5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting a Podcast

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting a Podcast | ProBlogger.net

By Rachel Corbett of podschool.com.au.  

Podcasting is a great way to get your message out into the world but it’s also hard work.  For every show that’s listened to by millions of people, there are hundreds with an audience consisting of the host and his or her mum.

So before you buy the latest gear, don the headphones, and start sprinting towards your dreams of podcasting glory, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions…

Who am I doing this for?

Before recording your first episode you should always sit down with a piece of paper and flesh out your ideal listener.

If you’re someone who wants to hit people over the head with their vision board every time they mention The Secret, this might seem a little unappealing.  But this process is less about asking the Universe to deliver this person to you and more about thinking strategically about your content.  If you know who your ideal listener is, you’ll be better able to tailor your show to their needs.

If you know you want to make a show for busy mums you might decide to make your episodes 15 minutes instead of 45 to fit in with their schedule.  This might also impact the style of delivery because you’ll obviously want to keep the f-bombs to a minimum if you know your show will be listened to with kids in the car.

These might seem like small details but the more you understand your audience, the more likely you are to make a connection with them.  Even though you might never meet them, you’re building a relationship and if your audience feels you understand them and their circumstance they’ll be more likely to go from casual listeners to raving fans.

Do I know my niche?

Trying to create a podcast that appeals to everyone usually ends up appealing to no one.

There are a bajillion podcasts out there and unless you’re an established brand that people search for because they know, like and trust you already, the only way to stand out from the crowd is if you’re doing something different. You might be concerned that narrowing your focus will make it harder to come up with ideas but anyone who’s worked creatively will know, the most crippling thing anyone can say is ‘do whatever you want.’

Creativity needs parameters to get the juices flowing, so if you know exactly what your topic area is, what specific problems you’re solving and why you’re doing it, coming up with content will be much easier. You want people to know exactly what your show stands for and what they can expect every time they tune in.

Do I have time to do it?

Podcasting is a huge commitment and the only way to gain traction is if you’re uploading content consistently.

The most common interval is weekly, although the more episodes you have, the more opportunities there will be to spread your message and increase your chances of being found.  Consistency is the key here so before you launch it’s important to look ahead at your calendar and think ‘can I realistically upload an episode every week for the next year?’

If you can’t then it’s time to cool your podcasting jets.  If you promise listeners there will be a new episode every Monday morning, it has to be there.  You’re building trust with your audience and you want them to make an appointment every week, but if you only show up half the time they’ll stop showing up all together.

Batching the planning and recording of your episodes is one way to combat the stress of trying to record a podcast every week.  Those 7 days come around quickly but if you’re ahead of yourself you can deal with unforeseen circumstances like guests cancelling or kids getting sick.

If your content is based on current events this will be difficult, but if you can plan and record your shows in advance, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.

Do I expect to make money?

There are a lot of people out there making money from podcasting BUT that hasn’t happened overnight.  Either they’ve established a significant following prior to starting their podcast or they’ve gradually grown an audience by consistently uploading content that appeals to their ideal listener.

Having the goal of generating revenue is fine but you have to have an audience first and you have no idea how long that will take to build.  It’s best to start from a place where you’re dying to put your content out into the world regardless of whether you’re getting paid for it and see where it goes from there.

Why do I really want to podcast?

If the answer is anything other than ‘I’ve got amazing content that will educate/inspire/entertain and I desperately want to get it into people’s ear holes’ then think twice.

Podcasting is a big commitment with absolutely no guarantee of success.  The people who have been successful are those who consistently create valuable and engaging content that appeals directly to their ideal listener.  If you’re passionate about each episode you’ll be happy to keep doing it but if you’re waiting for the cheques to start flooding in, you might be disappointed.

Rachel Corbett is a radio, podcast and TV presenter who teaches people how to create their own professional sounding podcast at podschool.com.au.  

