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How to launch a podcast in one week

How to launch a podcast in one week, on TaraSwiger.com


 

I mentioned yesterday that I love podcasts and that I've long wanted to start my own. The truth is, I started working on one THREE years ago. In 2011, I took a great class with Diane, that taught me everything I needed to know about starting a podcast. I bought a travel mic. I sent a million emails to friends about what I wanted the podcast to be. When I went to Chicago on a trip for a client, I interviewed two of my long-time fave crafters (their interviews will eventually be on the podcast).

But then..the idea withered. I know myself: I failed to follow my enthusiasm and just make it, so I got bogged down in the details and never moved forward.

When the idea hit me again I sat right down and wrote out all the reasons I shouldn't do it (that's a short list). And then I wrote all the reasons I should do it. I wrote what the podcast would be about. I wrote a rough outline of my first podcast. And I sent an email to Heather asking if I had the different steps of it right.

The next Monday, I decided: Yes, I'm going to do this project. I recorded the audio, recorded an intro, edited it together and by Thursday had it all uploaded and ready to launch. The day after I got everything set up, Elise wrote this great post about how to launch a podcast on a Mac. I use a slightly different workflow and set of tools, so I wanted to share that with you.

This is rather long, so instead of reading it all and getting overwhelmed, I strongly recommend that you save it (maybe pin it?) and open it back up when you're ready to start your podcast. 

Here's an overview of how each episode moves from your brain into your listener's devices:

  • You record it, edit it + send it to where it will live on the web (where iTunes will “read” it from).
  • You write the summary + title, then publish the episode on that platform (or you schedule it for the future).
  • When it goes live, iTunes (+ all other podcast readers) will “catch” the feed and post it on their site with the information.
  • Subscribers will magically have the episode!

How to launch a podcast in a week.

  1. Decide what you want to talk about.
    Make a big list of possible topics. Figure out who you're making this for and what you want to say. (You could use Craft an Effective Blog to generate topic ideas!) Now, summarize all that for your first episode. Listen to a few of your favorite podcasts to get a feel for the organization of it all. What do they say at the beginning? The end? Write down a general outline of what you want to say (be as scripted or as free-flowing as you like).
  2.  Pick a name.
    This took me forever, but don't stress about it. If your blog has a name, go with that. If your Etsy shop has a name, go with that. (I'm just “Tara Swiger” everywhere, so I had to find something new.)
  3. Make a cover image.
    It needs to be 1400×1400 and still look good at 150×150. If you're totally new to image design, hire someone. (This should be pretty inexpensive. You can find lots of designers here.) Or just put the name of your podcast on a colored background. Really.
  4. Set up your recording + editing + feed.
    -Set up an account on Libsyn (I went with the cheapest: $5/mo). Put the name of your podcast and the summary in there.
    -Set up an account on Auphonic (free!) then download the Auphonic phone app.
    -Go to the “services” page on Auphonic and add your Libsyn account. This will send all of your episode to Libsyn. (This makes everything so super easy.)
    -Also set it up to send recordings to your Dropbox/fttp/computer (wherever you wanna save your files).
  5. Record your first episode.
    -Open the Auphonic app and click the big Record button and start talking.  I recorded the first episode ON MY PHONE.
    -Save the recording + name it.
    -If you want an intro and outro to be the same on every episode, record each of those and save them.
    – After you're done recording, click “Start Production” on your episode file. (You can do this on your phone, or on the web app.) If you recorded an intro and outro, put those in the intro and outro section. On this production page, you'll name the episode, write a summary, etc. Be sure you've selected Libsyn in the outgoing file, so it's sent automatically.
    -Click “Start Production” at the bottom of this page. Your file will be edited + sent to Libsyn. Yay! You're all done creating the audio file!
  6. Your episode will soon be in your Libsyn account.
    If you need to, edit the title, summary, etc and publish it (or schedule it).
  7. Submit your feed to iTunes!
    Libsyn creates the feed with all the details you've already put in,  so you just need to copy + paste the feed onto iTunes. (Your feed will look something like taraswiger.libsyn.com/feed).
  8. Wait anxiously for their approval.
  9. Share it with your friends + customers!

This list may seem long, but none of the technical things will take any more than 10-15 minutes each.

Once you've done this the first time, you only need to do Step #5 + #6 for all future episodes. Two steps!

What takes the longest: YOU – deciding on what you want to say, what you want to call it and how you want to describe it!

Here's how it worked for me, in a normal work week where I did a zillion other things, including proposing and landing a new contract for a teaching opportunity.

