Adam Weiss: Podcast Consultant An Expert, Not a Know-it-All Wed, 08 Apr 2015 01:51:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2006-2007 (Adam Weiss: Podcast Consultant) (Adam Weiss: Podcast Consultant) posts 1440 An Expert, Not a Know-it-All Adam Weiss: Podcast Consultant Adam Weiss: Podcast Consultant No no Adam Weiss: Podcast Consultant 144 144 Make Your Podcast Run Smoothly Wed, 21 Apr 2010 05:55:57 +0000 Making a podcast can be stressful at times. Here are some tips to reduce that stress and app some polish to your show without putting hours into it afterwards:

Before the “Day Of”

  • Contact any guests and explain how the show will progress. Talk to them about the things you want to discuss, but don’t send them a specific list of questions unless it is absolutely necessary. You don’t want them to script their answers or go on autopilot and start giving a lecture instead of being interviewed.
  • Plan your show. Write up a basic “schedule” for the time you’ll be recoridng. You can adjust it a bit on the fly, but you should have some idea of what you’ll be doing throughout your taping. It may help to make it in the shape of a clock, with wedges for the segments you plan to do. If you want to be really organized, color code your radio “clock,” and write any relevant notes on matching-colored notecards. That way, if you get confused, you’ll always be able to just grab the right color card and get back on track.

Day of the show: Before you start

  • Make sure you have all recorded material you want to play while you’re recording ready (if you add this kind of stuff later, you can ignore this step). If you have intro music, taped segments, or other audio you want to play, put it all in one folder on your computer and cue it up in your software.
  • Unless you are totally comfortable with the your setup, run a test before you start. If you’re doing a phone interview, call a friend (or even your own cell phone) to make sure everything is working. It never hurts to take a few minutes and make sure everything works before you do something for your audience.
  • Make sure the area where you are physically located is quiet and free from distractions. Radio listeners feel as if you are always focused completely on them, and it can be quite jarring to hear someone else walk into the “studio” or to have a pet suddenly interrupt an interview.
  • Make sure you have your schedule handy, as well as any notes, written intros, and any other references you might need. If you are using your computer to show your notes, make sure that all of the files are open and on the screen, preferably organized so when you close one, the next one you need will be right behind it.

Starting your show

  • Be sure to have an introduction prepared, and timed to match any music you are going to play. Better yet, some hosts pre-record the intro, match it with the music, and just play it at the beginning of their show. Either way, you shouldn’t play music for more than a few seconds before you start introducing the episode, and you should make sure that the music fades down so it is much quieter than your speech by the time you start talking. If you want to play a longer track at the beginning, do it after the intro.
  • Within the first few sentences, you should introduce yourself, make sure you say the name of your show, and highlight one or two things you are going to talk about.
  • Make sure you actually start your show within the first minute or two you are on the air. Don’t spend a long time at the beginning promoting your Facebook group or asking for Twitter followers — you can do that during the show, or at the end. Instead, get right into the “meat” of the program as soon as you can. If you want to promote, just give one URL (your blog, website, or other online presence) and get started.

Making the audio make sense

  • Keep segments short. No matter how long your show is, make sure that each component is less than ten minutes long. If it is a long-form interview with one person, make sure you significantly change discussion topics a number of times. People will drift away if you spend too long on one thing. If it helps, try to think of your show as a series of “mini-shows” that all fall under one umbrella.
  • Be aware that podcasting has the potential for tremendous reach. People who aren’t in your target audience can find your show at any time. How? Well, someone may embed your podcast on their site or even download an mp3 and email it to a friend without any explanation. This means that you should strive for a show that makes sense to anyone from any background, even if they’ve never heard it before: If you use a term that is unique to your topic, explain it. If you mention someone or something from a previous show, include a two-sentence recap. People may not be aware of the context of a conversation. Your job as host is to provide that context.

