The PodCraft Podcast: Series 3, Episode 16

Today on PodCraft we’re exploring the brilliant SpeakPipe. SpeakPipe is a tool which allows you to set up a voicemail system for your listeners, allowing them to leave audio messages directly on your website. As I’ll discuss on the episode, this can lead to huge engagement with your listeners, turning ambivalent folks into fanatical fans. It can also be an amazing way to source great content for your show, allowing listeners to contribute their own hints and tips based on a question from yourself. So, why wait, let’s get into it!

Mentioned on This Show

Using SpeakPipe to Engage your Podcasting Audience & Source ContentSpeakPipe

This plugin allows your customers, blog readers, podcast listeners and fans to send you voice messages right from a browser without any phone calls. In podcasting, you have to let your audience speak to you, contact you and acknowledge the fact that they’re talking to you. This will help your grow your audience, make your current listeners into long term fans and refer you to gain more fans based on their word of mouth. SpeakPipe is the best tool for that, it encourages listeners give feedback, comment and actually be a part of the show by recording their voice quickly and easily.

Your Tasks

  1. Go to the SpeakPipe web page and sign up for an account. Just go for their free plan initially; you can upgrade later if you need to.
  2. Download the plugin and install it on your website
  3. Set it up.
  4. Once it’s set up, try to leave yourself a voicemail by clicking the little tab appearing on the side of your website
  5. Mention it on your next podcast and ask your audience to give you a voicemail.

Let Me Know What You Think

I’d love to know what you think of SpeakPipe. Have you installed it? Do you find it useful and effective? Leave me a comment below.

Finally, if you’re enjoying the series, I’d really appreciate it if you’d give me a review on iTunes. It really helps to get the show out to more people and grow the PodCraft community. Just pop over to PodCraft on the iTunes website to do that.

Thanks for listening and I’ll see you on the next episode.

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View the Transcription for the Show

Hey folks! I’m Colin Gray and this is PodCraft.

Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Series 3 of PodCraft, this is a series where we’re looking at creating a peerless podcasting website so that’s creating a home for your podcast on the web. And we’re on to the last week so we’re on to week four now. Last week we were looking at monetisation and growth, so that’s how to actually grow your audience and how to actually start a little bit money out of your podcast should you wish to do so. Now, this week we’re on to the final week, so the final five episode of this 20 part series and we’re looking at the extra stuff, the extra miles. So, this is the stuff that I was talking about last week where few extra tools, not quite in their own category, they’re all a mix bag of stuff which I use over the past few years to grow websites, to make WordPress websites a whole lot better and to grow my podcast. So, that’s what we’re going to be covering this week. No particular topic as such but just a collection of tools which I think can take your website the extra.

So, to get straight to it, what we’re looking at today. Today we’re looking at a tool which can be used to engage your listeners much more, to grow your listener base and a whole lot of other benefits which we’ll talk about in a little while. And the tool is called SpeakPipe. So, what is SpeakPipe? SpeakPipe is a tool which allow your listeners to leave a voicemail on your website. Now, this most simple form that essentially it’s just a voicemail tool the user does, it clicks a little button on your  website that brings up an option for them to record something. So, it brings up a little tool, tool type thing, which says “Okay, what’s your microphone? Click the record button when you’re ready and start speaking.” And that’ll allows user to record a little bit of audio, they can listen back to what they just recorded and they can re-record it as will if they want. It’s very similar to how a normal voicemail works on your standard phone, so not much different from that. But what are the benefits here? So, the benefits for a podcast are that, really, one of the most valuable ways to grow out your audience, to make your current listeners turn into long term fans, to keep them listening, and to refer you so that you get more fans based on their word of mouth is to let them speak to you, to let them contact you and to acknowledge the fact that they’re talking to you. So, many people talk about the fact that you should be reading out reviews on your podcast and that is a great tactic, it can encourage people to leave reviews because they think that their names are going to be read out in the podcast. And even though you imagine your podcast, you might not think of it, being a particularly massive platform, you don’t think people will be bothered by being talked about. It’s amazing the effect actually, when somebody gets into your podcast, the effect of you reading out their name, them hearing themselves on air perceived as , you know, you’re this kind of pseudo famous person that they listen to every week. It’s amazing the effect that can have in a person, the acknowledgement that they get as a listener, the value or how valued they feel based on you reading them out. So, the basic stuff is, yes, you read out reviews, you can read out comments from your blog, but this is an extra way to do it because not only can you read out and mention their comment but you can actually play them on the podcast. So, the person leaves a message, they leave you a minute, two minutes worth of speaking – a question, or a comment, or some feedback or a testimonial. And what you’ll do is, you download that file and you play it into your podcast so their voice actually appears on your podcast episode. And that person not only hear their own name read out, they’ll not only hear themselves acknowledged as a follower of your podcast but they hear themselves speaking, they’re a part of your show. So, it’s giving so much more value to that listener and it really does encourage people to feedback to you, to answer questions, to give you a whole lot of really useful stuff talking back to you as a listener. So, that’s the basic benefit, the fact that you can make your listeners feel more valued, turn them into long term listeners.

