As a lawyer, you possess substantial legal knowledge that can benefit others in your community. With the advent of the internet and podcasts, you have more avenues than ever to convey essential information to people seeking guidance in your areas of expertise.
If you've been invited to be a guest on a podcast, congrats! Being on a podcast is a fun way to share your expertise, experiences, and help others learn from your journey. Here are five ways you can ensure your episode really shines (and avoid some unnecessary blunders)!
Tip 1:Take Your Audio Seriously
If you've listened to other podcasts, you know that audio clarity can sometimes be an issue. Some steps you can take to ensure good sound quality include:
Pick an ideal room to record. It's crucial to choose an environment that has good acoustics. This room should be small with things that absorb sound (carpets, furniture, curtains) and in a quiet area away from any noise.
Use headphones. Using headphones and turning off your internal computer speakers prevents unnecessary feedback and electronic echoes.
Use a USB microphone. High-quality sound equipment is vital when recording a podcast. Although computer mics are fine as a last resort, they won’t provide the best audio. If you don’t have a USB microphone, use a microphone that’s built into your earbuds or headphones. In most cases, these are better than your computer mic. No matter what, never use a Bluetooth- connected microphone as the connection can be unreliable.
Tip 2:Remove all Distractions
Background noises can break the concentration of podcast hosts and their guests. These sounds can also annoy listeners and make it harder for them to follow the conversation. Follow these steps to eliminate distractions and enhance your audio presentation:
Close out apps. Close your email, calendar, instant messaging (slack, gchat, etc.).
Silence all devices. Silence your phone, alarms, and any other notifications.
Don’t eat. No eating or chewing gum. You can have water but mute when sipping!
Focus on the conversation. If you need to take notes, have a pen and paper ready as typing is easy to hear over the microphone!
Tip 3:Listen to a Previous Episode
You'll want to have a feel for your audience and what they expect from the podcast. Listen to a recent episode to get a sense of the tone and keep this in mind during the recording process. You may also get a better idea of the information you need to focus on when preparing for the event, enabling you to:
Know the audience. Podcasts are about having a discussion that is valuable to the audience. This means having thoughtful, genuine conversations that reveal a human experience.
Know the type of questions you’ll be asked. Although every guest is different, there will be certain questions that a host will always ask.
Identify the overall feeling of the episode. Is the podcast host playful or serious? Are there certain topics the host avoids like religion or politics? Knowing these things beforehand will do wonders for the episode.
Be ready for the “bits”: Many podcasts have consistent segments or bits that are part of every episode. Learn what these are and prepare to participate in them if the host requests you to do so.
Know the correct way to pronounce the host’s name. Correctly saying the name of the podcast host is vital to avoid embarrassment and show them that you took the time to learn about them beforehand.
Tip 4:Keep it Real
A podcast isn't a vehicle for drumming up business for your firm. While the exposure can help attract more clients, your main goal should be to come across as a knowledgeable and reliable attorney. Keep these tips in mind as you converse with the host:
Don’t be promotional. You were asked to be a guest because of who you are, not because of a brand, employer, or product you represent. Although you may be asked about these things, speak like you’re catching up with a good friend you haven’t seen in a while.
No need to be perfect. Although most podcasts will edit out unnecessary ums, ahhs, and awkward moments, the best shows embrace laughing, talking your thought process out loud, and other ways a chat happens organically between host and guest.
Let the host control the flow. The host is responsible for the flow and filling any awkward silences. Try not to ramble or deviate too far from the initial question. Focus on answering the question posed in a valuable and meaningful way and the host will do the rest.
Don't talk down to the audience: You don't want to come across as arrogant or condescending. Keep your tone friendly and conversational throughout the podcast.
Tip 5:Share Your Episode
Appearing on a podcast is a fantastic way to help potential clients learn more about you. You'll want to spread the episode via multiple communication channels to ensure you reach the widest audience:
Share your episode after recording. When you get notified that your episode is premiering, share it with your network! Share the podcast on social media, on your website, and via email. Your host will usually work with you to promote across every channel to ensure you can get your voice heard!
Repurpose the content: Not everyone will have the chance to listen to your podcast, so you can use the main points to create blog posts, infographics, or even a brief video to provide additional opportunities for people to access the information.
Starting Your Own Podcast
Podcasting can be a great way for law firms to establish their brand, reach new clients, and become thought leaders in their field. Before you decide to produce a podcast, you want to have a clear vision of how this project fits into your overall business plan and long-term goals. You also want to make sure your production quality is strong enough to keep the listeners you attract. How do you gain the skills you need to make your podcast successful? Whether you want to launch a five-part series or a six-season podcast, follow these seven steps to launching a successful podcast:
Benefits Of Starting Your Own Podcast
A successful podcast series can bring value to your law practice in several ways.
