Podcasts A Great Way to Save Money on Content

 Podcasts are a great way to enjoy informative and/or educational content and with great entertainment value. There is a great variety of content that is widely available all over the Internet, especially if you are willing to do just a little bit of searching.

There so many podcasts available now, you could possibly spend your whole life listening and or watching them. The best part of all, they are free.

Podcasts got their name due to the fact that the first podcasts were available through Apple's iTunes. Many Podcast producers now not only make their shows available on iTunes but also through other providers and directly from the producer's website in common formats such as MP3.

Due to this wider availability, many people prefer to call them "webcasts." But the term podcast has become the standard name for these shows, even if the show is not from iTunes.

The sheer number and varieties of podcasts that are available now is daunting. You have everything from sports, comedy and music to health, finance, technology and everything in between. Many people still get their podcast from iTunes, which is usually the easiest place to find them.

If they don't have it, I am sure you can find a podcast on the subject you are looking for with the help of Google. Some of the podcast are video as well as audio.  Depending on what you like, you might even be able to replace your cable service.

The best thing about podcasts is not only do they have quality content, they are free. They are defiantly a great entertainment value. In a world of $60-$100 cable television bill, radio that you have to pay for (referring to satellite radio), Internet subscription movie services, and the entertainment industry trying to squeeze every penny out of you that they can in general, podcasts really are a great way to save money and depending on the podcast, get an education in the process.

You don't need an expensive phone or other type of music player to get to take advantage of the quality and value of podcasts either. You can listen to iTunes podcasts through the iTunes program that is available for both Windows and Mac. Podcasts in other formats can be listened to through most of the popular media players that are available on the Internet. I hope you come to enjoy podcast the way many people have.

Podcasting Made Easy

 So you want to put on a podcast but you have no idea how to do it or even where to start? Afraid it might cost a lot to get started? Well, I will show you how to make a podcast for next to nothing. You might already have everything you need.

What You Need To Get Started...

  •      a computer
  •      a microphone
  •      recording/editing software
  •      a site to host it on
  •      something interesting/entertaining to talk about


Yep, that's it. Let's get started.

Most of us already have a computer. In fact, you are probably reading this article on a computer right now and don't even know it. If you are one of the chosen few that are lucky enough to have a Mac, you most likely have a microphone already built in. Two birds, one stone.

If you don't have a Mac you will need to purchase a microphone. How much you spend on a microphone is dependent on how great you want it to sound. If you are just having fun then I wouldn't spend more than $25 on a mic. If this is something you plan to take seriously then here are some pricier options for you. When you are starting out, I would recommend something inexpensive. As your podcast starts to grow you can always upgrade.

You will need software to record and edit your podcast. Lucky for you there is a free software called Audacity that does both. It's easy to use, and did I mention free? Oh, I did? This is a fantastic tool for new podcasters. I do recommend familiarizing yourself with the controls before diving in and recording your podcast.

Podcast is done, where do you post it? If you have a website I would just upload it and host it from there. However, if you don't have a website, there are many podcasting hosting sites available. The one I use is RSS

Other Tips

Try to have a co-host, or even make it a threesome. The more people you have the less "dead air" there is. But having too many people can cause people talking over each other and get annoying quickly. I would say 2-3 people are ideal. Also pick people you have chemistry with.

Make sure you put out regular content. If you say you are going to put out a podcast every Wednesday night, then you need to put out a podcast every Wednesday night. People sometimes plan their night around you. Don't disappoint them. Meet your self imposed deadlines.

Lastly, make sure you talk about something interesting. Try to do it in an informative or entertaining way. Humor is always king, but you don't always need to be hilarious. Being informative and interesting is just as good.

Find your niche and go for it!

Podcast An Advanced Learning Technology

 People around the globe, especially students, teachers and the corporate are reaping the maximum benefits of the technology called podcasting. The term is derived from iPod and broadcasting. There are several educational and informative programs available on the net using this tool.

This advanced method of broadcasting music, videos and presentation practically allows anyone and everyone with basic computer knowledge to become a DJ, an instructor or even a reporter. Though it were the computer wizards who found this technology, podcasting has grabbed everyone's attention and gained popularity amongst the masses.

Types Of Podcasts

There are mainly three types of podcasts - audio, video and enhanced. The most common and popular type is the audio podcasts that basically involves MP3 downloads. Lectures and music form a part of this audio podcasting.

Enhanced podcasts include images along with the audio technology. These have chapter markers enabled that helps the user to jump to different parts of the whole file. However, the output of this source is in AAC file formats and only a few devices support this technology. Simple learning and presentation fall under this category of podcasting.

Video podcasts are simply movies, moving visuals and audio. This form of podcasting is slowly gaining popularity and is available in different formats although MPEG-4 is the latest and widely used.

Podcasting In Education

With the growing popularity of podcasting there are many advantages of this advanced technology in education. Students as well as teachers can create projects and courses to show to a broad global Internet audience. iTunes is place where you can find loads of such podcasting from people of different walks of life. The advantage of reaching a huge crowd can inspire and motivate people to create unique products and presentations. Audio recording techniques can be exploited to the core to get the best out of the program.

Here, the users don't have to tune in to channels but download them from many popular websites. The process of downloading is done with the help of an RSS feed, Really Simple Syndication that helps you transfer the file from the server to your local PC.

How to Podcast

Learning to podcast and finding the right place to podcast is a very simple process. The Internet is the best source to get detailed information on how-to podcasting. You may need a few tools to develop your own podcasts. The process of developing and hosting a podcast is very interesting and also highly beneficial in the long run.

Podcasting has four simple steps - plan, produce, publish and promote. Plan what has to be broadcasted and then the next step is to design and develop your plan in the form of music video, presentations, eLearning, etc., of your choice and don't forget to change it to the required file format that keeps your product compressed and easily downloadable. Publishing it online and promoting them through blogs or websites completes the process of podcasting.

Podcasting is an awesome way to express your ideas, projects, products, or to teach people. Podcasting is becoming more and more accessible and Internet users are becoming more accustomed to podcasting.

Marketing Your Podcast

 All the production value, time, and equipment in the world won't matter one bit for your podcast if you don't market it. You need to spread the word about your podcast, create a following, and basically get your podcast feed on as many sites as you can.

Marketing and promoting your podcast is easy to do. You don't need a marketing budget and you can pretty much market your podcast for free. Do the following things and you'll begin to grow an audience, create a buzz, and put your podcast on websites, and computers across the world.

Create a podcast blog - Most sites that host your podcast will also offer free podcast blogs for your latest podcasts. Make use of this blog, which is usually on or linked to your podcast's unique url. You can upload images and text along with each new podcast you post. Listeners can subscribe to your blog, leave comments about your podcast, and stay up to date on the latest.

Submit to podcast directories - In order for podcatchers to find and link to your podcast, you need to submit your podcast feeds to as many directories as possible. Many sites that host podcasts allow you to set up your link so that iTunes and other podcast sites can find and get the latest podcasts. Besides iTunes, there are thousands of podcast directories out there. It can take some time, but find the ones most relevant to your podcast and submit your feed links to as many as you can.

After initially submitting your podcast links (sometimes you'll need to submit the RSS feed link for your podcast), the directories will use their podcatchers to automatically get the latest podcasts as soon as you post them. You'll reach more listeners by putting your podcast all over the directories.

Get a website - If you have the time and ability, consider making a unique website for your podcast. Sure you can use your podcast host site's blog, but creating a unique presence on the web can help your podcast stand out and rise in the search engine results.

Consider creating a group or page on Facebook for your podcast. You can also create accounts on various other sites that match the content of your podcast.

Make it easy - Now that you have a web presence and podcatchers grabbing your shows and posting them on podcast directories and iTunes your job is done right? Not exactly. Your listeners may find you accidently or on purpose, but you want to make it as easy as possible to get them listening to your podcast.

