Author Archives: Anthony Estevez

Prep for Your Online Radio Show Like a Pro: 10 Quick Tips

In our ongoing effort to help BlogTalkRadio’s many talented online radio hosts better produce and promote their shows, we’ve developed a new Quick Tips series.

Tip #1: Before scheduling your show, choose the right title, description, and keywords.

The first thing you’ll need to do when getting ready for your show is schedule an episode. Scheduling your episode will create a page that includes all the important details for your upcoming episode: date, time, topic and so on. An effective title, description and keyword tags can help you attract listeners.

Here are some quick Dos and Don’ts when creating your title, description and keywords:

Do

  • Try to limit the number of words in your title to six words or less.
  • Keep your titles and descriptions focused and interesting.
  • Have a great guest? Use their name in the episode title (i.e. Michael Jordan interviewed by John Smith).
  • Make sure all the essential information is covered in the description.
  • Use keywords that aptly describe what you’re broadcasting about and that your listeners are likely to use to search for your content. In addition to including these keywords in the tags fields, you should include them in your title and description. 
  • Use spell check.

Don’t

  • Use the same title, description and keywords for every episode.
  • Use all caps.
  • Use the same keywords for every tag.
  • Use profanity.

Examples

Title

Good: 
Gardening Tips: Keeping Indoor Plants Alive

Bad:
WATERING PLANTS

Descriptions

Bad:
We talk about watering your plants.

Good:
Have trouble keeping your house plants alive? Tune in to learn how to turn your brown thumb into a green thumb. Our guest, Mildred Greenhouse, will provide helpful indoor gardening tips about soil, feeding your plants, and ideal watering schedules for orchids, flowers, and trees.

Keywords

Good: 
Mildred Greenhouse, indoor plants, watering plants, soil nutrients, feeding plants

Bad: 
plants, plants, plants, more plants, trees

Tip #2: Consistency counts when deciding on an episode date and time.

When building a listener base, it’s important to establish a consistent schedule for your show. Try to keep it on the same day of the week (or days, if you have episodes more than once a week) and at  the same time each week so your audience knows when to expect it and can build it into their 
routine.

Need more tips on show scheduling? View our screencast on how to schedule your show for more help.

Tip #3: Create an intro for your show

If you don’t have one already, recording a great introduction can help you create a more professional and engaging show right from the start. A fun intro can pull your listeners in and keep them tuned in longer.

So how do you create an introduction? There are a few different ways. You can engage a professional announcer to create one for you. Or if you’re looking to save money, you can easily make your own intro using BlogTalkRadio. Here’s how to make your own: First, write a script and select and upload your background music. Set your background music at 25%-50% and do a test run speaking over it. You may need to experiment a bit to find out which level works best with your voice. Next, schedule a episode to record your intro. When you are done recording, download the file to your computer and re-upload it as a start-up audio file. (Here’s a screencast on how to upload audio files.)

Read our guide on creating the ultimate show intro.

Tip #4: Create an outline or Script for your show.

To ensure your show flows smoothly—and to avoid dead air—it’s great idea to decide on a format for your show and to draft a show outline prior to going live.

A helpful exercise for getting format ideas for your show is to listen to other shows on BlogTalkRadio. Jot down what you like and dislike about each one, and that can serve as a great starting point for building your format. 

Here is a sample show format for a 30-minute guest interview:

  1. Intro Start-Up Audio: 30 seconds
  2. Introduction of Guest: 1 – 2 minutes
  3. Guest Interview: 15 minutes
  4. Music/Message Break: 1 minute
  5. Guest Q&A – with live callers: 10 minutes
  6. Show Conclusion: 2 minutes
  7. Outro Music: 30 seconds

Creating a detailed outline prior to each episode will ensure both you (and your co-host, if you have one) have great talking points. If conducting an interview, consider alternating asking questions. And remember to prepare a great introduction for your guests ahead of time.

Tip #5: Prepare for your guest.

The two most important things to consider related to interviewing guests on your show are:
1. How will they call in?
2. What will you talk about?

How will they call in? 
Be sure to discuss with the guest how they will be brought onto the show. There are two options:

For Hosts using our Free services: 
The guest can dial in to the listener line and then be brought live onto the show using the switchboard. If you select this option, be sure to provide guests with the Listener Number, ask them to dial in at a specific time, and find out what number they will be dialing in from, as this will make it easier to identify their call on the switchboard.

For Premium Hosts: 
You can dial out to your guests directly from the switchboard using the outdial feature. To learn how to use view our screencast on outdialing. Learn more about Premium Services.

What will you talk about? 
Set yourself up for a successful interview by doing research on your guest and preparing an intro and questions for your guest prior to the show. It is also a good idea to ask guests if there are any topics they want to cover before the show.

Tip #6: Get your audio files queued up and ready to go. 

