008: How to Launch Your Podcast

My guest in this episode is Colin Gray, he’s a podcaster, international speaker, PhD and founder of The Podcast Host and Alitu: The Podcast Maker. Colin started out in Astrophysics, before realising, to his dismay, how much maths you had to do. Podcasting has less maths, but just as many puzzles, and fun ones at that.

He started ThePodcastHost.com in 2011, and it’s now one of the biggest and oldest Podcasting blogs on the web, dedicated to helping you create a successful show.

He went on to found Alitu.com in 2018 to help podcasters create their shows more easily. It’s a web app that takes care of the tech, by polishing, branding & publishing for you. It offers a custom set of tools for building and editing epic podcasts.

Episode Links and Mentions:

https://alitu.com

https://www.thePodcastHost.com/academy/

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Prefer to Read? Here’s the Transcript:

Stephanie:

Hello, thank you for joining me. You’re listening to the profitable content marketing show. In this episode, I talk to Colin Gray about podcasting. If you’ve not heard of Colin before he is known as the podcast host, and he is a speaker, as well as the owner of a podcasting school. I met Colin in London around three years ago. He was speaking at the Youpreneur summit event. I believe it was actually the first event. And I got talking to Colin after his speaking gig. And I just love his down to earth approach. And the way his tips are just so doable. And this interview, we talked about, you know, how to stay consistent and how to improve your productivity as well as you know, it’s not just the tips very often. It’s also the tools we use. So Colin also shares this amazing tool. So if you are planning to start a podcast or you’re podcasting already, but want to get faster and more productive, well, this episode is for you. So thanks for joining. Let’s jump right in and hear what Colin has to say to him.

Colin:

Hi there. Thanks for having me on,

Stephanie:

Thank you very much for joining us. So Colin, I know that you actually teach podcasting, so you have a wealth of information to share with us. So I wanted to start by asking you one of the most common questions I hear, as you probably know I work with a lot of bloggers and content creators, so, and business owners. So we talk a lot about finding your voice when it comes to writing and making sure that you are authentic. Whereas with podcasts, of course, the actual voice can be heard. So we’re talking also about, you know, perhaps excellence or lack of accent sometimes. Yes. What kind of advice do you give about this? Usually?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it’s, it’s a tricky one and it’s one of, it’s definitely one of the most common things that come up. Like you say, it applies to just any content out there, but with podcasting, obviously voice, voice is so important because it’s your voice that’s actually been recorded. The advice I generally give is that podcasting is such a great medium because just about anyone can find fans for their voice. They can find somebody that will like the way they speak, the way they act, their ethos, their personality, all of those aspects. So the key thing really is to be yourself. And it’s easy to say that I know, but the being yourself thing is so important because it’s so much hater, so much harder to hight behind the mic. And it’s so much easier, to be honest, transparent, open behind the making. I think the thing is with, you know, with blogging, you’re kind of, you’re hiding behind your typewriter.

Colin:

It’s hard to get your typewriter by going back to the 1950s ranger keyboard. And it’s much harder to, you know, in say emotion to, to really truly be yourself when you’re typing. Then when you speak, when you speak, you’re much more like yourself. So then we’ve got video and audio, but video, there’s something about looking at a camera. There’s something about that screen in front of you that, you know, it’s, it’s quite hard to be informal, to be yourself, to be honest. So then you come to podcasting and you have this microphone in front of you, and you’re just speaking to an individual and it’s so much easier, to be honest and transparent and all that stuff. So your self seems to come out. The thing that people struggle with though, as being natural on the microphone. And one thing that helps with that I find and being natural and being yourself is to start to think about that listener.

So start thinking about an individual as the key thing. You’re not speaking to a crowd, you’re not speaking to a hundred, a thousand, a million people out there. You’re speaking to one person. So you should always say on the make like, hi there, how are you doing? How are you today? It’s not, Hey guys, how are you all doing? It’s how are you today? I’m speaking to you when you want to do this, you do this. When I want you to do that, you do that. It’s an individual and something, a attract that I learned a long time ago. And I know a lot of people use is to have something to focus on behind me. So you’ll have a photo, possibly a lot of people put a photo on the wall behind their microphone that they can look at, and that represents their ideal listener and maybe a real person that they know, or it might be, you know, a fictional character, an avatar, a persona that they’ve created that is their ideal customers are idealistic, but it’s somebody that you can look at and just imagine you’re speaking to that person.

