In Episode 031, we dealt with the things you’d need to start a podcast.
Today I will speak to you about “How to start a podcast.” I feel that the items
listed in episode 31 may not be clear enough for some people. I took it upon
myself to prepare this short tutorial that will teach you how to start a
podcast with zero or very minimum budget.
To start a podcast you will need two sets of tools. These are offline and online tools.
tools, you will need:
We established that you would need a computer. It is also possible to
use your smart phone, but for simplicity’s sake, please use a computer.
Yes, you will need microphone. Ideally for a start, you can get a USB Microphone from Amazon. I use personally a Samson C01 Pro USB microphone.
It is always good to get feedback of your recording while it happens,
than to record a good 45 minutes only find that there is no recording because
the mic volume was too low. Headphones will help give you an idea on how your
recording will sound.
This is a computer software which you will use to record and edit your audio files. I use a free software called Audacity.
A Good Quiet
It is best to record your podcast episodes in a quite space to avoid disturbances. You don’t what your listeners to hear your dog barking or your neighbors fighting.
Next week will shall deal with online tools for podcasting
I started blogging many years ago. My
first post went out on the 6th of January 2010. It wasn’t the
greatest post ever written since I had no idea what I was doing. I published a
post whenever I felt like publishing one. Some posts are months apart and some
are years apart. The reason for this, is that, I didn’t know how to do blogging.
In my first year of blogging (2010),
I managed to collect 442 views and 4 likes. Of course this was pathetic. Some of those
views, were mine. Needless to say…and I am going to say it, even though it is
needless to say. I continued to produce content which was interesting only to a
very few people. I used to write very short posts and one of the friends I had
met in 2011, advised to me to write longer posts. I noticed that he had a
larger following and had many engagements on his own posts. I took his advice, thinking
that people will be miraculously attracted to my posts and there was no much
difference except that it took me much longer to write these posts and as lazy
as I was then, I just couldn’t commit myself on any form of schedule to write
and publish blog posts.
If you were to follow The Spokesdude blog then, you would have been confused as when to expect a new post. There was no particular order of publishing. If you were to ask me about the purpose for my blog posts, I wouldn’t be able to give you a clear answer. I was just passing time, or more like wasting it.
In 2014 I had an epiphany. What if I
recorded messages and the put them on my blog and share them on Facebook. I didn’t know that I was soon to be introduced
to podcasting. I must admit that prior to 2014, the word podcast made no sense
to me. I never even bothered myself to find out the meaning of podcast.
I figured out that my superpower was speech and my English which was somehow praised by many South Africans. They said my English was unlike the English that spoken by ordinary black South Africans. In that super English I began to record myself, using my phone and then I sent those recordings to my friends via WhatsApp and BBM. Later I found some computer headset which had a mouth piece for making skype calls. I used that to record my first episode of the Spokesdude in 2015. It was a work in progress. That first episode, when I am listening to it today, it sounds absolutely terrible. It carried and important message but the sound was absolutely revolting. The problem with my earlier episodes is that, I had no specific day in which I published an episode. This was my undoing. In 2016, I enrolled at a Bible college and I had to put The Spokesdude on hold for 3 years. In 2018 I graduated from the Bible and I decided to relaunch the Spokesdude Podcast. On the 20th of December 2018, I published the first episode following the relaunch.
I followed the likes of John Lee Dumas, Cliff Ravenscraft and other top podcasters who were offering free advice and free courses which are related to podcasting. One of the things they taught and practiced and I noticed other podcasters do, is consistence in their posting activity. John Lee Dumas posts one episode seven days a week. I heard that he records, his episode back to back on a single day. I decided that I will post every Thursday, as long as my podcast exists. Hence today, is the 38th episode and the 38th week since the relaunch of The Spokesdude Podcast.
