So, I’m the crazy one to record episode 13 – state of the podcast.
The Tby3 Podcast was launched near the end of April. This episode will contain some personal details, but also some information on the previous podcasts. In today’s episode, we’ll be touching on a few points in this state of the podcast:
- Stats of the Podcast
- Cost of the Podcast
- How I assemble the podcast
- Lessons learned so far
- What happened in June/July?
- What’s next?
Stats are where it’s at
Let’s start with the stats in this state of the podcast episode. Over the approximate 5 months since the podcast began, we have close to 500 plays. This equates to 60 listeners. A listener is defined by the hosting company I use, buzzsprout.com, using their own algorithm to define a listener. Thing to keep in mind is, a play could be someone listing for 2 seconds, 2 mins, or 20 minutes. So, a play is not really a great indicator. What needs to happen now is to increase and continue this trend. A new provider could offer me better stats so, I can tell if an episode was only listed to for 2 seconds or whatever. Data feedback of that detail will help point out any needed modifications.
There are also show notes to episodes…like these you are reading now. These notes were used initially to give people a place to go to listen to an episode or check out details of a picture or chart mentioned in an episode. Also, the thought was including show notes would help with Google searching. Unfortunately, these notes don’t really count much in influencing a Google search as Google can tell a person may have only gone to a site to listen to an episode and then didn’t read anything else on the page. That impacts search rankings which means organic search traffic isn’t making it to the site.
I use Google analytics to track access to the site and it tells me what is occurring. To work with this, I need to make some modifications. I’ll keep the show notes because, you need a place to find information. It let’s me practice writing and gives me some more exposure to different media methods. So, in order to adjust the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for the site, I have to likely start using blog posts with the podcast to positively influence the traffic to the site. This will expand the listeners hopefully and and get more overall organic traffic.
Also, I’ll need to start focusing on keywords in the site to allow more additional traffic. This will get the site and the podcast out to others through organic search and allow new people to come along for the ride hopefully. This all really boils down to marketing. I’m not a marketer by trade, but it’s something I now need to leverage in order to bring up the stats and get additional traffic to the site and listeners to the podcast.
Marketing will likely involve using pay per clicks and advertising out on the web. This will be paying for clicks on a small scale as I’m still in a budget. Finally, I’ll be looking to expand the email list I currently have in place. There’s not a lot of people on the current list. But, a marketing initiative can help to build it and get things moving overall. The stats are as they are, so let’s see what we can do. It’s a slow process.
What’s the cost?
I had a budget in mind when I started this podcast. Target was to stay within $500 to buy the needed gear, software, and services. I stayed within this budget for initial startup costs. It costs $50/month for all the web services I use. I leverage buzzprout.com for the audio hosting; Siteground.com for the webhosting; Zencatr.com for the recording; Mailchimp for emails list; and some ancillary services (like Fiverr) for other tasks. No advertising or pay per clicks are factored in the cost.
The Cheesecake, the FitBit, and the Podcast
Funny story about how I paid for this initially. My first recorded episode, which ended up being a two partner in episodes 5 & 6 with Khris Hruska, his wife acted as his manager for me booking him on the podcast. Her requirement was I make them a cheesecake and he would do the recording. He would have done it anyway I’m sure, but it’s funny/weird a cheesecake got me my first episode.
The funnier part is the second item I leveraged to initially pay for the podcast. My current employer provides a Fitbit for tracking steps. If we meet a certain number of steps in a quarter, we can earn up to $90 in a gift card. I used this to help pay for some of my initial gear and services. So, it’s funny…Two things that really don’t go together, walking and a cheesecake, helped get this whole podcast started.
How’s it done?
First thing I do is find a guest and do a prep call. Prep calls are a chance to catch up with people on my network and walk them through what they would like to discuss on the episode. An outline is created of an episode and we send that back and forth a few times. We don’t write these episodes out verbatim, we keep it in an approachable format and as casual we can. After that, we schedule a date and time to do the actual episode recording. From there, it’s on me to edit the recording and clean it up. I then send the episode to the guest to allow them to listen and give me the gladiator thumbs up or thumbs down for the recording. I give people the opportunity here to bail out or modify a recording. To me, it’s a fair process to allow them to hear it before it’s published.
Here’s the problem, I never put a timeline on the feedback. So, I had a few periods where people didn’t get their feedback to me within a couple week or more and in some cases I didn’t get feedback at all. So, that left me in a bind where I didn’t have an episode lined up for a week and then I’d have to rush to find another episode. This resulted in rushing to get episodes in place each week in some cases. This didn’t happen with Episode 5 & 6,. Those were more of a technical issue, but similar timing problem. It caused me to have to adjust with some other episodes around them.
Going forward, I’ll give people a week to get me feedback. If I don’t get feedback within that week time period, I’m going to take it as them being good with it and go forward from there. It’s a challenge keeping everything in line on a schedule, so setting a limit will likely help.
When I do get the OK on an episode, I place the bookends into the recording…the intro and outro basically. After that, I start the publishing to different social media channels and use the mail list to send a notice out. For social, I mostly use LinkedIn and Facebook. I get some most of the traffic from LinkedIn. I do have to then continue to promote the episode. This requires reviewing the recording and finding some quotes. Then, there is curating some clever pictures I can use for social postings with those quotes. I then make several variations of them.
All of this takes time to do. Many times, I do it right after the episode and I’m scrambling to get these out. It may seem like I’m being annoying with multiple posts, but it’s part of the marketing to continue to grow the podcast audience. So, more social and timely social processes going forward are needed. Speaking of pictures, I have a picture my niece Katie drew for me showing my recording setup with two monitors and a microphone with Anne behind me. I’m told it looks like two marshmallows and a hot dog, so someone had food on their brain when they came up with that.