Monday: Decided on a whim what it would be all about (after three years of thinking about it on and off).

Tuesday: Set up all accounts, made image (with a name I decided to change), recorded intro (with the wrong name), recorded first episode.

Wednesday: Did lots of other work. On my breaks, turned my YouTube videos into podcast episodes.*

Thursday: Asked Twitter what to name it. Decided on something else entirely. Redid the image with the new name. Rerecorded intro. Re-edited first episode (I just sent the original file back through Auphonic, attaching the new intro + outro files) – all from my phone. Edited the feed page with a longer description. Submitted the feed to iTunes.

Friday: Waited! When I got the “you've been approved” email, I sent the link to two friends to test. Tested it on Jay's phone with the Podcasts app. Tested in on my phone with Downcast. Wrote the introductory blog post. Danced around!

*This took me some research, so let me tell you how I did it.

How to turn your own YouTube video into an audio podcast:

  1. From your Video Manager page on YouTube, download your video as an MP4.
  2. In Auphonic, add the MP4 as your audio file. Fill out the details (summary, description, intro, outro). Make sure it's set to send it to Libsyn.
  3. Click “Start Production.”
  4. Bam! That's it! Now it'll be on Libsyn just like any other podcast and you can schedule it for whenever you want!

Your turn?

Ready to start your own podcast? If you do, I'd love to hear it! And if this tutorial helps you create yours, PLEASE leave a comment with a link to your show!

 

 

 

 

Pricing Handmade Goodness

My last post, on the Power Of Pricing, got me thinking. I recieved the best feedback (both in the comments and via email) and what I’m noticing is that a lot of makers are having trouble figuring out HOW to find that Right Price.

Well, I think it's time we figure it out!

After listening and noticing and reading Twitter, Etsy forums and the email you've sent me, it seems many (most?) sellers-of-handmade-goodness are either doubting their business (the economy is bad!) or wondering “how in the heck can this pay my bills?”

And this is bumming me out.
Because it's not the economy. And it's not what you're making.

It’s what you are (or aren't) charging.

If your price isn't right, then it doesn't matter how much you sell, you won't make enough.
Enough to sustain you.
Enough to quit your job.
Enough to grow your business.

But pricing your handmade goods isn't alchemy.
It is totally figure-out-able with formulas and thinking and plotting.

But formulas and plotting aren't one-size-fits-all.
Everyone's handmade-thing has its own needs and costs.

With that in mind, I'm putting together a class that will cover the basics (math, formulas, strategies) and will answer your specific questions. Yep, 1 hour of class-like teaching, followed by a as-long-as-it-takes Q+A.

And if you can't make the live call? You can send in your questions via email or Twitter and I'll answer them on the call, then send you the mp3.
And if you're just NOT into audio? You can get a written summary, along with worksheets AND your questions answered during a live Twitter Q+A session.

But here's the thing! I'm doing this quick, because I want to donate $5 of ever registration to Havi's fun-brewing (she's building an in-person teaching space) and she needs to have a floor in that space by June 7th.

Oh, and to thank you, Havi's giving everyone a copy of her excellent Copywriting Magic class! (It's an mp3 recording, which I'll email to you!)

Want more details about the class? Click right here

Have questions? Leave them in the comments.

But do you make any money?

While getting ready for tomorrow's How to Rock a Craft Show class, I surveyed a bunch of crafters and asked them for their craft show questions.

The most-oft asked question:

Do you make any money at it? How much?
Did it REALLY help you quit your dayjob?

To answer this, I think it's best to look at hard numbers.

What percent of last year's income came from craft shows?
Could I have quit my dayjob without that income?

To figure it out, I added up all my sales both online and off of yarn + fiber + lessons.
Then I added up my craft show sales.
I divided my craft show sales by my total sales to get the percentage.
(Note to the more-math-minded…did I do this right?)

I got .48

48% of my sales came from craft shows.

I did the same math for 2008: 42%.

Considering I only did 2 shows in each year, I think that's pretty significant!

To get a really clear picture, I looked at the months around the craft shows. In the month preceding Urban Craft Uprising, I had 1/5 of my normal online sales. In the month following UCU, I traveled  extensively (and didn't reopen my Etsy shop) so I made about 1/10 of my normal online sales.

So while doing the show  made up for those two months, it's clear that the percentage would have been different had I kept my online sales going and didn't do the show.

In other words, I sacrificed sales before and after the show to make one big chunk of income in 2 days.
Had I not done the shows, my online sales might have made up for it.

