By: Kamal Hylton
In the previous post Starting From Scratch: The Importance Of Building Your Unique Brand, I touched on key elements of your individual brand and shared some tips that have helped me. One of those tips was the definition and repetition of your brand’s message. However, once you’ve figured this out and repeated it to the point of becoming second nature, what’s the next step?
It is time to give it a personality.
There are a few different mediums you can explore, such as video by creating video blogs or print with eye-catching posters and strong messages that represent you, but one of the fastest growing ways has become online radio, better known today as podcasting.
It seems these days everyone has a podcast and does them for a variety of reasons. Some simply for fun while others have the goal to make money. In the case of my podcast, The Gaffer & Hooligan Soccer Podcast (http://bit.ly/1RKcIg3), it was originally just a way for me to express thoughts about soccer that I either never had time to write about or had difficulty putting into words. Since joining up with Aaron Nielsen, a friend and my business partner in our Prospect Eleven (PXI) sports scouting network, the podcast has evolved into a way of promoting the company through talking about topics related to young players and budding prospects. Although the concept of monetizing came up a few times, ultimately the goal has been to have fun and make it as impactful as possible. Our podcast is made for the job market and targeted towards a particular industry. It gives PXI a soul beyond just the website, social media and the content we provide.
This got me thinking about whether the same can be done for any industry by job seekers. It’s my belief that the same principles could apply. I have come up with some steps to help you set yourself apart in the job market.
ESTABLISH A PURPOSE AND PLAN
Before attempting to record or buy a bunch of fancy equipment, you need to know what the focus of your podcast is going to be and how it’s going to differ from the rest. When I started The Gaffer & Hooligan, my idea was for it to discuss the topics within soccer that are rarely covered. Within the soccer podcasting niche, there are lots of shows that focus on specific teams or leagues, follow a similar format and end up being the same. I wanted something different believe we’ve accomplished this since merging the podcast with PXI, framing it around young soccer players and covering the issues they face. This gives us something unique, with the added benefit of covering players before they become superstars.
The same approach needs to be done with your podcast. Using your brand’s message as a platform, write down topics that go along with your overall message or that you find is rarely talked about within your career. For example, if you’re a mover, you might come up with an entertaining segment telling the stories about the weirdest things you helped a customer move or a segment that gives a helpful tip that will make the moving experience better. The main thing to keep in mind here is to know what you want from podcasting and keep that in mind while planning every show.
CREATE A TESTING GROUND
Now that you have an idea of what you want to podcast about, now comes the fun part! Time to test things out and play around, so you can know what works for you and more importantly what you can do without.
Unless you’re looking for a job in radio you don’t need to get a podcast going by spending a lot of money on equipment and audio editing software. My advice would be use what you have available to you, it might surprise you how well they work. Most computers these days come with free audio editing software, for The Gaffer and Hooligan I use Garageband that comes with every Apple computer and it works just fine. For recording equipment, I started out using the built in laptop mic and later switched to a simple Digital Video Recorder for about $30-$40. I use this recorder mostly for conducting interviews when writing stories, noticing it can do a good enough job for podcasting as well and it ended up being money well spent. I also played around with the format of the show, trying to keep the podcast within 30-40 minutes. It can be a challenge to keep the podcast within this range, but in doing so we’re keeping the listener in mind.
It’s OK if your podcast isn’t perfect in the beginning. As you go along and get better, you will work out all the kinks and find your voice. Besides, when your podcast grows a huge audience, these beginning episodes will all become part of your success story.
This is paramount. Everything else about your podcast will be a waste of time if you don’t work on it, find your groove and learn from every show. However while you want to have your voice be heard, you need the right level of consistency. Not enough work in this area will leave you without a voice, but overdoing it could also be problematic. When I started out I was all revved up to do one every week, but this resulted in quickly burning out and the quality of the podcast going down. Switching The Gaffer and Hooligan to monthly shows was a great move for us, allowing for time to come up with quality topics and room to let loose.
The good thing about podcasts are that they’re created to be downloaded at leisure. So a combination of consistent output and topics without an expiry date allows for a longer shelf life, with your audience still able to find it useful months and even years down the road.
KEEP IT FRESH AND FUN
Although you are podcasting with the intention to be noticed within the job market, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it. Part of what makes The Gaffer and Hooligan exciting to do every month and never without topics is that it’s organic, the same things we talk about on the podcast are exactly what we discuss at the pub when going to watch games. Since merging it with PXI this has become the case even more, taking our casual monthly meetings where we discuss a wide variety of ideas about soccer prospects and take them into the podcast.
When doing your podcast, think of the stories, topics and information that will both inform and entertain. To help come up with some ideas, have a chat with fellow professionals within your industry, pick their brain about what they like best, what they find challenging, advice they would give or an interesting story they could share. Maybe you could even invite them as a guest when recording. This will keep your audience engaged, allowing them to hear from a different voice and possibly gain a different perspective.
Image sources: onemansblog.com