All directories are not created equal and some may not work for certain users or may be complicated. The service you use to host your podcast should allow you to embed a simple audio player on your various web sites, do it.

Link up - Take it a step further and start talking with other podcasters and anyone involved or interested in the content on your podcast. You can trade links to post on each other's sites and blogs. The more links coming to and from your podcast means better search engine rankings and more potential listeners coming across your site. Word of mouth through trading links is a great promotional tool and before you know it people will be linking to your podcast on their own.

Consider all of these steps to take when marketing and promoting your podcast. You really don't have to spend a penny to promote your podcast and by using these ideas to promote your podcast you can grow your audience and get heard.

Making a Better Podcast

With the great number of podcasts available for listeners, you have a great amount of competition for listener's ears in the podcast world. You will want to do everything you can to increase the overall quality of your podcast in hopes that your overall listenership will keep growing and that your existing listeners keep coming back for more.

Having good audio quality in your podcast is really a requirement to have a successful professional podcast. Generally a microphone that came with your computer probably won't cut it. At the bare minimum you will want a decent headset from one of the major box stores.

If you want to step it up a bit, you might consider purchasing a semi-professional microphone, such as the Rode PodMic, which has been referred to as "the ultimate podcasting microphone," and can be purchased for about $100 online. As your podcast grows and you get more donations and co-hosts, you might consider getting some professional mixers and recording equipment, but the price of such grows quickly.

Having quality production in your podcast is equally important, you will want to be able to splice in an introduction and a closing clip, which is often musical in nature. It might be prudent to have some of your musically inclined friends to create a custom theme song for your podcast.

Generally it's a good idea at the beginning of your podcast to say the name and the date of the podcast for people with MP3 players so they know what they are listening to. Depending on your podcast, you might want to add additional sound effects for certain segments of your show as well. You can learn this overtime by playing with recording and editing software such as Audacity.

Of course having good overall production and audio quality won't do you a whole lot of good unless you have good content that people want to hear. A podcast about advanced differential equations would most likely not draw a huge audience, but a general math podcast might have some success with the technologically minded individuals.

You can still talk about advanced differential equations in your math podcast, but you want to have as big of a topic area as you can while still having a genre. You will definitely want talk about the latest news in the area you have chosen soon after the news comes out, usually within a day or two, or it is old news. Having an expert guest on will also add to the credibility and content of your podcast, and with modern technology you do not need to fly them into your studio, rather you can have a discussion over something like Skype where you can essentially have a free phone interview on your podcast.

Finally to improve your listernship, you will really want to do as much promotion of your podcast as you can. You will definitely want to list your podcast on all of the major podcast directories so that people can find you.

You also might consider cross promotion with another podcast of a similar genre. You and the other podcaster could make an agreement to link to each other on your websites, or mention the other podcast on your podcast. This is a great way to spread the word about your podcast.

How To Make A Podcast

 While written content is still the leader when it comes to getting traffic to a blog, some small businesses find success with their own online radio shows.

A busy entrepreneur can talk up a storm, but freezes up when it comes to blogging. Another small business owner finds that his writing style is stilted and unfriendly, but people compliment him on his friendly personality. Both of these people have one big thing in common. They are the perfect online radio show candidates. While the thought of creating a podcast may seem a bit overwhelming at first, there are many services that make creating radio shows downright simple.

Use Internet Radio Services to Create Podcasts

For people who aren't very technologically adept, one of the many online Internet radio services can make creating a weekly or even daily podcast a breeze. These services enable ordinary people to become radio show producers, complete with guest callers and online chat options. Some of these services charge a fee, but many actually pay the radio show hosts for the content they produce through a revenue share model.

Two of the most popular Internet radio services are Blog Talk Radio and Talk Shoe. Both of these services allow the user to schedule radio show episodes ahead of time or to create an episode series. Both also make importing the podcast to a blog fairly simple.

Learn to Create Podcasts From Scratch

Do it yourself podcasts can be a bit more challenging than the easy to use Internet radio options, but they can provide more flexibility. To make a DIY podcast, a small business owner will need to think about finding the right editing software so that he or she can add intro music, closing music, ads, etc. to the podcasts. He or she will also need to check into options that make it simple to put each episode of the finished radio show on the webpage or blog.

Tips for Setting Up a Radio Show

Regardless of how he or she decides to produce an online radio show, there are a few things that every small business owner needs before he or she begins to make the first episode.

    A good headset that has silencing capability so that he or she can drown out background noises.
    A script. Although reading word for word can create a very awkward broadcast, dead air, a technical term for silence, is not a good thing on a radio show. Having a rough script, or at least an outline, allows the radio show host to quickly jog his or her memory and to move on to the next section of the show.
    Callers. While callers are not strictly necessary, they do help keep the show moving and take some of the pressure off the radio show host. Inviting callers to appear on the show is also a great way to network.



A Guide to Podcasting

 

These days many bloggers want to get in on the podcasting craze. What is a podcast? A podcast is the distribution of multimedia content via RSS 2.0 protocol which means you can share the contents of your blog to an even broader audience of subscribers by sending your content in audio format directly to their computer or MP3 player without the use of transmitters or receivers. This allows your fans to listen to your new content at their leisure without even stopping by your site.

Q: What is Podcasting?

A: Podcasting is being able to listen to audio content from Websites that can be downloaded on your phone or any other audio player that supports MP3. Podcasting also is a shortened derivative of the words Ipod and broadcasting.

Q:  How do you start a podcast

A: This video from RSS can answer that:

Q: What types of formats does podcasting use?

A: Podcasting uses an XML (Extensive Markup Language)-based technology in the form of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. Using enclosures is the key to making podcasting work with RSS feeds. This is a feature supported by RSS2.0.

Q: What exactly is Extensive Markup Language?

A: XML’s primary purpose is to share structured text and information on the internet. You can learn more about XML at Wikipedia

Q: What is an RSS feed?

A: RSS feeds subscribers the latest updates that have occurred on the Website.

Q: What should my RSS feed include?

A: Your RSS feed is the published content of your Podcast. The RSS file should include the title, descriptions, and links to the MP3 files.

Q: What podcasting hosting service should I use for my podcast?

A: I personally use RSS.com Podcasting because they allow unlimited episodes, and unlimited duration.

In fact, you can use code RSSFREEMONTH at checkout for a full free month of podcast hosting with RSS. Get started for free here.

In full disclosure, I've been on their content creation team for a while now, and I'm even hosting some of their podcast episodes for Podcasting 101 with RSS.com!!!

Q: How can podcasting help me in my business and marketing?

A: Using podcasting allows you to publish radio shows that interested people can subscribe to. By recording a show and adding it to your site, your visitors can download it from your site instead of going to specific sites looking for your show. This will also allow increased interaction of your visitors while they visit your site.

Q: Where can I distribute my podcast?

A: The best place is through podcast directories. Here are some awesome posts on how to upload your podcast to a few of them:

  • How to Submit Your Podcast to iTunes/Apple Podcasts
  • How to Submit Your Podcast to Spotify
  • How to Submit Your Podcast to Google Podcasts
  • How to Submit Your Podcast to Stitcher
  • How to Submit Your Podcast to Amazon
  • How to Submit Your Podcast to iHeartRadio
  • Popularity of Podcasting

     

    Podcasting is a method of delivering radio to listeners with internet access. This free method of listening to your favorite radio show is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people learn about it. Podcasting is usually commercial free, which is another reason for its popularity.

    Podcasting is also extremely popular because you choose when and where you want to listen to it. You can also decide which episode you want to hear and have a choice of listening to the podcasting episodes on your phone, a computer or any MP3. The flexibility of podcasting has catapulted it into the public’s attention.

