January 19, 2021
How to plan, produce and execute a video series that generates buzz and business results.
Welcome back to How to Create and Crush a Video Series, our 3-post series on planning, producing and promoting a video series that gets your audience buzzing and drive results for your business. In our first post, we talked about the strategy behind a video series: how a video series can help you build your brand—and whether they'll work for yours.
Now, we'll give you a step-by-step guide on building it out—from your branding and content to post-production and web hosting. If it seems like there's a lot of moving parts, there are. So keep calm and consider this a checklist for all your hosting needs.
It’s much easier to create and market an impactful video series if your product has a strong, definitive identity. What are you? But most importantly what are you NOT? Before doing anything else, visualize your viewers’ experience. That includes:
Your answers should dictate the rest of your strategy, starting with your choice of format. The most typical of these are the solo show, co-hosted show and interview show.
First, decide how your video podcast will fit into your overall content strategy—how your existing content can inform your episode ideas, then how your podcast episodes can create video content for your other channels.
Do you want your video content to supplement your pre-existing content (Blog posts, white papers, etc.) or represent a whole stream of programming?
Likely, your answer will fall somewhere in between. But no matter your endgame, it’s most strategic to use video to account for gaps in your current, likely text-heavy, content strategy.
Start with your host. As the common voice of every episode, your host’s energy and personality will drive that of your podcast. You want someone who can articulate and interview well, which is not synonymous with being outgoing and cracking jokes at good times. You also want someone thoughtful and empathetic, who can naturally consider the audience or interviewer’s perspective and set a welcoming tone for the episode.
You also may want to consider having several hosts that you rotate based on the episode’s subject matter. Nothing wrong with having a variety of subject matter experts to tap into from your brand!
Recruit a producer. The producer should be on hand during each interview to monitor each participant's audio and video, feed questions to the host, relay questions from the audience and troubleshoot as needed. Think of the producer as your video series' glue guy, the person who keeps all of the unseen pieces together.
Source your guests. And if you’re doing interviews, scour your personal network for potential guests. Since your network is likely related to your industry and business, experts from your network will be able to offer relevant content for your audience. Use them.
This way, you’re not stressing about cold emailing contacts to come on your unproven video series. You’re collecting insights from the resources you already have and collaborating with people with whom you’ve already established a rapport. Especially if you haven’t done interviews before, the familiarity will help you warm up your interview skills (i.e., screw up) in a safe space before branching out to unfamiliar guests.
Once you’ve established your podcast and brand, you can seek newer and bigger name guests. One way to do this is by asking listeners to suggest hosts in the comments of the episode. So if enough listeners can ask for a specific host, you can pitch that person, using the audience requests to indicate the episode will generate interest.
Besides strengthening your pitch, crowdsourcing also cements your relationship with your listeners. The more involved they feel in creating your content, the more likely they’ll be to keep listening.
Your video series can only be as good as your interviews. You don't need to become Christiane Amanpour overnight or anything. But to avoid asking the same canned questions as everyone else, you will need to approach interviews with the forward thinking and finesse of a reporter.
Think about some of the best interviews you've watched in the last year. The best journalists make structured interviews feel like comfortable conversations, all while directing the dialogue toward a certain theme. Interviewing is a specialized skill similar to but separate from holding a conversation, so even if your host is outgoing and lively, have them practice interviews before going live.
Build out a physical studio in which to host episodes. This doesn’t necessarily need to be an office, which is especially handy in the age of WFH.
“You can record a podcast anywhere. I’ve had mobile setups in train cars, backyards, music festivals – anywhere you can think of,” says Jack Inslee, founder of Full Service Radio.
“I never liked the idea of recording in somebody’s basement or in some corporate sterile studio or office. There’s a certain alchemy that happens when the public can see what’s happening behind the glass and it makes the process even more exciting for hosts and guests.”
Don’t forget to think of your background and what will show up behind you; it will help set the tone of your podcast and is an additional way to add branding (whether it be a company logo or a more subtle nod to your company by including brand colors in the background.)
Wherever you shoot your video series, you’ll need the following equipment. Fortunately, most of these products are cheaper than ever.
For more specific recommendations for multiple hosts and different budgets, check out this podcasting starter kit from Podcast Insights.
Create intros and outros to bookend your episodes with your brand’s voice. The intro is a short voiceover that introduces each episode and the hosts, often with a quote or story from the episode to get people intrigued. The outro thanks listeners for listening and directs them to your and your guests’ websites at the end.
These short clips lend professionalism and personality to your podcast, and tell your audience what they can expect to hear from you.. So make a strong first impression with a focused but fun message.
Record these yourself or hire a professional voiceover actor or actress to record them.
Part and parcel with the voiceover is the musical accompaniment. Combined with the voiceover, this 30- to 60-second clip sets the tone for the episode to come.
Short as it is, the music can become central to your podcast’s brand and identity. For instance, my favorite running podcast, CITIUS Mag, starts with this upbeat horn section that inevitably gets me fired up for what’s coming. The same goes for your company: When the music plays, your audience should already know the tone and tenor of the experience they’re about to get.
After you film your episode and create your voiceovers and intro/outro music, time to piece them all together. Next, use a post-production service to clean up your audio and add the voiceovers and music.
Tip: Duplicate your video, then splice the audio to create one audio-only version. This way, you can distribute your video podcast on audio streaming services as well.
Apple users can use GarageBand, a professional-level studio editing application that's free and already included on most MacBooks and tablets. Check out this YouTube tutorial on recording and editing your podcast on Garageband for more.
Now that you’ve produced your podcast episode, you’re ready to export it to the platforms of your choice. But you can’t just submit your raw audio file to iTunes and call it a day.
First, you need to create an account with a media host, which is a subscription service that stores your audio files. Besides storing your audio files, a hosting service provides stats, marketing tools, and podcast websites while also serving as a link between you and podcast directories like iTunes.
Once you’re uploaded your episode to the host, it will provide you with an RSS feed. Similar to a URL, the feed is what you'll submit to platforms like iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Spotify. You can then share your RSS feed to listeners so they can find, download and subscribe to your show.
Once you've started producing episodes, time to spread the word! Learn how to promote your video series here—and prepare to make a splash.
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