John McDougall Site

Launching a Podcast that Generates Leads

Below is part two of a podcast series that we recorded in order to create our book, Talk Marketing – How to Gain Authority and Expert Status, Even If No One Has Ever Heard of You. In this episode, John McDougall and John Maher explain how podcasting can help to generate text content for your website that will rank in Google and help to generate leads for your business, and where to start.

Following the audio file is the transcript of the podcast, which we would normally simply edit and add sub-headings to in order to create a simple blog post from a podcast. However, here we’re presenting the fully edited, prose-version of the transcript that we used in the book.

Before you can turn a podcast into a blog or a series of podcasts into a book, you first need to record a podcast. This chapter outlines everything you need to know to get started. It covers how to record and edit podcasts. Then, it explains where to host your podcast and how to set it up on your website. Finally, we get into podcast transcription and look at the pros and cons of different transcription services.

How to Record a Podcast

Traditionally, you had to record podcasts with a portable audio recorder like a Zoom H4N or a Roland R05. You also needed to invest in a mixing board and microphones, and deal with a maze of cables if you wanted the podcast to sound good. Recording with a remote guest was even more complicated.

The need for this technology created a roadblock and made it impossible for the average person to record a quality podcast. Investing in a bunch of equipment and learning how to use it simply wasn’t feasible for most people, especially when they were busy running a business and watching their bottom line. But that’s changed. Now, you can easily record a podcast without special equipment besides a USB microphone and some recording software.

Of course, you can invest in professional-grade podcast recording equipment if you want. These professional recording set-ups can be ideal for people who regularly host multiple in-person guests. But the average business owner doesn’t need all that.

If you’re recording alone, you just need to plug a USB microphone into your computer. Then, you can record using cloud-based software. The process is easy. If you have an in-house guest, you can share the same microphone or set up two. If you’re recording a podcast with a remote guest, which is how most podcasts are recorded now, you both plug in a USB microphone to your computers.

Then, a cloud-based recording app records your audio locally on your end and your guest’s audio on their end. Once you’re done, the app uploads the audio file to the cloud so that you can download and edit it later. This creates the best quality audio from both participants.

In contrast, with traditional podcast recording methods, your remote guest’s voice is streamed over the line to be recorded on your side. It wasn’t recorded locally. That compromised the audio quality and generally led to uneven volume levels between the host and the guest. It also required a lot of extra work with the mixing table to balance the sounds.

There are many different types of cloud-based recording apps, but two popular options are SquadCast (squadcast.fm) and Riverside (riverside.fm). They record both audio and video. This lets you back up your podcast with visuals just by connecting a webcam. Thanks to these types of apps, you don’t need to invest in any expensive equipment besides a microphone, and you also don’t need to spend a lot of time learning how to use the app. It’s designed to be simple.

Most of the cloud-based podcast recording apps are very similar to using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any other video conferencing app. You set up a meeting and send a link to your guest. Then, when it’s time, you both join the session and start recording. You may have to deal with minor issues like going into settings to select a microphone or a webcam, but for the most part, the process is straightforward.

Once you record the podcast, the file stays in the app. You don’t have to worry about it disappearing. Even if your computer stopped working or your hard drive crashed, you’d still be able to access this file from another computer because it’s stored in the cloud. This also makes it easy if you want to work with remote team members. For instance, if you want someone to edit the podcast, you can let them sign into your cloud-based account or send them a copy of the file to access through their recording app.

Here is a short list of mics to use:

Beginner / Plug and Play

  1. Sennheiser PC8 Headset – We have done hundreds of podcasts where the client only has a basic headset. $25
  2. Blue Yeti Mic – $129

Amazing Sound but is Reasonably Easy to Use

  1. Shure SM7B Mic – One of the top podcast mics. $359
  2. EV RE20 Mic – One of the most famous radio station mics. $449

These two more advanced mics require a simple interface setup like the following.

  • Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 1-channel Mic Activator – $149
  • Scarlett 2i4 USB Interface – $159

In Talk Marketing Academy, we have a half-hour video on selecting the best mics for podcasting. It also elaborates on how to use them and another video on editing audio with audacity. Each section in this book is part of what we teach in-depth and then discuss in our weekly coaching.

How to Edit Podcasts

Once you record the podcast, you should do a little editing to clean it up. Generally, you only need to trim the beginning and the end to remove dead air at those points. You can also add intro and exit music or record a section introducing the host. Some people like to record a set intro and add it to every podcast that they record.

I also do some minor editing in the middle to fix any mistakes. To make the editing easier, I try to note mistakes when they happen during the recording. Most online recording tools like SquadCast have a clock that runs while you do the recording. Then, if I make a mistake, I just look at the clock and write something like, “At 8:30, we made a mistake, and we stopped and recorded that section over again. Then, when I’m ready to do the editing, I know that I want to look at that exact point in the transcript. This helps save a lot of time and makes the transcript cleaner.

To clean up the audio, I try to remove the “ums” and “ahs” from the audio. You don’t have to go crazy with this —  those fillers are a natural part of the conversation. But I always try to remove some of them, especially if they get out of hand. Nervous guests, in particular, tend to use many fillers. I remove as many as possible, but if the “um” leads right into a word, it’s impossible to remove it without losing some of the content.

Finally, I adjust the volume level to get it as high as possible without it peaking and sounding distorted. I also try to even out the volume between the guest and the host. Once these basics are done, the file is ready to export and host.

You can do this with a free podcast editing tool like Audacity. Alternatively, you can purchase software like Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, or Logic Pro to edit your podcasts, but most business owners don’t need that level of editing software. It’s overkill.

Several editing tools like Auphonic and Descript are also designed for beginners. You can use these tools without ever having to learn about waveforms or other intricacies of traditional audio editing. Auphonic fixes the volume, track leveling, and background noise in the recording, and it’s all automated, so you don’t have to learn to do those things manually. Right now, Auphonic offers two hours of podcast editing free per month, and there are numerous paid plans for people who need more than that.

Descript lets you edit the audio by editing the transcript text. You upload your podcast to this software, or you can even record the podcast right into Descript if you want. Then, it generates a transcript, and you edit the audio by editing the transcript. It’s basically like working in MS Word or Google Docs.

If you see filler or even a whole sentence that you don’t want, you just delete it from the transcript. Then, the software removes it from the audio file. This is a lot easier than traditional audio editing. However, you must remember that the audio may sound weird depending on how you edit the text.

If you cut out the middle of a sentence, for example, it might look fine in the written transcript, but it may sound odd in the audio. To reduce this, you may need to delete whole sentences rather than fragments. Descript offers a free service for up to three hours of audio per month, and multiple subscription options are also available.

Play with the available tools to figure out what works best for you. Or, of course, you can always hire someone to edit the audio for you if you like. Once you’ve edited the podcast, it’s time to export it to your hosting platform.

Where to Host Podcasts

There are a lot of different options that you can explore for hosting your podcast. Every hosting option has slightly different features, but typically, they all offer an embeddable player that allows you to put the podcast directly onto your website once you have it set up on the hosting platform.

SoundCloud is one of the most popular options. It’s basically like YouTube for audio. This platform traditionally focused on music, but now, it also does podcast hosting. It gives you an RSS feed which is basically a URL that you submit to Apple Podcast, Spotify, etc., so people can listen to your podcast through those streaming services.

Libsyn, which stands for “liberated syndication,” is another great option. It was one of the first podcast-hosting platforms, and it’s been around since 2004. PodBean is great for people who are really serious about their podcasts and want to monetize them. It is a podcast promotion tool that submits your podcast to the top directories like Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts. It also incorporates an advertising marketplace to help you monetize your podcast.

Buzzsprout is easy to use, and like some others, it automatically submits podcasts to the top directories. It also offers a WordPress plug-in that makes it easy to get your podcast onto your site. BluBrry is similar to the other options but has a great WordPress plug-in called PowerPress. Once the podcast is set up on a hosting site, you can also post it on your website.

How to Post Podcasts on Your Website

You should always post your podcasts on your website. Then, if someone is on your site, they can listen to the podcast right there. The last thing you want is to have someone navigate away from your site. Once they leave — even if it’s to listen to your podcast on another site —  there’s never a guarantee that they’ll return. Generally, the longer someone stays on your site, the more likely they will become customers.

As noted above, most podcast hosting sites give you a code that allows you to post the podcast audio player on your site. You simply go to your podcast hosting platform, copy the code, and then put it into your blog post or web page. That will make the audio player appear on your site.