And that little thing tends to meet you much more natural on the make because you know who you’re speaking to, it’s a conversation as opposed to a monologue. And it just helps you a lot with being yourself. I think the other thing, the last one, I’ll just say there is I’ve seen people use soft toys for that. So you’ve got your favorite Teddy child. They set that behind the mate and you’ve got your, your Teddy that you’re speaking to. And as a person, you know, it’s a personality in your head and that’s who you’re speaking to little things like that. So having something, someone, some, you know, I think to talk to, because all the difference when you’re trying to find your voice, but does that make sense? Definitely. Just around. It’s just, it’s just, it’s personal. So it’s just being yourself on the,

Stephanie:

And it absolutely makes sense. In fact, when I started creating online videos, I just could not even, you know, keep looking at the camera. That’s what I used to do. I had pictures of my first clients and I used to put them, I used to put them on, on, on the screen at the top. In fact, I ended up running my cameras, taking them because I used to stick them onto the actual Mac camera, the front. But yeah, I suppose it’s like you said, though, in this case, you cannot, it’s not like a presentation. You don’t imagine a group. You need to imagine that one person because it’s a very intimate medium and you’re in people’s ears so it takes a different approach.

Colin:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It’s that one to one thing. And so many people don’t do it as well as so many people. You hear them say it to start the podcast. Hey guys, welcome to the show. I hope you’re all doing well out there. And I immediately break that intimate one-to-one personal connection. You’re not speaking directly to the person. So it is really important. It does make a difference.

Stephanie:

Indeed. Absolutely. In fact, I think for that reason, I find that people with sort of very fancy loud intros kind of put me off.

Colin:

Yeah, yeah. Yes. It’s not, it’s not themselves as it. It’s no, it’s often somebody else that began to do, and that’s not that works on TV. It works in film because it’s like, it’s a big production it’s made to be dramatic by a podcast as a conversation. It’s a, it’s an intimate conversation. One to one you’re learning from this individual. It’s not a company. It’s not a brand might be a personal brand, arguably, but it’s a personal brand personal to you and personal to that person. So. Absolutely. Yeah. It’s just, it’s that intimate connection you’re looking for.

Stephanie:

Indeed. And speaking of personal brands, I would really like to hear actually your take about that. Is it, do you find that it’s valuable to certain types of businesses more than others, you know, having their own podcast and repurposing that content?

Colin:

I think it’s, it’s really, it’s valuable to anyone. I believe to have some kind of a personal brand around the business, whether it’s are a bank business that has a figurehead or you know, just a personality within it to kind of convey the ethos of that company. Like some of the obvious examples, being things like Apple with Steve jobs, you know, when he was still an Apple, he was the kind of, he wasn’t the only person running it. We knew that it wasn’t Steve Jobs that ran the whole of Apple built the computers, but he kind of conveyed the personality, his perfectionism, all that kind of stuff, just that the quality of the care that goes into the product. So it’s that personal brand conveyed the ethos of the company, similar with other people that have sort of lay its companies that become the figurehead of that company, but even more important, I think with small companies like if you run a small business or you’re an individual, the way to compete with the larger companies or with the slew of other small companies out there is your personality, it’s your approach, it’s your ethos, your values.

That’s why somebody will choose like one, you know, Baker in a high street over another it’s because there’ll be nor the person behind the counter and they’ll have talked to them and they’ll like them, you know, trust them just because they know this person. So it’s extra valuable to small companies, I think, and particularly small companies that are in relatively saturated markets. So a good example of that might be something like a, a solicitor, so Lester’s office. So we work with a company called black counters, which are us Lester in Scotland, and they could be lost in the kind of the world of, of solicitor legal, all that stuff is it’s a world that doesn’t have much personality in a lot of ways. So they create a podcast which puts their personality out there. There’s three of them often come into podcasts. They’re really funny guys.

They create a really great podcast called employment lawyer in your pocket, which talks about how to run employment law. It’s like, it’s the driest subject ever, but because they are passionate about it, cause they’re so knowledgeable about it. And because they have such a great team you know, chemistry, they make it entertaining. They make it funny, they make it useful. And so suddenly people that listened to that podcast immediately, they’re going to go to black actors because of the personality that comes out there because they know that people ended, they trust those people. So that kind of personal brand that’s where it’s most valuable to me is that those industries often don’t have much personality, a lot of competition and really need that differentiation.

Stephanie

That sounds great. And how many funny lawyers can you find really?

Colin:

Well, I don’t like to, you know, the whole industry, but not as far as I know.

