I’m attending Podcamp Toronto this weekend and the first day has proven to be a blast as well as a gold mine for great ideas and information. I have gotten loads of really hot tips and advice from each session I’ve attended, and so have decided to share some of the best ones here.
If you don’t know what a Podcamp is, it’s a BarCamp style meetup for podcasters and listeners, bloggers and readers, and web types. What’s barcamp you ask? Well, as explained on the Official BarCamp web site, it’s an
“ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment…with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. The name BarCamp was inspired as a complement to FooCamp…“
And so the Camp phenomenon goes. And grows. There are even CaseCamp’s for marketing case studies.
Podcamps have been hosted in seven cities so far, and this is Toronto’s and Canada’s first. The presenters are generous and have come in from places like Boston, Indianna and Montreal. The atmosphere is friendly and warm. And to make it all just perfect, registration, coffee, donuts and even lunch – are all free.
And so, onward to the Top Tips.
Numbers 1-3 are from the session “Giving Your Podcast A Google Presence” with Julien Smith of In Over Your Head.
1. You need to use text to speak to Google.
That’s the language Google speaks, and so you will need to deploy it to get a good Google ranking. Your page title is most important for SEO. Make sure you choose your page title wisely and compose it so that your most important keywords come first – Google has a tendency to cap the amount of words in a title that they will index.
2. Use the free SEO for Firefox plugin.
Once installed, the SEO for Firefox plugin allows you to check up on other people’s web sites so you can do a little snooping about their rankings. Just surf to a competitor’s page, right click on it, and you can choose “Highlight Keyword”, then type in a keyword to see everywhere it appears. Or choose “Keyword Density” to view and assess why other people are ranking higher than you.
3. Giving things away for free can drive people to your web site
Wonder why giving things away for free can be good for business? Because everyone starts talking about you and your product and linking to your site from their blogs or sites. For example, Aaron Wall created this SEO plugin, and if you go to Alexa.com and type in his site’s URL, www.seobook.com, his web site is the 993rd most popular web site on the Internet. And that’s pretty damn good.
4. Try Mobatalk for your comments.
Michael Bailey and Jeff Persch are the team behind this WordPress plugin that will allow multimedia comments on blogs. That means visitors can leave comments in the form of audio, video, as well as text in the comments section of your blog.
For example, you can us the phone to phone in your audio comment, which will be recorded and show up on your blog as a Flash file.
If you use Open ID to manage all your passwords, your name will show up in the commentator line, vs, a generic comment.
Check out the Mobatalk web site and sign up to get news on when it will be released.
The next two are from “PodPresence” with Peter O’Connell of audio’connell Voice Over Talent
5. Sit up straight when podcasting.
Mom was right – sitting up straight is better for you – but more importantly, it’s better for your audience. If you slouch over you just can’t deliver your message with the energy it deserves, and without energy, well – you’re probably damn boring.
This is a great tip. I used to be a regular improv comedy performer, and one of the things we always had to do before hitting the stage was participate in a group warmup to get our energy levels up. Then when on stage, we had to make sure that we didn’t lose our energy while sitting on the bench watching a scene.
There was this one venue however, the Oasis on College Street in Toronto, that had an old ratty couch instead of hard chairs. When you sat on it you would sink right into it, and the damn thing would suck the energy right out of you. Those were some of the most laid-back shows this town has ever seen.
6. When you are doing your podcast, “sound like you but just a bit bolder.”
There’s a common actorly criticism that goes “they called that performance in,” meaning the actor was so lazy that instead of showing up to the theatre they phoned in their performance.
If you want people to listen to you, you have to put out some energy and commitment into your performance. O’connel’s phrasing “sound like you, but just a bit bolder” is a super easy thing for podcasters to remember.
Learn from the acting community – giving less than 100 percent commitment and energy to your show is disrespectful to your audience. They made the effort to come to listen or watch your show, and accordingly, you should make the effort to be watchable and/or entertaining.
