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How to Podcast

Talknowledgy debuted as a radio show on CKDJ 107.9 in Ottawa in September of 2010. At that time, podcasting was still kind of a new concept to Ted Raymond, my co-host at the time, and I. It was a neat idea to us but we weren’t sure who would listen, how we would get people to listen, where we would post it, and how much time we could devote to that (as we were college students at the time in what is the busiest term of Algonquin College‘s Radio Broadcasting program). Along the way we learned a few things, and I hope this checklist below will give you a starting point if you’d like to create your own podcast someday.

Pick a topic: First things first, what is the topic of your podcast? Is this a topic you’re interested in? Is it a topic that is broad enough that you can find listeners? How will you prove to people you are an expert in this topic?

Find a co-host or co-hosts: You could do a solo show or podcast, but it’s certainly more lively with one or two other people. It also helps if you have others to fall back on in case one of you is unavailable to do one show.

Line up the equipment: Good quality microphones is very important. Great content can be utterly ruined by bad or inconsistent audio quality. Everyone should be using the same microphone, and it should be in a quiet room with a lack of echo. Phone quality is acceptable in small bursts but a co-host should not be permanently on the phone. It gets hard to listen to!

Editing: Having good editing equipment is even more important. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get! A copy of Adobe Audition is what you need! ProTools, Audacity, and other software will perform a similar function but in my opinion Audition is the easiest to use and does the job quite adequately – nearly every single Talknowledgy podcast was edited down through Audition! (One or two were edited using a radio news software called ‘Burli’ – not recommended for large-scale editing jobs and not cost efficient if all you need is the editing audio capability).

Length: Determining how long your podcast is important, especially if you want to syndicate this content by turning it into a radio show. If it’s purely for the internet, it can be as long as you want it to be and – in my opinion – it should be as long as it has to be. When Talknowledgy was on CKDJ, CKCU, and CFRA, the show was constrained by the ‘show clock’ – it had to be a certain length and couldn’t be longer or shorter. Now that it’s solely a podcast, we get to talk about every story we have lined up for the week! There are advantages to both models.

Schedule: When will your content go out? It can be easier or harder to get play throughs depending when it is released. We settled on Saturday morning because it was easiest from a recording standpoint and because we had a good number of clicks. By contrast, Friday night did not work for us at all. Your mileage may vary.

Get a podcast host, get a website: This will set you back a few bucks, but both are necessary. Find a podcast host that has a good billing structure based on your needs, looks presentable, gives you an RSS feed, makes it easy to embed audio, and helps spread the word about your podcast effectively. As for a website, WordPress is one avenue if your budget is tight or you aren’t all that web savvy!

Eventually you’ll want to look at things like budget, a content strategy to bring in more traffic to your website, a division of work among your partners, a promotion strategy, and many other things…but if you have the above figured out, you’re ready to start!

Good luck! Post a link to your podcast site in the comments – would love to check them out and chat with you about podcasting!



Don’t Correct Your Social Media Manager…in Public

Your social media community manager is probably a very hardworking person. He or she may have to deal with many unique and challenging situations on a daily basis. Sometimes, in working through those challenges, they’ll make mistakes. That’s why you should make their job easier by correcting those mistakes in private.

It always bugs me to see others within an organization correcting a social media manager through either the comments section of a Facebook post, or a tweet, or any other form of public posting. Why?

  • Because it undermines the social media manager: Even if they’re incorrect, there’s no need for your entire social media audience to know that!
  •  Because it can confuse your social media userbase: While getting the correction out there is obviously important, your social media manager will likely need to remove the post so you could end up confusing people instead – better to tell the poster offline that they need to remove it and post a correction.
  • Because it makes your organization look uncoordinated: Even if that is the case, and I note here that the social media manager made a mistake for a reason, there’s no need for your entire social media audience to know that!

It may seem like a small thing, but it’s far more effective to tell your social media manager via email, Twitter DM, phone call, or in-person visit about the mistake and they will likely thank you for it!

Now, if you’re the one who has made a mistake, here’s what I would do:

  • Delete the old post
  • Put in a new post with the correct information and possibly also an apology if the post was up for a long time: Make sure to reword the post so it appears like a new post.
  • Follow up privately with anyone who ‘interacted’ with you on the post (retweet, comment, etc.)

Incidentally, sorry to anyone who received an early draft of this – I blame WordPress for Android. I wish you all a Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!


Watch Your Twitter Direct Message Box!

Just a quick post for today to remind you not to click on links in direct messages which say…

‘Lol you didn’t see them taping you’

‘Hey this user is writing offensive posts that are about you’

‘lol ur famous now’

‘whatt are you doing in this fb vid ?’

‘What are you doing in this video’?

‘heh u didnt see them tapping u’

‘thought this was a joke but i made $850 last week with this’

Or just generally any posts from people you don’t really know claiming to have personal info of yours. Worse come to worse, ask them to confirm if it’s legitimate – off Twitter if necessary!

If you’re the victim, check out this post for a rundown of what to do. Happy surfing!