But another consideration is that I prepared for the show during July, the slowest month for yarn sales (both in my shop and throughout the industry).
I probably would have low online sales even if I hadn't done the show.

Is there no clear answer?

I've left one thing out of the equation: post-show sales.

And those blow everything out of the water.

The people I meet at craft shows become online customers at an incredibly high rate.

It's a little hard to track, since I don't have any way of knowing how many hundreds of people I talk to at a show.
But I do know when they come online, because I recognize their names or see it in their address.

And I do know that many become repeat customers, buying yarn every month for years after the show, because they become my friends. On Twitter, in the blog comments, in my inbox.

Post-show sales come as quickly as the night after an event, when people I met that day log-on to my online shop.
Post-show sales come from people who sign up for my newsletter and buy something after getting that first newsletter.
Or the fifth.
Post-show sales come from someone at the show blogging about what they bought.

In other words, it grows.
By meeting people, talking to them about yarn, sharing my passion.

This is the aspect that makes the answer to today's question an unequivocal
YES.

It's worth it, for the people.
It's worth it, for the marketing.
And it's worth it (as I wrote yesterday), for the fun.

If you want to learn HOW to get those fabulous post-show sales, check out the class How to Rock a Craft Show.

If you have any questions, ask them in the comments!

5½ Shocking Facts about Craft Fairs

I participated in my first craft show last weekend, the Crafting Patch Market in Charlotte, NC. I was very nervous beforehand and stayed up way too late to get every last skein of yarn labeled. It all paid off in a lovely day (no hint of Hurricane Hannah) filled with fantastic people and a real sense of community. Despite being well-prepared by reading everything I could about doing a craft fair, there were still a few things that surprised me:

  1. A festival provides indispensable feedback on your marketing plan. Online buyers see & buy without disclosing what prompted the purchase. Did they seek me out? Did they stumble upon me? At this festival, several knitters came specifically to see me (thanks to my posting on forums, the blog, etc). Others registered recognition when they read my label. The feeling was indescribable. People recognized Blonde Chicken Boutique as a brand. The thought still makes me all sparkle-y.
  2. Instant feedback is a drug that I'm afraid I may be addicted to. Sending out yarn to my lovely online customers, feels a bit like sending my squishy friends into the ether. They may show up on Flickr or Ravelry, but mostly I release them into the wild with hopes that they find a good set of needles (or at least a comfy stash to marinate in). Watching a real, live, chatty, interesting person walk away with my yarn is ridiculously satisfying.
  3. Describing a product is entirely different in person. The long, descriptive prose that is so necessary to sell a tactile item online isn't necessary in person. The customer has the squishy soft item in their hand and can clearly see the colors. This may seem obvious, but after writing web copy for so long, I had to remember it while writing the labels. I also had to scale back on the descriptive talk with most customers. Some people want to know all about the farm where the sheep who grew that wool was raised, but some don't.
  4. Being friendly is exhausting, but being passionate is exhilerating. After years of waitressing, followed by 2 years managing a retail studio, I was expecting the usual exhaustion of a day filled with smiling at people and describing the product. I was shocked by how different this experience was. Yes, I was tired, but I was exhilarated. Selling someone apple pie is NOTHING like sharing a passion for creating!
  5. You don't have to (and probably can't) fake enthusiasm. For the first time in my customer service experience, I didn't need to tell myself “be nice”. The fiber artists came in, chatted and I was overwhelmed with happy, smiling words. I nearly hugged someone (everyone). It was ridiculous (but I didn't hug anyone other than my husband, so don't be afraid to come by my next booth!) Describing my process, demonstrating the wheel, chatting fiber, it was all so FUN!
5 ½ . I want to do it again! Ok, this isn't so shocking, because I've already agreed to do National Alpaca Farm Day at Silver Thunder Alpacas and have been accepted by Craft Attack. But I am surprised at how much I'm looking forward to the events. I am shocked at how much the experience has cemented that live, in-person selling needs to be a part of my overall business plan.

So if you're thinking about doing a craft show, I strongly encourage you try one. Find an inexpensive option (like a small one, or share a booth) and go after it! You may find it shockingly fun!


Edited a year later, to add:

Thanks to my continued great experiences at craft shows, I got a lot of questions about how to make it work. If you want to try this very satisfying experience, I put together a class, How to Rock a Craft Show.
If you’ve been thinking about doing craft shows or you’ve been wanting to them better,
check it out!