7. Get free sound effects from The Freesound Project
This was my tip for a York University attendee who wanted to know where to get free sound effects. I found The Freesound Project a few weeks ago when doing a project for Strange Breakfasts where I added some funny effects to a song. The sounds are Creative Commons licensed, which means you can, for the most part, use them for free, but be sure to read the license as CC licenses do vary. Searching for them is a breeze; you can search with keywords, tags, packets and even by user, and then sample the sound online before you download.
If you have some sounds, why don’t you consider adding them to the collaborative database? If you love the arts, why don’t you pop on over to Strange Breakfasts and read about how the Harper government is slashing funding to the arts.
By the way, the song I used inthe campaign is called “There’s Something Wrong” by Ottawa indie band Brad Sucks. I found them on Jamendo – a site from France where independent artists allow free downloading and sharing of their tunes. It’s got a great tag search too, and lots of music to choose from for your projects.
Next up from “Podcast Marketing: Five tools and strategies to grow your audience” with Christopher Penn of Financial Aid Podcast
8. Convert you listeners to subscribers by making it a one-click process.
It’s got to be easy and obvious. When you get to Chris’ site you will see big icons top left on his page that allow people to subscribe to his podcast via itunes, rss, winamp, MySpace and Morpheus.
9. Market on MySpace
When you get to his MySpace page, the same huge icons are displayed top and formost.
10. Fill in your ID tags – or metadata.
Load your mp3 in iTunes then Get Info > Info and fill in these fields. These are important for people to find you – and for librarians to index you too (you might as well start thinking of your legacy.) Make sure your email and web site address are in the Comments field. Put your show notes in the Lyrics field.
11. Use Friendadder to help you get friends on MySpace.
Use its search function to find your demographic on MySpace, then invite up to 400 MySpacers to be your friend at a time. Friendadder isn’t free, but it automates the time-consuming process of adding friends to your site, so it is really worth it. Be mindful of not becoming a spammer…though the line here is pretty thin.
12. Use Crazyegg to show you where people are clicking on your page.
Crazyegg will produce a heatmap and you can see visually where the hotspots on your page are.
12. Get out of the studio to record your podcast.
Andrew Stanley-Jones of Geek Farm Life does a podcast on rural living and since he and his wife started recording from their barn, their podcast has taken on a new life – and new listeners, who tune in to hear the turkeys, goats and sheep in the background.
13. Feature your listeners in your podcast.
K7.net allows your listeners to call in and leave a message for your show, which gets recorded and emailed to you as a .wav file. Include that right at the top of your show, to share the limelight – and the love.
14. Email and newsletters are still hot.
30% of Mitch’s readers prefer to subscribe to his podcast this way.
15. Consider buying Google ads
Out of the roomful of participants, only one person uses Google ads to drive traffic to his site. That person would be Toronto marketing guru Bill Sweetman of Sweetmantra and Marketing Martini, who buys the keywords internet marketing, marketing advice, marketing expert, etc. and says it costs him only $10 a month to send traffic his way.
Uh – $10 only? Guffaws of shame emanate from the room.
The following tips on the importance of “building your network and communities” were shared by all the speakers.
And Facebook – it’s not for universities only anymore.
17. Use Linked In.
Put your podcast right in your title or job decription e.g Joe Shmo is the host of www.TheJoeShmoShow.com. Fill in your complete profile and make sure you say your interests are in podcasting, video blogging etc. Export the email addresses of your Linked In network and import them into Facebook.
18. Comment on other people’s blogs and MySpace sites.
19. Put your pics on Flickr.com. People like to see the face and person behind the voice. Links from Flickr to your site count with Google – so you will be adding some all important links back to your site.
20. Start using video.
Video is hot. Put your videos on Youtube there are millions of users there. Put your web site URL as the first thing in the notes section so that it drives traffic back to your site.
And, there you have it.
Check out the Podcamp Toronto Wiki where you can watch the demos live via streaming server. You can also download today’s video-taped sessions and presentations which are kindly archived on the site. Also check out the Podcamp Toronto blog for more news and notes from the sessions.
Podcamptoronto continues tomorrow with Day Two.
[tags] podcamptoronto2007, podcamptoronto, podcasting tips, building your network, building your community [/tags]
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