OK, this was originally going to be a scathing attack on another “Podcast Consultant” that has been spamming twitter. He had a stint on AM radio, and now has deemed himself a podcast consultant. Instead I am going to give you some tips to look for when picking a podcast consultant (inspired by this broadcasting expert).
Does Your Podcast Consultant Have an RSS Feed?
RSS (real simple syndication) is the “airwaves” of podcasting. It is how media is delivered. If you go to their website and they have audio/video on a website but no RSS feed, this is very 1999. Audio on a website does not equal a podcast. This person is clueless, and and has no real clue about the power of podcasting.
I ran across an “expert's” site today that is obviously created in Dreamweaver, MicroSoft Front Page (I know they don't make Front Page anymore I picked that on purpose). Without an RSS feed, this podcast “expert” is the same as a Car Salesmen who drives a bike. They have no clue about the technology they are an “Expert” in.
Does Your Podcasting Expert Have a Podcast?
I amazed at people who are claiming to be “experts” at podcast who are coming out of radio. While radio will help you learn how to talk on mic, learn how to interview, learn about gear, radio is not podcasting. Time after time I see a podcast consultant with a radio background and no podcast. With this in mind I now say I am a cow milking expert. I've lived in the country, and I've seen cows, so I am now a cow milking expert. The bottom line is you can't be an expert of something you have no experience actually doing.
If they do have a podcast can you find it easily? Podcast promotion 101, make it easy to subscribe to your podcast, and deliver it in whatever format the audience wants it in. If you can't find it in one format, this person is a moron.
My Podcast Expert DOES have a Podcast?
Lucky you – your podcast expert has a podcast. Go listen to it. Is it good? Is their album art, transitions, and other items that make it sound professional? Does it sound like it was recorded under water? Most importantly is the information they are providing any good? I have seen Internet marketing gurus start podcasts that end up being 15 minutes of how great they are, and why you should send them money. I know other podcast experts that spend the last (literally) 5 minutes begging for business. This turns their podcast into a show on PBS where they interrupt to ask for donations. Pimping your services is fine. However, when it takes up the majority of the show you are not a good example of a podcast?
Can You Contact Your Podcast Coach?
Do they have contact information – more importantly a phone number. You want someone you can contact. Now I realize that a phone number will probably go right to voicemail, but do they even have the option of calling a voicemail number? I've seen ebook after ebook that wants your email address, your age, your location, etc (and all you want is a free ebook). So now they can contact (spam) you – but you can't contact them. That seems fair.
I'm not saying a person should publish their home phone number. But there are ways to put contact information (email, voicemail) on a website so at least you can nudge them.
Has Your Podcast Guru Been Around For More Than 6 Months?
When the recession hit the United States, many people went and started their own business. Some purchased one day passes to the School of Podcasting, spent all day watching tutorials, and then hung a sign out front as they launched their new “Podcast Consultant” business. I am listening to a podcaster who started their podcast in February of 2009 (7 months ago) and is claiming to be “THE” broadcaster on the Internet.
I realize you don't have to be old to be wise. But there is no substitute for experience.
Does Your Podcast Consultant Only Show You ONE Way to Podcast?
While there may be more efficient ways of podcasting (for example a music podcast can shave hours off their production time by using a multi track recording process to create their pocast), but the truth is there are multiple ways to create a podcast. Each has it's own pros and cons. Podcasting is not a one size fits all. Your podcast coach should talk to you, listen to what you want to do, and suggest a solution. This solution (key point) should also include an explanation of why this is the best solution.
Some podcast consultants only offer one way to podcast as they want to steer your toward a path that includes affiliate links and commissions. Now I know, I use affiliate links to products. I also provide more than one way to podcast, and can take any path you've started and make it work. I have guidelines – not restrictions – for podcasting.
As a podcast consultant who has been podcasting since 2005, I get frustrated when I see people coming into my industry who are going to lead people in the wrong direction, take their money, and leave them with a bad taste in their mouth when they hear the word “podcasting.”
Podcasting is a great word wide delivery mechanism with huge amounts of potential. Radio is dieing on the vine along with newspapers. More and more stations are replacing live DJs with prerecorded sound bites announcing the name and artist of a song. These segments are put into automatied systems leaving the DJ out of a job. With this in mind, I wish them good luck in their pursuit of a job in a bad economy. I also remind them of a key fact.
Radio is not podcasting.