Podcamp Nashville: Becoming a Thought Leader Via Podcast

Let me begin by saying I’m embarrassed that I don’t have a podcast. I registered a URL I intended to use to promote our podcast nearly a year ago. Summer Huggins did a lot of great prep work for it. I even talked to someone about being our first interviewee. And I haven’t executed yet.

I’m OK with confessing that to you, because I don’t think it’s an ongoing issue I have, failure to execute. I recently read Seth Godin’s Poke the Box, after several friends urged me to go back to him [that’s a longer story]. This book is a treatise on getting off your duff and making stuff happen. It’s wonderful — because I happen to be someone who likes to start yesterday. I figure you don’t know what you’re going to get til you try it, so you should get started right away.

But on the podcast front, I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Now, I have renewed my inspiration.

You might think from the name “Podcamp” that last weekend’s Nashville conference was all about podcasting, but it covers many topics related to digital media. However, podcasting does get more than a passing nod at Podcamp. I went to a great session moderated by Cliff Ravenscraft, a guy who makes podcasting feel accessible to anyone.

Ravenscraft moderated a panel of people who, until 1-3 years ago, didn’t have a large digital footprint. But now, they’re all successful podcasters, reaching decent-sized audiences and dramatically upping their business impact. Given their examples, I can’t figure out any reasonable excuses not to get our podcast off the ground. So watch for more on that soon!

In the meantime, I’d like to share some of the great insights from the podcast panel:

Dan Miller: Life coach and author, host of 48Days. [48 Days to the Work You Love]

David and Paula Foster: 5 podcasts between them. They host Making Marriage Fun Again together. They started this podcast to help people who need support in making their marriage work.

Sheila Tidwell and Connie Williams, hosts of Connie and Sheila Talk: Real Life, Real Estate, Real Fun. They met Ravenscraft last year at Podcamp and started their podcast immediately afterward.

All quotes are paraphrases.

Podcasts to instill trust

Miller: Podcasting has an incredible degree of transparency. I’ve been coaching, teaching for a long time and have communicated in a variety of ways. I’ve never experienced this same level of connection with other media though. It forces me to be authentic.

David Foster: Great podcasts are about discovery. I’m on the journey — I’m not a guru delivering it down from the throne.

Connecting with your audience

Tidwell: We don’t edit out a lot of things. Even dogs barking, etc.

Paula Foster: Reading a script isn’t real. [You can plan — you should plan — but talk from the heart.]

David Foster: Trust your voice. You have something to say, and it will be compelling when you say it in your voice.

Benefits for the podcaster

Paula Foster: A podcast can help you keep your story alive. Telling the story will help you think of things in different ways.

Williams: Podcasting is a great exercise in thinking, no matter what your passion or topic is.

PodCamp Nashville: Winston Hearn on Basic Video Production

Winston Hearn has been creating online video for several years and offered a basic tutorial Saturday at PodCamp Nashville 2011. Though I’ve done online video for a while, I’ve never really had any formal instruction, so I thought it would be nice to find out what I’m doing wrong.

It was a great session on the basics — and very little is about equipment, which is what most beginners get obsessed with. My notes are below. You should assume that the wording is all my paraphrasing, but some quotes are pretty close.

Winston Hearn’s tips for creating online video:

Just a quick note on terminology: You can’t make a “viral video.” [Loved this. Big pet peeve of mine, too.] Viral is something that happens after your video is online if people like it.

Five steps to online video

  • Write
  • Shoot
  • Edit
  • Upload
  • Disperse

You can’t skip the write step. People don’t plan and it leads to a lot of bad video.

How do you write for video?

  • Think visually. People are watching, not just listening.
  • Think short. Shorter videos get more watches. 2 minutes is a maximum timeline for your average online video.
  • Think about bullet points — what are the compelling messages you want to share?
  • Distill. Cut your story to the minimum points necessary.
  • Plan ahead. Once you’ve written, figure out how you’re going to show the story.


  • Test your ideas.
  • Lighting is critical. If you don’t have gear, no worries, but think hard about where to shoot. Avoid fluorescent lights. Cloudy days are perfect for outdoor filming.
  • Audio is your best ingredient. Poor audio quality will turn people off quickly. Here’s where Flips suffer — only good for close-by audio.
  • Make it pretty. Think about your framing. Check the background. Make sure subject stands out from the background. Don’t have distracting background. Only have one camera? Do takes from multiple angles, edit it together.

Hearn says you should start with the tools you have: Flip cameras can do a lot of stuff. The main thing is to understand your tools and know what they’re capable of.


  • Hearn uses Final Cut. He’s planning to add a blog post later today with more info on tools, and I’ll link to it when I see it. Hearn’s post gives you lots of links and ideas for video tools. There are a number of tools that work well that are less expensive, though.
  • First create a rough cut: Put everything in order according to your script, see what you have.
  • If you’re using music: Check music rights. There are lots of sources for inexpensive royalty free clips. Music can really make a difference in your video.
  • Don’t make a talking-head only video. Think of creative ways to show your story. Whiteboards etc.
  • Cut. Cut. Cut. Cut. Make it shorter!


Check out YouTube and Vimeo.

  • Vimeo – Hearn likes the tools, quality better.
  • YouTube – Everyone uses this.
  • Use both for many videos. Investigate the settings on each site — there are differences and how you format your export matters.


What you name and tag your video really matter if you want it to spread.

This is where your social media plan takes over. Start thinking about your marketing strategy way back when you’re writing.[The content strategist in me was happy to hear this pitch for planning.]

Photo credit from home page: Amie Simmons

You should go to Podcamp Nashville

The short of it: If you’re reading this [and you’re not my mother, who lives in Florida and has no connection to digital media], then you should go to Podcamp Nashville on Saturday, March 26.

The long of it: Nashville’s got a bit of a schizophrenic bar-and-podcamp scene. While the events are part of the “official” unconference movement, the Nashville events have had a bit more structure than the “official” unconference method dictates. This is all for the good.

For the past several years, the content at Nashville’s Barcamp and Podcamp has rivaled many top-drawer, national paid conferences. The very idea that you can get this stuff for free still blows my mind. If you work anywhere near digital media, you have got to make it to Podcamp.

I think the content is so fantastic for a couple of reasons:

  • The organizers here put a lot more work into the structure and planning of the event than the unconference label would lead you to believe.
  • The digital community in Nashville has grown dramatically in the past few years. There’s a lot of great talent here.

How it works: Sign up now and post your idea for a session. Here are the full details, but don’t mess around — session proposals close on Thursday at 8p.

Then Friday night, they’re drawing the sessions out of a hat and the winners get a slot.

After that, everyone who’s attending will be able to sign up for sessions. You don’t have to choose your sessions in advance, but I recommend that you at least look at the schedule before you show up. There will be too much to choose from the day of.

Show up early. Barcamp and Podcamp tend to have decent swag bags due to the great support they get from the tech community. Don’t miss out!