f you want to have the most control over the planning and content of your podcast, consider creating solo episodes.
What are Solo Podcasts?
A solo episode is what it sounds like--you speak directly to the listener about an idea or topic. You can address something that happened this week, discuss a book you read in the past and how it can apply to you and your audience, or something completely different yet related to your show.
A solo episode means it's you alone. Think of it as a keynote which you can adjust to fit your personality and message, all without having to leave the comfort of your desk. Plain audio works well for solo podcasts, yet the video podcast route allows for including slides or media just like being on stage or leading a video call.
Duration is flexible. It can make it as long or as short as you would like it to be. For example, Joe Pulizzi publishes the Content, Inc podcast every Monday. It is a solo show that lasts 5 to 6 minutes. I have seen other hosts like Sean Cannell and his Think Media! podcast do solo episodes of 30+ minutes and weave them between interview podcast episodes on their content calendar.
How Do I Record One?
At the base level, it's just like a Zoom or Google Meets conversation where you hit record.
You can script as much or as little as works for your personality and comfort. If you do better having every word scripted ahead of time, you can read from a word-for-word script. If you work better from having a list of bullet points and preparing to speak from them, solo episodes work well for you too.
The key is to plan it out. Failing to plan means planning to fail.
If you have solid written content from blogs and articles, it provide a valuable cache of content for your podcast. I have recorded solo episodes using previously written blog posts. I would tweak the intro and outro a bit to make it applicable to a podcast, but use the majority of the text as-is, reading it aloud and recording it. I have also used the outline method where I know what I want to say for each point, and follow the outline keep me from losing my place. Side note: make sure to use an engaging voice, just like you would use if you were speaking live in front of a group of people, otherwise you will put your audience to sleep.😴💤
If you are not a fan of video, a solo episode can be wonderful. You can use a audio recording software like Audacity or Adobe Audition. You can also use something like Riverside.fm or Zoom and only use the audio track.
You can also record this as video, using the audio file to make an audio podcast and using the video for long or short-form video for your brand. Since you would be in control of the pacing of the video recording, I would suggest planning out talking points which could be used for shorter content. A few points covered in less than 60 seconds (for shorts for LinkedIn, X (Twitter), YouTube, etc) along with longer answers in the 3 to 5 minute range for YouTube and your website can be easily managed this way.
How Can Solo Episodes Benefit My Startup?
Solo episodes show your competency and promote your thought leadership. You stand center stage and listeners will associate you with the expertise being shared. They can be a helpful starting point to lay a content foundation prior to reaching out to potential interviewees.
You have complete control over each episode, giving you the flexibility to script and batch record several at a time. Along with flexibility, they let you add variety if your standard format is an interview or co-host style of show. Not only that, they provide a fabulous means of creating episodes to set aside in case your interview falls through (see last week's newsletter, "🙃 When Podcast PLANS Go AWRY: Handling GHOSTED Interviews Like a Pro 👻" to learn why a backup plan is important).
Use solo episodes to speak directly to your customer's unique challenges. What are five to ten pain points that your customers experience today? Create an episode analyzing each problem or do multiple episodes going deep into a specific issue. You are limited only by your creativity.
What Challenges Do Solo Episodes Present?
You are on your own, which means you have to carry the whole show. This may not be a problem for you, however, it is almost impossible to wing it and make it work. Planning and scripting are critical for the success of any one episode, let alone trying to maintain long term consistency in publishing. Sometimes with a co-host format, you can talk about current ideas and events where the co-hosts can banter back and forth for a conversation. Not so with solos.
Along with planning and scripting, they still require editing and post production. You can't just riff and publish (or at least it is not wise to do so). You have the benefit of having few edits depending on how well you record the content, but intros, outros, and audio production will be needed.
Solo episodes mean you don't have to recruit and schedule guests (which can save you a lot of time and work). They require planning, scripting, and editing, yet enable you to control all of the content and have flexibility in recording them. If you have not considered solo episodes before, they are worth evaluating as part of your content toolbox.
If you want to take the pain out of building and maintaining a podcast for your startup and you don't know where to start, let's chat for 30 minutes.
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🧰TOOLS OF THE TRADE🛠
Riverside.fm is my go-to tool for recording audio and video for podcasts. I am a recent convert to Riverside, having used Zoom for three or four years previously. Since I started using it in May, I would be hard pressed to use anything else. I find it easy to use and it produces stellar audio and video quality, along with solid transcript and subtitle files to use. Use this link to check it out and you can try it for free.
Till next time!
P.S. If would like to know what done for you podcasting can look like for your business, where we handle everything so you can relax, let's have a 30 minute chat.