1. Makes You More Approachable
Contacting an attorney for legal advice can be intimidating to many people. An informative podcast where you present information in a friendly and engaging manner can reduce the fear and make prospective clients feel more comfortable taking the next step. You'll have the opportunity to humanize yourself and your practice.
2. Facilitates Topic Expansion
A complex legal topic can be difficult to sum up in a few minutes. A 15, 30, or 60-minute podcast provides ample time to expand on a subject and offer the audience a more in-depth perspective. The extended format also allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic and position yourself as a subject matter expert. Your firm can become a go-to source for clients impacted by the issue at hand.
3. Build Your Brand
Although your podcast should not serve as a blatant advertisement for your law practice, a high-quality podcast can attract a loyal audience. The increased exposure will boost brand recognition and attract more clients to your firm. People will come to identify you with a specific legal niche, furthering your branding efforts.
4. Grow Your Network
Your podcast can allow you to connect with other members of the legal community that you wouldn't necessarily interact with during the scope of your daily work. This extended reach can lead to opportunities that fuel your professional growth.
How To Develop A Successful Podcast
How do you gain the skills you need to make your podcast successful? Whether you want to launch a five-part series or a six-season podcast, follow these seven steps to launching a successful podcast:
1. Identify Your Audience
Before ordering a microphone and headphones, grab a pen and paper and ask yourself: Who do I want to talk to - clients or other attorneys? Why am I starting this podcast? Is this a passion project, a branding opportunity, or a way to partner with colleagues in the industry?
2. Outline Your Content
Once you have identified your who, you need to work on your what. Are you planning to create new content or build on existing blogs, video transcripts, or firm newsletters? You want to be engaging and interesting, but your podcast also should not be a full-time job. It may be helpful to do a competitive analysis, looking at the podcasts that already exist in your topic area, taking notes on what podcasts are most successful, and identifying gaps in existing content that you can speak to with expertise. Pro-tip: Create a reusable template for each episode reminding listeners to rate, review and share the show.
3. Use the Right Equipment
After listening to podcasts for years, I was so excited to start podcasting, I recorded my first episodes on my iPhone. I used the iPhone app "Recorder." The software you use probably isn’t particularly important, but your hardware can be the difference between a clean and clear audio experience and a distorted mess. Do some research to find the best recording mic for you, such as the Yeti mic, which is an industry standard and recommended on most Youtube videos.
4. Record in Batches
Once you have an idea of your ideal listener and an outline of your content, you are ready to record your first show. I highly recommend you prepare 4-6 pieces of content to "batch record" in one sitting. I found the following software applications simple to use and with responsive customer service: Zencastr, a service where you create an account, plug in the microphone and record content; Anchor, an "all-in-one" app that lets you record, edit, add music and publish from one platform; and Riverside FM, an application recommended by my sound engineer because of its post-production features.
5. Edit Your Work
Many podcasters are able to edit their own recordings to remove sounds, background noises and other audio impurities. If you don’t have the patience or skills for this, you have options! For a few extra dollars ($100-$200 per month), I hired a sound engineer to clean up my audio files, add music and an introduction. Consider the following editing services: Vance Lang Productions edits, adds music and publishes my show; Upwork is an online freelancer marketplace that has a great network of sound engineers and podcast specialists. Zencastr, mentioned above, has many features that allow you to edit raw audio and add music.
6. Create Your Cover Art
Don’t overthink your cover art or spend hours deciding on a podcast name. The only critical step here is that it must be super easy for listeners to find you. If your podcast features the history of Virginia law and politics, call the show “VA Law & Politics.” If you want your listeners to know that you can help business owners avoid legal nightmares, let them find you at "New Business Pro-tips." Creating cover art and adding the show name can be a DIY project using Canva software or you can hire a freelancer starting at approximately $150. Pro tip: If you just want to record your content and let a pro handle the rest, check out all-in-one podcast producers.
7. Distribute Your Content
After your content is recorded and post-production extras have been added, the world - or more specifically your ideal listener - needs to hear your message. Podcasts live on a hosting site, similar to how your firm’s website lives on WordPress, Wix or Webflow. Consider the following platforms that will both host and distribute your podcast to your audience: Podbean will host and distribute your show to Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcast and numerous other listening forums. Simply sign up for a free account to have your show published and distributed, and additional features for a paid subscription. Buzzsprout is another popular hosting platform that offers both free and paid subscription plans, and Captivate promises users an easy hosting experience. In the end, finding the best hosting software will take signing up for the free subscription and then playing around to find out the best fit. I always recommend trying to reach a help desk to determine if the company has responsive customer service to help you troubleshoot frustrating software issues. And whichever platform you pick, make sure it provides automated distribution features when you publish an episode.
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