But related to another benefit there which is the feedback aspect. So, you can ask a question, you can put out a survey, you can put out a material to your listeners with the hope that they’ll come back to you and give you feedback in your show. Tell you things like what they want to hear more of,  what content that you already do that they enjoy, what they like about your format, what they don’t like about your format. I’m talking about getting feedback that will help you improve your show, that’ll improve the show for the future and it’ll help you attract more listeners in the future because of those improvements. So, obviously you can do that on your blog, you can ask people to leave comments, you can ask people to send you e-mails but again people just enjoy doing the voicemail thing more, they enjoy recording voicemail, giving you their own opinions and their own voice rather than typing it in. So, it can be a great way to get more feedback, to get more answers to your questions and help to improve your show on the long term by finding it what is it your listeners want.

So, another benefit of this is that, obviously you’re playing somebody else’s voice into your show using this method, so you get their voicemail, you play it in to your show and it can be a really nice way to break up that mono presentation style. So, if it’s just you talking on your podcast, like I’m doing just now, it could be really nice to break that up and have somebody else’s voice in there. So, it’ll be great to have just somebody else just speaking for a 30 seconds to a minute right now to break it up so it’s just not my voice. You’re not getting so bored of just hearing just from me. The final aspect is that you get a lot more great content for your show. You can ask people for their own tips, so rather than asking a question, rather than asking for a simple testimonials, you can actually ask people to come in and feedback on something that you’re talking about. So, you can say what tools like in this series for example, I can say “What tools do you use? What are your favourite WordPress tools that help you promote your podcast?”. You could record a one minute, two minute segment and I could then play that into the show and it can give you really great content to put into your podcast, extend that out to put some really valuable stuff in there. Create by your listeners and therefore it’s even more engaging for your listeners themselves, so that could be a really nice addition to a podcast. So, that’s basically all of the ways that SpeakPipe can really enhance a podcast, all the reasons why you might want to do it.

So, how does it actually work? Essentially, it’s just a plugin, so you download SpeakPipe, you sign up for an account on the SpeakPipe website and you connect the two together. Now, there are few different options, they do a free plan so you can sign up to SpeakPipe absolutely for free. With the free plan, you get twenty messages per month, you get a maximum duration of about ninety seconds per message, so you are limited slightly but for a standard show actually twenty message in month is not bad, it’s decent. And the ninety seconds as well is actually okay, ninety seconds does go by reasonably quickly but if you warn people that that’s the time limit then they can get by, no worries. They do have some paid options, so you can pay a bit more money and get in on a few extra features. The most basic one is $7 a month and that gets you up to a hundred and fifty messages every month, so a lot of messages to be stored and your message length goes up to three minutes as well. So, essentially you just get a lot more volume, you can store a lot more stuff. So if you’re getting very popular, you’re starting to hit your twenty message minimum, you can upgrade, pay the $7 a month which isn’t much obviously and start to get a lot more volume of material through. With that, you also get an audio attachment emailed to you so that can make things a bit quicker, you don’t have to download it yourself. And I think with that level, you’ll also get a widget for your site so you can actually have a voicemail button in the sidebar of your website as well. The free one actually just puts a little tab on the side of your website so the little tab appears on either the left or right hand side or at the bottom and it just says “Leave a voicemail”. And actually that’s what I use, I don’t tend to use the widget, I just use the tab and I think that works really well.