    In order to get started downloading podcasts, you need to download a podcatcher program. This allows your computer to automatically download podcasting episodes of your favorite radio shows which have been converted into digital audio files. There are several podcatchers, with the most popular being Apple’s iTunes which is also a searching device for new and interesting podcasting. You can use it to find more radio shows that you might be interested in listening to.

    Once you have a radio show that you wish to listen to, you can subscribe to the RSS feed so that your podcatcher can download the radio shows without you having to go to the radio website each time a new episode is released. This saves incredible amounts of time and is quite easy to use, as all the podcatchers have an easy to use interface that allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds with just the click of a button.

    Once you have set up your podcasting preferences, you don’t have to worry about anything except searching for new and more interesting podcasting feeds. It is very easy to discard or erase any shows that you no longer enjoy and since all the episodes of your favorite radio shows will be saved on your computer, they are able to be accessed or downloaded to your phone or MP3 player for easy listening whenever you wish. Unsubscribing from any podcasting broadcast is quite easy as well and you can quickly find new shows to replace the ones you delete.

    There are various websites dedicated to podcasting where you can find information and new podcasts as well as fellow radio fanatics who are more than willing to share their favorite radio show feeds with you. You can find podcasting forums on all of these websites as well as featured radio shows, both popular and lesser known. It is a good opportunity to find something new and unique for your personal radio programming.

    Podcasting is still growing in popularity. It has great potential though and will probably continue to improve and expand over the years to come, so go ahead and jump in now.

    Your First Podcast – A Beginners Guide

     

    If you like staying up to date with the latest trends in your area of interest, then you may already know what a podcast is. If you don’t this article will guide you to help you further understand what they are and how you can create your own. I’ll explain the various type of podcasts and help you decide which is best for your purpose. Then we’ll talk about ways to promote your podcast so others can get the message you want to deliver.

    So, what exactly is a podcast?

    Well, it depends on who you ask. Some people say that podcasts are just audio files that have people talking about something specific like computers, and other may say they’re like TV shows that people give out on the internet, usually for free. The truth is both of these people are right. Podcasts are either audio or visual media that you download form the internet to listen to what people have to say. It’s a great way to share niche ideas and organize your own independent media.

    So, how do you start your own?

    Well, it depends on what you want to share. If you’d like to have a one man show where you play music and introduce people to new flavors then all you really need is a microphone and some software to mix it. If you want to make a talk show with a couple people then you may need more than one microphone and a few friends that are dedicated and get along well. While some podcasts are video based, not all of them are so don’t worry about getting a video camera, as watching isn’t as convenient as listening. So, get your team and software, like a simple recording software such as Audacity together, start making a fun show of your own.

    Now that you have your own podcast, you may wonder how people get others to listen to their podcasts. First, tell your friends and family that you’re making one and if they have an interest in it or know others that might to spread the word. This is the easiest way to get quick hits, and if you know people then they’ll give you feedback on it, which is especially important in the early stages of your podcast.

    After that, you can set up a website online, and post your link to it on forums and sites where others share an interest that corresponds to your podcasts. Upload the podcast onto your site and then get people to download it. Before you know it, you’ll have a fan base and people will be sending you email with feedback and suggestions.

    The best thing to keep in mind is to not give up with your podcasts. Just because one of your episodes was weak doesn’t meant that you should stop altogether. Keep recording new episodes, as many do on a weekly basis. Set up little contests for listeners with rewards to keep people attached to it. Following these steps will lead to a great podcast in no time, with a nice user base.

    How To Create A Professional Podcast

     A professional podcast is one that provides information and entertainment in a well-presented manner. Creating a professional podcast is simple when following these tips.

    Podcasting is, in essence, the production of audio files that can be downloaded and played on a computer, mp3 player or other device capable of playing the file format the podcast is saved in. Many of the more popular podcasts are on topics of general interest but, a corporate podcast demonstrating the expertise of a business can be an excellent way of raising the business’ profile.

    How to Make a Podcast

    Basic podcast production is as simple as recording a file and uploading it to the internet but creating a podcast that listeners will want to listen to requires a little more time and effort. Because of its audio nature, a podcast requires a microphone and sound recording software. While it is possible to create a podcast using Sound Recorder, it is far easier to edit the recording in fully-fledged software like Audacity, which is free.

    A decent microphone is essential to give a crisp, clear recording. While sound editing software will allow some cleaning up of the recording, removing extraneous noises and enhancing volume to improve clarity, no editing can make up for the clear sound provided by a decent microphone recording the full human vocal range.

    Once the podcast is recorded and edited, it is best to save it as an MP3 in order to ensure maximum compatibility with the devices listeners will use to play it. This also has the advantage of allowing a “cover image” to be added to each podcast. Cover images brand podcasts, giving them a more professional appearance than a basic sound file, when played in a player that can display them.

    The simplest way to add a cover image, and other basic details such as artist information, to an MP3 file is to load it into iTunes and right-click on it to bring up the information window; select “Get Info” and then drag an image file into the white box on the “Artwork” tab. In the “Info” tab, enter the name of the Podcast into the “Album” line and then enter any other details as required.

    Press Okay to save this information into the MP3, and copy the MP3 out of the iTunes Music folder to have a file that contains the artwork and new information as well as the podcast itself. This file can then be distributed as an episode of the podcast.

    Choosing a Podcast Topic

    The most popular podcasts are on specific topics and market themselves to people interested in that topic. When choosing a topic it is important to pick one on which a series can be based. This allows a listener base to be built up over time, and will provide a podcast library of sorts when a back catalogue is developed. A business podcast could focus on specific areas of interest relating to the business, discussing the problems faced in that area and how they can be overcome.

    Businesses and other organisations may also consider podcasts as a means of delivering training to employees and volunteers. Podcast training allows advice and guidance to be provided on an as-needed basis; meaning employees can learn at their own pace and at a time that suits them. This cuts down on the need to schedule expensive specialist training for what may be a topic only of interest to a minority, or even giving employees the opportunity to brush up on knowledge and skills already acquired.

    Distributing the Podcast

    Podcasts are only successful if they can be accessed by their target audience. The simplest method of distribution is to create a dedicated blog for the podcast, as the blog’s RSS feed can be used to syndicate the podcast into iTunes and other podcast tracking sites. This improves the chances that the audience will find the podcast and enables quick and simple syndication.

    For podcasters who want a more rounded experience for their listeners, creating a dedicated website in WordPress, or similar content management software, allows extra information (and possibly also a discussion forum) to be provided on the main site while still retaining the RSS feed for syndication.

    Podcasts are an excellent way of widely distributing information; building a reputation; or providing training cheaply. With the right tools and equipment, a professional podcast can be created easily, and when combined with distribution methods like iTunes and an RSS feed, can be very successful.

    How To Create A Podcast

     Podcast production is relatively inexpensive and quite easy. With a blog or website and a few pieces of equipment, anyone can make a podcast.

    Briefly, a podcast is an audio or video file that can be downloaded, generally free, onto a personal computer via Apple iTunes or another comparable podcast downloading program. The files can then be listened to or watched on a PC, a smart phone, MP3 player, or burned to a CD. “Podcasting,” then, is the production and publication of those audio and video files.

    Everything from personal podcasts, to music, to radio programs, to podcast books are now found in podcast form.

    Although podcasts production can be either audio or video, it’s best to walk before trying to run. Here, the focus will be on audio podcast creation. The video podcast, though, isn’t much different.