I realize that in the blogging and podcasting
industry, no man or woman is an island. In order to make it you need to listen
to other podcasters and read other people’s blogs. When you make well-thought
out, meaningful and relevant comments on their posts, you attract visitors to
your own site. Based on your comments some people will wonder about who you are
and what you have to offer.
Recently I have many likes, views and
follows on my blog because of my headlines, tags and categories. Had I not read
other bloggers, I would not have known that I have to write tags on my posts as
one of the ways attract traffic to my blog posts. Last week alone the tag “blogging”
drew a large number of visitors. I was amazed when I saw this.
What I used to be 9 years ago have disappeared through the years. I have grown to focus myself on the needs of others and meet them somewhere. The thing I learn from fellow podcasters and bloggers can be applied even in business. You cannot making on your own. You need fellow human beings of like mind to help you reach your goal and also help them reach theirs.
you have written your well-structured blog post. You feel very good about
yourself right now. You have read and re-read your post, checking for any errors
that might disturb your reader. You can see readers, reading and smiling and
adoring the author of this magnificent post. They mean you, of course. You can
see the comments pouring. If you were addressing a live audience, they would be
rendering a standing ovation to your cause. You have great imagination… Now
wake up! The work is not done yet. There is a number of things you need to do.
there are two things you have to do and this case I was right when I said there
is number of things you need to do. Who doesn’t know that “two” is actually a
number? Don’t answer that.
the two things that needs to be done, the first, is publishing your post and
the second is promoting your post. Let’s talk about those two.
Publishing Your Post
you don’t need a publisher to publish your post. This is not a book. It is a
blog post. Publishing your blog post means, you make it available for the internet
to see it. As a result your readers will be able to find it and relish the
juiciness of your textual prowess, which is showcased in each line and
paragraph of your handiwork. It is the only way to make your post go live on
There usually is a button that you get to click when feel that your post is ready to go out. In the case of WordPress.com (which is my recommendation for those who are getting started), the button will be labeled “Publish” by default. This means when you smash the “Publish” button, your post will be published immediately.
You can publish your post at any time you wish. You can choose to publish you post immediately or you can choose a future date and tell WordPress to publish the post on a specific date and time. Once you choose a future date, the “Publish” button will change to “Schedule.” This feature is very useful when you will be away from your computer at the date and time when you need to publish a post. A great example of this, is TSDN – 029 which was released on the 4th of July 2019. I was at the church conference on that date. I would not have been able to publish the blog post and I was in a place that had terrible internet connection. It helped me to write, record and schedule the post on the 2nd of July 2019 and had it published on the 4th without my involvement. As a result I have been able to publish TSDN episodes every Thursday for 37 weeks, without fail. It helps to know the tools which are available to you and to know how they work. When you schedule your post, WordPress will remember that instruction, and publish the post for you on that specific time which you will set up.
you are typing your post and then have to stop typing because you have to
attend to some other things. You have an option of saving your post as a draft.
When you save your post as a draft, it is only visible to you and can only go
live when you hit the “Publish” button.
can also set the visibility of your post. It can either be “Public”, “Private” or “Password
Protected.” There are several reasons why you may want to use other
visibility options instead of “Public.” Your posts will always be set on public
by default. This mean when your post is published, it will be available for
everyone in any part of the world to see it.
you set your post to “Private,” it will only be seen by special people with
whom you have decided to share its link. Also when you set it to “Password
Protected” it will only be accessed by those with whom you have shared a
password for that post.
Publicize Your Posts
To publicize your post means to link your WordPress account with your social media accounts, so that when your posts are published, WordPress would automatically send their links to the relevant social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. Your contacts will be able to see your blog posts in their social feeds. I strongly recommend that you do this.
you publish your post, you must put some tags on it. This will help people who
are searching for the topic you are addressing
to find your post. Tags are keywords.
One of the tags on this blog post is #blog. So whoever happens to type
blog, could find this post which deals with the subject of blogging.
feature is used to identify and classify your posts by putting them in specific
groups, so it be easier to find them. This will help searchers to find your
Once your post is published, you have one more task at hand. Promote it.