Download her podcasting guide: ‘5 things you need to start your own podcast’ or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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How to Increase Site Speed and Improve Your SEO Ranking

How to Increase your site speed to improve your SEO Rank - ProBlogger

Contributed by ProBlogger SEO expert Jim Stewart of StewArt Media.

Whether you’re a hobby blogger or have turned your blog into a business, your main goal is always going to be increasing the number of visitors you have to your site.

The way most of your visitors will find your blog is by searching on Google and finding it high in the search rankings. The closer to number one your site lands, the more people who will see it and visit your page.

The big question is: how do you get your site ranked closer to the number one spot?

When the Googlebot crawls your site, it judges its worth according to a number of factors. Improve any of them and your site should improve in the rankings.

One of the most important factors, and one of the easiest to fix, is your site speed. The site speed is a measurement of how long it takes between the time someone clicks on your link and when they can see everything on your page. If your site is optimised correctly it should take half a second or less, and it will look instantaneous to the viewer.

If something on your site lags or hangs up, viewers will be stuck waiting for your page to load. Readers are impatient; if your page takes more than a second or two, the odds are good that they’ll click away and look somewhere else.

In fact Google research shows you’ll lose 40% of your traffic if a page takes three seconds or longer to load. And that’s a lost reader, a lost shopper and, ultimately, potentially lost money.

Create a Benchmark

You’ll have no way of knowing how well you improve if you don’t find out where you’re starting from. Finding your base numbers, or benchmark, is easy to do using the Google Search Console.

How to Increase your site speed to improve your SEO Rank - ProBlogger

If you’ve never used it before, log on to the Search Console and add your site by clicking onto the “Add Property” box.

Once you have your site in the console, you can find your site speed, the number of impressions your site gets each day, and a whole host of other data. Make a note of your starting numbers before you begin working on your site.

Increasing Your Speed

If you’ve had your blog or website a while you may be blaming your site host on your speed problems.

After all, you probably see ads every day promising to give your site lightning fast speed if you switch, right? Your web host may or may not be adding to your speed problems, but they’re the last thing you should consider. Optimise your site to make it as fast as possible where it stands before even thinking about moving it. Otherwise, you might be bringing along a bunch of problems to your new host, and end up with the same problems as before.

It’s All About the Cache

A cache system tells visiting computers that they’ve been there before, and that they don’t have to go to all the trouble of searching the entire site again. It remembers details for visitors’ computers, skipping the time they’d otherwise spend downloading details. If you have return visitors to your blog, this can significantly speed up load time. If you’re blogging on WordPress, I recommend the ZenCache plugin.

It’s easy to configure while it optimises your site for speed.

Clear Your Database

The Googlebot can’t move smoothly through your blog if it’s cluttered with useless pages. The most effective thing you can do to speed up your site is to optimise your database.

This is simpler than it sounds. It’s just a matter of clearing old data that’s no longer required.

  • Delete old posts and comments
  • Empty the trash
  • Delete any plugins you’re no longer using
  • Get rid of draft posts
  • Toss out duplicate pages and pictures

The idea is to create as much virtual white space as possible, to allow the Googlebot to crawl freely through your site.

Look for Robot Problems

Every time you install a new plugin, make sure it hasn’t affected your robots.txt file.

If the plugin tweaks these files, it can cause Google to ignore the content on some of your pages. This causes your rankings to sink, because Google thinks you have a bunch of pages with unknown content on them.

Your Page Images

It’s not news that readers love images on the page, but if you have videos and photos that aren’t optimised, Google won’t love your blog. Oversized images are one of the most common speed problems. Do a search for WordPress plugins to find one that compresses images for your blog. Shrink all your images down to the smallest usable size and you’ll increase your load speed phenomenally. There are many plugins suited to this task, but we recommend WP Smush.

Optimising your site is great for reader experience, but it makes Google happy, which is just as important. You’ll end up with higher rankings, which lead to even more visitors to your blog. The bottom line is that Google likes fast loading times and will happily direct traffic to such sites. The faster you make your site, the closer you’ll get to that number one spot on the search page.