In addition to the show intro, playing audio files (i.e., music, pre-taped interviews and/or sound effects) during your show can add depth and excitement to your broadcast. They can break up the talk and provide great transitions. Here are a few technical tips to remember: to avoid distortion, it’s not recommended to set the volume higher than 150% when uploading files. When playing audio files, all callers can still be heard if they’re speaking, so it’s best to mute the host and callers when playing files. Playing your sound files during your test show (see Tip #7) can be a great way to make sure that all files are sounding the way you want them.

Tip #7: Conduct a test show.

Conducting a test show prior to the live event can be a great way to work out the kinks prior to your live event. To schedule a test show, simply log in and schedule a show for the time you need. When choosing maturity, choose “Test” or “Private” so that it will not broadcast to the masses. When you call in to do the test, use the exact dial-in option you’re planning to use for the show. If possible, include any guests in your test show as well. Test the audio files you are planning to use, test voice clarity from the telephones or headsets that are being used, and then listen to the playback after the archive is finished. Then you can take care of any adjustments before your scheduled show.

Tip #8: Choose a quiet space to broadcast.

Find a quiet place to host your show where people will not accidentally interrupt you— dogs won’t be barking, telephones won’t be ringing, and so on.

Tip #9: Dial-in 15 minutes prior to your show.

It’s good practice for you, your co-host and your guests to call in 15 minutes prior to your show. This will provide time to review the show outline, launch the chat room, and get settled before going live.

Tip #10: Optimize your show’s sound quality.

Here are some quick Dos and Don’ts when it comes to sound quality:
Do

  1. Call in to your show using one of the following options:
    1. For hosts with a free account, the best way to dial in to your show is using a landline. 
    2. For premium hosts, there are two options for dialing into your show that will optimize sound quality: a landline or Skype. 
  2. When connecting via landline, use a high-quality phone and to speak clearly and directly into the handset. 
  3. When dialing in via Skype, use a high-quality headset plugged directly into your computer. Using a headset with Skype also frees up your hands to manage the chatroom and switchboard. And be sure you are using a hardwired Internet (rather than a wireless) connection and that you have closed out of all applications except for Skype and the BlogTalkRadio switchboard. For additional tips on how to host your show with Skype, view our Skype screencast. Learn more about Premium Services.
  4. As mentioned in Tip #7, we recommend you schedule and host a test episode to check equipment and audio files for optimal sound output. 

Don’t

  1. Use a speaker phone. This can cause annoying echoes and feedback. 
  2. Use a cell phone. This can effect quality and lead to dropped calls. 
  3. Use Skype with a wireless connection. This can compromise audio quality and lead to dropped calls.
  4. Conference multiple people in with Skype (on the host line). This can cause degradation in sound output. Again, test for optimal sound.

Bonus tip: 
If you are looking to further optimize your audio quality when dialing in using a phone, consider investing in a JK Audio Box. This is what the BlogTalkRadio staff uses to conduct broadcasts.


That’s it! We hope you find these tips helpful in making your show shine. You can find more tips & tricks for more helpful information on creating, producing and promoting your BlogTalkRadio show in the BlogTalkRadio Learning Center.

You can also download the BlogTalkRadio Quick Tips as a PDF.

Extend the Reach of Your Online Radio Show with iTunes

BlogTalkRadio understands the importance of iTunes when it comes to the syndication of your online radio show or podcasts. We automatically send your last show over to the iTunes store for people to download for free, but wouldn’t you like to have ALL of your shows in the iTunes store for people to subscribe to, download and listen to from their iPods, iPhones and computers right from their iTunes?

It provides direct access to whole new audience. So what are you waiting for?  Listen to a BlogTalkRadio University segment from our staff on how to submit your show to iTunes or follow the steps below.

Step One: Get Your Podcast URL
All you need to do is add /podcast to the end of your show URL, for example: http://blogtalkradio.com/yourshowname/podcast and that is what you will submit to iTunes. 

Step Two: Submit Your Show to iTunes
If you do not have one already, you will need to have iTunes installed on your computer and create an account so you can use iTunes and submit your show.

Go to http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ to start your free download.

Once you have it installed, create an account and then click on the “Podcasts” link on the top of the menu navigation. It should look like this:

picture12

 

 

Once you click on the “Podcasts” link you will then be directed to the Podcast section of the store. On the right hand side there is a link that reads: “Submit a Podcast,” click on that.

picture23

 

 

 

 

Once you have clicked on “Submit a Podcast” a new page will open up. This is where you will insert: http://blogtalkradio.com/yourshowname/podcast

After you have typed it click on “Continue” and you will then be prompted to log into your iTunes account that you just created.

After you log in, you will review your submission and see your artwork from your BlogTalkRadio profile page. Keep in mind if this artwork doesn’t show up you will need to resize your image on your profile to be exactly 300×300 pixels.Then go back to iTunes and resubmit so your image will be included in your podcast.