Your Blog Post
Smashing that publish button is not the end of the road. You have to promote your post so that it will reach more people. When you have written your post, you would want to drive traffic to it. Very few people will come to you if you do not promote your blog. There are many ways through which you can promote your blog posts without paying.
Facebook is growing to be my least
favorite platform for promoting blog posts, however it is better than doing
nothing. You may share your link to your blog post on Facebook but you’ll have
to write a bit of text in order to draw some of the readers to follow the link.
The reason I don’t like Facebook is that Facebook has a very annoying
algorithm. Very few of your acquaintances will actually see you post. The only
way to get more Facebookers to see the post, is to pay up. Facebook wants you
to pay for ads. May be you have seen Facebook trying to make you boost your
post so that it can reach some 2999 people. When you follow that link you
discover that Facebook wants you to pay them to promote yourself.
Instagram is now owned by Facebook
and it is equally daunting to try and promote something because nothing is ever
clickable on your Instagram posts unless you start a paid-ad-campaign. You can
pay if you have some cash to spare. I prefer to reach my audience in an organic
fashion for the lack of money.
Twitter is another way you may want
explore. Personally, Twitter hasn’t driven much traffic to my site. So I
wouldn’t say much about it. I have tried it many times. I really don’t know how
I have only been with Pinterest for a
few months now and I can attest to that so far Pinterest is one of the best ways
to drive traffic to your site. Pinterest is a little bit confusing at first but
I got the hang of it and I saw an improvement on my site traffic. I promise
that in future I will show you how Pinterest works. There are some YouTube
videos which are dedicated in showing how Pinterest works.
I started a group for The Spokesdude Network on WhatsApp and I shared that group’s link on Facebook. Some friends joined my WhatsApp group through that link. I also personally asked some of the contacts on WhatsApp if they would like to join The Spokesdude Network Group. They said “yes” and I put them in the group. No one in The Spokesdude WhatsApp group is there against their will and each person is free to leave the group whenever they want to do so.
I use the group to post the links to The Spokesdude Podcast and also the links to the Run Yourself Crazy Podcast. I also give announcements and ask questions that may spark an interesting conversation amongst the group participants. I try my best not to spam the group. I keep my postings there to the very barest minimum possible. I don’t wish to be a nuisance to my supporters. You should avoid that too.
When you are promoting you posts, try
not to sell stuff to your prospect readers. If you keep selling to them, you
will lose them. Rather promote the post and be on your way. I personally find
it annoying when people start selling stuff to me especially on our first
engagement on any particular platform. Such individuals lose me completely.
Trust me, no one wants to be sold to. So don’t sell anything to your prospects, unless you are a skilled sales agent. I promise you though, you will one day find a guy like me who will see right through you and who would anticipate everything you may want to say. Promote your post and let people discover what you are selling as they go through your well written post.
Last week, on TSDN – 035, we defined what a blog is and we briefly discussed what you would need to start a blog and I gave you tips for publishing your blog.
I will talk to you about publishing your first blog post.
you have answered the basic questions about your blog, you should have a good
idea what sort of things you should write about. For example if you are writing
a sports blog, the question I would ask is, what sort of sport are you focusing
on? Do you report on everything or you are reporting on a specific sporting
activity? You could be writing about football (soccer) or rugby. It could be cycling
or running. Maybe you’d prefer to follow and write about golf or tennis. Maybe
you’d rather to swing towards baseball (pun intended).
may not be so keen as to write about sports. You may perhaps be interested in
gardening or fashion designing. Some people prefer to write about politics,
religion, science, movies and the list goes on. Whatever one chooses to write
about, it then opens doors to further choices.
say I choose to write about Gardening. This subject alone is rich and broad.