Jim Stewart, CEO of StewArt Media, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t

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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

Coming to you live from the city that spring forgot — it still feels like winter here in Melbourne but perhaps that means more time for working on our blogs and finding out what’s new in blogging and social media this week!

As usual, it’s a diverse lot.

20 Unseen Instagram Tools to Grow Your Audience | Forbes

I haven’t used all of these, but no doubt they’re helpful. I would be VERY wary of those who unfollow automatically and leave auto comments – they are not a great way to build true engagement and they do more harm than good. Steer clear!

Five Big Brands Strategies for Recycling Social Media Updates | MeetEdgar Blog

I know, even I suffer from it – can we really post the exact same thing more than once in a day? APPARENTLY YOU CAN! Let us all rejoice and while we’re at it, dig out some of our older posts that never had the airtime they should have.

How Media Companies Use Influencers to Build Editorial Brands | Digiday

As an influencer myself, I’m always interested in the current state of the rapidly-shifting industry. I know one thing Australian influencers and the people who represent them have been talking about for years is finally being heard – long-term partnerships. I love how it’s being touted as “the next phase” and “something brands are really going to have to start doing”. Amen!

Top 5 Business Objectives and Social Media Metrics to Measure for ROI | Kruse Control

This on the base level is a great start for a social media strategy, but also if you’re in charge of growing a following, you’re going to want to know what’s worth the effort and what you can do better on.

11 Ways to Grow Your Snapchat Following | Social Media Examiner

I know! It’s hard! It’s not easy to find people, nor to find who people follow. You’ve really got to do the hard yards to get seen. Try these tips.

Most Popular Buzzfeed Images: Why They Went Viral | Buzzsumo

An interesting breakdown of the reasons why people share content, with examples.

10 Secrets Behind Creating Contagious Content 10x Better Than Your Competition | Jeff Bullas

It’s something we’ve discussed before – when Rand Fishkin says “forget about unique content, focus on creating content 10x better than the top 10 people who are already doing it”, then you try! But it’s hard. Of course it’s hard, otherwise everyone would be doing it. There’s nothing like going the extra mile, even if it takes longer.

SEO is Not Dead: It’s Just a Shape Shifter | Search Engine Land

If you’re still living in the SEO land of the past, it’s time to realise things have changed – and so must your strategy.

11 Reasons Why Your Social Media Pages Aren’t Converting | Drum Up

I’ve definitely left pages for these reasons! Have you? Are your profiles looking like this?

Three Things Overthinkers Do That I Don’t Anymore | Kelly Exeter

Can’t agree more! It does take effort to train yourself out of these bad, bad habits, but it’s totally worth it.

What have you learned this week?

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The Quickest Way to Build Trust Online

The Quickest Way to Build Trust Online | ProBlogger

This is a guest post by Lisa Corduff. Lisa spoke at ProBlogger Event this year and we were so impressed with the results she achieved with video we’re supporting her Keeping Video Real Course as an affiliate partner.

Us bloggers, we know what it’s like.

We can spend hours writing. Hours editing. We can hit PUBLISH and feel like the whole world will explode with excitement or emotion over the information we have shared. It’s powerful stuff, of course.

But then…. crickets. What happened? Why is no one resonating with the magic of our words? Hmm…. Give the post a little FB boost, but still nothing. DON’T THEY KNOW HOW GOOD THIS IS!?

There is nothing more heart-breaking than feeling our blog or business is getting no traction through social media. The blood, sweat and TEARS OF IT!! The struggle is real.

We all know that blogging is an awesome way to share valuable information, stories and our passion with a community of like-minded people. It has established many a successful business and brand. And the act of writing cannot be underestimated as an intrinsically useful tool for life.

That said, the times are changing. The audience is changing. The social media landscape is changing BIG TIME. And those that have recognised it are reaping the benefits – I’m talking about video. Online video. Video to sell programs, videos to engage your community, videos to build trust, videos to chat.

