Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

How to Create a Facebook Page

One of the best features about being a host on BlogTalkRadio is that you can instantly share your content on Facebook and Twitter with the click of a button.

A Facebook Page is a great way to reach more listeners and let your fans keep up to date with your newest broadcasts. It just takes a few minutes to create your own Facebook Page and here’s how you do it.

You need to have a Facebook account to start a Page so sign up if you don’t have one already. Then, go here to create a page and follow the prompts. You can select “Radio Station” in the Entertainment category or choose from the other categories if those fit your purpose better.

Step 1: Upload an image to represent your show. You can leverage your profile image from your BlogTalkRadio page.

Step 2: On the next page, uncheck the options to share and like this page. This will allow you to make any changes before launching your page to the world. Once your page is all set up, you can go back and change these options.

Step 3: Provide a link to your show page, and use what you’ve written for your profile page to give a description of your show.

Congrats! Your page is now set up.  Check out some of the ideas in Get Started, which is the next page that you are taken to. You can start adding content, promoting your page, and lots more!

If you have question, see Facebook’s Page help section, and ask for advice on our Get Satisfaction page.  And you can also read up on these Facebook tips from a post we did before.  Good luck with your new Facebook Page!

The Do’s & Don’ts of Optimizing Your Audio

Ensuring that your show has optimal sound quality is very important not only for your show’s success but for the enjoyment of your listeners.  We’ve put together a list of Do’s and Don’ts for you to make sure you have the best sound possible when you’re broadcasting:

Do

  1. The best way to dial in to your show is using a landline.
  2. When connecting via landline, use a high-quality phone and to speak clearly and directly into the handset.
  3. For premium hosts, the best way to dial is using our Direct Connect feature in the studio.
  4. When dialing in via Direct Connect or Skype, use a high-quality headset plugged directly into your computer. Using a headset also frees up your hands to manage the chatroom and switchboard.
  5. Use a hardwired Internet rather than a wireless (WiFi) connection
  6. Close 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.
  7. Schedule and host a test episode to check equipment and audio files for optimal sound output.

Don’t

  1. Don’t use a speaker phone – this can cause annoying echoes and feedback.
  2. Don’t use a cell phone – this can effect quality and lead to dropped calls.
  3. Conference multiple people in with Skype (on the host line) – this can cause degradation in sound output.

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.

We hope these tips help you achieve the best audio quality possible! For more tips and tricks, attend BlogTalkRadio University, our free educational class series for hosts.

Wayne Hurlbert: 5 Years on BlogTalkRadio

Wayne Hurlbert hosts the longest running show, Blog Business Success, on BlogTalkRadio and just recently, he celebrated 5 years on the network. You can listen to his 5 year anniversary show here with a special guest appearance from our very own, Alan Levy. I was so happy to catch up with him on his experiences and as a veteran host, he had some great advice and tips for his fellow hosts on the network.  We are pleased to introduce you to host, Wayne Hurlbert.

What is your show about?
Wayne Hurlbert: My Blog Business Success show is one hour in length, every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and features interviews with guests on various business and economics related topics. I have guests on the show that discuss small business, sales and marketing, business management, personnel management, creativity and innovation, systems and processes, project management, search engine optimization, personal development, and the economy.

What inspired you to start a show on BlogTalkRadio?
WH: I had long been intrigued by the idea of internet radio and its tremendous potential for sharing ideas. When I was approached, just after the platform’s initial launch, to conduct an interview with BlogTalkRadio CEO, I decided to start a show. After examining the platform, I could see that BloGTalkRadio was the ideal system for me to launch a business show.
My goal with the show was to provide a platform and and opportunity for thought leaders in the business community to share ideas with listeners. I also wanted to give something back to the business world through a sharing of ideas from thought leaders, and from my own years of business experience. I decided that the interview style program would be the most effective, and provide the best means for both flexibility in the approach and freshness in the content and style.

