Posted by Russ Hughes on 21 February 2014

With worship teams and pastors looking to podcast talks, interviews and handy tips to their followers we asked Russ Hughes, the editor of one of the most successful podcasts on the web with 20,000 listeners every week, to give us his 5 top tips.

 

Take a moment to Google the word podcast or even go to iTunes and you will find that there are thousands and thousands of podcasts. This is because anyone can create a podcast, all it takes is creating an audio file, uploading it to a server and sharing it with the world. With so many podcasts how do you make sure that your podcast will be one that people want to share. Here are 5 tips from the team over at the successful podcast; Pro Tools Expert, a podcast for users of the recording software Pro Tools.

1. Be Unique, Be Passionate

Podcasts, like blogs, are best when they concentrate on a specific subject and reflect the personality of those who create them. In a world that is bombarded with 24 hour news, endless streams of social media and more entertainment channels than we can dream of, your podcast needs to be something different and not more of the same. You might think that simply putting out your church news in audio version may be a great idea and it might be for those who can’t read, but for the rest, unless it offers something extra then you may be wasting your time. So share a unique message in your own style and share it with passion as this combination is irresistible. It also helps to have a podcast intro and outro music sting, just like the BBC News or The One Show, find a talented musician to help create that for you.

2. Adding Extra Content Adds Value

Content is king, so if you want to offer your church news via a podcast then consider offering short interviews around the stuff you have in the news that week, but make that only available by the podcast. You may have had a guest speaker or worship leader for your Sunday services, consider interviewing them for a podcast special. You could offer a review of new music, TV and films from the point of view of your members. You may want to offer a question and answer session on each podcast where your community submit questions to be answered. You may want to offer specialist guests to answer those questions. They could be on managing money, family life or starting your own business. One word of caution with content, if you are going to use music or audio then make sure you own it or at least have the rights to put it on your podcast. If you don’t then you may find yourself in hot water. The rule is this - if you didn’t create the content then you will need permission to use it.

3. Plan Your Podcast

You may think a podcast is simply a case of putting up a microphone and off you go. However, ironic though it sounds, the most natural sounding podcasts take a lot of planning. Make sure you have a plan and a basic script to work from. The more people you have involved the more vital this is; you may think that banter on a podcast is fun (it can be) but having several people talking over one another can sound messy and confusing. Your basic plan should include an agreed length for each show so your listeners know what to expect. A normal podcast format would be to start with a regular intro, then a short feedback from a previous episode, leading into a main feature followed by questions. If you edit your podcast in Garageband then you can actually create chapters that the listener can skip through if they wish.

4. Use Technology To Make It Sound Amazing

Here’s some great news, everything you need to make a great podcast can be done for little or no money. You can record the podcast on FREE applications like Garageband on a Mac or Audacity for PC. Our team record a 4 person podcast from 4 separate locations using Google Hangout, this allows us to have a 4 way audio conference online and record the podcast at the same time. We all record our own high quality audio on our own machines then send the files to one guy who edits them all into a single high quality audio podcast. Even the file sharing is free using Dropbox. Find an audio enthusiast in your church to make the final audio for the podcast - every church has at least one techno-geek who will relish making your podcast sound like The BBC Today Show. You can use Google Blogger to host your shows and then use Google Feedburner to share it with the world. The only thing you really need to spend money on is a decent microphone for recording your voice. We recommend brands like the Rode Podcaster or the Blue Yeti; both are USB so you don’t need to worry about expensive audio interfaces to get them connected to your computer.

5. Have Fun!

When people listen to the Pro Tools Expert podcast a lot of our listeners say they love the way it sounds like four friends chatting in a pub. Of course there may be some subjects that are not so easy to add humour to, but a podcast should be a place for relaxed informal discussion and chat - not a place to preach. Humour and laughter are welcome, even if some of my team think my jokes stink we get a lot of emails from fans asking us to keep them coming.

Finally, we didn’t start a podcast to be successful, we started it to give our community a chance to connect with us when traveling on the tube, in the car, or when they were at home doing other tasks. Success was a by-product of meeting the need of many members of our community in a way that they appreciate. So make this your goal. If you do then you’ll find yourself getting a growing audience of listeners who really appreciate what you stand for - and could become part of your online community. 

 

About: Russ Hughes is the editor of Pro-Tools-Expert.com - the Pro Tools Expert podcast has an audience of around 20,000 listeners a week, you can find out more here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/pro-tools-expert-podcast/id501987225?mt=2

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