Tag Archives: Tips

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.

Host Tip of the Week: Profile Customization With Pics and Video

hosttip-of-the-week1

CUSTOMIZE YOUR PAGE!

When hosting shows with BlogTalkRadio, what host doesn’t want their profile page to be unique, creative and indicative of their shows?

There are all kinds of cool things you can do to maximize your profile. Like adding pictures or video that can enhance your page, making it more visually stimulating, attractive, and interactive. Here are a few examples of what you can do to your page:
Example 1
Example 2

HOW TO DO IT
To customize your page and add video, pictures and/or html code you can go into your Settings link at the top left hand side of www.blogtalkradio.com (You must be logged in to do this). Once there, look to the gray box on the top left hand side and click on My Page. From there you have two places that you can use to add detail to your profile page.

1) In your Show Information Box. Look for the “Add Video or HTML Code” box. Any code that you enter in here will appear at the bottom of your Profile Page, beneath your Episodes on Demand, in a box called “Extras.”

2) In your Show Notes Box. Anything you add here will appear directly above your Episodes on Demand on your profile page in a box called “Show Notes”.

You can also add pictures and HTML to your various show descriptions.

USEFUL LINKS FOR ADDING HTML & IMAGES
Here is an informative and free website that explains the step by step input of HTML and what it all means: http://www.html.net/tutorials/html/

When you add pictures you will need to do so using HTML code. Many users take advantage of Photobucket to upload their own pictures and generate their own HTML code to use with them.

And, it is likely you are familiar with YouTube. You can use YouTube to upload and generate HTML code for your own videos that you have uploaded.

BRANDED PROFILE
If you are looking for evening more branding and customization, you may want to take a look at the Branded Profiles option on BlogTalkRadio. This BTR offered Premium Service is a great because it enables hosts to:

• Customize all show graphics on your page
• Own all the banners placement: You can use these to market your own services or to sell sponsorships and keep 100% of the revenue
• Stream content live and archived content on your site with a branded player
• And much more.

Here are a few examples of what your page could look like:
Branded Profile Example 1
Branded Profile Example 2

Click Here for an in depth look at the features and benefits of the Branded Profiles. If you want more information regarding branded profiles, contact us here.

Keep up the great work with your profiles!

BlogTalkRadio’s Host Tip of the Week: Picking a Show Time

Happy Friday BlogTalkers!hosttip-of-the-week1

It is great to bring the weekly host tips back to you!

Many hosts have asked us “when is the best time is to host my show?”

There are a few important things to think about when choosing your show time for your online radio show.

Time Zones
When selecting the best time for your audience, you first should take into consideration the time zones. There are a lot of different time zones, but the most common are EST, CST and PST. If you are trying to attract a local audience your job will be easy as you just need to worry about your own time zone. If you are trying to reach a wider audience you will need to think about choosing a time that works for multiple time zones. For example, scheduling a show at 8:00am EST will likely not work for those on the West Coast where it is 5:00 am. Here is a great site for finding out what time it is in different areas.

Content and Audience
From there, gauge your content and your target audience. Do you host a show providing parenting advice to stay-at-home moms? Early afternoon might work for you. Have a sports show targeting male sports enthusiast? An evening during the week, or during the day on the weekend might be best. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. You can also research other shows on the network that have similar content and large followings. When are they hosting their shows? You probably don’t want to compete directly with their time slot, but looking at the general time frame when they are hosting their shows can be helpful.

You can also do some basic research with your target audience. Conduct an impromptu survey with family, friends and colleagues that fit your target demographic. Ask them what time would work best for them and see if you can identify any trends.

Keep in mind that there may be times when members of your audience are not close to their computers. Those people can dial in to listen to your show if it is airing during their commute, or can come back to the archive later. That is the great thing about the BlogTalkRadio platform, people can listen from anywhere, anytime, multiple ways. The content is always available via archive and can be downloaded by listeners so they can listen whenever they have a free moment.

Same Time Next Week
When building a listener base it is important to establish a consistent rhythm with your show. Try to keep it on the same days and at the same time each week so your audience knows when to expect it and can build it into their routine.

Good luck scheduling and have a great weekend!

Part Three: Using Social Media to Promote Your Show, Cinch

hosttip-of-the-week1We’ve covered how to use some of the most popular tools online to aid promotion of your BlogTalkRadio show. Now, let’s turn to Cinch, a free service available from BlogTalkRadio, which uses audio recording and sharing technologies to get the word out online.

How does Cinch work?
With Cinch you can easily create and share audio, text and photo updates using your phone or computer. Cinch’s tools enable users to capture and report on the go, and add new dimensions to the usual text updates online. These updates can then be shared across the web, through Facebook, Twitter, CinchCast.com and more.

Below are some helpful tips on how to use Cinch to promote your online radio show:

TIP 1: Use Cinch for Advanced Promotion
Use Cinch to tell your listeners, veteran and prospective, about your next show by creating audio cinches and automatically pushing them to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. This streamlined process will take a few steps out of your promotional efforts.

You can easily share a short audio clip telling your fans about an upcoming guest, previewing what topics you will cover in your next broadcast, or other highlights that might entice them to participate. Audio cinches give your promotional messages a personal touch, and will draw in listeners. With your cinch promotion you can include text with show details and a photo of your guest or show logo.

The added benefit of Cinch is that you can also share your cinches on your website or blog using a simple embed code or by creating a custom cinch player in the Cinch Toolbox.

TIP 2: Use Cinch to Promote Past Shows
Many listeners on BlogTalkRadio consume content on demand rather than live, so promoting your show after it has aired is just as important as promoting beforehand. Use Cinch to leave a short audio message about your last show, or re-promote one of your favorite past interviews.

TIP 3: Enlist a Cinching Army
Cinches spread fast! Use Cinch to take advantage of the tried and true “word of mouth” method of promotion. Enlist your friends and family to share your cinches, and if so inclined, to record and share their own Cinch messages about your show onto their blogs and websites. So things go smoothly, approach family members and pals who have already embraced social networking first.

Using Cinch can increase the depth and versatility of your promotional efforts. With its ease of use, an automatic push to Twitter and Facebook, and its fast growing community, Cinch has proven an effective tool for reaching out, and bringing people back to your show time and time again.

We would love to hear your social media marketing ideas. Please share them in the comments below. Read our previous posts here.

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: