Getting your voice heard above the social media clamor can be challenging. I have launched three books over the last few years and I am always looking for creative ways to market. As well as all the obvious ones, social media, ads, and building an email list, I have found podcasting to be very effective. Podcasting is a great way to carve a niche and develop an audience for you and your work without the “buy my book” mantra. Though it is not for everyone, there are some definite perks to having your own podcast.
How It All Began
Back in 2012, I met another writer KJ Waters on Twitter and we connected instantly. We were both in the midst of writing and self-publishing our first books and have continued to support one another as we traversed the mountain to becoming published authors of multiple books.
In our Twitter chats, we would talk about our ongoing projects and our conversations would often wander onto the topic of marketing. Both of our books had been out for about a year at the time and we were trying to find ways to keep interest, without a “buy my book” campaign or just doing ads over and over. We wanted to touch our audience on a more personal level. That’s when we started talking about doing a podcast together and this seemed to tick all the right boxes for us.
We did a lot of research and then spent about three months recording, editing, and branding and setting up the podcast. The show is called Writing, Publishing and Beyond hosted by Blondie and the Brit (I’m the Brit). Since it’s conception in the summer of 2015, we have gone on to publish nearly 100 podcast episodes with 20,000 downloads to date.
Blondie and the Brit Podcast: https://blondieandbrit.podbean.com
Perhaps you have considered podcasting? Here are some simple tips from our own experience to help you decide if that might be a good fit for you.
The first thing to consider before you even start recording is branding. There are a lot of podcasts to choose from on sites such as iTunes, Stitcher, and Podbean. So it’s important to clearly think through your brand. Make sure your podcast banner and name stand out.
We wanted to play up the fact that I was British and KJ was a blonde. But with no brand recognition to begin with, we decided to call our podcast Writing, Publishing, and Beyond—hosted by Blondie and the Brit. KJ and her book cover artist, Jody Smyers, created beautiful artwork that is a strong requirement for iTunes and making the “New and Noteworthy” list, which I’ll share more about later in this post.
It is also important to get clear about the format of your show and your intended audience. The clearer you are about the audience that you want to attract, the easier it will be to sell if you decide to package for sponsorship in the future. Also, consider the length of each episode, keeping your audience in mind.
We decided to keep our show around 30-40 minutes in length, an average commute time, as our target audience is someone who may still have to work outside the home but dreams of being a full-time author. Thirty-five minutes for our show tends to be the sweet spot for us. It leaves them wanting more, not wishing we would get to the point.
As well as the format of your show, you should also think through your content before you start recording episodes. Once you brand your show a certain way, your audience is going to expect a similar format each week. Unless you are a named celebrity, the rule seems to be less about yourself and more about content with value for your listener.
In our format, we interview traditionally published, and Indie authors about their work and social media tips, and we chose a fun and conversational style of interview with clean content so it is acceptable to a larger audience.
#NaNoProMo Day 17: Simple Ways Authors Can Benefit from #Podcasting by guest @SuzKelman and be sure to comment to enter to win a podcast slot or consultation with Suzanne!
All you really need is a microphone, a telephone/computer and a way to tape your episodes. We use the free Audacity software for recording, and we connect with our guests through Skype or Google Hangouts. It all tends to run fairly smoothly, but we did have Audacity crash after we finished an episode once. So now we create a file in Audacity at the beginning of each interview and back up the recording halfway through.
Unless you are planning on podcasting live (which is too scary for us to contemplate), the bane of our experience has been the editing process. It can be very time-consuming. Consider paying someone else to do the editing for you. Believe me, it will be money well spent.
In order to get your message out to a wider audience, it is very beneficial to get your podcast mentioned on the “New and Noteworthy” section on iTunes. This will give your early numbers a huge boost.
One of the many ways to do that is to launch more than one podcast in the first week. We interviewed three highly social media savvy guests and launched the episodes on the same day. This created a lot of buzz around the podcast in that first week and got us listed on “New and Noteworthy” for several months.
We also hosted a Facebook party to launch the podcast and invited everyone we knew to broaden the reach for potential guests and listeners.
Lastly, one of the greatest things for you as an author is, not unlike your book, podcasts are evergreen which means even if you taped a podcast six months ago, a new audience can find it today and in the future. This has been one of the best things about podcasting for us as authors who are always in the process of promoting their work. Unlike a Twitter or Facebook post, which has such a fleeting lifespan, podcasting is a great way to keep the word out there.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any questions? Please remember to leave a comment below to enter to win either a podcast with us or a consultation with me!
Day 17 Giveaway
Suzanne is graciously donating a 30-minute podcast interview for authors or a 30-minute consultation (a $50 value) about podcasting or the process of writing/marketing (if the winner is either an author who is still writing or aspiring).
Comment below for a chance to win.
Suzanne Kelman is an Amazon international best-selling author and a multi-award-winning screenwriter and playwright. She is the author of The Rejected Writers’ Book Club and Rejected Writers Take the Stage, published by Lake Union Publishing, and The Rejected Writers’ Christmas Wedding published by Kindle Press as the Southlea Bay series.
As well as being an author, Suzanne is also a film producer, director, and screenwriter. Her film accolades include The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – Nicholl Fellowship Finalist 2015, Best Comedy Feature Screenplay, L.A. International Film Festival, Gold Award, California Film Awards and the Van Gogh Award from the Amsterdam Film Festival.
Born in the United Kingdom, her comedic writing voice has been described as a perfect blend of Janet Evanovich and Debbie Macomber. Suzanne now resides on a beautiful island in Washington State which is the perfect environment for bringing great stories to life.