After you review your show for accuracy and it is exactly how you want it, click on the submit button and your show will be sent to iTunes for approval. This process can take up to one day or up to two weeks depending on iTunes backlog. BlogTalkRadio will then import your account number into your profile page. GUESS WHAT?! You don’t have to do anything after this point.

picture3

 

 

 

That was easy wasn’t it? Congratulations! Your show is now ready to heard by millions of people!

You will also notice that on all of your shows and on your profile page there is an iTunes icon. When people click on that icon they will be automatically directed to your podcast page in the iTunes store. They can then subscribe to your show, download your shows and load them into their mp3 players, iPhones, iPods and listen to you whenever they want, wherever they are!We will include all listens/downloads in your stats from iTunes right in your BlogTalkRadio account so you can see the increase in listenership to your show.

Good luck and let us know if you have any other questions by using the contact us form on the site and we are happy to help you!

10 Marketing Tips from Top BlogTalkRadio Hosts

We surveyed 200 hosts that are generating the most listens on the network to find out how they’re marketing their shows. We’re passing these tips on to you in case you are looking for proven techniques for increasing your listener base for your podcast.

Here are the top 10 tips we received from our hosts:

  1. Social Media Marketing is key! Almost 100% of the hosts surveyed are using Facebook, Twitter and more to market their shows.
  2. Develop a regular email newsletter. This can be an ideal vehicle to promote your show.
  3. Take advantage of the BTR Portable Player, post it to your blog, website and social networking profiles.
  4. Always create a unique, SEO-optimized show description. (Don’t use the same description for every episode.)
  5. Encourage word of mouth. Ask your friends, colleagues, family and current listeners to help you spread the word about your show.
  6. Participate in online forums, groups, message boards, and communities where people who might be interested in your show congregate.
  7. Put out press releases regarding your top shows.
  8. If you don’t already have one, start a blog and write about topics that are complementary to your show. This can provide another great online platform for promoting your show.
  9. Connect with other hosts within the BTR host community. There are a lot of experienced hosts out there that are open to sharing their best practices with others.
  10. Make guest appearances on other BTR shows.

Be sure to follow BlogTalkRadio University program Marketing Club and listen to archived episodes for more marketing tips.

How to Get Great Guests

Many hosts have asked us this question: What is the secret to getting great guests? image_guestsAlthough hosts go about it many different ways (this is how host Paul Lawrence Vann does it), there are steps you can take to secure guests that you can be proud of, just by doing some extra work and being yourself. Charisma and persistence will take you a long way. BlogTalkRadio hosts who snag great guests did not always have connections, most had to learn this as well.

So, what steps should you take to get quality guests? Here are some tips and we encourage hosts who have found other methods to post their advice in the comments.

First, decide what type of guest you want and do a little research to find out who represents them. If your ideal guest is an author, his or her publishing company, as well as representation information, is often listed within the book (usually in the very front or back). If you are interested in a Hollywood celebrity, your best point of contact might be their PR representative. Find their contact information by searching the name of the celeb followed by PR, or establish a premium account with the Internet Movie Database. Premium accounts have access to the most accurate information (oh, and BlogTalkRadio is in no way affiliated with IMDB).

Next, make a list with every potential guest that comes to mind, from the easily accessible to the guest that seems out of reach.

Now, make contact! If you prefer to use email, here is an example of a format that works.

Dear (potential guest’s name),

My name is (your name here) from BlogTalkRadio.

I host a live podcast on BlogTalkRadio called (your show name here), and I would like to have you on to promote your new (book, screenplay, movie, cd). You can be a guest simply by using a telephone and a computer from anywhere in the world. You will have the potential to reach millions of listeners and I will promote your new (book, CD, movie, etc..) on my show page so my listeners can just click on it to purchase. We have hosted everyone from Obama to Brad Pitt. We would love to have you on the (name of show) sometime in the next few months. Let’s discuss a time. Is daytime or evening better? You can contact me at (phone number) or email me at (email address).

Sincerely,
(Your name)

Feel free to also use this basic approach over the phone as well. Be persistent!

And once you’ve landed that dream guest, here are some tips to get you ready for the interview:

What’s Up With the Weather?

rain

I don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but the East Coast has had more of its fair share of rain lately. We’ll have a day of beautiful, summery weather, followed by a week of rain, a pattern I can live without.The recent weather events have found me researching the contents of the BlogTalkRadio vault to see what kinds of weather related programming we had in our archives.  I was almost pleasantly surprised by the results. I say “almost” because it’s true, you really can find all kind of content at BlogTalkRadio!