The Quickest Way to Build Trust Online | ProBlogger

By far the quickest and easiest way to build momentum online is to SHOW YOURSELF! For a brand, blog or business, one of the most powerful ways to amplify their online presence is to appear on video for their community or customers. “I like this chick” – BANG “I never knew how to DO that” – BANG “I’ve always wondered what he looked like and I dig the moustache” – BANG and WINNING!

Whether it’s to teach, engage or sell – creating video online will help in spades. There’s usually just one problem – appearing on video scares the pants off most people. And doing it LIVE – WHAAAAAT?? It’s up there with presenting to a room full of people. That’s normal. But you’re going to need to find a way to move through the fear and take some action if you’d love to amplify your presence online.

Here’s the best part – it’s not particularly hard or technical and it costs nothing to create if you have a phone. Ever recorded a video on your phone of something interesting and sent it to your best mate or your mum? Well, you can record video online. Ever held a Skype meeting with a potential client? You can create video online. Ever sat on your couch with your bestie and a glass of wine and shared a story about your day? Yep, you guessed it, you can create video.

At the ProBlogger Training Event this year most experts were touting the power of online video for building your blog and business. You couldn’t walk away from that event without having it smashed into your head that video is the future of social media.

Brian Franzo was bringing us up to speed with where Australia will be in the coming years. Americans have grabbed video and are running with it – using it powerfully and effectively to create authentic connection with their audience.

It’s not fancy stuff. It’s just real. And therefore engaging. It was inspiring to someone like me, who has built her business on the back of video. A humble wholefoods blog has turned into a successful online business because I showed up and connected with my community via video.

Here’s the truth – I’m under no illusions – wholefoods blogs are a dime a dozen. I love helping people go back to basics and feed their families real food. But so do many, many other bloggers! My point of difference?

  • I held webinars
  • I interviewed experts via Skype and put them online and into courses
  • I use video for FB ads (which ALWAYS convert better than images)
  • I show up on FB live
  • I experiment with InstaStories

I give my community access to me and the ability to get to know me. That’s it. That’s the point of difference.

But I’ve been practicing for a few years now. A background in TV presenting and producing (BC – as in – Before Children) meant I had a really good understanding of the power of video and story telling and when I had the chance to do that online – I jumped at it. But my background didn’t save me from sucking! No way – I was awkward and messed up and got embarrassed about things I said – but I’ve been learning every. single. time. And you should too.

Jump onto Facebook right now and introduce yourself to your community (if you haven’t already). You’ll be shocked with the response! At the end of the day – we are social creatures and video is a powerful connector. The smart phone has made it so easy for us to connect in a bigger, more authentic way than writing ever could.

Not only that – you can jump online any time and ask your community a question and get immediate feedback. Ask them what they’d love to hear from you – what your next blog series should be about. Ask them what they had for dinner! Whatever you talk about, online video will elevate your presence and build trust and connection with your community.

Try it. I dare you.

keeping video real with lisa corduff

Lisa Corduff is a wholefoods blogger with multiple online program cutting through the BS and helping real people eat more real food – in the real world! With a background in TV and Video Production she has been at the forefront of social media video marketing. Keeping Video Real launches on November 21, 2016. For $297 you’ll break through the procrastination, excuses and fear! Early bird offer: Save $50 if you sign up by October 31.

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The 3 Key Steps to Create Your First Online Course

The 3 Key Steps to Create Your First Online Course | ProBlogger

By ProBlogger Expert Sam Nordberg.

Creating an online course can be a great way to increase your income from your blog.

Let’s face it, you spend a lot of time creating content anyway, putting it together in a course for your readers seems like a logical next step.

Yet, the thought of putting together a full course can be overwhelming to say the least. How long should it be? What should you include? Where do you put it?

