The idea of starting your own podcast is undeniably appealing. Not only do you get to sound off about a topic that’s close to your heart, but if you opt for the host-and-guest format, you get to engage in stimulating debates with interesting people. But before you rush off to order a USB mic and start booking your crypto heroes, there’s a few things you should know about podcasting.
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The podcast’s appeal partially stems from the fact that it can be done without the aid of third parties: if you’re reasonably tech savvy, you can write, record, edit and upload every episode by yourself. This elimination of intermediaries aligns well with bitcoiners, which goes some way towards explaining the proliferation of crypto podcasts.
Some of these factors compelled Matt Aaron to create Bitcoin.com’s very own podcast, which made its debut in February 2018. Since then it’s gone from strength to strength – and for Matt, it remains a labor of love.
“The pros definitely outweigh the cons,” he says. “Hosting a crypto podcast is an excuse to spend an hour picking the brains of someone you admire or can learn from, a person who might otherwise have no interest in speaking with you. On air, and a lot of times off-air, you can glean insights that help inform your thinking about cryptocurrency.” He adds:
Podcasts have become an increasingly popular medium, and many people prefer to learn about blockchain by listening to diverse perspectives rather than toiling through dense books.
“Of course, the cons can’t be ignored,” continues Aaron. “The sheer number of podcasts in this space can be daunting for anyone looking to launch their own. The need for an original angle is becoming stronger too, because there’s only so many times you can interview the founder of “X” coin or that legendary crypto personality and mine new material.”
Matt’s right: you need to find a niche. Are you doing a series on the history of bitcoin, focusing on flaws in the current financial system that crypto solves? Perhaps you’re interviewing movers and shakers, from programmers and dapp developers to UX designers and entrepreneurs. The important thing is that you have a good idea what your podcast is all about, and who you’re pitching it to.
While it might be tempting to make no topic or subtopic off-limits, be aware that there is a ton of competition out there. As such, you’ll need to think long and hard about how you differentiate yourself from other crypto-themed podcasts. It might be with a particular brand of humor, in-depth conversations with high-profile guests (how’s your contact book?) or aggressive marketing strategies, but overcoming the saturation is no picnic.
You should also perform due diligence on any potential guest. As Matt Aaron explains, “Many people in crypto end up being exposed as frauds or embroiled in some sort of legal snafu. If that happens and they’ve been a guest on your show, your name will appear next to theirs in a Google search. It’s bad publicity your podcast could do without. So, vet your guests properly and make sure they’re unlikely to be the next crypto meme.”
Once you’ve decided on your niche, it makes sense to come up with an outline for your first ‘season’ or batch of episodes. Focus on providing your audience with valuable and entertaining content and bringing a fresh perspective to the topic. Ask yourself: what is a crypto-curious listener getting out of subscribing? If you struggle to answer that question, you’re in trouble.
Having a clear episode outline will also prevent a form of mission creep, whereby you wind up losing sight of what it is you’re trying to achieve and resort to simply ranting about the latest happenings in the blockchain space. Having a clear, coherent structure is the best way of engaging listeners.
So what about the practicalities of actually creating and launching a blockchain podcast? How much work is required, and do you need to recruit a producer?
First things first, invest in a good-quality USB microphone – this will save you from having to use your computer’s built-in mic. Thankfully, the explosion of podcasts in recent years has led to the creation of dedicated apps that do a lot of the work for you, from cutting out audio gaps to recording each contributor’s audio on separate tracks, thereby making it easier to edit during the final mix.
One great tool – particularly if your podcast is a question-and-answer format with a remote guest – is Squadcast. You hit record, conduct your interview and end up with a high-quality, lossless audio recording. Video recording also comes as standard with each package so you can upload your podcast to Youtube, and up to three guests can feature on the same episode.
As for editing your recording, there are few better software suites than Hindenberg, which was originally built for radio journalists. Nifty features include automatic audio leveling, sound effects, royalty-free music tracks and noise-reduction capabilities. There’s also a clipboard feature, which is great for organizing audio material. It’s like having a sound engineer sitting by your side the whole time. Hindenburg is offering a 30-day free trial, so it’s worth experimenting to see if it suits your needs.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to online podcasts editors either: Alitu, Audacity, Spreaker and Garageband to name just a few. If you have the time and inclination, there’s no harm in giving each one a go. Sometimes it really does come down to personal preference.
Although Matt Aaron acknowledges the multitude of helpful apps available, he says budding podcast producers should not lose sight of the work required. “Getting the sound quality and editing just right is trickier than it might appear, it requires some trial and error. You want to be on the ball from the first episode, as no-one wants to be known for poor production standards. If there are any faults in the audio, it’s another excuse for the listener to switch off and find one of the many alternatives out there.”
Once you’ve completed the fun stuff, it’s time to think about how you’re going to get your podcast out there. The cryptosphere is a hive of activity, and people get their information from various places: blogs and forum threads, Youtube interviews, tweets, Telegram, books. There’s no denying the popularity of podcasts though, so the question is, how are you going to publicize yours?
There are a few traditional marketing strategies of course, like churning out SEO blog content or throwing your money into pay-per-click advertising. Needless to say, you should also get some social media channels up and running to get the word out. Interact with others in this space, leverage guests’ audiences by compelling them to share the podcast with pull-quote images and video/soundbite snippets, run giveaways, and run paid promotions. It’s not a bad idea to also submit your podcast to podcatchers, aggregators, influencers, journalists and bloggers covering your beat.
It takes a lot of work, but busily promoting your podcast is the best way to find an audience. At this stage, you can monetize the endeavor by bringing partner brands on board, identifying possible sponsors using advertising networks like Midroll or Advertisecast. Alternatively, invite listeners to contribute on a pay-what-you-can model using a service like Patreon.
Getting a crypto podcast off the ground and then achieving success with it are two different things. But avoiding common mistakes is a good basis to start from. Despite the saturation, there’s never been a better time to launch a podcast centered on crypto themes, so if you have the passion and commitment coupled with realistic expectations, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start casting.
What are your favorite crypto podcasts? Let us know in the comments section below.
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