Stephanie:

Yeah, yeah. Especially when they’re at work. I don’t think they’re allowed to be funny at work. So, you know, there’s this, this persona they have to live up to. So that sounds really great. That’s a great way to send out. It’s definitely Colin. I know that’s, our audience is always into creating better systems and automation and you know, so that they can reach more people with spending less time of course, on their content. So do you have any, any, any tips? Yeah. I know that you have a course about podcasting, right? So you help people set up. Do you have any, any, any tips that you feel could really help people, you know, set up their systems more easily and maybe automated a little bit more, some lists something that’s not very well known?

Colin:

Yeah. I mean, I’m afraid actually there’s, a lot of people are looking for magic bullets and this kind of stuff around how to get this thing out there every week. There’s, there’s a couple of things actually. I mean, the base of it is that really, you just have to set a time every single week as your regular podcasting time. If you have a full-time job, if that has to be 8:00 PM on a Tuesday evening, every single week, then that’s what you have to do. If you’re passionate about this, you want to get out there. That’s what you have to do. But if you can set aside some time during your day, like if you can integrate it into your work, if you can really prioritize it, that’s the thing it’s like, do you want to go all-in on this or no?

Like, do you think it’s worthwhile or not? If you think it’s worthwhile, then put a time in your calendar the same way you would a meeting with your accountant or, you know, a meeting with a client it’s that non-negotiable, you just have to put it in there and you need to stick to it. The kind of the less obvious things I suppose, firstly, is to just make it really, really simple. The biggest killer of podcasts is complexity is it’s making a podcast that’s that takes too long to create, you know, if you’re going to end up taking eight hours a week to make podcast, that’s when it’s going to drop off the map because it’s just too much to sustain. So start out by making it really short and simple, for example, do a solo show of 10 minutes once a week, that’s going to take you an hour to do, because it’s just, you know, five minutes of planning because it’s just you, you’re the only person you have to control 10 minutes of recording.

Cause again, it’s just you, there’s no organizing appointments, meetings, all that kind of stuff. And then, because it’s just you as well, you can use some editing techniques to make editing really quick and simple. For example, one trick is to use clicks. So whenever I’m recording a solo podcast episode, if I make a mistake more often than not, I’ll just brush past, I’ll say, Oh, that’s not what I meant to say. Sorry, what I meant was blah, blah, blah. That’s fine. That’s part of the personality for sure. But if it’s a mistake that just can’t stand, what I’ll do is I’ll pause and I’ll go, just click my tongue and microphone, or you can clap. You can clap your hands. And basically as long as you pause either side of it, that shows up really, really clearly on the timeline in your editor. You’ll see these spikes three spikes.

So your 15-minute episodes, you don’t have to listen all the way through all you do as you load it into your editing package or mentality, which is our editing package as well. You drop it in there and you just scroll through the way form and you’ll spot these clicks. You’ll spot these spikes really easily. You can just cut either side. You can start to match up the words either site. For example, I often it’s really easy to do this once you’ve practised, but you can, you can restart. So if I make a mistake, usually I can remember the start of the sentence I made the mistake on. You know, I’ve only just said it. So it’s still in my head. So I can remember the first few words and it means you can match up those words really easily, really quickly. Just two quick cuts takes maybe 30 seconds or a minute for that edit and it’s done.

So when you’re recording solo, even when you’re recording interviews, that kind of stuff, you can do that kind of editing tactic quite easily, but that really kind of that trick can help you save a lot of time. But also it’s just the concept of keeping things as simple as possible, as easy as possible, trying to add it as little as possible under no circumstances, editing out your arms and your ass and your, that kind of stuff. Like it’s just, just get better at speaking, just keep doing it and commit to getting better at it. And if you leave them in and will be good motivation to get better at those things like to get rid of those items in the ass and you’ll, you’ll sit here, your vocal text pretty quickly and built to get rid of them quite easily. So that certainly that’s a big part of it for me as the chef, the time every single week, I used to keeping it simple as humanly possible using editing tricks like that, to make the editing and production really simple as well. And I think we’re going to come on to tools. Aren’t we? So using tools as well, which can, can save you time as well.

Stephanie:

Indeed. In fact, I would quite confidently say that our listeners are quite tool-hungry. They’re always looking for that. As you said, the next silver bullet to make things just a little bit faster, just a little bit, perhaps easier to delegate. Yeah. So I know you have a tool, right. And it’s of course connected to podcasting. So what does it do and how does it help podcasts?

