Your Guide To Podcasting: How To Podcast Like A Pro

If you ever considered starting a Podcast to share your thoughts, engage with people with similar interests, or as a way of adding a different medium to your blog to increase traffic and reach a wider audience, this post, by Arioch Jackson, will walk you through all you need to know to start your Podcast today.

Before anything, I have to thank Ray for inviting me to guest post on her outstanding blog. Her content is among the best on the Internet, and I will do my best to step my game up to her level.

She has asked me to explain how to begin podcasting. However, I’m going to kind of amend her mandate because starting a podcast is literally as simple as downloading the Anchor app. But this is not a good option if you’re looking to make your podcast truly YOUR podcast.

If you want to start a podcast the correct way, it’s a little more complicated in the short-term.

Please allow me to explain.


Jump to:


Should you use a free Podcasting platform?

There is no shortage of apps for Android and iOS specifically designed to make podcasting mindlessly easy.

The most popular of these apps is Anchor.

  • Download and install the app.
  • Use the microphone on your phone or use an external.
  • Record the content.
  • Edit the podcast in the app.
  • Publish it to all major service.

Insanely easy!

However, there is a catch. Anchor will own your material and will place their ads all over your content. I get it. The service is free, and they have bills to pay.

In fairness too, they will release your content to you upon request. But, the revenue generated from your work will go largely to Anchor. You also will have no control over what they choose to use your work as a vehicle to promote.

I didn’t like that. I do see the appeal though; very quick, very expedient way to get your content on the Internet for listeners to consume. Having said that though, beyond the branding and ownership piece, there is a bit of a quality issue that steered me in a different direction.

Apple’s podcasting service accounts for fully 73% of all podcast traffic. They are the biggest dog on the block. Their service is somewhat selective in what is added to its lineup.

Anchor, however, has a deal worked with Apple. If you work with Anchor, your podcast goes on Apple’s service with no questions asked. Current statistics show that Apple has over 550,000 active podcasts on their service. Anchor claims to be powering over 40% of all podcasts originating since 2018.

What percentage of those podcasts, do you suppose, are worth listening to? How many of those Anchor podcasts are 11 year old girls gabbing about local boys and mall food?

I’d say a lot.

What Anchor basically has done is make podcasting so available that the market is flooded with shitty product.

What makes a popular Podcast?

Herein lies the problem. Just because you can podcast doesn’t mean you should podcast. And just as importantly, just because you can use a free app in lieu of actual recording equipment, doesn’t mean you should.

So, what do you have to do to break out of the noise? How do you set yourself apart? Simply put, you have to sound better.

Look at the top podcasts, as compiled by Podtrac.

Highest ranking Podcasts, monthly audience and global downloads
The highest ranking podcasts as recorded by Podtrac

What does this list tell us?

It tells me that the top ten most listened to podcasting operations are not Bethany and Brittany from The Gap or Vinnie from the pier. The most listened to podcasters happen to be some of the biggest names in news, entertainment, sports, and radio. Names like Will Ferrell, Colin Cowherd, and Joe Rogan, to name a few.

I don’t say all of that to discourage you. On the contrary, a lot of the names on that list began their podcasting careers in relative obscurity. But, look at the list again. Do you know what each one of those names has in common? Impeccable audio production quality.

Choose any one of those podcasts and what you will hear is clear and crisp vocals. You will hear clean and tight production elements. What you will never hear is shoddy recording and less than stellar content.

So, why would anyone serious about podcasting go into it knowing your kit is not up to snuff?

How to make your Podcast stand out

Back to the subject of this post. How to start a podcast. Step number one is committing to producing an aurally pleasing product. THAT is the best way to set yourself apart from 90% of the horses*it out there.

Let’s say I have two podcasts on the topic I am interested in to choose from. Podcast number one sounds terrible. Podcast two sounds great. Podcast two gets my click.

Assuming we can agree that equipment and production quality is important, the next step is to define what the right equipment is.

What are the tools needed to start a Podcast?

Budget is the biggest concern for most of us. Real people simply do not have thousands of dollars laying around to drop into recording equipment.

So, I have compiled a list of equipment that is important and accessible.

Website

Creating a site can be free. But, most of the time, if you want free you will be unhappy with the limitations. Cheap though is possible. I use Squarespace. For around $140 per year you can have unlimited audio storage, hosting, analytics, and whatnot. To know how to add a podcast to your website, you can check this step-by-step article.

There are a ton of services out there that will host your audio, if pure audio hosting is what you’re looking for. A lot of podcasters use SoundCloud for their hosting. I don’t pretend to know how that works.

Computer/DAW

The sky is the limit when it comes to computing. However, the most important thing when it comes to a computer meant for audio editing is RAM. You have to have RAM sufficient to handle the workout it is going to get when editing an involved bit of audio. Most Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) suggest a minimum of 4gb, with recommended 8gb of RAM.

As far as platform goes, Mac and Windows are your only real options. There are web-based apps for ChromeOS, but they are not intuitive and extremely limited in functionality.

Having said that, when I started my podcast I was using Twisted Wave and Beautiful Audio Editor for ChromeOS. Both apps are free, and somewhat functional. All you need is a really good Internet connection.

But as I said earlier, Mac and Windows are the best options. The industry standard for audio production/editing is an app made for Mac. It is called ProTools. It’s the software used by major recording studios. And it is so expensive that I shudder to think of anyone actually buying it for use in podcasting.

