PART 3: PUBLISHING | Introduction
Excellent, the hard work is done. Everything up to now has been about planning, creating, recording. Now, you have ‘the piece’.
If you’re Stacking, then that ‘piece’ should be in a few parts. It might be a blog post alongside a podcast version. It might be a podcast with a few videos clips taken from it. It might be the full stack, including a blog post, a podcast and a set of videos covering that content.
Whatever stage you’re at, when thinking about publishing, it’s all about the network. Even if you just have two elements of the stack so far, you need to think about how they link together. How they work together. How they strive, together, to build audience engagement.
This chapter aims to help you create that network. We’ll look, in-depth, at how to publish each medium, and how to guide your audience through the full stack. Because it’s that guidance that matters, turning readers into viewers, viewers into listeners, and listeners back into readers. Each step builds one more block onto that engagement stack, and cultivates your growing legion of fans.
This is the exciting bit. You’ve put in the work. You’ve got your piece. Now it’s time to go public!
How Do the Mediums Tie Together?
We talked in Chapter 1 a little about the job of each medium, but let’s do a quick recap:
- Text Equals Reach – The biggest search method is still text. Blog posts have the biggest potential to be found, and bring people into your stack of content.
- Media Equals Engagement – Once they’re in your stack, direct readers towards media to showcase your personality, your values, your YOU!
- Audio Equals Trust – Once they’re engaged, direct your audience towards audio. This is where attention is greatest and therefore trust is built most quickly.
Caveat 1: Media Does Increase Your Search Potential
Of course, people will also find you via media (YouTube search is still the 2nd biggest search engine in the world!) and audio (there’s great opportunity to be discovered by niche audiences within iTunes, Stitcher, etc). That means media can support text in expanding your reach, but text is still the wide end of the funnel when it comes to discovery.
Caveat 2: Text Can Build Engagement
Equally, text isn’t only for search, it also helps build engagement. Many of your audience will navigate through dozens or hundreds of your blog posts, building engagement and trust as they go. But, there’s nothing like the assistance of media for accelerating, expanding and cementing that process.
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Now, in publishing text, your own website is home base. It’s the mothership. No matter what content you put out there, this is the centre of it all. So, let’s start there.
Chapter 8: Blog Posts that Grow Podcast Listeners & Video Viewers
Do I Need My Own Website?
Yes, you need your own site, and your own domain. You’re building an asset here, a business, even. Don’t build it solely on borrowed land, such as a Facebook Page, Medium or a Libsyn site.
We wont go deep on the technicalities of this, but if you don’t already have your own blog, then start with WordPress. WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, which is to say it’s a really easy tool for publishing text, images, video and audio on the web. It’s designed to make it really simple for entirely non-techie people to build and run a website.
If you’re looking to set up your own WordPress website from scratch, it’s really simple. I have a full guide to building your own website here. Of course, the intention that course is to create a podcasting website, but Part 1 applies to any kind of website. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you’ll want to add a podcast anyway!
How to Publish Your Blog Posts
Now that you have your website up and running, let’s look at how blog posts fit into the stack.
Let’s assume you’ve taken the theory and story approach, my default structure. That means you have a theory blog post to explain the topic and a case study blog post to illustrate the topic in action.
If you’re using a different structure with multiple types of blog posts per topic, all of the following still applies. Just replace theory and story with your own terms, eg. Interview and Featured Tool. If you’re sticking to one blog post per topic, I’ll point out when there’s a difference.
The crux of it is that each article is published on your website as an individual post. This turns one topic into multiple assets, all of which are hugely valuable when it comes to search. If you’ve answered a real question or tackled a real problem in your industry within these articles, then they’ll be indexed by Google and start drawing traffic to your website.
This is the primary job of text. To be found, to be indexed by Google, and to draw people in via search.
This alone isn’t enough, though. We don’t simply want one-off visitors. The next task, and the crux of content stacking, is to captivate that traffic and direct it to take a ‘next step’. It’s those next steps that start to build engagement.
To that end, how do we build a blog post that acts as signposting towards all of our related media?
Signposting Other Text Resources
Firstly, the blog post acts as signposting towards further blog posts. The primary example here is that, at the end of the article, the Theory post links to the case study post. This is one call to action (CTA) for every theory blog post: “Go view the case study to see this in action!” If the reader takes that step, then they’re building one little block of engagement on their stack. They’re going deeper, getting involved.