Wrapping Up/Promotion

  • When you get to the end of the show, make sure to leave time to promote yourself. This is where you can give URLs, invite people to subscribe, and ask people to write iTunes reviews — it’s far more appropriate at the end of the show, after they know what it is they are reviewing or signing up to receive. (Yes, this tip is reused from this post.)
  • Tell people when and where they can listen to your show, and how often you post new episodes.
  • Word-of-mouth can be the best marketing, so ask your listeners to tell their friends about the show. Remind them about posting Facebook messages, Twitter tweets, and old-fashioned emailing of links — they won’t always think to do these things, after all.
  • Be sure to finish the show and end the recording before you do anything else. Nobody wants to hear you drinking water or eating chips, and you really don’t want your audience to overhear you turning to talk to your husband or wife, or making a comment about being “glad that’s over.” If that happens, edit it out before you post the MP3.

After You Finish

  • When you are done, make sure that the description of the show matches what you actually said. Add tags for anything that came up but you didn’t plan to talk about, and add any URLs mentioned to the text.
  • Promote what you just did online, using Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites. especially if it is relevant to your friends. If an interview went very well, say so, and thank the interviewee publicly on Twitter.
  • Make a few notes about things you can do better next time. If you write them down and look at them before you start your next episode, it will be that much better than the one you just finished.
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Building a Blog for Your Podcast Wed, 31 Mar 2010 13:46:36 +0000 A podcast is a great way to deliver information, but you need a way to

  • Make a new blog post for each episode. At minimum, re-post the show description you embed in the MP3 (you do that right?). Even better, add as much information (and as many tags) as you can. The ideal situation is a summary of the show’s contents broken down by when in the episode they appear, followed by a full transcript of the entire show (if you go this far, place the transcript after the blog’s “more” tag so it only appears if people view the entire post).
  • If at all possible, add a picture to each blog post — and don’t take it yourself. Do a search for Creative Commons licensed images, or look for appropriately-licensed photos on Flickr. Tell the image’s creator that you used it, even if the license doesn’t require it — they may be flattered enough to tell others. Whenever you use a photo, add a comment to the image on Flickr (or wherever it came from) letting other viewers know that you used it. This will let new people know about your show indirectly, and look good for the photographer.
  • Name your blog and show appropriately: Either give the blog the same name as the show/podcast, or make a category on your blog that matches the name of the show. Ideally, you would have the URL, name of the show, and name of the blog be the same.
  • Put prominent links to your RSS feed and your iTunes store URL (found by right-clicking the image in your iTunes listing) in the sidebar of your blog, and consider putting them at the end of each post as well.
  • Embed individual episode players in each episode’s post. In addition, provide direct links to the MP3 download for each episode in that episode’s blog post.
  • Optionally, put a direct link to your podcast’s RSS feed, but replace “http://” with “itpc://” this will immediately subscribe anyone who clicks it to your show in iTunes, rather than just bring them to your iTunes listing.
  • Add links to your social networking profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) in the sidebar. This will get you more friends and followers — AKA people you can easily tell about your future episodes.
  • Use a service like Feedburner to provide an email-based subscription to your RSS feed. This will appeal to less tech-savvy members of the audience.
  • Make sure your blog allows easy sharing of your posts to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. You want people to be able to click a button and re-post an episode easily. If your blog doesn’t currently support this, look for a plugin that adds it — they’re everywhere.
  • If you have the technical ability, make a 30-second audio promo for your show, and ask others to play it. Include a link to the MP3 of you promo on your site, and encourage visitors to share it.
  • Always make sure that comments are enabled on every post on your blog. You want people to be able to discuss the episodes where they find them. If people comment, reply promptly — you want your audience to feel like you care about them.
Booking Guests for Your Podcast Wed, 17 Mar 2010 09:39:25 +0000 Before you interview a guest on your show, someone has to track them down, ensure they are willing and able to talk to you at the time required, and check that they can actually speak intelligently and coherently on the topic you want to cover. This list will help you go from “I want to talk to someone about [topic]” to “Dr. Topic Expert, it’s so nice you could join us…”

Getting started

  • Finding the right guest means being a researcher, a detective, and a salesman. You need to learn about the topic and discover who the experts are in that area, track those people down and get them on the phone, then convince them to take part in the interview.
  • You’ll also need to make sure that the guest really is an expert in the area you want to cover, and that they can handle talking about it under the pressure of a recording situation.
  • Beyond just testing to make sure that the guest will survive the interview, you also need to decide if they will be engaging enough that your listeners will enjoy their contribution to the show.