    It doesn’t take a tech-savvy, IT expert to make a podcast and publish it. There are only a few simple things to do:

    - Get a computer and a website or blog

    - Purchase a microphone and headphones
     
    - Acquire a voice recording program
     
    - Make the recording

    - Upload the file to your podcast host

    Get a computer and a website or blog. Lets assume the computer is already “got.” If not, get one. Getting a website is as easy as buying a computer. Absent a great deal of computer knowledge, the best bet is finding a good web hosting company. Most provide monthly hosting for as low as $5 or $6 per month. Many also have their own web site creation tools that make publishing a site easy and quick. A couple of reputable hosting companies are GoDaddy and LunarPages, but there are more than anyone can count.

    Starting a blog is another way to go. Getting a blog through WordPress or Blogger is simple and free. Just as with the web hosting companies, inexperienced and experienced users alike are walked through the process via usually good instructions. With a little curiosity and willingness, a great blog or website can be created this way.

    Purchase a microphone and headphones. The utility of the microphone and headphones haven’t changed since the days of tape recorders (not that long ago). The microphone is needed to turn voice or music or whatever into an electronic file. Headphones, though not a necessity, are useful to clearly play back your recording during editing. A good recording can be made using an inexpensive microphone, so don’t rush out an spend tons of money. They can be found at every retailer selling electronics.

    Acquire a voice recording program. Most computers come with pre-installed recording programs. More advanced programs will provide the ability to modify the sound and make it easier to edit. Sophisticated programs are fantastic, but a free downloadable program called Audacity is easy to use and it is compatible with both PCs and Macs.

    Make the podcast recording. All the needed equipment is now present. Let the creative juices flow! Audacity, or the chosen recorder, with a bit of familiarization, should be easily navigable. As with any program, the more you use it, the better you’ll get. If using Audacity, the completed podcast will be saved in .aup format. It must be converted to MP3 format for publishing, which Audacity can do while some others cannot.

    Upload the file to the web site or blog. Once saved in MP3 format, simply upload it to the web site or blog. The new podcast creation is ready to go live. Using the website creating programs offered by most hosting companies, all that is left is to publish the updated website or blog.

    That’s it. After a couple of times through, making a podcast will seem as simple as making a recording with that old cassette player. Go. Create a podcast.

    How To Choose A Podcast Topic

     Once they have decided to make a podcast, a podcaster must next address another important matter. Now they must decide on the topic for their show.

    It obviously makes more sense for a podcaster to select a subject that they enjoy talking about rather than settling on a topic that they hate discussing. With that established, there are now a few things that podcasters must consider in order to help them find the perfect topic for their podcast.

    Make Podcasting Enjoyable

    Podcasters should first think about topics that they enjoy discussing. Next, they should consider hobbies that they enjoy. Lastly, they should consider any areas in which they might be considered an expert. As they consider each of these questions, the podcaster should make a list of their answers. Any one of the topics on their list just might be suitable for usage as a podcast topic.

    Make a Podcast About Your Area

    Another possible topic for discussion is right outside a podcaster’s door. If they make a podcast about their town then that means that they will never run out of material. Podcasting about their local area also means that a podcaster will have an easier time attracting an audience.

    There are many ways that a podcaster can promote a local podcast. They should start by telling their family, friends, co-workers and any one else that they know about their plans to make a podcast. Ideally these people would be willing to help spread the word. Posting flyers around town is also beneficial. Keep in mind, however, that flyers should only be posted where permitted. It might also be possible for a podcaster with a local show to garner coverage on radio and television stations in their area.

    Consider Profitable Podcast Topics

    If a podcaster hopes for their show to be profitable, then there are some additional things that they must consider when selecting a topic. In order to make a podcast profitable it shouldn’t center around just any old subject. Any topics that the podcaster may be considering must now be evaluated for profit potential.

    This can be done by researching how many affiliate programs are offered within each podcast topic niche. Podcasters should also use the Google Ads Keyword Tool to research profitability. A topic with high advertiser competition and a high cost per click is ideal. Once a podcaster finds a topic with worthwhile affiliate programs and acceptable Adwords statistics, then they will have found a subject worth considering as the potential for profit will certainly be there.

    Be Different, be Focused, and be the Best

    When selecting a topic for their show it is best if podcasters take the time to investigate the competition. Their odds of drawing in a sizable audience will be much better if there aren’t several other podcasts already covering their chosen topic. If enough thought is given, then finding a podcast topic that isn’t saturated shouldn’t be too difficult.

    Podcasters should keep in mind that one of the things that has made podcasts so popular is that they don’t follow the precedent set by most radio stations. Rather than attempting to appeal to every listener, podcasters should focus in on capturing a niche audience.

    So, when selecting the topic for their podcast they need to think small. Ultimately, it is best if a podcaster zeroes in on a topic that they enjoy discussing which will also be profitable. From there they can then concentrate on conquering that niche, growing their audience, and becoming an expert in their field.

    Guide to Creating a Podcast

     While creating a podcast may seem complicated for someone who is not “tech savvy” it really is not because most of the programs you need are either free or come pre-installed on your computer.

    If you are using a Mac, I highly recommended “GarageBand” for creating your podcast as it is very simple but it is going to you back some money because you are going to need a USB microphone due to the inputs on your Mac. I personally recommend the MXL USB Studio one Microphone for starters. It is cheaper than most microphones yet still great quality as you can pick it up off some Internet websites for as low as $75.00! Now, if you have decided this is something you are dead serious and have the money to blow on equipment then I say go for a mixer and any XLR microphone from MXL Mics. But, the MXL USB Studio 1 will be just fine.

    Once you get your microphone then all you need to do is plug it in, go into preferences then sound to make sure it is your selected sound input or else you will be recording your podcast with a build in microphone which I do NOT recommend.

    While built in microphones are good for video chats with your grandma, it just is not going to give you the quality you need to produce a great podcast. Now that you have all your settings in place you need to launch “GarageBand” and select “Podcast”. Once that is loaded, click the record button and you are officially recording a podcast.

    When you are finished recording your podcast, go up to the top menu and click share. The next step is to export to disk and then as soon as that is done, find a podcast host. You can find good hosts by searching Google where some are free. You can also send them to iTunes but that is more complicated than I feel it is worth until you know you are dead serious about producing a podcast.

    Now, if you are a Windows user I will not be much help to you as far as recording the podcast goes because I am a Mac user and refuse to touch a Windows computer. I do recommend a program called Audacity which is a pretty simple program. If you are using windows, you really do not have to worry about a USB microphone unless you really want one because a basic headset from Wal-Mart will be fine since that option is available for Windows. I would recommend using a Logitech microphone/headset for your recordings.

    Good Luck!

    Essential Equipment for Podcasting

     The number and variety of podcasts available has just exploded in the last couple of years. There are more podcasts of quality now than there are radio shows worth listening to. One of the advantages of podcasting is that your audience can take your broadcast wherever they go, and listen to it at their leisure. The format can be whatever the podcaster wants and this lends to quite a bit of freedom.

    If you’ve been wanting to get in on the action, but are unsure what kinds of equipment you’d need, this article will serve as a quick guide for you. Hopefully once you’ve read this article, you’ll at least have an idea of what kind of podcast you can get done using whatever grade of equipment you decide to go with.

    Computer or Digital Audio Recording Unit

    It seems almost too obvious, but you can’t skip over the fact that you’ll need either a computer or some kind of portable, multi-tracking unit to record the audio for your podcast. I’d of course recommend going with a computer, as you probably already own one, and editing the audio will be much more intuitive using whichever software application you choose to utilize. The computer’s specs should be good enough to handle the requirements of the recording software without dropping out (audio engine freezes and stops recording). Nothing is more frustrating than trying to use a computer to record audio that just doesn’t have the resources to get the job done.

    Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Software

    Assuming you are going the computer-based route, the next essential piece of equipment you will need is the software to actually record your podcast. Given the cost of some of these applications though, you may want to go with the open-source (free) DAW available on the Internet called Audacity. The reviews on it are quite good, and it has all the essential functions you’d need for podcasting.

