• Podcasts

Getting Your Podcast Right: How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Mistakes

By Eric Dye

Many entrepreneurs want to jump on the popular podcasting bandwagon, but their efforts won’t pay off if they don’t have commitment.

In my article last month, I talked about the importance of commitment—and how when it’s absent it leads to common mistakes.

Here are the top 5 mistakes—and how to avoid them:

1. Saying you are sorry it has been a while since your last podcast. A big no-no.

The solution: Never say that! For those listeners who didn’t realize you had failed to air another show in nearly two months or more, you just shot yourself in the foot by bringing it to their attention. So stay cool, and never bring up the fact that you have faltered.

2. Being inconsistent.

The solution: Another reason not to tell your listeners that you aren’t consistent is that you shouldn’t be! Your show should air weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. The reason is simple: If you have a captive audience that tunes in on a regular basis, you will eventually lose them if you aren’t consistently posting new shows. If you are serious about carving out a place in the podcast space—stay committed.

3. Not having subscription options (RSS, iTunes, Google reader, My Yahoo, Zune, ect.) visible, or available, on your site.

The solution: Be sure these links are easy to find, or you will likely lose listeners who depend on subscriptions, and want to re-visit—and hear what you have to say.

How it works: Podcasting is a method of publishing audio content to the Web, allowing users to subscribe to a feed that will let them know when new content becomes available. Simply download the podcast onto your computer, and subscribe to the newest program so it automatically downloads for you when it becomes available.

Subscribing to a show on the Entrepreneur Podcast Network is easy: If you have iTunes on your computer, select the ‘Subscribe to Podcast’ button. If you do not have iTunes, select the ‘Download iTunes’ button. Once you’ve downloaded iTunes to your computer, you could then continue, and select the ‘Subscribe to Podcast’ button.

Note: Without tools such as iTunes or Zune, you won’t know when new Podcasts are available—so be sure to download one of them to your computer. You can periodically check to see when new MP3 files are available. You can also listen to podcasts directly on your computer without uploading them to a portable digital audio player.

4. Posting your podcast with no show notes.

The solution: Words! About 150-250 to explain the details of the podcast you have recorded should be enough to excite your listeners about each episode. Show notes should provide, at a glance, an outline of the contents of an episode. This is not only a matter of convenience for your audience, but it also serves to lure visitors to your site into listening to your podcast. Images also add interest and attract the eye.

Also, be sure to link to your Web addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and other contact information. Simply mentioning your contact info on the podcast will make it tough for your listeners to remember.

Why are these informational notes so important? Without them, you will not only hurt your SEO (search engine optimization) opportunities, it leaves your prospective listener lost in the sea of the billion other podcasts they can choose. Don’t miss this opportunity, and be sure to provide a brief summary of what the listener will hear when they hit play.

5. Making the audio player difficult to find on the broadcast page, or making it confusing how to access the podcast.

The solution: Put the words “Play,” or “Click Here To Listen” front and center. This makes it very clear and self-explanatory about what you want your listeners to do. Here’s a good example of how it works well.