Booking celebrities

  • If you hope to have a famous person on your show, realize that they are going to see it as doing you a favor, not the other way around. For the most part, celebrities will have higher-profile ways to get their stories out than being a guest on a podcast, so you need to understand their motive for talking to you.
  • You will most likely need to talk to a celebrity’s publicist, press secretary, or other “handler” before you can talk to the person themselves, so you have to impress upon that person that you have done your research and are truly fascinated with their boss’s work (their latest album, book, or sponsored legislation).
  • If the “official” point of contact doesn’t work out, sometimes you can go through your target guest’s manager, chief of staff, or someone else who you know has access to the person.
  • If “we just don’t have the time” is a problem, ask “How can I make it more convenient for you?” Perhaps you can book it well in advance, or can schedule a time when the celebrity will be in the car or taking a break. Some celebrities are less busy outside of “prime time,” so if you’re willing to willing to get up early or stay up late, you might get the interview you couldn’t swing otherwise.

Booking a topic rather than a person

  • Sometimes you want an oceanographer, an expert on immigration, or a car salesman, rather than a specific person. In other cases, you want to talk to someone whose house has been foreclosed or who has survived leukemia. In these cases, you want to know how to do your research and — once you find them — approach the potential guest with warmth and friendliness.
  • Start with an internet news search on the topic. If you find someone who has been profiled in an article, you know that they are open to talking about the topic. This also helps solve the “How did you find me?” problem — you saw them mentioned in the paper or heard them interviewed on the radio.
  • If you are looking for an expert, try searching for the topic on This will give you an instant list of authors who have written about something, along with brief biographies of many of them that may aid your getting in touch with them.
  • For cancer survivors, working-class artists, horseback riding enthusiasts, or other such people, look to online forums or other meeting places that cater to your target group. Look around a site, then start contacting contributors with the qualifications you are looking for.
  • For more geographically-focused topics (a Pit Bull ban in a certain city, or South Florida retirement communities, for example), look to the local newspapers. The writers to the letters-to-the-editor section or people quoted in articles on the topic can be great contacts and guests.
  • Be ready to explain exactly who you are and what your show is — both in terms of coverage and technology. Many people are still unfamiliar with podcasts, so be ready with a quick “it’s radio that people listen to online” explanation. It also helps to know how many people are listening, and what types of people make up your audience. This will help to convince someone that it is worth their time to talk to you.

The pre-interview

  • Once you’ve gotten in touch with your potential guest, you need to do a pre-interview. The purpose of this conversation (which in some cases can last as long as the actual interview) is four-fold: to make sure the person is actually knowledgeable, to gather information to make the actual interview go more smoothly, to find out if the person will make a good guest, and to schedule the official interview.
  • It is important to ask questions about the topic, not just about the person’s availability. If your questions are somewhat open-ended, you will get a better sense of the person’s ability to react on-the-fly, to sound like they’re having a conversation rather than giving a lecture, and — more importantly — to tell interesting stories.
  • Be sure to follow up on any vague answers to make sure that the person can really address the topic head-on, and ask “Can you give me an example?” a couple of times to hear what kind of stories they tell.
  • Once you are sure you want this person to be a guest on your show, explain to them how the recording will work, and offer to do a short test with them if they are uncomfortable with the technology.

If you’ve done these things, you’ll be head and shoulders above other podcasters (and many TV and radio hosts) when you actually interview your guest. Your listeners will appreciate the professional outcome — and so will your guest.