    Recording Interface

    While it is totally possible to use an analog audio source such as any mixer with stereo outputs to get the audio into your computer, it’s much easier and cost effective to purchase an interface. Think of the interface as your way of getting the microphones to talk to your computer. In considering your interface, it might be wise to determine how many people will be there in the room with you, using mics simultaneously.

    If you plan to be the only one on your podcast, or if you decide to record your co-host’s audio via Skype, you can use virtually any USB or Firewire audio interface with an XLR input. If, however you want to have multiple people speaking in the same room using more than one mic at a time, you will want to make sure you get an interface with an adequate number of simultaneous inputs and outputs. PreSonus and Tascam both make interfaces that can handle up to eight mics at once for a reasonable price. Being able to assign each mic to its own channel will be a life-saver once you get down to the business of editing your recorded audio.

    Microphones

    Here is where your budget can absolutely explode, or stay within reason. It all comes down to the kind of money you feel comfortable spending. For around $100 you can buy a decent quality USB microphone that will even bypass your need for an interface. However, those microphones will be pretty limited, and in the long-run your money may be better spent bumping up another $30 or $40 and going with a better quality XLR condenser mic. If you go that route, you will want to make sure you have a source of phantom power, as these mics don’t have built in preamps. Most recording interfaces with XLR inputs will have 48 volt phantom power built in.

    Sound quality makes a big difference, especially in a medium that is all auditory. Taking the time to get at least medium level consumer grade equipment will help tremendously in making your project sound its best. Personally my experience with Sterling and MXL brand condensers has been nothing short of great. There are definitely more expensive brands out there, but an MXL 909 or a Sterling ST51 will never steer you in the wrong direction.

    Miscellaneous

    Once you have the basic equipment taken care of, you can focus on making sure you have XLR cables for your mics, headphones and a headphone amp if you want you and your guests to hear themselves through the mics, and other less expensive, but just as important equipment. With all of the bases covered you can now start your journey into the world of podcasting.

    Creating Your Own Podcast

     For the uninformed, a podcast is an internet radio show that can be downloaded for listening after the podcast is recorded, often on a personal media player. However it should be noted that podcasts are not limited to these devices and can play on practically any computer.

    Usually a podcast offers an RSS feed, which is a listing of all the recent shows. The RSS feed can be connected to specific programs called podcast receivers which will automatically download the latest editions of the podcast and place them on your portable media player or on your computer.

    First, you will need to decide what your podcast is going to be about. Generally podcasts with specific topics in which the broadcaster has expertise in are more successful because the podcaster can offer a more unique insight for people to listen to. It is definitely a good idea to come up with an introduction to be used every show, and a general script to go off of, so that you are not caught without anything to say.

    You will also want to find some music for a introduction that goes well with your podcast. You can find these at any number of places online; it is a good idea to use public domain and creative commons music to avoid any copyright issues. Some localities allow podcasters to use 30 seconds of a copyrighted song as a theme, but you should check the legality of doing this where you are at before doing this.

    Now you will need the only piece of hardware you should have to purchase, you will want a decent headset microphone which can be purchased at any of the big box stores for less than twenty dollars. This will help ensure your recording has a decent audio quality that people will want to listen to. You will also need a piece of audio-editing software to splice in your introduction music and record your actual podcast. I recommend a piece of software called Audacity, which is available for free online. You are now ready to begin recording your podcast!

    After you have all the editing done and the MP3 file ready to go, you will need a place to host your podcast on the internet. Generally you can get a free website through your internet service provider, or another web host online which will include enough space to host your podcast. If your podcast becomes quite popular, you may need to move your podcast to a place which allows for a high amount of bandwidth to be used. You should create a website to go with your podcast to help promote and publicize it. You will want to upload the audio file you created and then you can begin creating your RSS feed.

    A RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) feed is how your listeners will know you have a new podcast recorded and uploaded. Their podcast receiving software will check your RSS feed periodically and download the latest podcast. You can create one of these quite easily without knowing the markup language behind the RSS feed it self at a number of websites online.

    Now that you have your podcast recorded, uploaded to your website, and an RSS feed created, you will want to promote your podcast, which you can do by submitting it to iTunes and Podcast Alley, which are two of the major podcast directories. After a sufficient amount of promotion, you are done! Congratulations, you have your very own podcast, remember to post a new podcast at least once every week or two so that users are not left hanging!

    Podcasts Free For All

     Since the term was coined in late 2004, podcasts have become of the greatest sources of free information, available to anyone with internet and a computer.

    Podcasts, one of the coolest innovations, supply an infinite source of information on any topic imaginable. Anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a computer, has the means to put together their own custom-made personal listening program.

    Included in the podcast package comes information, inspiration, awe and respect for all the amateur podcasters out there who spent and continue to spend hours each week, putting together enough material for a single podcast.

    Podcast History

    The first person to come up with the term “podcasting” was British internet technologist, journalist and broadcaster, Ben Hammersley, in February 2004, in an article for The Guardian. The etymology comes from “playable on demand” with casting.

    The Pod and The Apple

    Apple later took the “pod” part to name its iconic iPod. The rest, as they say, is history. Having said that, podcasts can be accessed without any sort of portable MP3 player: a computer and internet is enough.

    Despite several cease-and-desist orders by the Apple corporation in regards to the usage of the term pod+[take your pick], the Apple Trademark Department put out a statement in November 2006: “Apple does not object to the “generic usage ” of “podcast” by third person parties. “

    Since then, podcasts have swept into mainstream usage. With all the amateur podcasters putting themselves out there, the professional broadcasters and media outlets have since jumped on the bandwagon, big time, to offer some or all portions of their output as free podcasts. Free. The availability of any podcast, from anywhere, at any time is such a huge resource and has changed the whole media landscape. Whether you archive them or not on your own personal laptop, the option to go back to the respective site, is always there.

    Free Access for Anyone, Anywhere

    A stream of information from some of the smartest minds in journalism, the arts and sciences, academia, politics, music, sports, technology etc is available for everyone.

    In general, podcasts can be found via iTunes or on the respective websites. To date, the easiest and most efficient way to search through the many categories is through iTunes.

    Finding Podcasts from Around the World

    No matter which country the podcast aficionado lives in, the world is at your finger tips. Buying restrictions apply only to those interested in buying music and movies (you can only buy from the US store if you live in the US for example) This restriction does not apply to podcasts as they are free.

    If you happened to be interested in what podcasts are popular in France or in England or Germany, all you have to do is change the country button to whichever country interests you, and you will discover what is popular there. Any podcast can be accessed from any site. But the above tip is helpful if you aren’t familiar with news and entertainment programs in the respective country.

    10 Lessons Learned From Releasing 10 Podcast Episodes - and Happy Birthday Bloggy Friends Show!



    Happy Birthday BloggyFriends SHOW


    What’s up you guys! Famous Ashley Grant here, and I’m excited to welcome you to the birthday episode of this show. Yep! My bloggy friends show is officially 1 year old today. And, of course, I HAD to release this episode on April 1 because that’s when it started...April Fool’s Day.

    This is also the 10th episode of the show. I had these lofty goals when I first started a year ago that I was going to release an episode every Friday. I was going to go big or go home...and then, like the rest of the world I was told to stay at home… a lot. And things got weird.

    My business got busy, my life got hectic, and then like any sane person would do, I decided to uproot my life of 35 years living in Florida and move to Kentucky in the dead of winter. Because that’s normal right?

    Needless to say - a LOT of my goals for this show and my website and for my life in general took a backseat to everything else going on around me. And while I still have huge dreams for my podcasting future, I’m just going to take things one step at a time and not put so much pressure on myself.