The other Mac app that a lot of people are using is Cubase. It has been around for a long time and Steinberg just keeps making it better. Again though, it is kind of expensive at around $400. You know what though? Macs are fu**ing expensive.

The options for Widows are much more affordable, as are the computers. And nearly as functional. Cool Edit Pro/Adobe Audition is a radio industry standard for recording and editing. $200 price tag though.

I use a program called Reaper. It is a full line audio recorder/multitrack editor that can do pretty much everything a podcaster could ever dream of. It comes with a plethora of MIDI effects for changing pitch and adding elements to a vocal. It also has a very good noise isolating plugin that can reduce/eliminate background noise from a recording. $60 price tag was in my budget range.

It is worth mentioning that there is a DAW out there called Audacity. It is a free software suite that is very, very good. A lot of podcasters use it exclusively. I have used it as well in the past. My only complaint is stability. It crashed a couple of times when I was using it. That pretty much ended my association with that program.

Microphone

Again, the sky is the limit when it comes to microphones. You can spend as much as you like. However, do you need a $4000 Neumann condenser? Probably not. There are several microphones you can use that are budget friendly.

I am getting ahead of myself. There are two types of microphones that are used in podcasting: They are Dynamic and Condenser mics.

Dynamic Microphones

Joe Rogan uses a Shure SM7b. That is a legendary broadcast microphone. But, it is also a dynamic mic. With a dynamic microphone, you must have an audio interface that feeds into your laptop. And that is where sh*t gets expensive.

Dynamic mics are also very flat sounding out of the box. So, in order to have a dynamic mic sound full and pleasant you must also buy a mic processor. So, why do people buy dynamic microphones? Simply put, they are better.

Dynamic mics have been around for 100 years, and we are very good at making them. They also are more forgiving. A person doesn’t really have to worry about background noise and pop filters as much with the dynamic mic.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones though, that is a different animal entirely. This style of mic is more along the lines of what you will be in the market for. They are reasonably priced, sound great right out of the box, and plug directly into your computer via USB. That last bit is huge!

No need for an expensive audio interface with the USB mic. For the purposes of this post, I am going to steer you in the direction of the condenser.

A company named Blue makes a line of mics that have become the industry standard for podcasting and YouTubing. They range in price from $60 to $250, based on features wanted and style.

I use the Blue Yeticaster. It retails for $199 and comes with the Blue Yeti, shock mount, and boom. I chose this particular mic because it has 4 settings that can be adjusted based on what I am trying to do. Most importantly though, it has a punch jack for my headphones. This gives me the ability to listen to playback or vocals in real time.

But, I did not always have the 200 bucks to drop on a microphone. When I first got started I was using a small condenser mic I bought from Amazon. It is made by a company called Fifine.

The K669 is a USB condenser mic and retails for $35. It is an outstanding little microphone. The damn thing sounded great and, honestly, performed better than some of the more expensive mics I tested. It is unidirectional, meaning that it hears what is directly in front of it. This is perfect for the podcaster who works in a room with environmental noises.

Headphones

I can go on all day about headphones. It is important to remember though, the point of headphones. I have to remind myself all the time why I need headphones in the first place.

Podcasters/broadcasters use headphones to simulate what their work is going to sound like to the average listener. That is all. And that is the sticking point for me.

I love headphones. I love expensive headphones. I own a pair of AKG headphones that were so fu**ing expensive I don’t even take them out of my house. And while they are the most amazing “cans” I have ever put on my ears, they are not worth a f**k for podcasting. They make everything sound sexy. In short, there is no realism.

As someone putting out a product, I need to hear exactly what my listener will hear. So I use two different sets of headphones when I am working on an episode.

The headphones I use when recording, editing, and for mastering are the Sony MDR-7506 Studio Monitors. Broadcast industry standard. Howard Stern has been faithfully using them for 30 years. Why? Because they are the perfect headphone for broadcast and audio work.

They’re comfortable, closed ear designed (to prevent feedback), durable, and inexpensive. I paid around $80 for them knowing I will be able to expect 8-10 years of longevity. And most importantly, proper closed ear headphones simulate what your audience will hear when listening in their car or on a speaker.

The second set I use are purely for listening to the finished product. Immediately before uploading a new episode to the website, I put in my Bose wired earbuds and listen.

I love the Bose earbuds for a hundred different reasons. But, in the context of podcasting, I love them because they don’t lie to me. I get a true sound out of them. I have experimented in the past with the Apple EarPods and the Beats earbuds. Both of those products, while very good, lie to the listener. Beats, in particular, is too bottom heavy. This makes audio production sound muddy and unclear. A podcaster can listen through Beats earbuds and think their work is mixed incorrectly. Hell no.

The result of working with lying headphones is a finished product that sounds great in the lying cans, but sounds like sh*t to everyone else.

Music

Quick note on music. Music isn’t usable on your podcast, even if you paid for it. You have to secure broadcast rights for songs. It is a pain in the a**, and quite expensive. There are a hundred different “royalty free” music services on the web. Find one you like and go with it.

And that really is it for my dissertation on equipment.

