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PodSchool Podcast | How do you get callers on your podcast?

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How do you get callers on your podcast? | PodSchool Podcast

Thanks to Sarah for inspiring today’s episode with her question: “Do you have any advice for how to get callers on your podcast?”

If you’ve got a question you want answered on the podcast, send me an email.

“Caller…you’re on the air”

Getting callers on your show is a great way to involve your audience and reward them for getting in touch with you.

It also helps make your podcast sound more interesting by introducing other voices for a bit of audio texture.

You could get people to send in their phone numbers and record them via Skype but that’s a lot of faffing so a better way is to get people to leave a voicemail message for your show where they can ask a question, leave a comment or tell you a story, if that’s what you’re after.

The easiest way to do this is with a tool called Speakpipe.

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What is Speakpipe?

It’s basically an online voicemail service that lets your listeners record a voice message that you can play on your show.

So how does it work?

You either set up a web page on Speakpipe or you can install a little button on your website.

When your audience comes to your Speakpipe page or website there’s an option for them to record a message using whatever microphone they have attached to their computer or device.

The message then gets sent to a central hub or straight to your email depending what plan you’ve got.

Why wouldn’t you just call them on Skype?

Well, for a number of reasons…

Privacy

Some people don’t like to give out their private phone number.

Nerves

Some people are happy to leave a message but might be too nervous to be on your show ‘live.’

Recording a message via Speakpipe gives the person calling in an opportunity to re-record their message as many times as they like until they’re happy with it, which is much less nerve racking than trying to ‘perform’ in front of a podcast host they admire.

Talent

The harsh truth is people in your audience aren’t always going to be great talent.

A few might be but the vast majority will take ages to tell their story or be too excited or nervous to deliver it in a way that sounds succinct and entertaining.

When you’re recording someone who isn’t used to being on air via Skype you really have to wrangle them to get something you can use on your show.  But if they’re recording a voicemail message they’re more likely to understand the time restrictions and wrap it up quicker than if they were on the phone with you.

Why would you want callers on your show?

It adds audio texture

As I mentioned earlier, adding other voices to your show can be a great way to add audio texture (that’s basically a wanky way of saying different bits of audio that aren’t just you talking).

Obviously, the tips, stories or questions your audience members ask need to be compelling otherwise there’s no point (so don’t just shove them in if the content isn’t great).

It’s a payoff to your listeners who reach out

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

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

It shows you appreciate the effort they’ve gone to, to get in touch and since it’s providing extra content for you it’s a win-win for everyone.

Your listeners can be a great source of content

None of us have the answers to everything so accessing your audience can be a great way to inject additional content into your show.

You can ask them for tips, stories, questions, the list is endless and when you’re coming up with content week in week out it can be a great source of entertaining and interesting topics you might never have had come up with otherwise.

Now, you might have read the previous few paragraphs and thought “I can’t be bothered doing this!”  And that’s fine!  You can still have a great show without featuring callers.

But if you hadn’t thought about it because you didn’t think it was possible you now know, it is!

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Need some help getting started or setting up your home studio?  Download my free podcasting guide.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. Today I am answering a question from Sara who emailed me to ask whether I had any advice on how to get callers on to your podcast. The easiest way to do this is via a website called Speakpipe. Essentially it does all of the hard work for you.

A lot of radio stations and the podcast network that I am the Director of Podcasts for - Mamamia have a voicemail system set up. Essentially the development team have set up a magical number that people can call and as soon as they leave a message we get an email directly into our inbox with the audio file attached. You can get the same service with speak pipe and essentially the people that want to contact you and leave a message can get their voice on your podcast. All they have to do is click a button, record their audio and that's it. There are a range of different plans and you can check them all out at the Speakpipe website, I'll pop a link on the show notes page at PodSchoolPodcast.com and type "callers" into the search bar.

With those different plans you'll get different features. So on some you'll be immediately emailed the audio of the call whereas on the free plan you might have to go in and access the audio files and download them yourself (I think we can all handle that).

The great thing about this system is that it takes all of the fuss out of it and basically allows your audience a way to get their voice on your show. It's also great for "audio texture," which is a wanky way of saying "different bits of audio" so it's not just you talking all the time.

So how does it work? Basically you either set up a web page on Speakpipe or you can install a button on your website. When your audience comes to that page or they click a button on your website there is an option for them to record a message right then and there so they can record using whatever microphone they have available and attached to the computer or the device that they're using and they just record a message right there and it gets sent to a central hub or straight to your email depending what plan you've got. Then you also not only can download the audio to use on your show but you can record a message and send it back and they'll get an email saying you've replied to their message. That can be a really lovely way to say thanks for sending me a message.

If you haven't thought about this as an option and you're thinking "Why the heck would I be bothered getting people on my show?" Here's a couple of reasons apart from the ones that I stated earlier which are of course that it just gives a bit of audio texture.

Your listeners can be the best source of content...ever.

You will notice if you are a regular listener to this show that often the content in these episodes comes from questions that have been asked directly to me from people just like you who are listening to this show and want to know more about podcasting. A really great way to reward those people for dropping in their questions and asking you things is to actually have them featured on the show. Some people don't want that and they just want to send an email and they don't want to put their voice on the show for other people but if they do call you and leave a message it can be a great way for them to feel rewarded for taking the time to get in touch with you.

You might be listening to this and thinking there's no space for this in my show, I don't have the time nor the inclination nor do I have any questions that I want to ask my audience and that's fine.

You don't have to add people into your show but often with podcasting people assume it can't be done so if you've completely blanked it out of your mind as an option because you thought it wasn't possible, now you know it is!

I'll put all the details on the show notes page which again you can find at PodSchoolPodcast.com just by typing "callers" into the search bar. And that's it for today's episode I hope that's helped you realise you can add more voices into your show from the people who love it the most. Speaking of which if you're enjoying these episodes I would very much enjoy it if you would leave me your review in iTunes or wherever you listen to the show. It helps other people to find the episodes and to also realise that they're not a pile of crap when they see them.

If you are just starting out your podcast and you want to set up your home studio and you're not sure how to do it you'll find all of that information in my "How to start a podcast guide" that you'll find at my website as well. Thanks so much for joining me, I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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