  • Rockwood Wardrobing gave us the low down on summer essentials with their 2009 Warm Weather Must Haves show.
  • Live in the Tornado Belt? The Tornado Research show brings you all the latest tornado-related news.
  • This past March, Mr. Media interviewed Good Morning America Weatherman, Sam Champion.
  • The Weather Channels VP Programming, Tom Pratt visited with Tracy Swedlow last November.
  • The Pain Reliever featured a fascinating discussion regarding weather and chronic pain – are they related?
  • Ok, so it’s getting warmer now, but bookmark this one for the fall. Burnt Food Dude offered tips for cold-weather cooking.
  • Here’s another one to bookmark – The Lucky Dog show discussed cold weather care tips for our canine best friends.

Hope you enjoy all of our weather-related programming!

Bittersweet: Dangerous Lee’s Last BlogTalkRadio Show

Dangerous Lee

When I began working for BlogTalkRadio last year, one of the first happy anniversary posts I wrote was for Dangerous Lee. Now, almost exactly  a year later, I’m writing about Dangerous Lee again, only this time it’s bittersweet. Dangerous Lee is taking a hiatus from hosting her own BlogTalkRadio show. Tonight at 8:00, she offers her swan song.

As a writer, no one understands Dangerous Lee’s reason for leaving more than me. Writing is her passion too and she’s taking some time for herself and for her writing. “I suppose it’s been a long time coming.” She told me. “I have done the show for two straight years without a break and quite frankly I need one. I love writing. It’s my passion. And, after trying to get noticed by publishers without any luck it’s time for me to take control and make it happen for myself.” Honey, I hear that. Though she’s vague with the details, Dangerous Lee tells us she is writing a book filled with fictional short stories.

Dangerous Lee has many fond memories of her two years as weekly radio host for BlogTalkRadio and it’s hard for her to pinpoint a favorite moment. “Oh wow! There are so many.” She responded after I asked her to nail down a memory. “I can’t think of any that stick out more than others. It’s been a crazy ride with lots of twists and turns. I’ve had a ball!”

Though it’s sad that we won’t be listening to the Dangerous Lee show every Friday night, you can be assured she’ll still be around. “I will still be a part of The Radio Happy Hour every Tuesday night at 9pm. It’s the #1 comedy show on the network. I’d be a fool to leave Dr. Blogstein and Vinny all alone.” We agree. Some folks need a little supervision.

When asked if she had any final words for her listeners and the BlogTalkRadio community Dangerous Lee responded,”Thanks for listening. Thanks for the love and the support. I’ll miss you!”

We’re going to miss you too!

Summertime….and the Living’s Easy

hammock

Last weekend marked the unofficial launch of summer. All of the country folks are having backyard barbecues, pool parties or heading down to their favorite picnic areas, campgrounds and beaches. Now would probably be a good time to check out BlogTalkRadio for mobile. Here’s some great summer programming to accompany your warm weather activities.

Stay tuned to BlogTalkRadio all summer long for the best programming of the season.

How to Find Free and Legal Images for Your Blog & Show Pages

camera

Always have permission to use an image. Failure to do so can result in a removal request...or worse.

More BlogTalkRadio hosts are using their blogs, both at BlogTalkRadio and at their own domains, to promote their shows. We think that’s terrific! Blogs are the perfect accompanyment to an online radio show – and vice versa. While we’re thrilled so many of you are getting your blog on, we’d like to offer a reminder that images are protected by copyright laws. Just because you find an image using Google Images Search doesn’t mean it’s yours to use. Like written content and music, if you don’t have permission to post an image to your blog or BlogTalkRadio show page, it means you’re using it illegally. Fortunately, there are several ways to find legal images.

Creative Commons: Images falling under the creative commons are yours to use. Sometimes there are instructions, for instance, you might be required to provide attribution. Two places to find tons of images falling under the Creative Commons are Wikimedia Commons and Flickr. Before downloading, be sure to follow all the instructions. Failure to comply might result in a request to remove the image or even a lawsuit. Please note that not all images at Flickr fall under the Creative Commons umbrella. Be  sure to research if the image is yours to use.

Morgue File – Lots of amateur photographers post their images to Morgue File and allow you to use them at no charge. You won’t find any celebrity images there, but there’s lots of cool photography happening. Again, with Morguefile be sure to read all the instructions. Do provide image attribution and link to the photographer’s profile.

stock.xchng - stock.xchng offers images from professional and amateur photographers alike. Though it does offer premium content, much of the images are free. As with the other services, it’s best to check all the terms and provide attribution.

PicApp offers free celebrity images – but theres a twist – you have use their captioning, including their advertising. To place an image on your blog, you have to use their javascript. You don’t have to offer attribution because the wording comes up automatically on each post. Also, because you embed the link and don’t upload the photo, you’re not hosting it on your blog.

Newscom - A great service for those blogging about current events or celebrity issues. Newscom offers both free and premium content. The free content is mostly publicity stuff, but most bloggers find images that work.