A few weeks ago I purchased a set of courses via Only72.com. The courses were from various internet gurus that specializes in different fields. One of the main reasons I bought this Only72 set of courses was that one of them was a podcasting course by Cliff Ravenscraft, aka the Podcast Answer Man. Cliff is pretty well known for providing great free podcasting advice and has a few paid courses. Since Only72 was $200 and most of his courses go for $100 I thought it was a pretty good deal to jump on. (The Only72 set of courses ran for only 3 days at the beginning of July. It is “Only72!”)
I thought the Podcast Answer Man course would be useful for me since I am embarking on podcasting with my CarNewsCafe colleagues and have other audio content that I would like to make for other websites. I am going to share my thoughts about the Podcast Answer Man Course in a review here. This should help other if you are thinking of paying for another one of these Only72 set of courses in the future or if you are considering buying a podcasting course from Cliff Ravenscraft.
Before your Record your First Podcast
This is a MP3 download you can listen to and a PDF file that you can read. Basically it is Cliff Ravenscraft talking about how you need to have a clear vision and set goals for what your podcast wants to accomplish before you start investing time, money, and effort in it.
If you think you can just start a podcast, you really need to think again. It is not something that will be easy and not something and you should have an interest and passion for whatever you are going to talk about since an audience will be able to feel that. Your podcast should have a “Mission Statement” essentially before you even think of buying equipment or recording anything.
Like a lot of businesses and websites these days the most successful ones cater to a certain group of people with a certain interest, aka a niche. He encourages people to figure what audience you want to appeal to and how you will make your show engaging. If you don't have a clear idea or set goals, you probably will not be able to start and keep a podcast going. Cliff mentions you need, “Focus, Focus and more Focus” which I agree with.
While this might surprise some people I think this was the very useful part of this Only72 Podcast AnswerMan course. Essentially this is what you should do before you start a new website or blog too but it is good to hear it again in audio format. There was great advice in that 30 minute MP3 even though I knew most of what he was saying. Sometimes you just need to hear the same thing again.
WordPress for Podcasters
The Podcast Anwer Man broke these part of the podcasting course into 8 short videos that varied 10-20 minutes in length. Let me just say if you know how to use WordPress then the first 2 videos are a complete waste of your time. Kind of felt like a way to get you to sign-up for BlueHost, using his affiliate link obviously. This made me flashback to going to the BlogPaws conference recently. If you don't know how to use WordPress why would you show-up to a blog conference? If you don't know how to use WordPress why would you buy the Only72 courses? I don't know seems weird to me but I guess you have to try to cater to a wide audience with these Internet products.
Also the 7th video was a Q&A that was a bit basic for my taste. There was a first question about HostGator vs BlueHost. FYI for anyone else they are owned by the same company (Endurance International Group) and as of 2 weeks ago share the datacenter, which isn't a good thing.
I found the other part of the course useful though as the Podcast Anwer Man explains how to use and setup the PowerPress WordPress plugin which is for podcasting. I will use it in the future as I have searched around and honestly don't see anything better. The videos that show how he setups the podcasts with PowerPress are useful in my opinion.
In one of the videos he explains why you need to get media hosting and not use your own or current shared hosting provider. You probably can get away with storing the MP3 files on a shard hosting server but you don't want to do that for the long haul. If a lot of people are listening to your podcast online and downloading it your account with get shutdown for excessive resource usage. Cliff uses Libsyn, Liberated Syndication, and video 5 shows how it works and what the backend looks like.
Video 6 is useful since he shows how to setup Feedburner for podcasts so people can access your podcast from RSS feeds and so it will push out out out to iTunes. Since I don't know how to do this I obviously found this informative. I didn't really like video 8 since that is basically another basic WordPress video.
No PDF was included with the “WordPress for Podcasters” videos.
Equipment Options for Every Budget
This video goes though what equipment that Cliff Ravenscraft uses to record his podcasts. The video is a bit long at 1 hour and 44 minutes long but it was useful to watch. (Well you might listen to parts of it like I did.) This gave me an idea of where I could possibly go with my audio equipment when I get really professional and serious about recording podcasts and videos.
Cliff talks about his setup and some of the equipment he uses but he does not think are required for recording a podcast. This includes a Compressor Limiter Gate which helps make it so that if someone is calling into your show the audio recording quality is better. He goes through explaining everything in pretty good detail.
I like how he explains how to setup and configure some of the equipment in the video, and he clearly knows a lot about setting up and configuring audio equipment. The Podcast Anwer Man also clearly explains what the benefits are of getting certain pieces of equipment.
It doesn't necessarily make sense to me though that he would make this video part of the paid podcasting A to Z series. I guess Cliff doesn't like to reveal all his tricks and tips for free, which I understand. He does sell Podcast Answer Man equipment packages so you can get the same basic setup he has. I think he would probably make more using affiliate links for these products rather though.
2 PDF downloads were included with this showing you the different setups and another was on the slides in the video.
This video was really useful to me since I had no idea how audio mixers worked. The Podcast Answer Man clearly shows what is what on a mixer and describes what the settings mean. This is part of the course has given me a lot of more confidence in mixer shopping now that I know what to look for and what not look for. Also I know how to work and setup a mixer. I thought this was the most useful part of the Only72 Podcast Answer Man course.
The video runs 1 hour and 14 minutes and is there is a PDF you can download showing the slides.
Guide to Recording Co-Hosts, Guests and Telephone Interviews
This talks about the different people you can have on a show and the various situations where you record them. So obviously there is live “in the studio” and remote. Cliff again goes different equipment options and setups you can use to record different people.
This was useful to hear about the different possibilities and equipment. I sort of wish he talked about how to deal with slow or bad internet connections but I am not sure there is a way.
This was 1 hour and 5 minutes and there was PDF.
Passive Income Strategies for Podcasters
This was a set of 4 videos done with Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. For those that don't know Pat Flynn is a internet marketer's wet dream. He has an extremely loyal audience that will readily buy anything he says. He makes $30,000 a month just from his BlueHost affiliate links.
While some of what Pat Flynn and Cliff Ravencraft talked about in this course were useful, such as email marketing, I found it a bit annoying. It felt like webinar that is designed to get you to buy something. I mostly skipped through the videos. Most of what they went over about affiliate marketing I know.
A PDF was included.
While certain people will take away more or less from this Only72 podcasting course depending on their skill level and knowledge, I do feel like I got my money's worth. The Podcast Anwer Man's Podcating A to Z course runs $2,000. Since I definitely have that type of money (right now but I will someday) it was nice to be able to get some of the information a little less.
I wish the course was designed more for experienced writers, like myself, who are interested in getting into podcasting. This seems like the largest and best segment to market to in my opinion. Of course like I said before I get he wants to have a course for a wide range of people.
What I really do not understand is why Cliff didn't record some of the shows and make them available as MP3s so you can listen to them on the go. Seriously? He is the Podcast Answer Man after all and I assume a lot of his audience and fans prefer listening to shows. This is probably my biggest complaint about the course. Even if the some of the videos are not ideal to listen to, it still would have been nice to have a downloadable MP3.
It should be noted I didn't review the first part of the course “Learn How to Podcast” since that is available for free via the Podcast Answer Man website here. Since that is something anyone can view I didn't feel a need to include it in this review.
I will be reviewing the other courses part of the Only72 package as well so make sure to follow this blog via RSS feed if you want to make sure to catch the other reviews.
You can also follow me on Twitter @AdamYamada