Summary of suggested tools:
  • Fifine Mic: $35
  • Laptop: I bought a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad for $230
  • Headphones: Don’t skimp here. $80
  • Digital Audio Sofrware: Audacity is free, but I paid the $60 for Reaper
  • Website: Squarespace – $140 per year

It is important to note that the learning curve on audio software is steep. If simplicity is more important than features while you’re still cutting your teeth, I suggest going with the free option rather than paying for a product you do not know how to use.

How to submit your Podcast to Apple and Google

Actually making your new podcast appear on Apple and Google is also kind of a pain in the a**. But thankfully, you only have to go through it once.

Google play podcasting portal and Apple podcasting interface is where you will need to go to register.

Fill out their forms, agree to their horses*it, and insert your RSS feed into the field. Then you wait for them to approve you.

Kind of a daunting list of things to buy and learn right? I know it is.

It is especially daunting when there are services out there, like Anchor, that offer you the immediate gratification of installing a free app and publishing a podcast within minutes. But, you have to ask yourself where you are wanting to go with this podcast.

If you are looking to just record fart noise and talk sh*t at the mall, then Anchor is perfect for you. You may even make a few dollars from ad revenue they sell for you.

But, if you are thinking long-term, committed to creating a product that is better than most of the field, want the option to place ads or not, and you want to own your work then doing some variation of what I detailed above is the way to go.

Can starting a Podcast increase your website’s traffic?

The traffic I have received due to the podcast has been different. More eyes are seeing my content, to be sure. But, actual interaction with website content has decreased.

To clarify, when I was blogging exclusively, it was like pulling teeth to get people to stop “liking” my post notifications on Twitter, and actually go read the damn blog. People on Twitter are very supportive of other bloggers, but the overwhelming majority of them do not actually read as much as they “like.”

I would publish a new post and I would be lucky to get 15-30 views per day. However, the people who did view the content gave me feedback via Twitter or through my contact page. Comparing that to the traffic generated from the podcast is like apples and oranges.

When I publish a new podcast episode I am seeing 75-100 views per day. But, they aren’t doing anything other than looking over the main page and clicking out. The burden is on me now to figure out how to keep their eyes once I have them.

My energy for blogging has waned somewhat since really diving into the podcast. I feel like I get more “bang” out of the podcast. I use the idea I would normally write about in the podcast. I really love the “theater of the mind” aspect of audio.

And honestly, I am a slow typist with giant hands, so when I get done knocking out a post my hands ache. I think there is a way to do both, I just haven’t figured that out yet.


Check out my podcast on Apple, Google Play, or Stitcher. Misanthrope Radio is the name of the show. It is a work in progress, but I have fun doing it.

And again, thanks to Ray for inviting me. Her work is some of the best I have ever seen. Being invited to guest post on her blog is an honor.

AJackson has 15 years of experience in commercial broadcasting and 10 years in food service management. BS, MBA, and CEC.

Advertisements

10 Different Ways To Increase Your Blog Traffic (For Free)

In this post, I explore, in detail, 10 different methods that can help you reach a wider audience and attract more visitors to your blog. You will know what they are and how exactly you can use them to achieve your target.

All of the methods here are things you can start doing today!

I chose to write on this topic for this week because I recently asked fellow bloggers about the most challenging parts of blogging that they feel they needed help with, and getting blog visitors was the one that most are still trying to figure out.

Since the idea of creating a website or a blog is to share your ideas and content with the world, then most certainly part of your focus would be on how to get more people to reach it.

And so, in this post, I explore 10 different methods you can try to help you increase the traffic to your blog and have more readers. They are all things that you can start doing right now.


Jump to:

  1. Master Social Media
  2. Engage Your Family and Friends
  3. Work on SEO
  4. Submit Your Sitemap to Search Engines
  5. Create An Easy-to-Navigate Design
  6. Build an Email List
  7. Interact with Readers on Similar Blogs
  8. Write Guest Posts
  9. Conduct Interviews
  10. Use Different Mediums

1. Master Social Media

This is probably the most obvious outlet that you would use to drive traffic to your website. But if you are not using it right, you might still not be getting traffic.

There are so many options when it comes to social media and each of them has its own rules and ways of gaining an audience.

To be able to make the best out of each one, you will need to familiarize yourself with some of those rules and “etiquette of use” if you will.

I’m going to go through some of them briefly here.

Facebook
  1. Always share your new blog post to your Facebook profile
  2. Automate sharing the new blog post to your FB page
  3. Add a link to your website to both your profile’s and page’s about section
  4. Join Facebook groups related to your niche and share your new posts there
  5. Make sure to add helpful or attractive information from your post along with the link. This would drive more interest to click it. (This applies to all other social media platforms.)
  6. Interact with other bloggers in these groups and visit their blogs too
Twitter
  1. If you have a separate Twitter account for your blog, make sure your website link is in both accounts’ bio
  2. Leave a link to your new post on the “comment threads” and “follow trains” you find. There are accounts and hashtags dedicated for such posts (you can check @bloggerstribe and #bloggerswanted for a start)
  3. Make sure you interact with other bloggers and don’t just throw your link and take off. This increases your chances of attracting some of them to your site
  4. Mention bloggers in your niche that provide useful content. This way you are supporting a fellow blogger and also an opportunity for you to be exposed to their audience (especially beneficial if they have a bigger following)
  5. Share and re-share both your new and old posts on your profile
  6. Use the right hashtags that fits your content and interact with tweets in those hashtags
Pinterest

I wrote an entire article about Pinterest earlier, How To Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide For Bloggers, but I will add here the main points that you should pay attention to.

