I created my first Skillshare course this year.
This is something I’ve wanted to do for months, and plays into my belief in the power of sharing knowledge. Skillshare, and other teaching platforms like it, enable professionals and enthusiastic amateurs to share what we know with others. It’s a great place to learn something new as well, and I’m enjoying the many drawing classes available to members.
My course, broken down into 10 sections (or classes), is about learning how to record a podcast using an iPad. This is something I’ve enjoyed doing for a few years, ever since I discovered a great audio app called Ferrite. They say you should always write about what you know, so it made sense to make it my first Skillshare class.
In this post, I’d like to break down what the class is about, and how you can also benefit from using ready tools like iPads and iPhones to create corporate channels. Let’s begin this journey by looking at why it’s worth doing a podcast in the first place.
Is it worth bothering with content?
If you’re a content guru, you need no explanation. If you’re someone else – perhaps a manager or decision maker who sees things through a sales lens – the concept of the value of content may seem alien. You may find it more difficult to measure the value of content; there’s often very little evidence to support its efficacy, and the metrics and fancy software used to generate these metrics are often skewed and misleading (especially now, with privacy and cookie control negating accuracy). So, why should you believe in it, or even create it?
Outside of metrics, I can only convince you anecdotally. I can tell you about the time I managed a thought leadership website for a technology company, where the CEO would recount the number of occasions prospective clients would approach him at events to find out more. “I found out about you through your blog,” they would say. “Tell me more about what you do.” And yes, we got new business this way. I can tell you about social media campaigns that generated interest from the most unlikeliest of industries, which again led to new business.
It’s a hard-to-swallow truth that some people just don’t want to be sold to. They want to find their own way to you in their own time and on their own terms. To these people, outbound emails are an unfortunate side effect of using email. It’s spam. They prefer to engage by following you on Twitter, by connecting with you on LinkedIn, or by attending the events you host or present at. They are more likely to stay up to speed with what your company says and does by reading your blog or listening to your podcast.
Knowing this, do you still think content isn’t a channel worth exploring? If you only want to go down the hard sales route, you’re missing out on the opportunities of finding new clients using alternative means.
So anyway … that podcast
You could kick off your content campaign one of two ways: really well or badly. I’ve talked about this before, where having belief in what you’re doing feels authentic to the customer. If you don’t believe in the potential for content to positively affect your business, don’t do it at all. A half-hearted attempt to write a few blog posts, where you’ve plagiarised someone else’s hard efforts to make yourself sound good, is transparent and damaging. Instead, give it your all.
A podcast is a better option than writing blogs, and can drum up more content from a tad more effort than you may think. And if you think it’s an expensive option, it really isn’t. Yes, you may hire someone like me to do it all for you, but you can produce something yourself that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Let’s say you’re a small business owner with a handful of employees. Your competitors are a little bigger, and have the budget to hire copywriters, videographers and sound studios. Good luck to them. The ingredient they may be missing is imagination. So before you count yourself out, sit down and think through your first 12 episodes – one a month for the next year.
Break episodes down according to the core tenets of your business. This is where you may want to involve your most creative marketing or salesperson. Think about the things your business does well and drill down into the specifics. A bakery might have 12 shows called:
- Starting a bakery with very little dough
- How to sell coffee with every loaf
- What’s it like to work in an office that smells like brioche?
- The journey from factory to cake to customer
- The secrets of our trademark buttercream
- Best practice hygiene for a busy British bakery
- Why does sugar and butter taste so good?
- An insider’s guide to automation in industrial bakeries
- Everything you always wanted to know about jam but were afraid to ask
- How and where to find the best vegan bakes and cakes
- Is salted caramel still top of the flavour pops?
- The experts debate whether granary is the best for toast.
I’ve just given bakeries across the UK a head-start in setting up their own podcast, but that’s OK with me! The bullets are a fun example of how to begin the brainstorming process for your own business, and I hope it’s been helpful. It took me five minutes.
Find your iPad (and push four buttons)
It’s a known fact that we buy iPhones and iPads without ever really putting them to the test. These machines are so incredibly powerful, yet we play Solitaire on them, browse the web, read social media feeds, and take photos. A small percentage of people use them to their maximum potential, when we record and edit video, design 3D landscapes, create artistic masterpieces in virtual reality, or create music and podcasts. They are terrific for all of these things!
Find your iPad. Now open the app that says Voice Memos. It looks like this:
Press the red record button and say these words:
“Hello. Welcome to the first episode of my show about starting your own business. I’ll share the tips and tricks you need to know, and invite expert guests to share their knowledge, all to help you get your company up and running.”
Press the stop button. Play it back. Don’t worry about how your voice sounds strange. That’s how it sounds to everyone else in the world. You get used to it! Now try that recording again and add some pep. Believe in the words you’re saying. Imagine you’re a radio host and experiment with a different tone of voice. Do this as often as you like. No one can hear you practice, but practice is essential.
What I want to get across with this exercise is how easy it is to get over the first obstacle, which is thinking you can’t do it. If you got this far, you turned on your iPad (button one), opened an app (button two), clicked record (button three), and clicked stop (button four). Recording your voice is not the technology obstacle you think it is.
Taking things further is a whole new exercise, which is why I wanted to create my Skillshare class. I made it easy for beginners to jump the initial hurdles that stop us wanting to try. I broke the information down into small steps, so the process appeared less intimidating. I wanted to have people feel the same way I feel when I embark on a new adventure, and I hope I’ve inspired you to begin yours. Here’s how I’ve broken down the Skillshare course:
1. The trailer
2. Course opener
3. Record your voice
4. Library and editing
5. Audio overview and basic edits
6. Strip silence and tighten
7. Use effects
8. Add chapters
9. Mix, archive and share
Skillshare offers 14 days of watching content for free, so you could sign up and not have to pay a penny to watch my course (and any other course). Any if you click the link that goes to my profile page, you can get a whole month of free content.
I’d love to hear what you think of the course. If you skip that and try the iPad challenge on your own, let me know how you got on. It really is simpler than you think to tackle your content strategy. All it needs is clear thinking, analysis of your business processes, imagination, and confidence. Remember to plan ahead and know what you want to talk about or share ahead of time. With a ready plan of action, an iPad, and a voice like velvet, there will be no stopping you!