    So, in this birthday episode, I wanted to share 10 lessons from working on 10 podcast episodes. The truth is, I can't believe it! I can't even fathom the fact that at this point I've released 10 episodes of my Bloggy Friends Show! It feels like just yesterday it was April 1, and the first episode was coming out, but it also feels like April 1 2020 was ten years ago.

    The crazy thing is this show is something I've been wanting to launch for YEARS! Seriously - I bought the Bloggy Friends domain in October 2016, and was talking about it even longer than that. The domain https://www.bloggyfriends.com/ sat dormant for a long time, and then I didn't even keep up with it regularly after I finally started posting to it.


    I announced my master plans for the website in March 2017, and then posted 30 Conference MUST Haves for Your Next Blogging Conference in 2018, and then only posted 3 times in 2019. You can check out those posts here if you are interested:




    All the while, I've maintained a vision for this website. I wanted it to be a place to talk about life as a blogger, spotlight people that are in the content creation industry, showcase blogging vendors, and basically share the news of the blogosphere.

    So, what held me back for so long? FEAR! Yep, I said it. Fear plagued me and kept me from doing anything fun with this website and launching my podcast. So, now that I finally launched and have posted show notes as blog posts for the last 10 episodes including this one, let's dive into the lessons this last year has taught me...


    10 Lessons Learned From Releasing 10 Podcast Episodes

    1. The fear still exists

    Yep! Every time I hit record, I get scared. I sweat bullets the whole time I'm recording, and then I get even more scared when I hit publish with my podcast host. YIPE!


    2. Everyone was right about the importance of making a plan

    Before I recorded a single episode, I brainstormed a very rough layout of my vision for the first 40 or so episodes of my show. I did this even though in my mind I had only committed to 10 episodes.

    Doing so helped me to know exactly what I would talk about every time I sat down to record.


    3. The equipment actually DOES matter

    I released my first 4 episodes with a gamer headset.

    Then, a client who believes in me was nice enough to sponsor the cost of a legit podcasting microphone for me. It was a win-win for both myself and the client. I got a nifty podcasting microphone for projects like the Bloggy Friends Show, and he got a better sound quality for podcast episodes and videos I recorded for him. Yep - I’ve been doing YouTube and podcasts for a client outside of the work I’m doing on this website and this podcast. I have to say - it’s been a lot of fun learning different aspects of the podcasting industry.

    For example - did you know that there are lots of different jobs in podcasting that don’t even require you to have your own show? I got hired this year to write show notes for a podcast in the running niche. I’ve been recording YouTube videos, and then stripping the audio to release as podcast episodes for a podcast hosting company. And, you can also get work producing podcasts, managing social media for podcasts, and even being the voice of a podcast for businesses. One of my bloggy friends recently hired some freelancers to be the voice of his podcasts - he does all the research and lines up the guests - the freelancers just show up and do the interviews for the show. Then another freelancer edits all the audio, adds in the intro and outro and voila! Instant podcast!

    But anyway - this was a long winded way of saying your microphone really does matter. You can get free editing software, and use the computer you already have, but you have to get a good microphone. I use the Blue Yeti microphone and honestly can’t imagine going back to my gamer headset now that I’ve heard the difference in the audio quality.

    4. Batching is critical for consistency

    I regret not recording all 10 episodes at once and scheduling them for release. It's why when it came time to release my 5th episode, I didn't have one for the week. A family situation took me away from my office when I had planned to record, and as a result, I couldn't make up the time and thus had nothing for my self-designated release date.

    Then, when life got weird again, it became far too easy to just keep pushing it off to the next week and then the next month, and suddenly any momentum I could have gained disappeared.

    5. I love this medium and repurposing it has been a lot of fun already

    It's great that I can just speak and BAM - I've got content. Then, I can transcribe my episodes into blog posts, social media updates, and use the text to create short video clips too. I've only done the blog posts so far - using my show notes as blog posts, but I really like how sitting down to research and record one thing has the potential to yield content for multiple platforms.



    6. I want to build a designated podcasting and video space in my home

    Although I've released a handful of one image videos of my podcast, I want to actually film myself on video for YouTube, and create several different types of videos related to blogging for the platform. I've learned a lot over this past year, and I know I have a better chance of getting more viewers on my episodes if they are visual and audio instead of just audio.


    While it's clear that YouTube is a visual platform, many people had me convinced that one image videos were all I needed to repurpose my content from my podcast on YouTube. I see now just how much I would prefer to have my face on camera so the audience can see and hear me. I confess this has me even more nervous, but I feel like it will be better for the ultimate goals of my show and websites



    7. This is a lot of work


    Yet another thing people were right about.... podcasting is not something you just do on a whim. It’s another big reason I kept putting off recording new episodes. Scheduling out several hours to write up what I want to say, record, and then edit, and then post, and then promote...it’s a lot of time and energy that goes into this. I am working a lot more with my husband now in my business, so we’re discussing plans to outsource, batch, and come up with better systems and processes, but for now...we’re just taking everything one step at a time.


    8. I want to monetize my efforts

    Because this is so much work, I do not plan on this being a hobby. I want to make it part of my business. I'm not quite sure what I mean by this yet, but in order for it to make sense to keep producing episodes, there will need to be some kind of monetization plan in place. I’m journaling and dreaming, and planning what the best steps for me to take will be. Who knows? I might just pull all the current content down at some point and start over again. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do, but I know that I need to make a certain amount of money in my business for podcasting to make sense in my overall plans.

    This could just mean turning the podcast into an experimental research lab used for coming up with better blog content. Or it could be a lead generator for my day job as a ghost blogger. Anything is possible, and I’m not ruling anything out as I keep going on this podcasting journey figuring things out as I go.



    9. I'm glad I committed to 10 so I would just launch already

    The fear held me back for years, as I mentioned earlier. Committing to just 10 episodes felt a lot less scary than saying I'd be a lifelong podcaster. In my mind, I thought of it as an experiment, calming the fears just enough to start. I accepted that I might hate the first 10 episodes, and that if they sucked, I could just move on knowing it was simply an experiment.

    10. I've got a lot more work to do!

    To make my visions for my business and my life a reality, I've got a lot more work cut out for myself! Like I said, I’m journaling and dreaming about the future. Trying to figure out where to go from here. I’m publicly committing to 10 more episodes now because though I’ve not moved as fast as I want to, I can see the potential here for something great. You know those moments where you kind of feel like your whole life is leading to something? I’m in that space right now and I’m not sure where this is all taking me, but I’m hopeful and excited for my future - where it’s going..



    There you have it my bloggy friends. My first 10 lessons from working on 10 episodes of The Bloggy Friends Show. I can honestly tell you that this has been a whirlwind of a year. I have learned so much, and I know I’ve got a lot more to learn. I’m grateful to everyone who has said kind things about the show. The feedback I’ve been given. The comments and messages - it’s all been so special to me. I love how amazing the podcasting community is.


    I am also grateful to places like RSS.com Podcasting for the content they share about how to start a podcast. I highly recommend their blog if you’re looking for some solid podcasting advice. And, if you need a podcasting host, I’ve been a subscriber for a year now and can’t say enough great things about them. 

    You can actually start your podcast for free with them at RSS.com. They have created a freemium offer that allows anyone and everyone to launch their first episode completely free without even giving over your credit card information! Then, when you’re ready to release your second episode, it’s just $99 a year after that. Or if you are a student or teacher with a .edu email address you can get half off your fees! RSS even has free plans for some non profits organizations.

    They aren’t paying me to say this, but in full disclosure I am a brand ambassador for them, and love that their mission is to give every podcaster a voice. I seriously love working with them, and think they are the best option for anyone thinking about starting a podcast.

