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How to get callers on your podcast

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Female caller - Illustration of woman talking on a phone

Your listeners want to be part of your show too

Getting callers on your podcast is a great way to involve your audience and make the show more interesting.

Best of all, it doesn’t require a complex studio set up to make it happen.

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Why would you want callers on your show?

It adds audio texture

Audio texture is just a wanky way of saying different bits of audio e.g. sound effects, callers, music.

Adding different elements to your podcast can help keep things interesting because the content is delivered in a more creative way than just one person talking.

It rewards listeners for reaching out

Don’t underestimate the power of someone hearing themselves on a show they love.

If you ask your listeners to get in touch with you and share a story, tip or question then featuring them on your podcast is a wonderful way to say thank you and encourage other listeners to get in touch too.

It can be a great source of content

One of the biggest challenges, when you’re doing a regular show, is coming up with content.

When you open your show up to callers you’re also opening it up to their stories, experiences and opinions and that can be a great source of additional content.

How to find content for your podcast

Read

The different ways to get callers on your show

Call them and record them

This method is useful if you need to engage with someone to draw their comments, opinion or story out of them.

Basically, you’re conducting a mini interview.  Then you can use the audio of you interacting with them or cut up their answers and turn them into shorter grabs to use throughout your show.

Get listeners to record themselves

This is when a listener records a message in their own time that you can edit up and insert into your show.

We use this in some of our Mamamia podcasts when the content calls for personal stories.  For an example of this check out our sex podcast, Sealed Section and our podcast about separation and divorce, The Split.

Why you should design an ideal listener for your podcast

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The benefits and disadvantages

You’ll have more control if you call people

Most people calling your show aren’t podcasting professionals so they won’t know exactly what you want from them.

They also might not be great at expressing themselves in a succinct way.  But when you’re on the phone to them you can coach them and get exactly what you need.

People are less nervous when they’re recording themselves

When you’re calling someone it can be really intimidating.

Not only because they’re aware they’re being recorded but also because they’ll be talking to the host of a show they’re a fan of.

If your audience members have the option of recording themselves in their own time this will help them feel more at ease.

If they’re less nervous you’ll end up with better audio.

Getting people to record themselves saves you time

If your audience sends their messages to you, you can have a quick listen through and pick the ones you want.

This way you don’t have to spend time calling them and coaching them through their story.  But it does mean you’ll have less control over the audio that ends up in your inbox.

How to make your podcast sound professional when recording with Skype

Read

So, how do you do it?

Get them to record a message on their phone

While I wouldn’t advise recording an entire podcast on your phone, for callers this is absolutely acceptable.

Podcast listeners are used to the audio quality of callers and even some guests on podcasts being lower than the quality of the host.

So if you’re using short audio grabs to pepper through your episode, audio recorded on a voice recording app is perfectly fine.

Leave a message using Speakpipe

Speakpipe is an online voicemail service where your listeners can record a message for your show.  This can be recorded on their computer or phone.

To get this rolling you’ll need to set up a Speakpipe page and share the URL with your audience.  Or you can install a button on your website so people can click to leave a voicemail.

Call them using Skype

If you purchase Skype credit you can call people on their phone rather than Skype to Skype.

Skype’s recording function only allows you to record Skype to Skype calls so you’ll need to use a third-party program like ECamm Call Recorder (or Mac) or Pamela (for PC) to record the call.

I use Ecamm Call Recorder and one of the things I love about it is that once you get the recording you can split the track so you’ve got separate audio files for each person. This gives you a lot more flexibility when you’re editing.

Call them using a RodeCaster Pro

RODE make fantastic podcasting equipment and the RodeCaster Pro is a brilliant addition to their product suite.

It’s basically a simple mixer that allows you to connect your phone (via cord or bluetooth) so you can record calls directly into your audio editing software.

It’s literally as simple as connecting your phone, turning up the phone fader and pressing record.

Do you need a mixer for your podcast?

Read

So there you have it!  A bunch of ways to get callers on your podcast.

Of course, whether or not you do this depends on whether it’s the best way to deliver your content so always have that in mind.  Because peppering your show with audio of your audience “just coz” won’t be interesting, it’ll be confusing.

But well thought out, well-placed caller audio will add something really special to your show.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

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