There is always something to write with regards to gardening. You can write
about vegetable gardening and a few months later, you switch to flower
gardening. You can write about grass and its variants. You can write about the
problems and solutions of gardening. What about pests and solutions to that
problem? What sort of tools a gardener may need to own? Various type of soils
and so on and so forth. There is so much to learn and write about with regards
people would prefer to just write spontaneously, as ideas come to mind. These
sort of bloggers are free spirited. They write about anything and provoke
readers to take a second look at life. Some prefer to post in the form of an
open diary. I mean to say, they write about stuff that is taking place in their
personal lives. If this confuses you, think of it as a text version of the
Kardashians. Only without the Kardashian drama.
you make your choice and have decided on the name of your blog, domain name and
a hosting service. It is time to publish your first post.
CHOOSE A THEME FOR YOUR BLOG
Most hosting services will guide you through the process of setting up your blog. I personally recommend WordPress.com. All the processes which were described in the last episode, will be easier to setup because WordPress.com provides a setup wizard for you. Also during the setup process you will be given a chance to choose a theme for your blog and then customize it to your liking. There are hundreds of themes to choose from.
If you are working on a
budget, there are free themes which are perfect for getting started. There are
also paid themes which allow your blog to look a little bit more professional
and attractive. There are also themes which are designed for businesses and
online shops. Some themes are suitable for news blogs, photographers,
podcasters and much more. Choose the one that works for you. Don’t worry if you
end up not liking it in the future. You can totally switch to another theme at
any time, without losing your content.
Having chosen and customized
your theme, you are now ready to publish your first post.
CHOOSE AN ATTENTION GRABBING HEADLINE
The first thing your potential
readers will see on your post is the headline. It is critical to choose a
headline that will make your target audience to stop what they are doing, and
pay attention to your post. If your headline is dull and unattractive, your
post will be treated as something that never existed. You need to pull the
readers to your post by provoking their curiosity.
This means you must have a
good idea as to what would interest your potential readers. What are your
readers searching for? What is it they want to know? What problems they wish to
solve? Are you able to meet their expectation?
Let’s say, your potential
audience wishes to get out of debt and begin a journey to financial freedom. If
you have ideas on how to help them improve their financial standing, you could
draw their attention with these headlines: “How to Get out of Debt and Reclaim Your Life?”, “How to Shame Your Creditors and Live a Debt
Free Life.”, “How to Pay Cash for
Everything and Never Borrow Money Again.” There are also other headlines
which are related to money and can be used to draw the attention of your
readers. You can put up a line that says: “3
Reasons Why You Are Still Poor?”, “4
Ways You Can Buy the Bank and Never Owe It Again.” Try something along
What about cooking. Some
people may want to write about food and cooking. There are scores of people who
are looking for easy recipes for easy and quick meals. Equally so, there are
hundreds of blogs offering these recipes. One out of a number of things that
could make a new culinary blog to stand out, is to use an outstanding headline.
Pull the eyes of potential readers to your blog post. You can put up something
like: “4 Quick Recipes for Instant
weight loss.” Or “Common Colds Hate
These Foods” You can even go as wild as saying, “If You Eat This You Will Keep the Doctor Away.” Make your posts
believable even before they are actually read.
I know some of these are
fictional headlines but I believe you get the idea. A great headline is the
draw card for searchers to notice your blog post. You may have to do a research
on what people are mostly searching for online. Knowing the questions most
people ask in Google search, may be another way to figure out what sort of
headlines to put up, in order to reach your target audience and perhaps draw
their attention to your post.
STRUCTURE YOUR POST WELL
You may have a compelling headline but this is not a guarantee that your reader will stay, except when you have written a well-structured post. What may turn many readers on or off, is the readability of your blog post. For someone getting started with blogging, you don’t need to worry much about the rules of grammar and other things that pertain to writing a politically correct English text document. What you need to focus on is that your ideas are easily understood by your readers. Your ideas should be well connected and they must be flowing to a certain direction. They must take the reader from the position of doubt to the place of confidence that they have found the solution to their problem.