    7 Steps to Starting a Podcast:

    Image courtesy of RSS.com

    I look forward to releasing even more episodes and coming up with more ideas and sharing more of what I’m learning with all of you. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as Famous Ashley Grant. I’m also a LinkedIn Open Networker if you want to add me there. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect with you. Until the next episode, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!


    Episode 9 - Show Notes - Creating Products for Your Blog Readers

    What’s up bloggy friends?!? Famous Ashley Grant here, and today I want to talk about Creating Products for your blog readers. If there’s one thing that holds promising entrepreneurs back from leveling up their business, it’s this: a lack of confidence in creating and selling products. Sure, you think that new course, eBook, or workshop is a great idea, but how do you know it will sell?

    You don’t even want to imagine spending weeks or even months of time—plus the cost of document design, video editing and all the other pieces that go along with it—only to discover it’s not what your audience wants or needs. You know that would feel frustrating. So today I want to talk about how to move forward without leaving it to chance.

    There are plenty of ways to test your idea before spending the time and energy on a full launch. In fact, I tested a few ideas before spending time launching, and I think these insights will help you create and launch your own products.


    The first and best method to get started is to Just Ask your readers.

    This is the simplest way to get a feel for what your readers need and want. Create a survey with Survey Monkey (or even a Google form) and send it out to your mailing list. Or, if you don’t have a mailing list yet, but you have a very engaged community on social media – post your survey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


    For best results, keep it short, but do ask things like:
    • What they’re struggling with
    • Their preferred learning method (video, text, audio, etc.)
    • What they feel the training is worth (what would they pay)
    These three pieces will tell you a lot that you will need to know in order to create a program that’s practically guaranteed to sell.


    By the way, as a blogger you need an email list if you want to do this full-time! That is unless you’re ghostblogging like I am – I’ve been very fortunate to skate by without an email list because of the type of work I’ve been doing for my clients. But even I recognize based on my work with them that the money REALLY is in the email list. In fact, it’s why I’m still planning on preparing an email acquisition campaign of my own for my own websites.


    Alright – that’s enough on that. Back to the ways to test your product ideas...


    Next, Listen to Their Complaints

    If you have a community (or are part of one) of potential ideal clients, pay attention to what they’re asking about the most. These are the things they need help with. For example, if you’re a craft blogger and your Facebook group is filled with questions about how to get started selling crafts on Etsy, then clearly there is a need for some training in that area.


    Third, sell a test offer.

    If you have been thinking about launching a course or book, you could just announce it and put up a sales page to see whether or not anyone has an interest in it. I did this with a ghostblogging course and sold two seats in a workshop before I ever recorded a single lesson.

    In fact, Amazon allows you to pre-launch a book. You can pre-sell it 90 days in advance. If you don’t load your book 10 days prior to it’s official publication date, the pre-orders will be canceled. Of course, if you don’t load something after launching a pre-order campaign you won’t be allowed to do pre-order sales for a full year after that. But, it is a great way to test the waters with your audience if you want to make sure that you’ll make money before putting in a bunch of effort.

    Another way I’ve seen people pre-sell things is with GoFundMe and Kickstarter. One of my bloggy friends had a Kickstarter up before he ever even started working on his book. Once it was fully funded he then got to work on it, sharing updates along the way creating fabulous blog content to give his audience a front row seat to the behind the scenes work it took to write and publish his book. The possibilities are endless!


    Finally, Study Others

    One more way to test your idea before you launch is to study other bloggers and what they did when they launched products and books for sale. Hey, they might even have it documented and you can get an insider’s look into how they went about selling to their audience. If you don’t already, create a list of people – bloggers, social media influencers, even your top competitors and start reading their blogs and emails, and lurking in their Facebook groups. This is a great way to gain insight into what they’re doing—not to copy them, but to discover what’s working, what’s selling, and what people are excited about.

    Consider buying their paid products as well. Again, you should never copy them, but to get your feet wet you could start by promoting their product as an affiliate. This will not only help you test the waters of marketing and selling, but it will give you a feel for what’s missing and what you could do better.

    From there you could create a better, more comprehensive version of the products you’re already selling. Or, if you don’t want to be an affiliate you could bypass that idea completely and dive right into creating something better than the competition. Who knows? You might be able to create a lite, lower-cost version of the book or course to hit the ground running with your target audience.

    If you take nothing else from this episode, please here this – Creating products in a vacuum is a great way to waste a lot of time and money on books, workshops and courses that won’t sell. Instead, pay attention to what your blog readers are already asking for, find out what they’re willing to pay, and delve into your competitors’ offers. The information you gain from these three activities alone will give you incredible insight into your market and what they want and need, and make it easy to create your own hot-selling products for your blog readers.


    I hope this episode inspires you to look into creating and launching your own products for sale my bloggy friends. We don’t have to be the smartest in the room. We just have to know a little more than the people we’re creating things for. I believe in each and every one of you, and I know you have greatness within you. Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!

    Episode 8 - Mindset Tips to Blog Full-time

     




    What’s up bloggy friends! Famous Ashley Grant here, and today I want to talk a little bit more about quitting your job to become a full-time blogger. We talked a little about Taking the Leap From Hobby to Professional Blogging in a previous episode, but this time I want to talk about the mindset tricks of bloggers who’ve turned their blogs into successful businesses. And p.s. that’s the first and most important mindset shift of being a full-time blogger – treating it like a business.


    Okay, so do you want to know what sets the uber-successful apart from the wannabe entrepreneurs?


    It’s not money, or brilliant ideas, or even powerful friends.



    All of those things (and more) are nice to have, but they’re actually not a requirement of success. What is a must-have, though, is a good attitude. Without the proper mindset, you’ll constantly be battling your own brain, and that’s exhausting.


    • You’ll allow yourself to believe your ideas are no good
    • You’ll keep yourself from hitting publish on that killer blog post you’ve been working on
    • You’ll be too scared to turn your blog posts into a book or course you could get paid big bucks for
    • You’ll remain convinced that you aren’t smart enough
    • You’ll be certain that someone else did it (whatever “it” is) better
    • In the worst cases, you’ll quit before your blog has a chance to take off and become a massive success!

    And before you know it, you’ll have talked yourself right out of launching your new program, applying for an affiliate program, or pitching sponsors for paid posts. In no time at all, you’ll be back at your day job, working away on someone else’s business because you don’t have the confidence to create your own from your blog.


    But a simple mindset change can make all the difference.



    Dress for Success


    Ladies, this one is for you. When we work at home, it’s easy to fall into a habit of wearing sweatpants and T-shirts to the office. After all, why dress up just for the dog?


    But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to instantly shift your mindset in the right direction, ditch the graphic t-shirts, and break out the nicer outfits. Some bloggy friends of mine even go so far as to put on make-up and do their hair.


    Now look, I am a full-time, paid blogger and I wear yoga pants, every day! But, when I want to feel more confident, I add a nicer top and put on my shoes to sit down at my computer. Sometimes that simple act of pretending I’m heading to an office instead of commuting from my bed to my desktop makes all the difference in me feeling like a business owner.


    When you do put in a little extra effort with your appearance, you might suddenly find yourself feeling more professional, more confident, and sexier, too. Okay so feeling sexier might not help your business, but it could be helpful for your overall self-love and relationship with your partner.



    Never Let Fear Drive Your Decisions

    Too many would-be blogger bosses operate with a scarcity mindset rather than approaching business from a place of abundance. Rather than telling yourself that you can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant to help with your Pinterest pins or use a paid WordPress theme for example, try reframing your thoughts.


    Rather than thinking, “I can’t afford to buy that website hosting and SSL plan,” ask yourself, “How can I earn the money to invest in this business upgrade?”


