’re about 50 episodes in, maybe a few more than that by the time this episode airs, and it definitely took me a while to find my stride. When you and I first met, we had talked about me doing short podcast episodes, like five minutes long, where I’d give some book marketing tips, and I hated it. I hated recording my own voice, my own ideas, and it really opened up for me when we began to bring guests onto the show. So that advice really resonates with me, because you definitely can’t record one or two podcasts and decide it’s not for you.

Carey: Yeah, and that’s the beautiful thing about podcasting, is podcast listeners are kind of used to creators iterating as they go, and getting better as they go. And so often, you’re able to make a transition if you need to make a transition without much effect on your audience, except that they’re served better.

Becky: Any other considerations? I’d be curious for you to share with our listeners about the time commitment that may be required from starting a podcast.

Carey: Yeah, well, this definitely depends on the person, because some people are able to organize their thoughts more quickly than others and put together a plan for each episode. But I would say, on average, you’re going to need at least an hour to two per episode, just for the creation of an outline that you’re going to follow. Reaching out to any guests that you may want to have on the show, compiling resources that you need in order to speak about a topic. I mean, there are all kinds of things that could go into that preparation. Then depending on the length of the episode, you’re going to need recording time as well. So all of those things put together can be one to two hours. And then if you’re going to do the editing yourself, you’re going to do show notes or blog posts to go along with it, promotional materials, all of those kinds of things that go out on social media, those will require extra time as well. So those are the things to consider when it comes to time commitment. I do know some people who just turn on their podcast app and record and shoot it off to the world. And to me, those kinds of podcasts are not what we described at the beginning, where they’re enjoyable and helpful. They usually are just kind of rambling in or not really that beneficial to anyone.

Becky: So what do you think about the scripted podcast compared to the unscripted podcast? And when I say scripted, I mean, you actually write out the words on a script, you read them off, it’s planned, possibly rehearsed. I know that I’ve listened to some very highly produced podcasts and I assume there must be a script somewhere, even if it seems like the person is speaking extemporaneously. So how much formality is required to get great content?

Carey: Well, I think a script can be one of two things. It can be either an outline that liberates you to not have to think of where you’re going as you’re speaking, but rather to be able to come back to a page that routes you in that direction, or it can be a set of handcuffs, that makes you feel just totally constrained and you don’t feel like you can be yourself. And that really is a personality issue. So scripting, I think, is something if you know how to read a script in a way that is able to sound extemporaneous, then all the better. You’re able to write out a script to get it exactly like you want and present a very good episode that’s impacting, just like writing can be impacting when the right words are chosen. But if you’re not able to do that, and you feel like you always sound like it’s canned, you may want to try just a bullet point outline and speak from the heart based on the outline and see what comes about that way.

Do you speak from the heart or from an outline? 

Becky: So I know you have a short daily podcast, Carey, where you have devotions. Is that a scripted podcast? Are you speaking from the heart or from an outline?

Carey: Yeah, great question. That particular podcast, it’s six minutes long, and it is all just straight from the heart, and that all comes from just 20 years worth of teaching every week from the Scripture. I’m able to open up passages and apply the principles I learned in seminary and all that kind of thing, and speak from the heart. But if you’re not that well versed in your topic, obviously it takes more preparation than that.

What outside support might be needed?

Becky: Thanks, Carey. So you spoke about possible ways a person might need some outside support to get a podcast going, could you go through those in a bit more detail?

Carey: Yeah, absolutely. There are a lot of different ways that professionals in the industry can serve you if you’re looking to get a podcast started. Everything from strategy calls, just to think through your ideas and plan a way forward that you feel fits you, and fits the audience that you’re trying to reach, to behind the scenes editing of the audio, creating blog posts to go with it, creating of social media elements to help you publish your episodes, all of those things can be provided by service providers. 

How much of that you actually need? Well, it depends mainly on your bandwidth, timewise, and your desire to learn audio editing, and those kinds of things. I personally don’t think decent audio editing is hard to learn. I just think it’s time-consuming to learn and many people just really don’t have the inclination or the interest in doing that. And so that’s why people like us exist.

What is a typical budget for podcasting?

Becky: So, if our listeners are considering embarking on a podcast journey to start a podcast to promote their book or their business, what might be a typical budget, if a person is more leaning toward done for you, rather than DIY podcasting?

Carey: Great question. The budget could be anywhere from $50 per episode to $300 per episode, depending on the amount of work that you’re wanting to be done. On the lower end of the scale, you’re going to receive kind of what you would expect for the lower end of a scale in anything, it’s going to be lower quality, it’s not going to be done as professionally, it’s perhaps even going to have errors in the work. And that’s not to smear any other services, it’s just you get what you pay for in this kind of service. So what I would expect your listeners are really looking for is something that reflects their brand in a professional way and that’s gonna run probably somewhere from $120 to $300 per episode, depending on services.

What equipment might be needed/helpful?

Becky: Thanks for sharing that. So what equipment might a podcaster need to get set up? And before we started recording, I was confessing that I invested in equipment and now I just use my everyday equipment. And so obviously, anyone who has a zoom account and a headset and a laptop might not necessarily have to have equipment, but what do you typically recommend?

Carey: Well like you’re saying the equipment that you’re using is definitely fine to get started, and even to continue a podcast if your content is good enough, many times the content quality will overcome the audio quality deficiencies. But what I typically recommend is some sort of a USB microphone that will plug directly into your computer and get a better sound than the speaker or the microphone rather that’s in your computer by default, and those can cost anywhere from $70 to $100. You can find really good ones within that price range. 