  1. Learn Pinterest’s SEO and remember it is mainly a search engine like Google
  2. Use attractive Pins with clear fonts and coherent colours
  3. Use infographics to give a glimpse of what your post content provides
  4. Claim your website and add a link to your profile
  5. Re-pin similar pins to your niche to increase your visibility on feeds
  6. Use the right keywords and hashtags to appear in search results
  7. Join group boards of bloggers with content similar to yours
  8. Pin/re-pin daily
Instagram
  1. Add website link in bio (I know I said this many times already, but you really should leave a link to your website everywhere you are online.)
  2. Attractive photos; obvious but still has to be said. Make sure your photos are of high quality and with good lighting and are actually related to the content of the post you’re promoting
  3. Add an excerpt to the photo’s description or some information to attract viewers enough to actually go to your bio for a link
  4. Try to coordinate colours and keep a coherent theme for all your photos. This gives it a more attractive and elegant look
  5. Use relevant hashtags
  6. Don’t use the exact same set of tags on every post. Try to change it a bit, whether in the number of tags you use or the tags themselves. This is because Instagram also has alogarithms that could very much mark your photo as spam (in that, it wouldn’t show you in the top/recent results of a hashtag)
  7. Comment on other photos that are similar to yours and engage with other commenters on those photos. If they’re interested in their content, they will most likely be interested in yours too. (Applies to every online comment section, everywhere.)
  8. Post daily! (It is said that one photo everyday is the magic formula for Instagram.)

Now, if you will take my humble opinion, if you don’t already have a huge following on one of those platforms, it is better if you focus your efforts on one or two platforms at first and once those take off, you can then expand your effort to more of them.

This is just so you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many channels at once, each with their own posts to schedule and rules to follow and interacting to do, especially if working on your blog is not something you do full-time.

2. Engage Your Family and Friends

As important as it is to share your work on social media, it is equally important to share it with people around you. Family members and friends who might be interested in knowing what you’re doing.

You can send them a link in a message whenever there is a new post published (that you know they may want to read) or if they are following you on social media, maybe check in with them and make sure they checked your latest post that was about so and so.

If your content is indeed of value, they will not only be interested in reading it but they will also want to share it with their own circle of friends.

For example, I get visitors to my website from South Korea, which is unlikely to happen given that I only write in English, but because I share my posts with my family, my sister shares them with her friends who are in SK, and they share them with theirs, and so on.

Those are unique visitors you wouldn’t necessarily be getting if it weren’t for those people around you.

3. Work on SEO

If you read about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you know that it is one of the main factors of driving traffic to your website.

I published this article, The Simplest Guide To SEO For Beginners, that goes into great detail and provides step-by-step checks to help you optimize your website to become SEO friendly.

However, here are some of the most important things that you need to pay attention to when working on your SEO.

a. content

  • Your posts ought to be detailed and elaborative. A longer post indicates more knowledge and therefore a priority of appearance on the SERP (search engine results page).
  • You need to make sure that you are providing quality content and that you share things that other people will have interest in learning about. Because if your posts are long but users bounce off of your website too quickly, this means to Google that your content is not good enough to be shown on a first page, for example.
  • You also need to make sure you are using the right keywords throughout your articles to drive the right audience to your content. The people that are actually interested in reading what you have to say.

b. Mobile Usability

When working on your SEO, you must put into consideration the mobile user and how easy it is for them to navigate through your website.

People are browsing the Internet on their phones most of the time, so if your website is not built for mobile usability, it will not be shown in any search results page for a query that is searched from a mobile phone.

This would cost you a lot of potential visitors. So, to make sure your website is mobile friendly, use this free test through the Mobile Friendly Tool.

You will enter your website’s URL and it will run a test giving you a detailed report of how your website is performing and whether or not it is mobile-friendly.

4. Submit Your Sitemap to Search Engines

Every search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo! has a page where you can submit the link to your website’s sitemap.

By submitting the website you allow those search engines to crawl your site pages and collect information about your website. While search engines already crawl the Internet looking for new links, it may not have yet indexed your website, if it is still a new one. And it may also not reach and index every page on your website.

Another perk to doing this is that search engines like Google can actually alert you if you have any kind of error on your website such as pages that don’t load or aren’t accessible on mobile phones.

So, by manually submitting your sitemap:

  • You speed up the process of indexing your website by search engines.
  • You increase the chances of more of your pages showing up in search results for these search engines.
  • You learn more about your website’s weaknesses and how to improve it.

You can check out this step-by-step article on how to submit your sitemap to each of the major search engines.

If you are a WordPress user, you can just check this page to see how you can submit your sitemap.

5. Create An Easy-to-Navigate Design

This is actually one of the things you would need to work on from an SEO perspective, but I wanted this to be on a separate point because of how important it is.

Apart from SEO, if your website is generally unattractive, or cluttered with too many links, ads, and images that are put in an incoherent way, this will make it hard for the visitor to navigate your site and find your quality content and, therefore, they will not be coming back to your website again.

They will most certainly not be sharing posts from it or recommending it to other people either.

This way you would be losing a possible recurring visitor and other potential unique visitors that could have come through them.

