Are you frustrated with how much time it takes to make your podcast? Because a lot of people -- at least before they start a podcast -- have this collective myth that it’s not very hard to make a podcast. Which you and I know is completely false.
Lots of people struggle to grasp the difficulty of making all of the content necessary when we want out podcasts to be as great as they possibly can be.
It All Starts With Audio
No, it’s not all that hard to talk into a microphone. Assuming you have a microphone. And assuming you have some idea of what you might want to say into that microphone. That also assumes you can do all the work after the recording phase, like post-production cleanup, audio sweetening, assembly and more.
Why Not Shoot Some Video While You're At It?
But we’re not done, are we? Many podcasters are creating video content in addition to their audio content. I get the appeal. Many potential clients I speak with are keen to do this, since they’re already carving out time to record their voice, why not record their face at the same time? But just like your audio has to be processed, described, and stored online, so does your video! And if you think putting up raw, unedited video on a YouTube channel is enough: it’s not.
So You Think Live Video Is Right For Your Podcast?
Many podcasters (like me) are also using live video either in addition to or as a step in their content creation process. But the best aspect of live video is the communal, back-and-forth conversation where the presenter responds to live comments, hearts, and other things that only make sense live. None of that works in an audio-only mode after-the-fact, as it just causes listeners confusion. Remember, they can’t see that funny comment you laughed about last week.
All That Media Content Needs Some Text
Even if you skip the video elements, you have to create some text that describes your audio episode before you publish it. This is the content that displays in-app while people are listening to your content. If they choose to view it. Far too many podcasters just slam out a few sentences here, which limits the quality of that text. And it’s sure as heck not helping any listeners, current or potential, enjoy or find the content.
Don't Forget The Long-Form Text For Your Podcast's Website
Very little of any of the text created so far works well on your website. Not without some serious re-shaping. Yet most (if not all) podcast hosting companies encourage you to just use the content designed to go in-app as on-page website content. And it sucks for that.
And Then Remember The Web Is A Visual Medium Too
Even though podcasting is mostly an audio-based medium, imagery is important. That means episode-level artwork is required. If you opt to skip it because the artwork doesn’t display in-app when someone is listening, then you’re missing the point and failing to understand that you need more than one piece of artwork for your episodes. Your site, your shares… all of them need artwork that looks great in those specific channels.
Make Social Shares That Don't Suck
Speaking of sharing, you have to write your social shares. Smart podcasters know to leverage existing social media channels to spread the word when new episodes drop. No, letting some automated system grab your headline and a link to your audio file isn’t sufficient. Not if you want your efforts to actually be effective.
Don't Forget The Original Killer App -- Email!
And then there’s your newsletter. You’d be surprised how many of your current audience like to have things delivered to their email client. But you can’t simply repurpose other content. If you've smartly embedded an audio player in the content you paste on your website, you have to strip that out before sharing that article as a newsletter, because many newsletter clients can’t handle embeds. And then there’s the size limitation some newsletter services impose, giving you that ugly “Continue reading this message on the web” message at the end that none of you email subscribers want to click.
All The Cool Kids Are Doing Audiograms
Oh, and don’t forget audiograms, those small motion-graphics that make your shares look better on social media. Now, I'm not convinced those actually have any value, but a lot of people do use them. Creating them takes time, energy, and effort and shouldn’t be left to automation. Is it worth it? I don’t know. But I do know that our robot overlords aren’t nearly as good at picking out choice bits as humans are.
I just ran through nine things -- NINE! -- that are (or can be) part of the creation process. And that doesn’t even mention the content creation plan itself if, in fact, you create one. And you should.
Moving Beyond COPE and CORE
The concept that was supposed to save us from all of that work was called COPE - create once publish everywhere. Many (most?) of the podcast media hosting companies encourage this approach and will use the same content -- the exact same content -- to update podcast apps and directories, as well as generate a bunch of low-quality, “thin content” on a webpage. Not helpful.
When CORE was seen as too simplistic, some technology providers changed it slightly to CORE - create once repurpose everywhere. And that was better. That’s the conceit behind audiogram creation tools and social automation services which help you make alterations to the primary content as it’s repurposed for use in different channels. That’s better, but far from perfect, as it leads to shoe-horning, square-peg-round-holing, or any other metaphor or analogy you wish to use.
Here’s how I summarize the problem with COPE and CORE: They promise minimum effort and maximum expectation.
Well… they excel at the first half. And sadly, they constantly fail to deliver on the promise of the latter.
Technology Helps But Doesn't Solve Our Problem
I don’t blame the technology providers. Well, not all of them. I use a few awesome tools to help get my content shared across channels. As an inherently lazy person, I’m a big fan of working smarter, not harder. So yes, bring on the automation tools to help me repurpose content!
But it's foolish to think that we can create a single thing -- like an audio file or a video -- and then describe that thing in one way that is perfectly sharable everywhere.
We cannot. Content created for one medium is rarely a good fit for another medium. So while the mindset and intent behind both COPE and CORE are on the right track, we need to expand the “create once” piece.
Instead of thinking about creating one thing, we need to think about doing all of our creating at one time.
Create At One Time, Then Publish Accordingly
Ok, CAOTTPA is a terribly acronym, so I don't think it'll take off. But I do think you should create all nine of those things I mentioned above - if that’s what you do-- all at the same time. Do the work to create each of them at once. Can you leverage certain elements across different pieces of content? Absolutely! But you have to make those decisions on purpose. And yes, that means more work to create better content.
That takes us out of minimum effort territory, I know. It’s definitely cranking up the effort required. But if we really do have maximum expectations, shouldn't we be prepared to put forth maximum effort?
I understand the desire to find efficiencies. So how do we maximize efficiencies to help control the level of effort required? And how do we avoid falling into the efficiency trap that stymies concepts like COPE and CORE?
The notion that we can just create one thing and have it work everywhere is ludicrous. But for podcasters, we might get closer to perfection if we do all of our creation at one time.
Share The Good (?) News With Another Podcaster You Know
While you think about that would you do me a favor? Reach out to one podcaster you’ve met recently and tell them about this show. Working podcasters sharing the word of this show with other working podcasters is how we spread the good news.
I’ll be breaking down myths about content creation all of this week here on the program. Enjoy the rest of your Monday. I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.