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How Podcasts Are Different From Radio Sun, 09 Aug 2009 01:37:48 +0000 Many people think of podcasts as “internet radio” programs. While this is pretty close to accurate, there are a number of things that make podcasts different from radio programs, from style to length to content. One of the big things that make podcasts different is that they aren’t actually broadcast in a live stream over the air for anyone to receive. This means that there are a few things that people do on the radio that are unnecessary in podcasts:

  • Even though you may feel and sound like you are on the radio, you don’t have to deal with one of radio’s biggest problems: identification. Your listeners know what they are listening to. They have come to your website, subscribed to your podcast feed, or downloaded an mp3. This means that you don’t have to tell people who and what they are listening to every few minutes — they can always just look at their iPod or the computer screen.
  • When you are interviewing someone or playing a recorded piece, you don’t need to both introduce and close out the segment with the person’s info (“That was Astrophysicist Neal deGrasse Tyson joining us from New York”). Radio hosts do this (along with the show ID every few minutes) in case people start listening in the middle of a segment. With podcasts, no-one will never start in the middle of your show unless they choose to. It doesn’t hurt to do this, but leaving it out is a good way to save some time or complexity.
  • Text descriptions are vital for podcasts because Google and other search engines can’t hear — they can only read. On the radio, you have your timeslot and your station has its built-in audience. That is not true of podcasting, so you need text to augment your audio — something radio people never thought was necessary.
  • Length is a variable, not a requirement. Radio shows must be timed down to the second, whereas podcasts can vary in length. That said, the length of your podcasts should be fairly consistent, and you should never talk about one topic for too long — just like they do on radio. No matter how long your show is, make sure that each component is less than ten minutes long. If it is a long-form interview with one person, make sure you significantly change discussion topics a number of times. People will drift away if you spend too long on one thing. If it helps, try to think of your show as a series of “mini-shows” that all fall under one umbrella.
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Social Media Tools: An Explanation for “the Rest of Us” Sun, 12 Apr 2009 00:36:13 +0000 Lately, I’ve been talking to a lot of people who have yet to jump on the social media bandwagon. They aren’t necessarily technophobic, they just have other things to focus on in their business or their lives. Because of what I do, these people tend to ask me “What is all of this online stuff good for?”

That’s actually a really good question to be asking if you aren’t used to using all of these sites every day. Not “Where so I start?” or “How do I get into it?” but — especially if you are only doing it to further your business — “What, specifically, are these tools for, and how do I use them to my benefit?”

So, for those of us you who want a roadmap before you run out into traffic, I’ll try to explain a few of the big sites people are excited about right now. The goal isn’t to get you to use all of these, but to help you understand the tools in a basic way that allows you to decide whether or not to try them.


Twitter asks “What are you doing?” right at the top of their site. It was originally designed as a way to let your friends know what you were up to in short, easy-to-share portions (”I’m about to get a drink at Starbucks on Washington St. if anyone wants to join me.”). It quickly morphed into a public forum where anyone can talk to anyone — and everyone — else about what interests them.

Now, you can easily send messages to a few different groups through Twitter:

  • People who are interested in what you, personally, have to say (your followers).
  • People who are interested in a specific topic (through hashtags or Twitter Search).
  • Any individual you want to send a specific message to, or you want to ask a question of (using the “@” sign and their Twitter name, e.g. @AdamWeiss).

Twitter is good for connecting with like-minded people, or for keeping up on the absolute latest news in a particular area. In a mundane example, you could track all mentions of “MBTA” to get a feel for what is happening on Boston’s public transit system. While that is mainly just a curiosity for most, if you are a PR person for the agency, it could be quite useful information. If you have a brand — or just a concept that is very important  to your business — Twitter can provide a window into the latest news, attitudes, and happenings in any field.

Oh, and putting your recent Twitter updates on your website is a great way to always have fresh information for visitors.


Facebook is the current 800-pound gorilla in the social networking world. It is a place to connect with people you know, both personally and professionally. You set up a profile, with your picture, work and education vitals, interests, and basic contact information. You then find friends, colleagues, and old classmates and ask to be their “friend.” This lets you both keep current on what the other is doing and exchange messages.

