Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

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: How Can Advertisements Benefit Your Show?

hosttip-of-the-week1

When surfing for shows that interest you, or hosting your own radio show on BlogTalkRadio, there is one thing that you are bound to run into: Advertisements. Advertisements are very important on BlogTalkRadio, as it is one of the primary ways we support the network and ensure that we can continue to offer this service to our community.

But hosts often wonder: Can I change them? Can I remove them? Can they benefit me in some way?

The answer to all of the above is yes.

Here are a few of the options that are available to you:

Join the BlogTalkRadio Revenue Sharing Program
Did you know that you can make money off of the ads that BlogTalkRadio places on your pages? Through our Revenue Sharing Program you have the ability to opt in and retain 35% of all revenue generated from the ads on your show.

Get More Control Over the Ads on Your Pages with Premium Services

If you want to have more control over the ads placed on your page, you can opt for a Premium Plus account which will remove audio and video ads, leaving only banner ads.

If you want complete control over all ads placed on your profile, and you desire the ability to sell advertising space and keep 100% of the revenue from them, you can look into one of our Branded Profiles.

If you have more questions on any of the above programs, contact us here!

Host Tip of the Week: Update or Install the BlogTalkRadio Player

hosttip-of-the-week1You can reach more people with your show by using the easy-to-install BTR player on your Blog, Website, and/or Facebook profile. The recently released new player helps increase the search strength of the BlogTalkRadio platform, which means even more people will be able to find your online radio show. And, if you are part of BlogTalkRadio’s revenue-sharing program, the new player enables you to earn more money with advertising on the new player.

Overall the player works to your benefit in the following ways:
Amplifies Revenue Sharing
Spreads the word about your show
Increases your listenership
Makes your show easier to find

It’s easy to add.
Just look for the “Add this player to your website” button on your show profile (see below) and simply copy and paste the code or post using the gigya tool. Here is a brief screencast on how to install the player.

add_player_image

Where can you install the player? Here are a few ideas:

On your website or blog
On your Facebook profile or fan page
On your MySpace blog and profile profile page
Encourage your friends and loyal listeners to share your player on their blogs and social networking profiles

Maximizing Listens for Individual Shows
To maximize listens on individual shows with the player here are a few suggestions: 
Use the single episode player to share individual shows next to similar content on your website or blog; for example if you do a show on Michael Jackson and then write a blog about him; embed that player into your blog.
Also, don’t forget to post links to your individual shows on Facebook and Twitter after they been archive to the player.

And, one cool thing to remember for those of you that have a Branded Profile on BlogTalkRadio,  you can actually simulcast live shows on your own website with the player. To find out more about the Branded service on BlogTalkRadio, you can visit our Premium Services page.

So what are you waiting for, install your player today. Until next time, have a great week!

Host Tip of the Week: Using Tags and Keywords When Scheduling Your Shows

hosttip-of-the-week1

We are often asked by BlogTalkRadio hosts how they can bring in more search engine traffic to their BlogTalkRadio show pages. One of the best and most cost effective ways is by focusing on SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

What does this mean? Some of you may have started to schedule your show and gotten to the area marked “Add Tags or Keywords” and breezed right through it with out much thought. This area is actually very valuable when it comes to increasing the amount of traffic sent to your show from the search engines.

In this post we wanted to explain a few basic SEO concepts and resources so you can super-charge your show for  the search engines and attract the more listeners.

WHAT ARE TAGS & KEYWORDS ?

A “Tag” or “Keyword” is a word or phrase that’s descriptive and specific to your show’s content, and should be the words that your audience will type into their search engine when trying to find your show. For instance, say someone is searching for photos of Brad Pitt. The key phrase used for this search might read “Brad Pitt pictures.” This search term will bring up all the websites offering images of Pitt, and all the websites using this phrasing.