Writing a post is like
building a house. A well-structured post would have:
introduction is like the front porch of a house. This is where the front door
into the house is found. In the introduction you tell the reader what you are
going to write about. If you flunk your introduction your reader will leave.
You must have a way to hook the reader. Many bloggers use rhetorical questions
to get the reader hooked and make them stay to read on some more.
sales person who is selling a weight loss formula would open his post in this
“Have you been made fun of due to the size
of your body? Have you been trying to lose weight to no avail? Do you want to
wear what you want without being judged? If you answered “yes” to any one of
these questions, I have a solution for you.” These questions do not require
an answer, instead they are used as a platform get the reader’s attention and
also to invoke the reader’s emotional investment into the post. Once a person
is emotionally invested to something, they linger a bit longer to find
write a compelling introduction, giving a reader a clear idea of what your post
is about. So you tell the reader about what you are going to tell them.
body of your post is like the inside of the house. The house has bedrooms, a dining
room, a lounge, a kitchen, a bathroom and a study area. Each of these rooms have detailed and
relevant furniture. As the house have different rooms, for different purposes,
your post should have paragraphs that would communicate different ideas. Each
paragraph should carry a certain idea and then flows to another paragraph to
explain another connecting idea.
must use shorter paragraphs to drive your point home. Shorter paragraphs will
encourage the reader to stay and will help them to comprehend your main idea.
is good practice to use text breakers, like related images. Many readers get
bored when reading a long body of text without any other form of visual arts in
sight. You may use images or quoted text for emphasis and to give the reader a
the body of your post, it is where you explain your ideas in details. This
where you tell the reader what you have promised to tell them. You define
problems. You explain why they have not been solved before and how are you
planning to solve them. You explain how your solution is different from others
and why it will work. You allow the reader to see the value of what you have to
offer. This where you tell stories to which your audience can relate. You use
graphs, bullet points and whatever means available to help you get your main
have hooked the reader in the introduction and in the body you are reeling them
conclusion is the final structure of your post. This is where you summarize
everything you have said. Basically, you tell the reader what you have told
them. This is where you compress all the ideas you have unpacked in the body,
so that the reader can have something to take home.
in the conclusion you tell the reader what to do with the information you have
just given them. Some people would have no idea what to do with what you have
said and so they need a call to action.
GIVE A CALL-TO-ACTION
A call-to-action is not a
mysterious thing, really. This is where you tell your readers what to do. I
know, some people will not feel comfortable with telling people what to do, but
in the case where you need readers to share your posts if they find it helpful,
you need to tell them to do so. If you have links that may help your readers,
you need to tell them so that they will click on them.
Sometimes you may want to give
freebies like free eBooks to your readers. You will need to tell them what to
do in order to get the freebie. Some people use call-to-action in order to
build a mailing list and to gain more subscribers.
Always give a call-to-action so that your reader can engage and do something with your content.
You may have
heard people talking about a blog before and perhaps you have been wondering as
to what on earth is a blog. If not, then you already know what a blog is and
you will agree if I say, the word blog is short form of the word weblog.
Basically a blog is website which is regularly updated with new posts on daily,
weekly, biweekly or in some rare awkward cases, on yearly basis.
Why should you want to start a blog?
many reasons why people would want to start a new blog. Some of those reasons
would be boredom. One would pass some extra time by putting a line or two out there
for others to read and hopefully to comment on it. In short blog writing can be
done as a hobby. A lot of people have started blogs as a hobby with no
particular purpose in mind.
On the other parts of the world there are people who would start a blog for business purposes. One will start a blog to promote a particular service or product, hoping that, some lonely people who have extra money would be interested in reading and perhaps end up buying what he has to sell.
write blogs just to inform the public about the events that have taken place in
their local communities. Basically, these people are the pain in the butt to
the news agencies. Instead of waiting for tomorrow’s newspaper, people will now
go to Mindy’s blog and read about a tornado which stole Mr Smith’s car and
planted it on Mrs Huckleberry’s roof top, just minutes after the events. Mindy
will even have a picture or video which was taken as it happened.
start a blog to entertain their readers. They would post fictional stories,
poems, lyrics to famous songs and more.
for starting a blog are endless.