So if you start to pay a bit more, other features include being able to add people to a mailing list. So we talked about mailing list a little bit earlier on in the series. When people leave a voicemail, if you’re using the higher subscriptions, they’ll leave an email for you. So they’ll leave an email and the voicemail itself and with the higher subscription levels it’ll automatically send that through to your MailChimp or your Aweber list. So, that’s quite useful to be able to build out your mailing list as well. And also on another level up there is you can white label it so you can actually take away all the SpeakPipe branding and just make it, say, your own brand. It’ll be quite nice if you’re running your business, for example, you’re getting a lot of voicemails through and you want to make sure that people are just seeing your own brand rather than SpeakPipe stuff.

Let’s just tie up this episode with just a quick little summary of how it works. Essentially, somebody will click the button, so they’ll click the little tab on the side that say “Leave a voicemail”, it’ll pop-up with a little pop-up window that says “Trying to leave a voicemail, here’s a record button”. If your microphone isn’t setup, it might actually ask you to pick which microphone you want to use and it may ask to do a little security clearance so you’ll click a little “Allow” at the web browser to access your microphone and then just press record button. People can then record a message and they can listen back to their message and they can re-record as much as they want until they get the message right. They can listen back to hear in case their nervous about not sounding quite right on your podcast.

One of the good things about it is you can actually reply to it as well. So once you get a voicemail, you’ll be told about that, and you’ll have the opportunity to hit the reply button and it’ll actually e-mail a voicemail back to that person. What they’ll do is they’ll get an e-mail that says “Listen to a reply from whoever it is” and they can click a play button, takes them on to the web and asks you to play for them there. So it’s a really nice way to actually start a conversation with one of your customers but in unsynchronised way so you’d actually have to get in the phone with them but it’s almost like you’re having that kind of voicemail conversation with that person.

And that’s it for SpeakPipe. That covers the tool, what its uses are, what its benefits might be for you as well as how to use it and how to sign up. And if you do want to sign up, then, by all means pop over to podcraft.net/speakpipe and that’ll take you straight to the website.

And that just leaves me to set the tasks for today. So, I would encourage you to do after listening to this episode is pop over to the SpeakPipe web page, podcraft.net/speakpipe, that’ll let you sign up for an account with SpeakPipe, just go for their free plan initially, obviously. Just do it for free, you can upgrade later if you need to. But get that, download the plugin and then put that onto your website, install it and set it all up. You’ll soon see the little tab appearing on the side of your website and you can try leaving yourself a voicemail, see how it works. Just see how it works for the next week, two weeks, see if you got any listeners. Start promoting it on your podcast, actually, mention it on the next podcast that you’ve installed this voicemail system, please dig over and give you a voicemail. So, that’s about it. Go and do that. Leave me a comment on podcraft.net/316 and that’ll take you to the show notes where you can get all the resources from today. As well as leave a comment, leave some feedback, let me know what you think. And that’s about it.

So, tomorrow we’re going to be looking at security. So, WordPress, one of the things that can be talked about sometimes is around the security aspect. I’ll talk about why the reasons for and how to get around it tomorrow, so, do tune in for that. This one is possibly not the most interesting of subjects, thinking about security, hacking, all that kind of stuff but really quite vital if you run a WordPress website long term. So, I hope you join me again tomorrow for that. I’ll be on the next episode. Thanks again for joining me on this one and I’ll talk to you then.

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