Colin:

Yeah. So for anyone that really wants to, you know, take away a lot of the tech and podcasting, like it’s possible certainly to learn how to edit, how to produce, how to do noise reduction, how to do compression, how to get your volumes, all right. Convert from one file to the next, all that stuff. It’s certainly possible. It’s not like super difficult, but it takes time. It takes a bit of technology and that’s what altitude does. It takes care of all the take he says to that. It helps you build your podcast. So you upload your video, whether it’s an intro, whether it’s an interview recording like we’re doing just know Alex who does all the cleanup. So automatically it does levelling, it does noise reduction. It does harm reduction. So it makes it all sound good. Then you can edit. So the resonating a tool in there, so you can cut the steaks, you can spot those fakes and like cut out the bits you want.

You can build an episode so you can bring in reusable segments. Like if there’s an advert you’re running for a month, you can have that in your line, buddy, and just drop it into your episodes. Or if there are a segment and troll-like a little jingle that you use all the time, you can have that in your library, drop it into the episode as well. And you can record your intro as an actress, straight into the app too. And in finally you export it and you can publish. And we publish direct to at least eight or nine of the best podcast hosting platforms right now and growing that retain. So we can publish rate to Libsyn, to blueberry, to bus sprouts. It will captivate all the rest of them. So that’s the process that basically makes that making your podcast part really simple. You do your recording, you drop it down to your mic, the short, and it pushes it to your, to your publishing platform.

Stephanie:

That sounds fantastic. That sounds really cool. You don’t have to worry about all the different platforms and also the fact that you can edit and have it cleaned up, I believe is, is a very good thing. I mean, of course, a lot of people who do podcasts are not professional editors.

Colin:

Or going to invest in becoming one

Stephanie:

That’s right. It’s not something that I think a lot of, a lot of people can do, so that’s great. So where can we find the tool?

Colin:

Yeah, you’ll find it over@altitude.com. So it’s [inaudible] dot com.

Stephanie:

Excellent. And is there a free trial we can use

Colin:

There? Isn’t DGA. Yeah. So it’s seven days. You can, you’ve got seven days free to try out, so you can create episodes during that week. Can try it out and see how it sounds on your audio. Try it, the building tools and set up with your horse so you can see how easy as to publish as well.

Stephanie:

Excellent. That sounds fantastic. And how did you come up with the idea for the tool?

Colin:

It was really back in the day when we were running, just running the podcast or Stockholm, which is our main content website. So we have people looking at that say all the time, learning how to make a podcast. And one of the biggest questions we got through that site was around editing. It was how can I make editing easier? How can I learn to do, to be a good editor? How can I clean up my audio, all that stuff? And it just, it became pretty obvious that, you know, we are working with clients and that people were paying us to do it for them. But many people couldn’t afford the cost of an editor because it’s a fairly time-intensive process cost to get somebody good. So I just wanted to look into whether we could automate a lot of it because a lot of it as quite procedural, like if you’re doing podcast editing, you’re doing the same thing every single week.

Colin:

In many cases, you put a bit of an ear to it, but actually, most of it’s quite procedural. So so I just thought let’s have a go at this. And we took on about funding from the local government actually to build a prototype built out, discovered that actually there was a lot of stuff you could do around automation on it with existing software, but just building a little bit of machine learning, a little bit of a low back, combining a few different tools. And it came out that we really and then we start building other features around it based on what people were asking for. So yeah, that’s, that’s kinda how it built up. That sounds excellent. So you actually did it to serve your audience to serve your people. It was all from, yeah, it was all from user requests.

Really? Yeah. I was reasonably confident people would would use it. Yes, of course. That’s was great. So thank you so much for coming to the show. Colin, where can our audience find you? Is there a link you can give us, is there a website you prefer everybody to go to? Yeah, sure. I mean our main site is the podcast host.com and you can find all sorts of free resources on there. We’ve got how to start a podcast guide there, which takes you through every single step. So if you just go to the podcast, host.com, either click the startup podcast and it’s all or forward slash star and all that up. Excellent. So you can find Colin, we will add the links to the show notes so that you can find it really easy to get in touch with Colin if you want to get on this podcasting journey. And I’d like to thank you, Colin, for your time and for being with us for the amazing advice and for introducing us to your tool, which I will be checking out for sure because it could actually end up becoming part of the process of this podcast. It sounds really great. Excellent. Now you’re most welcome. Thank you for having me on and good luck with the show.

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