You’re also going to need either earbuds or headphones to prevent the sound that’s coming out of your computer from going back into your microphone, and it can create this kind of a loop of sound that sounds like an echo in the background, and so the earbuds or the headphones prevent that from happening. So you can still hear what you’re recording and speaking to the mic at the same time. Besides that you’ll need some kind of software to edit your final product if you’re going to do the editing, and there’s a great free program out there called Audacity that is a little difficult to learn, but there’s plenty of youtube videos out there teaching you how to use it so that’s definitely what I would recommend.

What are the best ways you see podcasters reaching wider audiences?

Becky: Great, thank you so much. I’m curious from your perspective what are the best ways that you see podcasters reaching wider audiences with their content? What are they doing that’s helping them expand the reach of their content?

Carey: Yeah, well, one approach that I researched this last week, just because I’ve been curious about it personally because I have a couple of fiction books that I would like to promote better. And I’ve had this idea banging around in my head for a while, but also I was researching it because I thought your audience might be interested in this. There is actually an approach that a marketer, Joe Pulizzi is his name, took up when he wrote his own fiction book. And what he did, was he recorded his entire book as podcast episodes, so one chapter per episode, and he put it out for free as a podcast. He did that pre-launch of the print copies of his book, and then what it did was it built up kind of a following that signed up for his email list, wanted to know when the main production of the book was going to go into publication, and so when that happened and he launched, he had a list to launch his book publication to and then he backed off on the podcast for free and left half of the episodes out, so he did the first half took away the second half of his book, and put a call to action episode at the very end if you want to get the audio version, you want to get the print version, etc., go to Joepulizzi.com. It was a huge success and he’s working on his second book now.

Becky: That’s a fun approach and I have had folks email me about that. We primarily promote nonfiction authors so I’m curious about what application for nonfiction there might be and then, beyond that, I’m listening and I’m thinking okay, so Joe created a podcast that created demand for his book, how did he find the audience for the podcast?

Carey: Yeah I think Joe probably had a little bit of a leg up on it because he’s such a famous person. I’m sure he put it out to his list a little bit, so in the realm that you’re talking about I think content ideas for a podcast would be, basically, every chapter of the book would have enough nuggets in it if it’s nonfiction to be able to do a number of episodes from each one. And then the promotion part really is a combination of things. There’s social media, obviously, and we all know that has varying degrees of effectiveness. If you have any kind of email list of course you want to take advantage of that, and then I always encourage people to do what I call, “calling in favors.” Think of the people you know who are very successful and would be willing to share what you’re doing with their audience, if they have one, and ask them for a special favor to you, to help you get the word out about your writing. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help in a situation like that. 

What else might someone need to consider that we haven’t talked about yet?

Becky: That is great advice. So I’m wondering what else someone who’s really starting from scratch with starting a podcast might need to consider that we haven’t talked about yet?

Carey: I think the first thing I would say is don’t be afraid of it. A lot of people get behind the microphone and get all nervous and all that and that’s one of the beautiful things about podcasting: it’s not live, you can always start again. You can edit. You can make it sound as good as you really want it to sound if you’re just patient with the process. Also, don’t feel like if you recorded it you’ve got to publish it, there’s no law that says that. I know many people who consult for podcasters, like I do, who recommend you record the first three episodes and then throw them away and do them again, because you kind of get your feet under you and you kind of get a rhythm to your speaking after a while, and in those first three just help you kind of work out the kinks, with no pressure on the line.

Becky: That’s really good advice. I wish I would’ve had that when I started. I probably would have thrown out those first three episodes. So if you’re listening today and you were not with us at the beginning of this journey, don’t listen to the first three episodes. 

Action Steps

Carey: I have a gift I’d love to give your listeners who are interested in podcasting. I’ve put together a how-to podcast step-by-step course, that walks you from A to Z all the way through. And it’s normally a $99 thing. But Becky, because it’s you, your audience gets it for free! Check out the link below!

Becky: Wow, that is such an amazing offer. Carey, thank you so much. So Carey, at the end of every podcast we always leave our listeners with a couple of action steps that they can take. And it occurs to me that the first and most important action step from this episode is to get that course for free, that’s normally $99, and really start to walk through the how-to steps that you’ve created. Do you have any other action steps that you’d like to recommend for our listeners today?

Carey: Yeah, I would say, kind of assess your own bandwidth. As we mentioned, podcasting has some time commitments involved. And so you need to know is that something I’m going to be able to commit to long term, because podcasting grows through momentum and through inertia. And so as you do more episodes of good content, you build an audience. But if you’re inconsistent, that communicates to your audience that you’re not really in it, and therefore possibly not trustworthy. And that’s not something you want to communicate, so assess your time. And if now’s not the time, that’s okay. You can always do it later.

Becky: So what would be the minimum number of episodes that someone should commit to when they’re getting started? And I know I’m throwing more questions in when we were about to wrap it up, but you know, you have so much value to offer. I want to make sure that we learn from you.

Carey: Yeah, no problem. I feel like everybody who says I’m going to do a podcast should commit to at least a year. I think it’s a year before you see any sort of inclination of what kind of audience you’re able to build, how successful it is, and whether you really like podcasting or not. Some people like it, and some people hate it. And that’s okay. We shouldn’t all be doing the same things anyway.

Becky: So a year of weekly episodes, is that what you’re recommending?

Carey: Yeah, weekly or bi-weekly. Maybe bi-weekly is half the content, obviously, but it’s still a good rhythm, and enables you to know if it’s a good fit for you. 

Resources

  • Learn more about Carey and his company Podcast Fast Track, here
  • Connect with Podcast Fast Track on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Connect with Carey Green on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Listen to Carey’s podcast, Podcastification
  • If you’re looking for an audio editing software, check out Audacity
  • You can reach out to Carey, here
  • Check out Carey’s podcast step-by-step course, which walks you from A to Z all the way through, ($99 value) free for our listeners. 

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