So, pay extra attention to how your site pages look from the point of view of the visitor. If you are not sure what exactly an appealing design is supposed to look like, consider the design of your favourite websites and blogs, ones that you feel comfortable reading and navigating through them, and try to create something similar.

6. Build an Email List

Having an email list is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your blog. This is because you can easily send your list letting them know you have a new post published.

The other great thing about having an email list is that you actually have full control on this list. Unlike with social media pages, where you do not really own anything there and if the platform shuts down or your account gets suspended you lost the connection with your visitors forever, with an email list, you always have a way to communicate and promote your content with your visitors.

In your emails, try to provide value and not just link to your new post. Provide a reason for the reader to bother clicking through this link and reading the full thing.

However, when sending those emails, make sure you do not spam your list or they can very much unsubscribe from it.

The best way to do this is if you send this type of email once a week or twice a month, that has a collective of your published posts in that previous time-frame.

Especially if you publish daily posts, no one wants to receive emails every single day from the same website asking them to go check their new post. (Or maybe that’s just one of my pet peeves.)

7. Interact with Readers on Similar Blogs

This can be a huge traffic drive for you if you do it right.

Search for the most popular blogs and websites in your niche and go to their latest posts and add comments there. After you do that, read what others have commented and see if you have anything you can help them with.

For example, if one of them asks a question that you happen to know the answer to, or better yet, happen to have a blog post that explores that topic, comment with a brief advice then link them to your post where they can find more about it.

Make sure when commenting on these posts, that you actually add some value with your comment. This is your way to show off your intellect and knowledge. If you will just type “great post,” then don’t even bother.

You ought to read the post, and either add information from your own experience with the matter, or ask an interesting question. Something that has the potential to either strike a conversation or drive commenters to your website because you are knowledgeable in an area that they are already interested in.

8. Write Guest Posts

Writing a guest post for a well-established blog/website in your niche, that also has high viewing rates, will most certainly give you a bigger opportunity in reaching a wider audience. (Also a major SEO boost, because backlinks!)

And those readers will be ones that are already interested in the type topics you discuss on your own website. So they will easily click on your link and will genuinely want to read your content.

You can search for websites that has the option for guest posting by simply googling (your niche + guest post). You will find plenty of websites asking for guest post submissions.

Check the ones that appear to have quality content on their website and high rates of interactions (comments/social shares) and ask to write a post for them.

When you write a post, you will of course have a link to your own website at the bottom of your article in the “about the author” section.

You may also link to one of your posts within this guest post if it is relevant and will add more value to the reader or help them understand something better.

There is also this very informative guest posting guide if you want to learn more about it.

9. Conduct Interviews

Interviewing influencers and well-established bloggers in your niche can be another great way to drive traffic. This is because you will, also, be exposed to this person’s audience.

When you interview someone, they will most certainly be sharing that interview with their own circle of friends and on social media (and maybe even link to it on their website). This will create major traffic to your website.

By interviewing professional bloggers or influencers in a certain filed, you are also offering the people who are interested in taking the same path these pros took a grand opportunity to learn. They will want to know how they did it and their journey to get there. So, you will be attracting anyone who is interested in their field as well.

Ask the right Questions

To go about this the right way and create a successful interview, you ought to first have a prepared set of questions that will result in an interesting conversation.

Because if your questions are boring, so will be the answers, and no one wants to read boring content.

To get a better perspective of how interesting or not your interview questions are, imagine you are the reader who will be reading this interview. Will you be eager to read the answer to this question? Will it add some value to you in any way?

In order to have interesting questions, you may want to think of what you are actually trying to get out of this interview. How will this interview benefit you and your readers? And also maybe challenge the interviewee a little bit, make them think.

Given that you have, of course, done your research and know enough about the interviewee, you may also find things about them or their work that will spark interesting questions.

You may even go to your social media followers and ask them to pitch in some of the questions they might be interested to know the answer to!

Here are also some helpful tips on how to approach a blogger for an interview and what exactly you need to pay attention to.

10. Use Different Mediums

Providing the content of your blog posts in more than one form can very much increase your audience base and help you reach a wider range of people.

Because while there are people who would rather read the content, there are many other people who might find it more convenient to listen to your article instead, which would allow for multitasking.

Others might feel more engaged if they watch a video explaining the content instead of reading it.

Of course no one is going to spend their time creating content for all three forms (although, it would certainly be great if you do have the time for that), but realistically speaking, not everyone will have the time or the tools to create content for more than one form.

So, there are a few options to explore here.

Podcast

If you are interested in creating content for your blog in the audible form, you can go about this by creating everything yourself or have an app/plugin do it for you.

If you will do it yourself and make it available as a Podcast, you can check out this article and scroll to the “common technical questions” to know the kind of equipment you may need. (I will publish a post soon where I get into detail on creating a Podcast for your blog, so if you’re into this option, stay tuned!)

If you don’t think you will have the time or don’t feel like investing in tools to make this happen, you can opt for the plugin option.

You can use a plugin, like Play.ht for WordPress, that will allow you to convert your blog posts into an audio file, and simply attach that to your blog post.

This will give you the option to provide the content of your post in an audible form with nearly no effort on your part.

Of course the two options are not entirely the same. A Podcast with your voice speaking and interacting will be different from a generic voice reading the post word for word. However, it will still serve the purpose of providing a different means of information consumption to your visitors.