What is your most memorable show to date?
WH: My most memorable show remains my very first show. At that time, I wasn’t entirely certain if my vision of an interview style format would be effective and have lasting appeal. My very first guest was my good friend and thought leader Toby Bloomberg, of the well known Diva Marketing Blog. We actually created the style of show that i still use today. We started the show with a traditional question and answer format, but as the show went along, we became more conversational in the approach. That conversation and direct interview blend is the format that I still use for the show today; five years later,

What do you like about hosting your show on the network?
WH: I like how easy and convenient it is to host a show on BlogTalkRadio. There is no software to download. All that is required is an internet connection and a telephone. Hosting a show doesn’t get much easier than that. I also like the support provided by the great staff at BlogTalkRadio, and by the help shared by the many tremendous BlogTalkRadio hosts. In many ways, the network operates like a family or a team, where the network, the hosts, and especially the listeners benefit from the atmosphere of sharing and assistance.

Looking back on your 5 years as a host, what advice would you give to new hosts that are getting started on the network?
WH: While it might seem obvious, a host must be prepared for the show, for any guests they may have, and for any callers into the show. If a host is interviewing someone in their show’s area of interest, it not only makes for a better show if the host is familiar with the guests and their work, it’s also a courtesy to the guests and the listeners. A host who develops a reputation within their area of interest as always being prepared, for asking great questions, and providing a rewarding experience for the listeners, will always have a steady supply of guests. That steady stream of guests will also include people who hold different views, opinions, and ideas from those of the host. A well prepared host can disagree with a guest’s ideas if the host is well prepared and understands the subject matter well.

All hosts should develop good and respected relationships with people within their show’s area of interest. That can include public relations professionals, thought leaders, guest staff people, publicists, and other hosts. These people can share their expertise, provide assistance with guests, and connect a host to the very biggest and the most interesting names in the host’s field. A host should always be courteous to everyone, respect others’ right to a different opinion, and be professional at all times.

Prepare a set of questions, prior to the show, to ask the guest during the show. Even if the guest doesn’t know the questions or received them in advance, the questions provide a framework to keep the show and guest conversation on track. A bit of structure keeps the show from drifting aimlessly and losing listeners as well. All hosts, regardless of their tenure on the network, should listen to other successful BlogTalkRadio shows, and how other hosts conduct their programs. There are many new and refreshing ideas being tried and used successfully by other hosts, and those concepts can be incorporated into other shows.

When the show is completed, a host should send a thank you email to the guest and any staff member, public relations representative, or publicist who helped facilitate the interview. Be certain to include a link to the show podcast and let everyone know that they can post that podcast link on their blogs and websites. Not everyone is aware that they can share their completed BlogTalkRadio interview on their blogs and sites. The thank you emails, along with being a courtesy, also strengthen relationships with everyone who helped make the episode a success.

We get a lot of questions from hosts about growing their listener base – what are some tactics that have worked for you?
WH: Once a person becomes a BlogTalkRadio host, they are always a marketer of their own show, other shows on the system, and the BlogTalkRadio platform. Through use of social media, including a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, a host can reach a very wide audience of contacts as both guests and listeners. A host should also remind the guest to help market their appearance on the show through their own social media network and blogs. Many guests are not aware that they can and should promote their own show appearances, and they are thrilled to be asked to help make their appearance a success. BlogTalkRadio offers a vast array of host promotional tools, including the valuable press release function. Getting a show covered by the mainstream media can create a surge of listeners and an entirely different level of credibility.

Thanks so much Wayne for your interview. We really appreciate your loyalty and support for the network. Congrats on 5 years with BlogTalkRadio!

Tips From A Fellow Host

It was a pleasure to catch up with Bob Andelman, aka Mr. Media on some tips he has for his fellow hosts. Bob has one of the most successful shows on BlogTalkRadio and he’s been on the network since 2007 so his advice is invaluable for a new host. Here’s what he had to say:

I never turn on the microphone unless I’m over-prepared. That’s a lesson I learned from being under-prepared. Which leads to the question: What do I need to do to prepare for my show?