You should also put a transcript of the podcast as a blog post under the audio player. Then, Google will read the transcript, giving you credit for the podcast just as it does for a traditional blog post. If you have the podcast player without the transcript, it won’t really help you attract any new organic visitors. You need that transcript if you’re trying to boost your website traffic.

To set up the page, I put an enticing keyword-rich H1 title at the top. Then, I add a summary that explains what’s in the podcast. I follow that with the embedded audio player, and I add the transcript below that. Then, I add H2 headers to break up the transcript.

That makes the transcript easier to read than a single big block of text. Readers can skim the headers and decide which sections they want to read or whether or not they want to listen to the podcast. Typically, I put in the headers where the host asks questions. I either restate the question as the header or rewrite the question as a short phrase.

How to Get Your Podcast Transcribed

The transcript is critical; luckily, several different services can create transcripts for you. REV.com is a good option. It charges $1.50 per minute and combines speech recognition software with human transcriptionists. The software does an initial transcript, and then a human goes through and cleans everything up. This usually creates a 98% accurate transcript.

GoTranscript is another option. The company has been around for quite a while and uses 100% human transcriptionists. Its website says the price starts at 77 cents a minute for transcripts, but the fee is generally much higher than that. The price goes up depending on how fast you want the transcript back — and this company tends to take a little longer than other options because it doesn’t use speech recognition software. The cost also varies depending on the number of speakers, the quality of the audio, and whether or not you want the transcript to have timestamps.

Temi is one of the cheapest options. It uses an AI-backed speech-to-text platform, costing about 25 cents per minute. Their transcripts are about 95% accurate, but this company struggles to transcribe cross-talk when two people are talking simultaneously. Also, the software can’t really tell the difference between one person and another, and it doesn’t do a great job with foreign accents.

If you have a podcast that’s more challenging to transcribe, Temi might not be the best option for you, but because the price is so low, some people can save money with this option even if they have to spend extra time cleaning up the transcript or paying a writer to clean it up.

Again, you can also use Descript to create your transcript. That’s the program I mentioned above that generates a transcript and lets you edit the audio by editing the text.

The defining difference with transcription services is how much time you’re willing to put into editing the transcript. That can vary based on the kind of project you’re doing. If you were writing a novel, you’d have to go in and edit it anyway, so you may be fine with a less accurate transcript. If you want something you can put onto your blog with hardly any editing, you probably need to look into one of the more expensive services.

There are no wrong or right answers here. All of these companies exist to serve people with different needs. Ultimately, you just need to find the right balance between cost and quality for your needs.

The price difference isn’t that severe when you’re working with a short podcast. Let’s say you’re ordering a transcript for a twelve-minute podcast, and you’re trying to choose between a service that’s 25 cents a minute and one that’s $1.50 per minute. The second option is six times more expensive, but it’s only an extra $15 for the whole transcript.

For many people, that can be worth the time they save on editing. When you have an incorrect transcript, you must figure out what you said. That often requires you to go back to the audio file, which can be very time-consuming.

This doesn’t just apply to blogging or writing an eBook. I recently took a novel writing course from Derek Murphy, and he advised novel writers to use a similar tactic. Rather than writing, he said to just record yourself talking and then hire someone to transcribe your words. This can be much more effective than transcription software like Dragon Naturally Speaking or Siri.

When you do that, you typically end up reading the transcript as you talk. Then, most people start editing what they say, slowing down the process. There’s also a risk of the software not working. You might look away to avoid editing in progress, and then, you end up talking for ten minutes before you realize that the program isn’t picking up your dictation. When you record yourself, you don’t have to worry about that. You always have a backup of the audio file.

Most importantly, when you record yourself and transcribe it later, you can just let the ideas out. Whether you’re writing a novel or a blog post, this approach can really help to speed up the process. You can just let the first draft out. You don’t have to worry about commas or anything. Just let it rip.

How to Feed Podcasts to Your Social Media Accounts

Once you have the podcast on your website, you should share the blog post on your social media accounts. Whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook, or anything else, just share a link to your blog with a brief description to entice your followers.

Then, people can navigate directly from your social media page to your website. If you link to SoundCloud or another hosting service, people who want to listen to your podcast will go to that site instead of yours. That’s basically giving traffic away; you don’t want to do that if SEO is your primary goal. After all, the point of recording, transcribing, and posting your podcast is to get more people to your site, build your authority as an expert, and attract new clients.

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