Video

The other option is to provide your content in a visual form. This one can be a bit more time-consuming than with a Podcast, however, it is also a more engaging outlet that has its own wide audience.

If the enormous popularity of Youtube is any indication, it is that people love to watch stuff!

Your options here are much like with the Podcast, you have one option with less work and equipments required and one with a bit more work.

In order to convert your content into a video, your first option is to create a setting and film yourself explaining the content of your post for the viewer. If you will opt for this option, you will need to consider a number of things for your set such as lighting, good camera, and a proper background.

If you will be filming the video yourself, make sure you use the right tools and equipment for an attractive and appealing look for your video which will make your visitors actually want to watch it until the end. They don’t have to be expensive tools, you just need to learn the technicality of it.

Here is a very good video that explains in detail how to create a YT video from scratch and with basic equipments, like your mobile phone.

The other option is you can record your voice only with a screen that displays titles, bullet points, and images, as if you are giving a power point slide show presentation, for example.

You can learn how to do this here.

I have seen both examples done on very popular websites and so they can both be successful.

Last word on this one:

Whether you will opt for a podcast or a YT video, they both can be equally successful and they both can increase traffic to your blog and widen your audience base.

So it all really boils down to what you are more comfortable doing and what you think you can afford either financially or time-wise.

Also note that not necessarily every post on your website would make for an interesting video material or a Podcast episode.

If you will be creating either of those, try to target first the posts that already had high rates of engagement on your website, or posts that you feel you could add to it or can make for an interesting topic in your Podcast discussion or video.

I hope this list can be a somewhat helpful source for you to start increasing your blog traffic and getting more visitors.

Till next week, happy days!

To receive more tips like this, hop on board and join the journey!

How To Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide For Bloggers

If you don’t know how to use Pinterest to promote your blog, what Pinterest’s SEO means, or how to choose the right keywords, then this post is for you.

Before we start, I just want to say that after reading all that has been said of Pinterest and how to use it (and there is a seriously overwhelming number of articles out there!), I found that the amount of this information cannot fit in one single post. Unless, of course, my plan was to write a 10k words long post, which it wasn’t, to be honest.

So, in this post, I go over some of the basics for those who just don’t know where to start with Pinterest. And I discuss a few major points, like Pinterest’s SEO and how to choose the right keywords, plus some tips that should help you get off the ground and create some changes towards better traffic.

However, there will, most certainly, be more posts to come on Pinterest in the very near future, so I can share the remainder of everything I learned.

Now let’s get started!


Jump to:


Which niche can benefit from Pinterest?

I have seen so many bloggers use Pinterest to drive traffic to their websites and it amazed me how much traffic some of them could get. However, most (if not all) of these blogs are lifestyle, beauty, cooking, or travelling blogs. All of these blogs are great with images.

There is nothing more expressive than a photo to show a great outfit, or a beautiful scenery, or a delicious recipe.

So while I had Pinterest on my mind as something I was tempted to try, I honestly wasn’t sure if this was something that could work for me given the nature of my blog and how it doesn’t at all depend on beautifully taken photos.

So I was clueless as to what I could do to benefit from this platform.

But I was persistent and I didn’t like the idea of letting a chance of such an opportunity, to drive traffic to my blog, pass by me without even giving it a shot.

So, I started searching on Pinterest to see if there is anything that is relevant to what I blog about and to my surprise, it was FULL.

One of the things I realized I could benefit of is “infographics;” for some reason I didn’t ever think about that, and no one ever suggested it to me when I asked a few for advice. But it turns out this is the perfect way I could incorporate my website’s material into a “pinnable” photo on Pinterest.

This brings us to the answer of this question:

Which niche can benefit from Pinterest? – Every single one of them.

Should you use Pinterest to promote your blog?

Yes, you most certainly should.

At the moment, Pinterest has around 250 million monthly users and it is used by people in every region in the world. Pinterest has proven to be a lead competitor among search engines because of how resourceful it is (some even go as far as saying it’s competing against Google, but that’s a little far-fetched in my opinion).

But I also wanted to know what bloggers around me think of it, so I started a poll on Twitter earlier this week to have some sort of an insight; and it looks like the majority of bloggers do believe that you should use it since the majority of them are already using Pinterest for their blogs.

According to this very humble poll, 74% of the 197 bloggers who voted are using Pinterest.

However, it seems that Pinterest is quite the confusing platform, because I also asked bloggers to share their experience with Pinterest so far, and although 74% of the voters are in fact using pinterest, not necessarily all of them know how exactly they can benefit from it.

And those 26% who are not using it are mostly either not interested in the platform or, like myself, bloggers who had no idea where to start.

But before we dive into how to use this platform, let’s first make one tiny clarification..

Pinterest is not Instagram

There is a misconception that some people seem to still have about Pinterest from what I’ve read and that is that they dub it as a “social media platform,” like Facebook or Instagram, which it was at some point in time, but now Pinterest is mainly a search engine, more like a visual search engine.

Now, people use Pinterest like they use Google. Maybe some people still use it to connect with other followers, but the vast majority of visitors use it for search. They type in a keyword in the search bar and Pinterest provides matching results to what they are looking for.

If you use this site with that mindset, you will have a different approach as to how to better your rankings there.