In many cases, both your Theory and Case Study articles might link to other blog posts. If you can think of other material on your website that’s related to this topic, then link to it. Again, it’s about including more options for the reader to build that engagement stack.
In the event you’re writing only one blog post per topic, then you’ll be concentrating on the second activity: linking to other articles. You don’t have a companion piece to link to, such as Theory to Story.
These external article links still work, but without quite as much power. They lack the really obvious association. The sense of a logical, no-brainer next step. This is the power of splitting a topic into sections. There’s a really visceral link between the theory and the story, or the story and the actions. That’s something that really drives ‘next steps’ and, thus, engagement.
Embedding Video Within a Blog Post
Next, we’re thinking about linking to media. The first step in this is embedding the video segments that you’ve recorded.
Let’s say you’ve split the video recording into 4 segments, following my default structure. Each segment is published to YouTube as a stand-alone video: Outline, Theory, Story, Actions. We’ll get to how that works a little later, but right now, we just want to know we can embed those videos into our own blog.
Take the video embed codes, and embed your videos at the head of each relevant section of the blog post. That means the introduction section of the blog post is headed by a video that also covers an introduction to the topic. The theory section is headed by a video that explains the theory. And the actions section is headed by a video that outlines the actions.
This creates a really engaging blog post that’s flexible in how it’s consumed. If a reader wants to get the video summary, they hit play. If they’re just skimming, they continue on with the text. Either way, you’re giving them the option to place another block on the engagement stack by hitting play on that video.
Offer some encouragement to hit play too. How about a line below the video that says something like:
“Click play to hear me introduce the whole concept of Dynamic Microphones. This is a quick summary for anyone new to the topic. To subscribe to our YouTube channel, go here.”
Make sure your reader is aware of the purpose of the video, the problem it solves, and give them a reason to click. In this case, your reader will gain a quick summary of the topic with little effort.
Also, include a link to your YouTube Channel. That encourages subscription and future automated views.
Directing to Audio
Next, within the blog post we’re looking to direct the reader towards audio.
We’ve already talked about the fact that your blog post can act as shownotes for the podcast episode. Remember, the only difference between good shownotes and a blog post is specific audio signposting.
I would suggest that the Theory post acts as your main shownotes, and includes a player for your podcast episode. It may also include an index which shows timecodes for different parts of the podcast, as shown in Chapter 6. That provides the signposting.
When adding your podcast player, I think they work well near the top of the post. One example is placing it at the end of the introduction section. This allows the reader to skim the intro, perhaps even watch the intro video, and then decide whether the full post holds value for them. At that point, of course, you hope they’ve been engaged by your magical writing and presenting skills, so it’s possible to encourage them to dive straight into the audio version.
Some will listen to the audio version there and then. Others will skim the post, read it again, and then listen to the audio to go even more in-depth. Yet more will read the post and see the player as a signal that they should subscribe to your podcast series on their phone.
You should give them all of these options, and more. Include a block of text above or below the player that explains it’s purpose.
To hear our in-depth conversation around this topic, including a full case study on how it works, then listen to the audio episode. You can click play above, or you can subscribe and listen on your smartphone. To find out how to subscribe to our podcast, click here
Include this in both the Theory and the Case Study post, editing the text a little to suit the context within the Case Study. If this appears on every page, you’ll start to garner plays directly on the page, which is great. Even better, you’ll start to attract subscribers who automatically get your audio in future. That’s the aim – subscription, automated delivery and ongoing fans!
The Final Text Structure
Here’s what a blog post might look like. Click on the image to see it full-size:
You’re offering choice, spurring actions and encouraging engagement. Plus it looks PRO including the full range of media! This all makes for a powerful blog post.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the blog is your content mothership, and deserves a lot of thought and care. This is the start AND the end of the user journey. It’s where most people will find you, and it’s where most will end up when they take your ultimate action, whether that’s getting in touch, buying a product or otherwise.
The way you build your blog post has a huge effect on how far along that journey your average reader will go. Direct them well, and they’ll take a round trip through everything you do, returning as a loyal fan and paying you back in spades.
No actions, this time around. We need all three mediums first. On to the next chapter – Publishing Video *coming soon*.