HOW TO USE TAGS AND KEYWORDS WHEN SCHEDULING SHOWS
To find the tags or keywords that work the best for you, you may want to do some keyword research to find the most popular keywords for your show content. Make a list and choose the most relevant and popular keywords associated with your show (we recommended 3-5 per show). You’ll want to use these words in your tags and include them several times in your show title and description (without being completely apparent.)  It is most effective when the keywords are related. Always try to create unique titles for your shows and place your “best” keyword (based on the topic) in the title of your show. This helps tell the search engine (as well as the reader) what your content is about.

TIPS AND TRICKS
Try to keep your title as easy to follow and straightforward as you can. Also, remember that the better your spelling and grammar are, the more likely your keywords are to actually work ;).

So for example, for a show about tags and keywords; here is how you can get some stellar SEO:

Your tags could include the following:
best tags, tags and keywords, keywords, increase page views, keyword tagging

Your title could be: Increase Your Page Views with Tags and Keywords

Your description could include:
On tonight’s show Increase Your Page Views with Tags and Keywords, (host name) teaches you how to increase your page views by keyword tagging your show page. Tags and keywords are the number one way to increase page views and get listeners to your show. We will cover how to do research on your tags and keywords, choosing the best tags, and much more.

Some examples of not so great choices might be:
article, views, titles, search engines, performance

Here are a few places you can go to for keyword suggestion:

* Wordtracker
* Google AdWords
* Keyword Discovery
* SelfSEO

SEO is a good topic to study up on when it comes to marketing your show, here are a few great resources for you to check out:

SEOMoz
SelfSEO
SearchEngineWatch

Good luck in your SEO!

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!

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.

Part One: Using Social Media to Promote Your Show, Getting Started & Twitter

hosttip-of-the-week3Social networking platforms are a great way to promote your online talk show on BlogTalkRadio. Using tools like Twitter, Facebook, Cinch, and MySpace, you can cross-promote your content and gain more followers, friends, and ultimately, listeners. In essence, the more people online who feel connected to you and your interests, and the easier you make it for them to stay connected and keep up with you, the more likely they are to check out your BlogTalkRadio show. Keep your friends and fans engaged and entertained, and you can be confident that your listeners will increase.

Here is the first in a series of posts on how to maximize these site’s offerings and expand your listener base online.

Here are a few basic tips to get you started:

Build Killer Profiles: Your profiles are what define you as you interact within the different social networks. Make sure yours is one that helps people find you and inspires them to connect. A keyword-rich description and good picture are a great place to start.

Cross-Link Your Profiles: When you are setting up new profiles on sites, make sure to cross-link them. For example, on your BlogTalkRadio profile link to your Facebook, Twitter and other profiles, and vice versa. This helps you build friends and followers across the different sites where you participate.

Promote Your Profiles: A simple way to get started promoting your profiles and your show is to include logos and links to them on your website and in your email signature.

In the weeks to come, we will cover tips for using Cinch, Facebook, and MySpace.

This week, here are some tips for using Twitter to promote your show:

Twitter offers a very short and sweet way to get your message out there, and using less than 140 characters and a link can get new listeners to your show fast. Once you have created an account (it’s a good idea to use your show’s name as your Twitter handle), be sure to follow your fellow BlogTalkRadio hosts, current listeners, and real life friends. From there, you can start searching for people with similar interests who would be intrigued by your show’s content, add them and then add their friends and followers. Often times they will follow you right back.

Another technique for building your network on Twitter is to use Twitter Search, or keyword search in TweetDeck to scan tweets for related content, and start conversations with new people. It is also a good idea to announce your Twitter handle during your show. You can connect your BlogTalkRadio account to automatically post to Twitter, which automatically publishes show promotion tweets when you are going on air. Here is a link to a screencast on how to do this. When it comes to content, don’t just tweet self-promotional messages, try to offer value to your followers by conversing with them, offering news and opinions that are interesting, useful, funny, or unusual.

Here are a few links to other articles that you may find helpful on Twitter:

http://www.twitip.com/13-twitter-tips-and-tutorials-for-beginners/

http://twittercism.com/10-easy-ways-to-maximise-your-twitter-experience/

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of “Using Social Media to Promote Your Show.”

Until next week y’all.

Christie Sweet