Enterprising academics keen for their research to be recognised and shared can take advantage of alternative platforms and media channels. This post looks at podcasts and blogs.
If creating and/or appearing in podcasts, blogs and the media appeals, what practices and principles should you adopt, without risking reputation?
And if you want to avoid the many mistakes I’ve made on the self-publishing trail, check out my list of errors and top tips at the foot of this post.
Enterprising Academics: Key Publishing Principles
Whatever media channel you choose, getting heard takes time and errors are inevitable. Wise enterprising academics research, plan, act and adapt as patient progress is made.
People like to be recognised for their work. But unless your research reveals a way to grow diamonds or time-travel, it’s unrealistic to expect any media publisher to spend time finding you. So what to do?
Become a blog or podcast guest
Problem Journalists and publishers need content. Or rather, journalists and publishers need relevant, quality content that appeals to their audience. But being busy people, they don’t like working hard trying to find material or deciphering whether potential content is good, relevant and appealing.
Solution Research relevant blog and podcast publishers. Find ones that use your type of content and then listen to or read their work. Academics are perceived as expert specialists with timeless golden nuggets to share. The trick is to interpret how and why your research will resonate with the host’s audience and then send a succinct (2 or 3 sentence message) demonstrating your interest, flexibility, suitability and value.
Connecting Tips Tailor your message to each journalist and don’t make demands or cite deadlines. The title, detail and scale of your wider research or thesis is unlikely to concern since they will gauge everything using the WIFM (what’s in it for me) factor. The easier you make their job to interpret the expert value you offer them (and better you make their final published piece) the more likely they will want to work with you – and invite you back.
Reputation Tips Whenever you work with a blog or podcast publisher, they will ultimately control what the public reads/hears. Publishers won’t let you edit their finished piece. So to make the most of the opportunity, discuss their questions in advance so you can prepare great answers. However, if you are appearing on a podcast, don’t read your answers from a script otherwise you run the risk of sounding wooden and inauthentic. As Professor Frances Frei says in her brilliant TED talk, we are less likely to trust (reputation) when people are not their authentic selves.
Enterprising Academics: Create a blog or podcast
If becoming your own publisher appeals (and controlling content is critical to you), this could be the route to go.
Creating original content takes time and in a competitive market it takes real effort to build an audience. However, people always seek original, well produced material that informs. If you have gold-dust, your own podcast or blog may be the opportunity you have always been seeking.
Solution Rather than replicate information in the public domain, here are links covering all points in this post and more (+ referencing enterprising academics who publish their own blog/podcast). Hopefully this info will help you better understand what to when starting a great blog or podcast:
Links to Practical ‘How to’ advice
Learn how to start a podcast by Podcast Insights.
Discover how to start a blog by First Site Guide.
How to appear on a podcast by Scribe Media.
Find out how to submit a guest post for a blog by Zapier.
Listen to the Professor Mat Hughes Podcast
Tune into ‘the best academic podcasts’ by Ex Ordo
Here are just some of the podcast/blog publishing mistakes I’ve made together with tips I hope you find useful. Genuinely, I have an office corner devoted to under-used expensive, recording kit – all because I liked the idea of creating a wonderful podcast sound. Yet my Iphone 11 produces incredible results.
- Don’t wait for somebody else to give you permission to write a blog or publish a podcast.
- Freestyle podcasts (where you simply chat with someone) are quick and easy but quality can suffer.
- Before spending £££ on expensive kit, test record using your phone mic. You may be amazed.
- I wasted money creating a blog website. WordPress is free and easy to use and gives you access to great plugins like Yoast (see below).
- You want your great work to be found. For years my blog posts were buried in the internet. Then I discovered the ‘Yoast’ plugin and read up on SEO basics.
- Readers and listeners want to feel it’s about them. When writing, take care with ‘I’ and focus on the subject and what it means for readers/listeners.
- Listeners love a story because they can relax while listening. Craft stories to make key points.
- Uploading podcasts to streaming sites like Spotify and Apple takes time. Consider a single source distribution service like Buzzsprout for only $12 a month.
- I made the mistake of thinking a quick prelim chat would be all guests needed ahead of a podcast interview. Send a written outline guide showing questions and rationale ahead of any interview & discuss it with them.
- Enjoy listening to audio websites to find original and appropriate music for your podcast.
- Listen to other podcasts and read blogs to find styles and structures that appeal.
- Always listen back to & re-read work. Few people like their own voice but don’t worry about it.
And finally, finally…
Series 4 of The Startup Survival Podcast goes live in January 2023. I am always looking to talk with enterprising academics with an entrepreneurship tale to tell. If you would like to be considered for a guest slot then by all means contact me via this blog.