Because just like you should pay attention to Google’s SEO for your ranking on Google’s serp, you should pay that same attention for Pinterest’s SEO rules to get higher rankings on it’s search result page.

I would very much recommend reading my last week’s post on Google’s SEO The Simplest Guide To SEO For Beginners, in addition to this post, because you will need to have an understanding of both SEOs to be able to get more traffic.

What is Pinterest’s SEO?

Pinterest’s SEO is optimizing everything on your Pinterest account to follow the specific guidelines and Pinterest best practices in order to appear on a Pinterest search results page.

However, Pinterest is known for continuously changing/updating their rules (much like Google), so what may have worked a year or two ago, could get your account penalized now.

That’s why you need to be on the lookout for any updates that might affect your current pins and how they rank.

How to choose the right keywords for Pinterest

One of the most important things to pay attention to when applying Pinterest’s SEO is focus on optimizing your account with the right keywords.

These keywords should be in the descriptions of your board, board sections, and pins, as well as the titles of each one of those.

(If you’re new to Pinterest and don’t know how to create boards or pins yet, I’ll get to that in the next section.)

To know which keywords to use, you can do the following:

1. Pinterest’s search suggestions

When you search for something on Pinterest, it shows you a list of relevant keywords that is related to your search. These words should be your guide as to what most users who search that word would be interested to see.

Pinterest search auto-complete showing the most popular searched words along with “blogging”
Pinterest’s suggested keywords for the search term “blogging.”

Try searching on Pinterest with relevant keywords to your niche and look for the type of results you get.

How much interaction the pins appearing for this specific word are getting? You want to aim for the keywords that are getting the highest number of interaction.

2. Category search

You can search in the specific category that matches your niche. When you click on a category it will show you how many users are following this category and the most popular pins.

Under each category there are several topics, each topic you click will show you the number of followers of this topic along with the most popular pins shared in that topic, which should also help you figure which titles and images work best for this topic.

It will also show you a list of other related topics to this one. This information will give you an idea of which topic branches in your niche would perform best on Pinterest.

You can also go to the popular category and find out which topics and pins are the most popular at the moment on Pinterest in general.

choosing keywords for Pinterest SEO, category search
I selected the “Popular” category and chose the “social media marketing” topic.
choosing keywords for Pinterest SEO, related topics search
Other topics related to the “social media marketing” topic.

How to start using Pinterest

I’m aware that probably most of those reading this post already have a Pinterest account set up; so if this is you, you may check if you forgot one of those steps or just skip this section.

If you are, however, brand new to this platform, here are the very first steps to take to start using Pinterest for your blog:

  • First you will need to go to Pinterest and sign up for an account.
  • Then claim your website; this may take up to 48 hours.
  • Upgrade to Pinterest Business account to get more in-depth analysis of your account’s stats (it’s free).
  • Install a plugin to your website that adds a “save it” button on your blog post images which allows visitors to share it on Pinterest. Or get it from Pinterest here.
  • If you’re using WP and want to add a “save it” button on your image without installing a plugin, check these steps.
  • You can also add a Pinterest share button on your page along with the Twitter and Facebook ones (for WP users).
  • Allow your site visitors to follow you on Pinterest by adding it among your social media links widget. (for WP users).
  • Start creating new images for your blog posts with image size 600×900 (more on this below).

How to customize your Pinterest account

Once you have done the basic work which is join the platform and set your website to become Pinterest friendly. It’s time to work on the Pinterest account.

creating Boards

First you will want to create a board. The title of this board should be the title of your website/blog, for the sake of SEO, but also to make it easier for your visitors to know they will find everything related to your blog posts in this one board.

You should then edit the description of this board. And, when doing so, use as many relevant keywords to your website as you can; this helps with your SEO.

However, add these words in structured sentences, don’t just stuff many keywords randomly. This is because apparently Pinterest algorithms can tell if your are trying to use too many keywords to rank and will consider it a spam.

Creating Sections

In your newly created board you can either add pins directly or you have the option to create separate sections and then add pins to each section.

This will entirely depend on your content. If you post about a variety of topics, it’s better to set a separate section for each topic.

This makes it easier for users to find the relevant material to their search query and, also, makes it easier for Pinterest to understand what your pins are about in order to suggest them under the right search terms.

And the section title should have relevant keywords and should give a clear idea to the user and Pinterest of what kind of pins it includes.

Creating Pins

Now this is where most of the work lies. Creating attractive and relevant pins that will drive the user to interact with it, either on Pinterest or through clicking the link to your website.

As I am not exactly an expert on this yet, I can only tell you what I found to have been working, looking at the most popular Pinterest accounts out there.

In order to create an attractive pin, you need to consider three main aspects:

A. Image size

The ideal Pinterest image size as of 2019 is 600 x 900 pixels. And it’s important to note that super long images are no longer working on Pinterest, so you don’t want your image to be much longer than this range between 600 x 900 and 735 x 1102 (which is generally a 2:3 ratio) to be on the good side of Pineterst’s algorithms.

Some articles I read claim sometimes a square-sized image (600 x 600) can do you well with traffic because, for mobile users, it is the fastest to load. And one of Google’s most important SEO aspects is speed for mobile users, with that being said, it makes sense if it would favor showing a faster loading pin.

You can also see that Pinterest now gives you the option to share your Instagram photos, which are ideally square-sized ones.