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

I always work from a script and remember, it doesn’t have to lay out every word you’re going to say.  I write mine like an outline. Many elements of your show will repeat from one show to the next, so here’s an example of a show structure that I use often:

  1. “Today on Mr. Media, I’ll be talking to Alan Levy, founder of BlogTalkRadio. Stick around!”
  2. Play a little podcast-safe music — no more than 10 seconds or listeners
    will tune out.
  3. A few sentences of introduction, whether I’m setting up a guest or just the topics of the day.
  4. I write out either half a dozen actual questions or talking points beforehand – just something to which I can refer if the conversation comes to a halt.
  5. I’ll remind listeners about whatever my guest is promoting and where they can friend him or her online.

2. Be Prepared
A good lawyer never goes to court without already knowing the answers to most questions he or she will ask. I try to take the same approach by knowing enough about my guest or topic to guide conversation in directions in which I feel comfortable. There can always be surprises – that makes it more fun, but being prepared will keep you in the game.

3. Be a Good Listener
I have coached girls soccer for the last ten years. My kids are always talking, talking and talking even more. I always tell them, “God gave you twice as many ears as mouths for a reason. Listen twice as much as you talk.” It’s good advice for a radio host, especially one with guests.

Thanks so much for all of these great tips Mr. Media! We hope you remember these tips when you are hosting your first show (or even your 10th:)

Tips On How to Script Your First Interview

Before your next interview, take some time to jot down a number of questions that will help get the discussion going.  The ultimate goal is to have a conversation with your guest and not to just run through a list of questions. Your question list provides you with some security during your interview so that you don’t run into any dead air situations.  Before you know it, you won’t need this list and your conversations will just flow naturally.

Here is a sampling of questions that you can leverage for upcoming interviews.  We’ve laid out scripts based on a couple scenarios below to give you a starting point and some ideas on how to conduct your interview:

An Author of a New Book
Welcome to X Show.  Today, we have XX who just released their 2nd book. So tell us, what’s your new book about?  What was your inspiration for writing it? This book takes place in Y city where you grew up. What was it like growing up there? At what age did you start writing? What advice would you give to young writers?  What authors have influenced your work and how? What books have you read of late that you would recommend? Well that’s all the time we have for today. I want to thank our guest, XX for stopping by the show. Be sure to tune in next week at the same time, when we have YY on the show.

The Founder of a Company
Welcome to Z Show.  Today, we have XX who founded XY Company. Can you tell us a little about XY’s services/products? What is your business model?  Who are your competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them? What was your inspiration for starting XY?  What did you do before XY Company?  What advice would you give to others that are looking to found their own companies? What have been your greatest challenges in founding XY Company? And we are out of time for this week. I want to thank our guest, XX for such an enjoyable conversation. Be sure to tune in next week at the same time, when we have the founder of YY on the show.

We hope these scripts will give you a leg up on your next interview. Fore more tips on interviewing read this post.

BlogTalkRadio University Launches

We are happy to launch BlogTalkRadio University, an educational series for BlogTalkRadio hosts. Tune in live for discussions and visual presentations or listen to the archived audio recordings of the learning sessions.

Here’s a list of our shows and times. We hope you can attend BlogTalkRadio University!

Planning Committee
Learn how to plan your show (i.e. Securing guests, structuring show, setting up episode, etc.)
Every other Tuesday @ 1PM EST - learn more

Marketing Club
Learn how to market your show (i.e. Promoting on social media, attracting advertisers & sponsors, etc.)
Every other Tuesday @ 1PM EST - learn more

Technology Lab
Learn how to use BlogTalkRadio technology (i.e. Using the studio and other tools)
Thursdays @ 1PM EST - learn more

Study Hall
An interactive Q&A session on all things BlogTalkRadio
Wednesdays @ 1PM EST - learn more

 

Electives
Expand your knowledge on a specific topic (i.e. audio editing, Pro features, etc.)
Show dates vary - learn more

Visit the BlogTalkRadio University landing page and access additional resources here.

10 Interviewing Tips for Hosts

Congratulations! You’ve booked a big guest, but the work of a good host is still not over.  Remember, securing a great guest is only the first part of the equation and doesn’t necessarily ensure a great interview.  The other half is figuring out the best way to make your guest feel comfortable and share interesting nuggets with you and your audience.  Producing engaging content will make listeners hungry to come back for more and also more likely to share your content with others.  We’ve compiled a list of interviewing tips here at BlogTalkRadio to help you conduct a stellar interview.

