Why starting a podcast can help your author platform - by author Tianna Peterson
As an author, traditional or indie, growing an author platform is a vital component in your author’s journey. Now you make ask, how do I start or even grow an author platform? Well there are several ways to grow an author platform and the way I decided to grow mine is with podcasting.
Podcasting is a very underrated and overlooked way of growing your platform, but if you do your research you will learn that podcasting is one of the fastest growing options for a lot of different reasons. When starting a podcast there will be several questions, so let’s dive into those questions.
What made you start a podcast?
When researching my options to grow my platform beyond Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I knew that one of the most popular options was YouTube, or as most call it, "Authortube". I didn’t feel comfortable in front of a camera and I knew that Authortube was growing pretty fast and it seemed like everyone was joining the bandwagon. Not me. I always loved the idea of podcasting, so I did my research and settled on starting a podcast.
You made the decision to start a podcast, now what?
Well, congratulations and welcome to the club. Now it’s time to put in the work. First, you want get the proper equipment. When researching the equipment you don’t need to go big or expensive. When I started off I got a Blue Snowball mic which only cost me around $30. You will also need headphones, a computer, and a program that allows you to record. There are several programs that you can use, for free or at a cost. Some of the free options are Audacity and if you’re a Mac user you can use GarageBand.
Once you have your equipment the next thing you need to work on is graphics for your podcast. You will need a cover which will display on whatever platform you choose to use (which we will discuss a little later). For the graphics of my podcast I use Canva. Canva is a free website where you can create various forms of graphics. Now, if you don’t feel comfortable with creating your own graphics then you can always hire someone to create those graphics for you.
After you decide on your graphics the next thing you need to work on is your music. Now, most podcast have what is called intro and outro music, this isn’t always necessary but it is a very nice option to have. Where do I get music from? Well, there are several options. The first option, which is free, is to use Garageband or whatever is the same for Windows. I will speak on Garageband more in this section as it because what I know. With Garageband you can use preset options or even create your own. This option can be fun while being frustrating as well. So please take your time. When you create your music feel free to ask friends or family for feedback.
Once you have your music the next step will be to create a voiceover. The voiceover is your opportunity to share what you hope to bring to the world through your podcast. This is the first opportunity to get the audience pumped about your podcast.
You have the basics down, what do I do now?
Your next move is to discuss how you want to distribute and host your podcast. There are so many options for podcast hosting. Some of the popular options are Libsyn or going through your website host such as WordPress. Once you make the decision for hosting then you need to create a RSS feed. This is what is used to upload to the actual platform to make your podcast episodes.
Some of the platforms you would want your podcast hosted on is iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify. Now those are just some of the popular options but you can do your research and figure out which platform(s) would work best for you and your platform.
What do I talk about?
I believe this is one of the biggest questions people ask when starting to get into any platform and to that I say, talk about whatever it is you feel the need to speak on. For me, the main reason why I started the podcast was to share my writing journey. I also created episodes based on writing topics that I was faced with as I wrote my novel such as how to write a fight scene or how to write in POV. Remember this podcast is all yours and you can do whatever it is you want.
Another option is interviewing other authors. I did this with my podcast as well and it was a lot of fun connecting with other authors. Some of the authors I had the pleasure of interviewing were Cara Alwill Lebya, Bethany Atazadeh, Jade Young, and Vivien Reis, just to name a few. When I first started interviewing other authors it was very nerve wrecking and one of the scariest things I have ever done.
After the first couple interviews it becomes second natural.
How do I get people to talk to me?
If you decided to go the interview route now the question comes up how can I get people to talk to me?
All you have to do is reach out, and no, don’t slide into their DMs. Remember this is a professional relationship, visit their website find their contact information and send them an email. Keep the email professional as well, explain who you are, what your podcast is about, and how they will benefit the podcast as well as how your podcast can benefit them. Once you send the email I would give the recipient about two weeks without getting a response. If after the two weeks there is no response then send out a follow up email and once again keep it professional. Once you have the guest set up and time and date that will work for the both of you. Congrats.
What is some advice to have a successful podcast?
My best piece of advice is to be consistent. Being consistent is one of the only ways your podcast will grow and continue to grow. Imagine having a loyal following then all of a sudden you disappear, no podcast episodes for weeks at a time. The listeners will see you as a not-reliable source. One of the ways to be consistent is to plan ahead. I usually record and schedule a couple episodes ahead of time.
Also, when you start off with a podcast you want to start off with at least five episodes. Another piece of advice is always reach out to someone you trust. This can be a very stressful process but in the end it’s totally worth it.
I’m beyond excited to have shared this information and I’m glad you are thinking of starting a podcast. If you ever need some advice or help please reach out to me on social media, I would love to help in any way I can.
Tianna Peterson writes crime/thriller novels that always feature a hint of romance. As a Midwest native, Tianna. hosts a podcast, One Page at a Time, which she uses to help other authors along in their writing journey. When she's not writing or working in the Public Safety sector, you can find her enjoying time with the loves of her life - her husband and their two children.
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