Whenever you publicly do something new on Facebook (add a friend, comment on a photo), everyone you know is able to see that and decide whether to check out the profile, website, or photo that you just visited. This can be a bit disconcerting at first, with everyone seemingly “stalking” your online life. However, it is really a way for you to spread your influence quickly and efficiently. If you post a news article you found about your industry on Facebook, everyone you know will have the opportunity to see it if they visit your page. If one of your friends likes it enough to post it themselves, all of their friends will see it was well.

So, when you say “I just met with my client ________, and we talked about their new great service,” you are broadcasting your expertise and your client’s work to a large number of people. Better yet, if one of your friends makes a comment as simple as “Congratulations!” on something you’ve posted, all of their friends will see that note, along with the information you posted to get the praise. If two friends respond to you, you will have reached twice as many people without doing much work at all.

There are many more things you can do with Facebook (create pages for your business, become a fan of your favorite TV show, post Twitter-like “status updates,” etc.), but the above is where you should start. You’ll be surprised at the number of friends you’ll have just after you sign up — my mom recently created an account completely by accident, and she had 50 friends by the end of the week!


LinkedIn, when taken rather simplistically, can be considered “Facebook for Business.” It is a place where you can connect with people you have professional relationships with, get references and job referrals, and ask the experts in your contact list questions about their industries. It is also a good “mini-resume” and an automatically-updated Rolodex for people you do business with.

In my opinion, the one place where LinkedIn really shines is in its ability to help you find connections with the people you want to be talking to. If there is a particular expert or prospect who you want to get in touch with, a LinkedIn search will tell you who you know that knows them — and give you the option to ask for an introduction.

At this point, many people are using Facebook for a good number of the things LinkedIn is designed for, so — unless you know that a lot of people you want to interact with are already on LinkedIn and not on Facebook — I would recommend choosing Facebook over LinkedIn if you only want to sign up for just one of the two.


Delicious (formerly is a social bookmarking site. That may be a bit of an odd concept, but it is a useful one. Delicious is like the bookmarks feature of your web browser, posted online. There are a lot of cool things that can be done with delicious, but the “beginner” version is pretty simple: you can bookmark sites that you like, organize them, and share them with other people in your field.

Adding a link to your delicious bookmarks on your website (or embedding the actual list there) can instantly turn you into an industry resource. If your opinions are respected by others in your field, they will want to see what you are reading online. Delicious is a simple way to do that without much effort at all.


Digg is based on a very simple but powerful concept: people want to look at the stuff other people like. If there is something you like online, you can submit a link to Digg, and millions of people will have the chance to vote on whether to put it on the front page of the site. If a link makes it onto the front page, it could get hundreds of thousands of clicks.

Digg ignores one of the best things about the web — the ability to find what is useful to you, regardless of whether it is popular — but getting noticed there can get you more attention than you can handle (servers routinely crash if a site gets “Dugg”). If you have a strong interest in one of the categories of sites Digg covers, you can find great information every day. Also, if you produce great information, submitting it to Digg gives you a shot at being seen by millions.


Everyone has heard of YouTube, and almost everyone has used it at this point. Millions of videos are watched every day on the Google-owned site, so if you are producing videos for any reason, they should probably be there. YouTube is also a great resource for your blog or website — it is extremely simple to put a YouTube video that is relevant to your work on your site using the “embed” info next to YouTube’s player. This gives you access to great content for free, and allows your video to easily spread throught the web — something I just experienced when my GV Mobile demo got 60,000 views in just a few days.

YouTube is just the search and delivery system for the videos; you have to have one to put it up. You can go the “quick and sloppy” route and use your webcam, or you can work with a producer or videographer to put up some really high-quality footage using YouTube’s HD playback feature.

Video can add a lot to a website, but it can also detract. The merits of the medium is beyond the scope of this post, but if you are going to be making video, put it on YouTube.

If this overview was useful to you, use it to try out some of the technologies I talked about: Tweet a link to it on Twitter, post it on your Facebook profile, save it on delicious, submit it to Digg, or even make a video about it for YouTube. The great thing about all of these tools is that they are easy to try, and it won’t really hurt anything if you decide not to get involved and delete your account. So, if one — or all — of these sites sounds good, give them a try!

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