Creating your own online course (or even a face-to-face course or workshop) doesn’t need to be difficult if you take a moment to look at the 3 key steps before you get started.

1. Decide who your course is for

…and what they want to achieve.

The biggest problem I see when people create their first course is that they try to make it too broad.

Before you start to put together content or create any videos, take some time to get really clear on exactly who you are writing your course for, and what they want to learn during it.

Ask yourself some simple questions:

  • Who is the person who will buy this?
  • What do they know already?
  • What do THEY want to learn during this course?
  • How technically savvy are they?
  • How much spare time do they have?
  • What is their personality type?

The more questions you ask yourself about the person who will be taking the course, and what they already know, the easier it is to build your course.

Now, when you start thinking about how long your course should be, the answer becomes “how long does your audience want it to be?” or “How long do you need to teach them that one outcome they want to achieve?”

2. Decide on your medium

Content is one thing, now you need to decide on the best medium to deliver this in.

Is it video? With your face to the camera? Or slides? Or sharing your screen?

Is it audio?

Maybe they need PDFs and downloadable information?

Start with your audience in mind and really think about how they want to consume the information.

Are they likely to be doing the course on public transport on the way into work in the morning? If so, audio could play a big part in your course. It’s much easier to listen to something on the go than focus on the video.

Is your course very practical, or visual? Then maybe screen sharing or slide based video will play a big part as your show people how to do something.

Is your course very personal, emotional, or directly related to your experience? Then sharing you face on screen is a great way to connect with your audience, build trust and rapport, and allow them to feel like they know you.

There is no right answer when it comes to medium, and in reality you will probably use a combination of methods, to help your participants really understand your subject. However, make sure you are really thinking about the best method to share your content… rather than just sticking to what you have always done.

3. Decide on your platform

Technology seems to be the thing that scares most people when it comes to putting together an online course, but the truth is, it doesn’t have to be scary or difficult.

There are lots of ways you can present or deliver your material. From those which required you to be very tech-savvy, to those which do everything for you. The range of choices on the market at the moment allow you to pick something that suits your needs.

There are three main ways you can look at presenting and delivering your online course. As always, there are pros and cons to each method, so have a think about what would suit you before you jump straight in.

Self hosted

A self hosted course is one that is hosted on your website. There are a wealth of different plugins available at the moment which allow you to run your course directly on your website.

You are completely in control of your content, your material and the way you do things.

This is particularly important if you are building a signature course, one that you want to be known for in your industry and that will be strongly linked to your brand.

You need to be slightly more tech-savvy for this option, although most new plug-ins are fairly user friendly.

Supported online learning platforms

A supported online learning platform is one that hosts your course for you (some examples of these are Thinkific and Teachable). These platforms allow you to do what you do best, create content, while they take control of all of the technical work. These services either charge a per user fee, or sometimes a monthly fee, for doing this.

Someone else takes care of all the tech for you.

The will take a per user fee. Although these fees aren’t large, they are something you need to take into account.
The content is no longer on your website. While you can brand these platforms with your own images and colour scheme, it’s not quite the same.

Content Market Places

The most well-known example of a content market place is the platform Udemy, although it’s not the only one.
A content market place is like an online learning platform on steroids. It not only hosts all of your material, but will often sell it to their audience for you as well. This may seem like the perfect solution, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you choose to go in this direction.

They take care of the tech for you.

They have an existing audience and user base.

Platforms like this often take a lot more control of your course than you might like.

For example, Udemy not only has clear criteria for how you have to build your course (including the number of videos you must have, the length of your videos and the percentage of those which must have your face on the screen).
They also have a very clear pricing structure. They will often price the course as they see fit, and will put it on sale when they wish.

Obviously, different content market places have different criteria, but it’s important to remember that you lose a lot of control over your course.

When it comes to creating your first online course, there is no right answer, but taking the time to think about these three key steps will get you well on your way.

Sam Nordberg shows people how to take their passion and knowledge and create an online course that sells. You can learn more about her here and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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