So while the ideal Pinterest image size is bigger than that, it won’t hurt to add a smaller sized pin for one of your posts every now and then and monitor the performance.

Remember that Google Image search results page shows Pinterest images, so don’t forget Google’s SEO when setting up your Pinterest.

B. Photo quality

This goes without saying, but in order to have an attractive pin you need to make sure that the photo you are using is of high quality. Pay attention to the colors and the contrast.

The photo should also be relevant to the topic and one that conveys the message you are trying to give to the user.

C. Text overlay

Whether you actually need to add text or not will depend on your content. Some Pins wouldn’t necessarily need text to deliver the point, while others would make no sense without a text overlay.

When adding text, you should make sure that it’s bold and clear, and that it compliments the photo and not just adding visual noise to it.

You can do this by trying to use proper, readable font styles and font size and use coherent colors that goes well with the colors of your photo.

You can experiment with different photos and fonts and monitor their performance until you figure out which style works best for your content and gets the most interactions.

Creating Infographics

Infographics are a very good type of pin on Pinterest; and it works well for mostly every niche as it directly provides information to the user.

This will hopefully also create a bigger motive for them to read more into the topic and, therefore, will result in a click-through to your website. Or can result in sharing your pin, which is just as good.

When creating an infographic, there are a few things you would need to pay attention to:

  • Creating useful content. Beneficial and useful content is important for an infographic. You need to bring the “info” to infographic.
  • Engaging content. While focusing on the quality of the information, try to put it in a way that will get a reaction out of the viewer. This can be through asking an intriguing question or adding a motivational, funny or even shocking sentences/info. (This may not be an option for every post, but just keep it mind.)
  • Using the right layout to deliver your message. Try searching for similar keywords to your topic and see what is the most popular? Is it lists? Is it illustrations? Is it charts? The content of the specific post you’ll link to may also decide that for you.
  • Organized look. Regardless of the layout you will decide to use, make sure that it is organized and easy to read, don’t overcrowd it with information or use fonts that are too small to read.
  • Always remember mobile users. You might want to check how your pin will look on a mobile phone to make sure it’s clear enough.

How to drive traffic to your Pinterest account

Alongside the number one factor in driving traffic which is using the right keywords and adding them to your titles and descriptions, here are four more tips that can help increase traffic to your Pinterest account.

A. Consistency

One thing that I found in common in all the articles I read is that being active on Pinterest is one the of the important factors in generating traffic to your Pinterest account.

So, just like with blogging, consistency is key in gaining audience and driving traffic.

It is best if you are adding pins daily. However, not everyone has enough time to login and add a new pin every single day, so Pinterest facilitated that for you by giving business accounts the option to schedule pins in advance; you can schedule up to 30 pins.

There is another way that I found a lot of users recommending and that is using Tailwind. It is an app that allows you to schedule pins to share on your Pinterest, among many other perks.

It is also approved by Pinterest, so it is safe to use. I honestly haven’t tried it (and I don’t plan to soon), so I can’t vouch for it, but I have only read good reviews about it.

B. Repin related pins

Another thing that can help your account be recognized on Pinterest is if you repin from other accounts that are related to your niche or things that those who would be interested in your content, might also be interested in seeing.

You can create a separate board on your account for those pins you add from other people and save those pins there, to keep everything organized.

C. Join group boards

Joining group boards on Pinterest that post about similar topics to yours, helps your account get recognized by visitors interested in this topic.

When you join a Pinterest group, you each add your pins and then repin each other’s pins to your board.

This way you get more exposure through the other accounts’ following and increase your Pin’s popularity by increasing its impressions and repin rates.

However, when joining borads, make sure to join ones that are in fact related to your niche and ones that aren’t overcrowded with members, a good number would maybe range between 20-25 members, as it is said that Pinterest has been paying more attention to group boards due to high pinning/repinning ratios which can equate spamming.

D. Use #hashtags

On Pinterest, you can use hashtags like you do on Twitter; and it is said that this can increase your visibility on the search result page for both the actual word and the word with the hashtag, as it let’s Pinterest recognize your content as relevant to this specific topic

Usually you would add the hashtagged keywords in the description box of your Pin, after you’ve explained what your pin is about in sentences that are also rich with the relevant keywords.

Conclusion

To get more pin views on Pinterest:

The below steps are the things you need to check and fix in order to help you get more pin views on Pinterest which can hopefully lead to more traffic to your blog.

Here are the 10 tips to get out of this post.

  1. Proper size (600×900) and high quality images.
  2. Put mobile users in mind (clear and bold fonts are best).
  3. Useful and organized infographics.
  4. Use Pinterest search suggestions and category search to choose the right keywords.
  5. Proper use of Pinterest’s SEO: Make sure you use as many relevant keywords in the titles and descriptions.
  6. Use #hashtags.
  7. Remember that Google Image search results shows Pinterest images. So pay attention to Google’s SEO.
  8. Join group boards and repin related pins to your niche.
  9. Treat Pinterest like you treat your blog, in that, be consistent with pinning (preferably daily).
  10. Create new pins for old posts. Pinterest likes active accounts with new pins.
8 pinterest tips for bloggers
Still experimenting with colors and fonts myself…..

Till next week, happy days!

To receive more tips like this, hop on board and join the journey!