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Podcasting

Fighting Through WW2 Podcast

My background - insurance industry and technology, latterly having set up the first fully online brokerage selling car insurance. Now retired.

I’m OK with interruptions if anyone has a burning question.

The show was originally based around my Dad’s WW2 memoirs, Fighting Through from Dunkirk to Hamburg which I got published in 2011.

Memoirs and interviews with WW2 veterans in all the countries and all the forces.

UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Germany ...

Dunkirk, D-Day, Blitz, Alamein, Women at War, Lancasters, POWs, Tanks ...

Fighting Through has become a top ‘magazine’ format podcast and includes many shout outs for listeners with their feedback or family stories, plus numerous special segments such as my ‘How Good is That?’ award and ‘War Stuff’ News. My favourite is the PS which I latched onto fairly early, to encourage people to listen right through.

 There are lots of tears, laughter, jaw-dropping drama and history lessons for all ages.

Done several in person interviews – I prepare key questions but also important to be spontaneous and react to what they are saying – be prepared to go off on a tangent. Tried to be the eyes and ears of my audience – explaining gestures or clarifying anything they mumbled.

Unique niche. Lots of WW2 history shows but none the same as mine. Great unpublished history!

 

Pod history

Since 2013, following 2011 publication of my Dad's WW2 memoirs.

Started as a promo for the book but has evolved far beyond that into other theatres of war, interviewing veterans and reading a variety of unpublished memoirs.

First year around 6 downloads per day per episode.

Now 3500 subscribers listening to 85 monthly episodes, 5000 downloads per episode, 11,000 best recent, 29,000 all time best for episode 1!

750,000 total downloads.

 

Show Format

Intro includes 4/5 teaser segments to immediately help the listener decide if they want to keep listening.

Introduce myself and brief summary of what the episode is about

Various segments depending on what material I have:

War trivia

Shout outs to people who have given feedback

Family stories from listeners

Thanks to sponsors

Next episode teaser

Main event - interview or memoir.

PS

 

Production values

Independent show.

Not BBC quality

Content is king, before sound – don’t worry about phone ins, background noises – compelling content is more important.

Music

Intro and Outro bought from Premium Beat. Several others to contribute atmosphere at various times.

 

Equipment

Blue Yeti condenser into Audacity.

Basic voice recorder on location.

Olympus DS40. Great little workhorse with hours of memory, simple to operate and idiot proof. I use two identical ones together in case one messes up. Decent sound output. Stand alone - Doesn’t need plugging into ten other things.

Audio Technica monitor headphones.

Rode lavalier lapel mic

iPhone.

Need a basic minimum level of quality to pass muster so can’t be rubbish. If it sounds OK to you it probably is OK.

Izotope RX6  - mouth de-click

Jotform for research questionnaires

Web site

Used to be Moonfruit until they got bought out by Yellow Pages.

Found PodPage – superb. Auto populates with your RSS feed with a lot of extras such as custom pages, photos, videos, social links, player links, mobile friendly.

 

Host

Libsyn - pay £20pm

Well worth it even though there are some free services

Key feature of Libsyn is service and features such as Destinations which loads up to all the main podcast players including Apple and Spotify.

Includes autofeed to YouTube.

 

Promotion

Twitter 1200 followers

Facebook 2300 followers

Be prepared for hard work to include yourself in the communities you’re targeting. You can’t just spam them, you have to join in discussions and help people.

Facebook lends itself to being a sort of blog where you can post stuff of interest.

All social media can be a conduit for people to contact you with stories and feedback, so you have to make yourself accessible. I get messages from 10 different sources and sometimes not easy to keep tabs. I try to copy material such as shout outs or contributions into the template script for my next episode as I go. One of my interactions on Twitter led to some superb material which I’d have otherwise not discovered.

Paid for promo:

To a modest degree, I’ve experimented with:

Ads on Overcast, Facebook, Podbean, Castro.

Varied success – from £1 per subscriber
Make sure you plan out exactly what you want to happen
Industry is full of sharks offering pay per like etc

Next: Spotify

The vast majority of my growth has been organic, free.

Search is my single most top source of new subs. Crucial.

See link to my detailed thoughts on SEO.

Essentially about deciding on your key words and making sure they feature in your show title and summary plus your episode titles and summaries. Ditto show notes, photos and headings.

Monetisation

This is a hobby for me. Albeit one I take seriously.

Patreon and Buy me a coffee - £50pm

Adsense - £30 pa

No advertising on my show to date apart from a couple of free cross promos with other shows. Used Headliner to make 30 secs video promo and use it to create an audio promo. Great tool which creates the script from your voice.

Next: Private subscription by putting 30 episodes behind a paywall.

Successes and failures

Some great feedback and reviews,

Always top three on Apple/Spotify (WW2/WWII), with 340 global 5-star ratings/reviews on Apple.

Never been in Apple’s New and Noteworthy. Good for your ego but allegedly not for your stats, so I don’t recommend trying too hard, not setting your heart on it.

Family story contributors commented:

“… incredibly moving to hear Grandad’s amazing memoir”;

“… never heard anyone read Dad's poems ... I cried”.

" Loving the passion he brings to his narration and the stories are awesome”.

 

Three subs to the British Podcast Awards – none succeeded!

This year was very special because Patreon/Coffee donations of £100pm were donated to the Salvation Army and Red Cross Ukraine appeals plus I did a special episode on Uktraine and that raised around £1000.

Two family memoirs featured from listeners have made it into mainstream publication with the show’s help.

What’s Next for me?

Voiceover work

Audio books

Paywall for some episodes

Thank you!

PS

  • Take copies of any good bits for future outtakes for ‘best of’ ep’s
  • Keep your master WAV/AUP file including track labels
  • Binge podcasts about podcasting – see list in my notes
  • I try to copy material such as shout outs or contributions into the template script for my next episode as I go. I get messages from 10 different sources!
  • Record on a spreadsheet where ad breaks could fit in your show in future
  • One call to action – not six!
  • CBR 16 bit PCM, Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz, Mono 64 kps

 

Appendix

I’ve learned a lot listening to these excellent podcasts about podcasting.

Eric K Johnson, Podcast talent coach.

Dave Jackson, School of podcasting.

Daniel J Lewis, Audacity to podcast.

Colin Gray and Matthew McClean, Podcraft.

Ray Ortega - Podcasters Roundtable.

Not forgetting Elsie Escobar and Rob Walch at Libsyn’s The Feed for their fortnightly dose of facts, stats and good humour about the podcasting space.

Brian Barletta - Sounds Profitable

 

SEO Appendix:

Search ideas - SEO - https://www.fightingthroughpodcast.co.uk/p/seo/