Evo Terra is the guy to go to when you want reliable and solid advice on podcasting. His experience with audio broadcasting means he’s seen and done it all (or at least a lot of it). Keep reading for some of the best and freshest advice out there on the subject.
Hi Evo, do you mind giving an introduction of yourself?
Sure! I’m Evo Terra. I do lots of various things on and around the web, but I’m probably best known for co-authoring Podcasting for Dummies and starting up Podiobooks.com, a service that blends self-publishing, audio books and podcasting. My newest venture is helping to educate authors in all aspects of digital publishing. That’s called Publish Unum, and is at the domain by the same name.
So accomplished and so cool. So, how exactly did you get into podcasting?
It was inevitable, really. In October 2004, I was co-hosting a syndicated radio show. We were carried by a handful of terrestrial stations, a couple of internet radio stations, and by XM satellite radio. We were already posting the audio files of our shows on our blog. When we heard about podcasting, we found out we had all the pieces already. It was a matter of hacking the site to let the <enclosure> tag work, and suddenly, we were podcasting.
According to Podcast Alley, we were the 40th podcast. Not bad!
Not bad at all! Let’s turn our attention to the users for a second – how about from a business perspective. How can businesses use podcasts?
I make most of my living as a digital business strategist. I get asked about podcasting off and on and have for the last 6 years or so. The short answer is “you probably can’t.” I don’t say that to be some sort of purist wanting to keep evil capitalists out of the free internet. No, I say that because most businesses are terrible at creating quality content. Podcasting is simply a delivery mechanism. Media files delivered via RSS feeds. That’s it. And the deliver isn’t interesting. What is interesting is the content.
So when you ask how a business can use podcasting to their advantage, I ask a different question: what sorts of content can a business produce that makes people want to subscribe and listen/watch every time something new comes out? Because if they can’t answer that question, they shouldn’t bother with podcasting. Trust me.
Good point. When is podcasting the best medium to use?
When you’ve got a dedicated audience who’s hungry for more. And when you have the ability to continually create content. You also need an audience that’s time-shifted and mobile. YouTube is great for watching videos of cats. But if I want to keep up with the latest in astronomy, I’m not sure I’ll be checking a YouTube channel obsessively. Instead, I’d like to find an astronomer, university, or maybe a telescope manufacturer who’s creating quality stuff on a regular basis and making it available as a podcast. I can subscribe and never miss an episode. No matter where I am.
Should social media be used alongside with podcasting?
I’d say it’s required. If you’re ignoring social media (particularly Google+), you’ve missed the point. Audio is a discrete file. And discrete files are inherently shareable. What’s more effective? “Go to YouTube and search for this cool video” or “here’s a link to this cool video?” The latter, obviously. The same goes for audio. Except that there isn’t a YouTube for audio files. And that’s OK. Audio files are much smaller. And while they are much bigger than an image, email programs and social sites can easily accomodate the larger size. The trick is to make sure your audio is tagged (ID3 tags) and branded internally (intro and outro) so people who do have it shared with them know where they can get more.
How do you think podcasters should approach monetizing their content?
Give up. It’s not possible. No, I’m serious. For 99% of the people producing any sort of content, there’s no direct path to money. My neighbor has spent more than $30K on dirt bike equipments for his kids. They’re out on the dunes every weekend looking like pros and having a good time. No one expects him to get paid.
But some can. Just not you, probably. At least, not in any appreciable sense. But if you want to try, excellent! I have one piece of advice: GO PRO. All the way. You aren’t competing with other podcasters. You’re competing with other media creators. TV. Movies. Radio. Musicians. You won’t make a dime with your crappy show that cares nothing for production value. The bar has been set. Reach it. Exceed it. There is no other way.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Have fun. See you on Google+!
Thanks so much Evo. Your fresh perspective definitely gets you approaching podcasts differently. Awesome!