    Rather than saying, “I have to do everything myself because I can’t afford to hire a VA,” remind yourself that your hourly rate potential is much more than you’d pay a virtual assistant. Then fill those hours you’re saving by outsourcing with money-making tasks of your own.


    By reformatting your thoughts, you’ll turn that negative money talk into positive solutions that help you grow. These ideas are of course, only the beginning.


    But here’s one thing I will tell you my bloggy friends – you are smart enough. Your blog is awesome enough. You have wonderful post ideas. Once you get your mindset right, nothing can stop you! Start treating your blog like a business, and before you know it you’ll be making enough to quit your day job and create your dream life. Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!

    Episode 7 - Show Notes - Systems for Blogging

     




    Prefer to listen to this? Click here to listen to Episode 7 - Systems for Blogging
    What’s up my bloggy friends?!? Today I want to talk about systems for blogging. Here’s the thing – we all have to do so many things for our blogs, and the truth is with all the moving parts of blogging it can get overwhelming FAST!


    If you’ve ever looked at another blogger and wondered how she manages to get it all done, the answer might or might not surprise you. She’s got good systems.


    It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.

    No matter what you’re blogging about and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:

    Work faster and produce more

    Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes

    Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do

    Enter The Magic of Templates


    How many times do you answer email from potential sponsors or pitches from people wanting to collab? What about responding to readers who want to tell you what they loved or hated about your last post? Or mailing your JV partners about an upcoming launch if your blog is at the stage of course or book creation?


    All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access. And hey, you can even create templates for your blog posts so that it’s easier to write your posts each time you’re ready to publish something new for your readers.


    While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and eventually sales. Simply instruct your assistant on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things.



    Checklists Prevent Mistakes


    It might seem counter-intuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. For example, you might think your sponsors all paid you this month—you might even remember invoicing for it—only to look back and see the invoice wasn’t actually sent.

    But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task like creating all the deliverables for sponsored content or remembering to pin the latest blog post you published.
     

    You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.


    Templates and checklists turn smart bloggers into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you apply for a new affiliate program or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant to do instead.


    Now I want to bring it over to you – what can you do with your own blog to create systems that make it easier for you to, well, be a blogger? I’d love to know your thoughts! Tweet me at @bloggyfriends and tell me what you’re going to start doing to increase your own productivity. Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!

    Episode 6 - Show Notes - Taking the Leap From Hobby to Professional Blogger





    Is it time for you to go pro as a blogger my bloggy friend? Perhaps! In this episode, I'm sharing my key indicators to look out for that will tell you when it's time to take the leap from hobby blogging to professional blogging.

    Want to listen on Youtube? You can do that here:


    Prefer to download and listen? You can do that here

    One of the questions I’m frequently asked is when it’s time to take the leap from hobby blogging to professional blogging. Although this answer is different for everyone, I thought I’d share my key indicators that it’s time to jump off the hobby blogger train and into the glorious world of professional blogging.

    You have more than a love for writing.

    When you go from enjoying the act of writing to living it, breathing it, not being able to imagine a day without it, you’ve found that sexy, passionate kind of love that tells you this is something real. Perhaps you and writing started dating casually; suddenly, everything in your life is giving you reasons to write more. So you bump it up to seeing each other on the regular. Before you know it, you can’t stop. You don’t want to do anything else but write. You’ve totally found the one and you can’t go back. 




    You catch yourself making a plan.

    You used to post on your blog when the urge struck, but for some reason you sat down and created an editorial calendar in Excel. You started thinking about what topics would get your readers attention, and you even pondered what the best headlines were for clickability.

    You’re making enough money from your blog to quit your day job.

    Seriously? If you’re already making enough to pay the bills, why are you still working that pesky 9-to-5? It’s quite possible that you could just do this full time — and perhaps make even more money!

    You have to claim blogging income on your taxes.

    When you start making serious money and accountants have to get involved, you’re a pro, dude! Just make sure you don’t blow this chance to work for yourself doing what you love — be smart about bookkeeping.

    Also see - Big list of potential tax deductions for bloggers

    A post or two has gone viral.

    OK, this might not mean it’s time to go pro, but a viral post could be the perfect catalyst to shift into being a pro blogger. You know that saying, strike while the iron is hot? Well, do that!

    You ooze expertise.

    What happens when you become an expert on something and start posting a bunch about what you know? You’ve found your niche, my bloggy friend. Good for you! If people are picking up all that knowledge you’re laying down, then I think you might be flirting with professional blogger status.

    Ideas flutter from your brain like migrating monarchs.

    Even though it might not seem like it, the fact that your mind just keeps churning out blog ideas is HUGE! Some of the best professional bloggers can go into any situation and come out with one if not five different blog post ideas. 




    Self-starting is no problem.

    As a professional blogger you have no real boss telling you what to do. Your only boss is you. You have to have the self-discipline to create a schedule and then stick to it — or your readers will tire of your inconsistency and head over to some other blog.

    You’re good at interacting with your readers and other bloggers.


    The more you engage with your community, the more traffic you’ll drive to your blog. Period.

    Words like branding, marketing and reach are in your vocabulary.

    When you start treating your blog like a business, you’ve definitely gone pro. Before you know it you’ll be creating spreadsheets of income and expenses, buildings lists of potential sponsors and reviews you want to pitch, thinking of guest post ideas for other blogs, and even having meetings with people to develop your blog into a household name.

    Obviously, this is by no means a complete list of indicators that it’s time to take the leap from hobby to professional blogging — but these items scream pro to me.

    Resources I Recommend Checking Out:

    Bloggy Friends - Keto-Friendly Desserts Roundup

     Recently, I was talking to a friend about dieting, and the subject of desserts came up. See, I'm the type of person that when I'm craving something sweet, the diet typically flies out the window. But, with keto-friendly desserts, you can stay on track and satisfy your sweet tooth.

    Naturally, this lead me to a rabbit hole of looking for the best recipes of keto-friendly desserts. I didn't know which ones were the best, so I went to my bloggy friends and asked them for their favorites. Below is a roundup of the ones they sent my way. Check them out. Enjoy!

    Simply click the titles to get the recipe 😉

    41 Keto-Friendly Desserts


    2 Keto-Friendly Desserts- Low Carb Cheesecake With Raspberry Jam

    3 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe for One

    4 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Salted Caramel Donut


    5 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies


    6 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Cookie Dough Bombs


    7 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Single Serve Keto Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for One


    8 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Birthday Cake Chaffle


    9 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 4 Ingredient Keto Chocolate Frosty


    10 Keto Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream


    11 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 3-Ingredient Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies


    12 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons


    13 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies


    14 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 3-Ingredient Keto Peanut Butter Balls


    15 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Pecan Cookies


    16 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Covered Strawberries


    17 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate-dipped sugar-free marshmallows


    18 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Sugar-free brownie bites


    19 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Strawberry Lemonade Bai Sorbet


    20 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Truffles with Bacon and Maple


    21 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 5 Minute Keto Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake Mousse


    22 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Peanut Butter Pecan Bars


    23 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate Coconut Cream Stuffed Strawberries


    24 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low Carb Cheesecake Recipe


    25 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low Carb Keto Cream Cheese Cookies Recipe


    26 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Brownies Recipe

    27 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low-Carb Cheesecake

    28 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low Carb Belgian Waffles with Coconut Flour


    29 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Crustless Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup


    30 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Decadent Chocolate Fudge

    31 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bark


    32 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Oreo Cheesecake Bites


    33 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies


    34 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Creamy Ricotta Coffee Mousse


    35 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Sugar Free Raspberry Jello Cups


    36 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Strawberries and Cream


    37 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Sugar Free Cheesecake Mousse


    38 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Edible Cookie Dough

    39 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Cookie Dough Fat Bombs


    40 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Cheesecake Fat Bombs

    41 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate Fat Bomb