When you have resolved to start a blog and you don’t know how and where to start, this is your day to know. I am going show what you need to start a blog and how to start a blog.
What do you need to start a blog?
You need to have a good idea what your blog will be
about and what do you want to achieve in the end. You need to determine what
kind of a blog it will be. This will help you to know what to write about on
regular basis. You may want to start a business blog, where you showcase your
work. It could also be a place where your customers can actually book your
services or make orders for the product you have on offer. My blog is where my
podcast episodes are found. It serves as a go to place for my podcast
publish your blog, you need to ask yourself these questions:
is your reader? Where is your reader located? Is your blog intended for men or
women? What is the current situation of your reader? Are they in business? Are
they employed? What value do you bring to them? Why should they read your blog?
What is the cultural back ground of your reader? In which language are you
going to write?
of the time we get a temptation of wanting to speak to the whole world, but in
reality, not everyone will appreciate what we have to say. It is better to
focus on a specific audience to which you can bring value. So, these questions
will help you to narrow down to a specific audience. They will also help you to
focus on a specific niche. Once you determine the reason for your blog and the
people it is intended for and the value you wish to bring your audience, you
will know what to write about. You will have a good idea on what to research
and then present to your readers.
Name Your Blog
blog has a name. A blog name sets it apart from other blogs in the same genre.
People cannot find your blog if you refer to it as a news blog. There are
thousands of news blogs in the internet. You need to give it a good name. A
name could be anything. It could be “Lungisa’s Blog” or “The Weed Man” or
something that is befitting and available.
You need to have a good idea what your blog will be about and what do you want to achieve in the end.
Your blog must have a domain name. A domain name will in most cases match the name of your blog, if it is available. For example, my domain name is: thespokesdude.com. It is easier for me tell people where to find my blog. When you start a blog with hosting companies like WordPress.com, the default domain name will be thenameyouhavechosen.wordpress.com and this is on their free hosting plan. In the case of my site it is thespokesdude.wordpress.com. This may work for you while you are starting but in the long run depending on what you wish to do with your site, it is better to buy a custom domain name. WordPress.com at this moment charges $18 for a custom domain name if you choose to stick with their free hosting plan.
So you have a name and a domain name for your blog, now you need a hosting service. I currently use WordPress.com. WordPress.com has five different plans for blog hosting. There is a free plan which is very basic and restricted. This one is best for just getting started. There’s also a Personal Plan for just bloggers and for personal use. Then there is a Premium Plan which best for freelancers, they also have a Business Plan which is best for small business and an E-Commerce Plan which is best for online stores. Depending on your budget and the purpose for your site, you can choose from any of these plans and begin working on your blog.
Without an internet connection you will not be able to do what I have told you. Your blog can be started using a smartphone, a tablet or a computer. These devices must be connected to the internet.
Tips For Publishing Your Blog
The Frequency of your posts
is very important to commit yourself to your blog. Decide on the frequency of
your posts. This mean you need to choose whether you will be posting daily or
weekly? If weekly, how many posts per
week? If you decide to post on Monday, it is important that on each Monday you
publish a post. Never skip an appointment with your readers. If you post on
random days, your readers will not know when to expect your posts as a result
they will be turned off and move on. Be consistent.
Stick to your Niche
It is important for the sake of your audience to be consistent with both the timing of your blog posts and with the content of your blog. If your blog is about gardening tips, then stick to gardening. Your readers will not appreciate it if one day instead of receiving a post on gardening, they find themselves reading about politics and the elections. Stick to your niche! Make sure that your posts are well researched and useful to your audience. This will build your credibility. You will be able to retain your current readership while receiving new readers.