What happened in July/July?
This part gets a bit personal. Back in December of 2017, just before I announced my intention to start this podcast (which was in January,) I had an emergency visit to the hospital for a blood clot in my leg. Your leg is not a place to have a blood clot. But, I went to the hospital to get it addressed and had several blood tests ran. My hematologist ran some deep genetic tests on my blood and found I have a Factor 5 Leinden mutation of my blood. This is a hereditary thing I inherited from my parents where one or both of them have it or a combination of the two of them, me, would have it. It means I tend to clot easily and it get’s worse with age. So, I’ve had this my whole life, but it’s only now really starting to have an impact.
This means I have to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life to control it. But, it also means I can’t sit still for a long period. If it’s a car ride, I need to get out and walk around ever hour. For a plane flight, I need to walk around the aisle. I also can’t stand for long periods, so I have to constantly be moving every hour or more. This does not make it easy to sit and record a podcast, or edit a podcast, or type up a podcast episode. I’m a person who could sit for several hours at a time and just get stuff done, but I can’t do that anymore…and these days no one really should. The threat of possible death for me is a really good motivator to get up and move. A blot clot can travel up to the lungs, especially from the legs, and cause a pulmonary embolism. Even worse, it could go the brain.
This diagnosis came up around the May/June time period and made it so I had to adjust my work method. Long term, this is a positive thing to make me move around. There is no dietary change I can make to make it better over time. So, it’s a change I had to make and it impacted episode creation.
Rise of the Kids
The other thing that happened around that June/July time frame was my niece and nephew Katie and Paul had to stay with us for almost the whole summer because of some health issues in their home. Their mom and step dad also stayed here on and off as they could between working and such, but largely, it was me, Anne, and the kids. Full disclosure, I’m not used to have two little ones under 10 in the house who want Mr. Tony’s attention. Yes, they call me Mr. Tony…personally, I think it’s cute. I’m not going to deny these two kids my attention during a very stressful time for them and their family. So, this also impacted podcast episode creation.
I’m happy to report now in this state of the podcast, those issues they had with their home are all addressed and Mom, Step Dad, and kids are all together again and happy and healthy. I was happy to have them here to help them out of a jam and I’m glad things worked out for them in the end.
So, combining the kids being here, with the change in having to get up and move around, with delays in getting feedback from people all contributed to the gap in the June/July time frame. It’s also what prompted me to go to a 2-week release schedule going forward instead of a weekly podcast. Given everything else, it just made sense. It gives me time to do the things I need to do without being under the gun so much.
What have I learned?
It’s easy enough to record a podcast, but there is a lot of background items that take a lot of work. The editing takes time as does taking notes. I tried using services to take notes and perform episode editing, but I didn’t have a good experience.
Also, the marketing aspect I mentioned earlier takes a lot of time. Marketing isn’t an evil thing in itself. It’s necessary for the overall distribution of the podcast or anything really and it has to be done to move forward. Additionally, the website needs some love and I’ve made some changes lately to help with heading in this direction.
It’s a lot of work. There are things you aren’t going to know you need to do until you need to do them. Such is IT and such is life. Overall however, it’s been a very cool experience and I’ve learned quite a bit. I have no website design experience, but I’ve enjoyed learning it although I am by no means and expert.
A directional change of the podcast is needed based on what I’ve experienced so far. I started this out with the intention to talk with the IT people who do the work. That is still the intention. What I found was while I wanted to hear the stories of IT people, I was mostly getting advice from them as they spoke about the things they were working on and lightly touched on stories.
The one true episode which was a story with lessons learned was Episode 2 with Will Flint. His move story was exactly what I had originally envisioned. This isn’t to say everything went off the rails from there…far from it in fact. In episode 3 &4 with Chris Pesola it was an advice show of this is what I’ve done and how it worked and what I think about it. The Khris Hruska episodes 5 & 6 did something similar and got into mentoring specifically.
The advice people where passing along during different episodes was valuable and they liked passing it along. So, I believe where the podcast needs to be directed is towards those who are entering IT. Either as prior to choosing a major in college, newly out of college, or making a transition into IT. The experience of the people I’ve spoke with can help these new IT people get a handle on what to expect in the wild. Show them what people know so they can be informed. Experience is valuable. Its best to learn from experienced people and hear from those with experience.
So, slight change. Talking to the IT people who do the work for those who want to work in IT.
- Directing towards people who are looking to get into IT and providing them the stories of experience and advice of those who are already there.
- 2 weeks between episodes
- Website modifications to improve SEO and organic search to the site and podcast.
- Advertising will begin. Pay per click in google search and maybe a small advertisement on the website to offset cost.
- Changing the podcast hosting service for improved metrics to see what else needs to change.
- Editing and note taking service search to help give me back dome time
- Using a service to push out the social posts. Batch creating posts and then setting a service to auto post to social networks.
- Blogging entries. These will help with SEO and maybe having some guest bloggers will give opportunities for others to speak their mind without being recorded.
- Potentially doing a give away to help with pushing out awareness of the website and podcast.
- More people signing up on the mailing list. It’s a tool to help with growth. So, I need to leverage it, but not use it to send out a pile of junk mail. Maybe every couple weeks of notifications.
Send in the Guests
And finally, getting more guests. I need guests to continue this. I’m using a couple services to radioguestlist.coim and interviewguestdirectory.com to hopefully pair me with people who can get on the podcast. Also considering a roundtable guest episode as it could be a different method of providing value..
Let me know what you thought of this episode.
IT/Geek Speak this episode:
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization – A process used to adjust your website to get Google to pay more attention to it
- Organic Search – When paired with SEO, it’s a method allowing people searching for specific keywords or phrases to find your website within the top search results without paying anything extra.