Research Your Guest
Study up on what’s happening in your guest’s life recently and even in the past and you’ll start to find areas you want to learn more about through your interview.  Your guest will be flattered that you have taken the time to really get to know who they are and will most likely be happy to come back to your show if asked.

Get Familiar With Your Guest’s Past Interviews
Read and listen to previous interviews your guest has been on to figure out a question that no one has ever asked before and possibly elicit a never before told anecdote. You can also comment on or build upon what your guest may have remarked in another interview to get at another angle. For instance, “In an interview on NBC, you shared that X movie was your favorite acting experience, well what was your least favorite one and why?” Also, creating new content may attract media attention and could get picked up by other publications or stations in the form of a sound bite or mention.

Prepare Your Guest
Provide your guest with the basic format of your interview, any technical or procedural things they may need to know and a few sample questions beforehand.  This will give your guest a general idea on how the interview is going to play out and get them thinking about interesting responses to some of your questions.  They may even promote the interview to their audience if you keep it top of mind for them.

The Right Question
Avoid yes or no questions. Ask questions that provide a good flow for your dialogue and not ones that halt it.

Delivery
Your interview should be like a conversation. Prepare, but don’t just read down a list of questions to your guest. Use them as a guide and a springboard for your conversation. It’s very important to listen and have your questions come naturally. If your questions are too staged and rehearsed, the answers will be too. When your questions are spontaneous and based on your curiosity, you will get good content.

Two Way Street
The right questions are key, but you also need to strike up a good rapport with your guest. Sometimes it may make sense to share some information about yourself in the interview. After all, this is a conversation, isn’t it?

Listen
Listen to what the person you’re interviewing says. They may say something much more interesting than you had expected and fuel a number of follow up questions from your end.

Stay On Topic
You’ll find that many times a guest may come on your show because they are promoting a new project, movie, record or book. That’s great because you want your guests to get their messages out and also provide that info to listeners who have tuned in for that reason.  Of course you can always slip in a question or two after you have addressed the subject at hand.

Put Your Guest at Ease
Warm your guests up with some light conversation a few minutes before you actually start the interview. Before they know it, you are on the air and continuing the conversation.

Relax
Forget the headset or microphone and be yourself. To get a good interview, you have to be comfortable yourself. Make sure your interview space is in a quiet place and your set up is working for you.

We hope these interviewing tips will help you create great content. We look forward to hearing more of your conversations.

Best Practices for Messaging Your Followers

Leveraging the BlogTalkRadio messaging feature can be a powerful tool when used correctly. Before you send your next communication in the system, consider these best practices. Following a few simple rules will help get your message across to more of your audience.

What To Send
Be sure that you are crafting the right kind of message for this format. For instance, an email message is a great avenue to communicate a new and exciting upcoming guest to your show and maybe a little bit more about their background and achievements, but it may not be the right channel to send minute by minute quotes from a live interview on air (that’s what Twitter is for). In other words, look to an email message for conveying longer form content, rather than short snippets of information.

Frequency
Send your followers messages when it makes sense so that your communications come across as fresh and not repetitive. For example, send an email message the day before a show so your followers can mark it on their calendars and then a follow up one with the link to your archived show in case they missed it. Think about if you received too many messages or repeat messages from one individual, wouldn’t you just start to tune them out? Take frequency of your communications seriously to ensure that your messages are not ignored and more followers are reading them.

A Complementary Communication
Email should be viewed as a complement to your other communication channels like Twitter and Facebook and a means of reinforcing your overall message. For instance, if you are live on your show and you have already sent out a message to your followers, it may be more effective to tweet out that you are live, rather than sending out another message. And say, you found an interesting article on a guest you just had on your program, Facebook would be an optimal place to share that information rather than an email message.

We hope these best practices will make your messages more relevant, timely and effective and help you to garner more followers and listeners for your program.