How many ways do you have to reach your target audience? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos, Instagram, Pinterest, blogging. What about podcasting?
Several years ago, I sat in a podcasting class with Patrick Hester at Pikes Peak Writers Conference. He made it sound so fun and easy. It wasn’t long-form blogging or creating videos of myself; it was talking to other people – something right up my alley.
Took me some time but last year I decided to give it a go.
(Let me say this first: I do NOT advocate using every single outlet open to you to reach an audience. I’m a big advocate of utilizing one or two social media outlets, a website and whatever content you enjoy creating (blogs, videos, memes, etc).
Here’s what I did:
I created Writer Nation, a community of writers helping each other through their writing journey. With 17+ years of communications experience, I want to provide writers with a place to get some answers. You can ask me questions about marketing, or ask the group questions about anything, and it’s all free. To go along with it, I started the podcast by interviewing my writer friends. The idea was to build a platform where writers can talk about their journeys, hardships, triumphs and show other writers, they aren’t alone.
• Some of these writers haven’t published a thing
• Others are multi-published
• Some of the interviews are with industry professionals to give advice to writers
• If you are interested, you can absolutely be a guest on Writer Nation.
The following Pikes Peak Writers have been guests:
o Kameron Claire
o MK Meredith
o Deb Courtney
o Mandy Houk
o Shannon Lawrence
o Chris Mandeville (episode posting soon)
I love it, and here’s why I think you should at least be a guest or start your own podcast:
- First of all, I get to talk to my friends. I also get to meet new friends. And who doesn’t love meeting new people and talking about themselves?
- Second, it’s less intrusive than video, so folks seem more comfortable.
- Third, it’s an up-and-coming format with room for anyone right now.
~~There are only 520,000 podcasts available as of early 2018 compared to 18M blogs or 50M YouTube Channels uploading more than 300 hours of video every minute. Last year, 73M Americans admitted to listening to podcasts at least monthly, and that number keeps rising. The odds are in our favor.*
- Finally, check out this stat… the average commute in the United States is 24 minutes long, and most of those commuters admit to listening to audiobooks, the radio or podcasts during that time. That’s a long time for a listener to get to know you. The average YouTube video is 4 minutes. With podcast, you can be in someone’s space for eight times that long. And guess why people buy books? Because they like the author! Let them get to know you.
Are you convinced yet? Even if you aren’t convinced to start a podcast, I highly recommend you reach out and be a guest on a podcast. (Writer Nation is always looking!). Hosts need guests, and if you are launching a book, series, publishing company, whatever, take advantage of the reach of podcasts.
If you want to start a podcast, here are the steps I recommend:
- Narrow your niche. What do you want to podcast about? If it’s your books, awesome. Make it about your characters, your settings, your process. Not about writing in general. There are enough of those. Make this about your world.
- Define your format. Mine is interview. There are several types, but consistency is best.
- Buy a mic…a good one. I use a Snowball and it cost less than $100
- Use Audacity software. It’s free, and it’s easy to learn. They have a YouTube channel to help even the most editing illiterate.
- Find a host. I use Blubrry. It’s super easy and pairs up with a WordPress site seamlessly. *Here’s the deal with hosting. There is no podcast social media site like YouTube is for videos. You can’t upload a podcast file directly to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It’s one of the reasons why podcasts aren’t as prevalent as videos, and why, with just a little effort, you can get a foot in.
- Start podcasting. Don’t worry about not having an audience or 100 episodes. Just enjoy it and post it.
For a list of podcasts I recommend for writers, click here.
*Stats from Nielsen 2018 Q1 report came out March 20, 2018.
Jennifer Lovett Herbranson is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work. She has been a member of PPW for many years and has volunteered countless hours from here and abroad.