How NOT To Promote Your Business Over Social Media

There are plenty of ways to use social media to promote your business and I’m not going to discuss them here because really the main advice I would give you is: if you’re serious about it, make it someone’s job! But I wanted to share a few tips on tactics not to use when trying to promote your business over social media.

Don’t spam other people’s social media channels with sale messages or advertisements.

Putting up links to your products on a page which doesn’t belong to you, be it a competitor or just someone in your target audience, is a bad idea. It’s the social media equivalent of walking into someone’s home or business uninvited and putting up your advertisements all over the walls. Ask before you post! Also, post one time or at least not more than once a week (depending on how active the page is). Posting four times in a minute looks spammy and most will assume you are linking to malware. It also makes you look like you’re either desperate or are spreading the message without permission. Finally, don’t make the posts in unrelated sections. Interrupting a conversation to insert your advertisement, or adding your post to a photo that has nothing to do with your business, is like marching into a party with a megaphone and bleating your sales messages. It doesn’t reflect well on your business and most will find it annoying. That last tip applies to website comments sections as well…most of the comments you see in there which are promoting products are placed by spam bots, and you don’t want to be mistaken for one of those do you?

Don’t send unrelated messages to your subscribers. (Example via @rmknuth: “Fox at one point promo’d an NFL game from their TV show pages. I like Family Guy, not NFL. Misuse of page.”)

Ryan’s example is a perfect one – if you manage multiple pages, it’s because you want to divide up your audience based on their interests. While it’s true some Family Guy lovers may like watching football on Fox, you have to assume those same people will find the NFL page and like it. Consider adding the page you’re trying to promote to your ‘Featured’ likes section to highlight its existence to your NFL/Family Guy fans and that way, you can avoid alienating the other part of your audience which only likes Family Guy.

To build on this point…

Don’t send the same message to all of your channels all at the same time.

Hootsuite is a great, free (well, to start anyways) tool for sending content to multiple different platforms at the same time. Use it! Each platform requires a bit of effort on your part but it will pay off. Or, if posting to so many different channels is too much hassle, consider reducing the platforms you operate. While it may seem like you’re throwing away a lot of work, it’s less harmful to your brand than leaving a page unattended and unused.

This is bad.

Don’t abandon your channels, or only use them when you have a message to share. (Example via @David_Hall: “The worst is when they start social media, then abandon their accounts. Also, bad customer service through social. #arg”)

Social media is a conversation, and is important enough to warrant a spot on somebody’s job description. If someone is responsible for it, then it won’t get abandoned (unless they’re doing a bad job). Frequent monitoring, regular content posts, and replying to customer inquiries is all part of that.

Don’t dump “Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter…” messages on every corner of your website.

Social media is, for some businesses, a new and exciting thing. But with so many networks and so many brand pages already out there, you need a reason for people to connect with your content other than the fact it simply exists. Read my blog post “Selling Your Customers on Social Media” for more on this topic.

Don’t use your business’ account as a personal account. (And if you’re high up in a company, don’t use your personal account as a personal account either).

As a child, you were probably told not to discuss politics and religion in polite company. Realistically, your personal views and opinions likely don’t have a place within your company’s social media profiles. It’s probably not something your customers are looking for, and it may alienate a part of your fan base. A great recent example is the Chick-fil-A controversy, when the CEO of a Christianity-based chicken restaurant came out against gay marriage and sparked a furor in the US. It sparked many to ask the question, “Why does a restaurant have an opinion on gay marriage?”

And finally…

Don’t create sock-puppet accounts.

Speaking of Chick-fil-A…you will be found out if you make fake accounts. Whatever the reason (usually either make your page look busy or to have someone come to your defense), someone will discover what you’ve done and it is a big faux pas online!

Have anything to add to this list? Leave us a comment!


“I’m so tired and sleepy I probably should go for a walk”

Caution: This is a rant.

Why does this (see below) deserve 24 retweets, eight favourites, and five replies (none of which blasted this particular individual for being boring and whiny)?

Seriously??? I’m now questioning everything I know about Twitter. There are studies about what makes a good tweet and this would seem to fly in the face of that. I just picked it somewhat at random from his feed – there are plenty of other good examples. This one is especially bad too because it was posted at 1:35 a.m. – typically a very quiet time for Twitter.

Granted, K’naan is a musician with over 145,000 followers at time of writing. I’m sure every time he sneezes it gets a dozen likes. Or maybe he just has a crowd of very loyal (and possibly paid off) hype men (and women)? But tweets like this are bad form, so don’t you go learning from him (or his social media manager)! Here’s a great guide on good tweets and bad tweets to refresh our memories. Maybe I can send a copy to K’naan.


What Would You Like to see on Future Editions of Talknowledgy?

Hi all,
Catherine, Dave and I will be meeting to plan out the future of the show soon. We’d love to hear your feedback prior to that meeting! Some things to consider:

1) Do you find the “Trending Tweets” and “Viral Video of the week” useful?

2) Is 40 minutes too long?

3) Do you enjoy the 1-on-1 interviews?

4) How do you feel about the chiptunes in our most recent podcasts?

5) In terms of content covered, what are some topics you’d like more coverage on? What do you not want to hear about less frequently or not at all going forward?

Comments are always appreciated!



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