So you want to start a podcast? Podcasts are more popular than ever, with around 90 million Americans listening to a podcast every month. Even more enticing, podcasts are relatively cheap to create and maintain. With that being said, what do you need to create your own podcast?
The first decision is to have a topic that you feel strongly about, or a message that you feel has an audience base that hasn’t been addressed. Afterwards, look at your competition and see what they do. What aspects do you like? What don’t you like? What can be improved upon? How can you add your own voice and knowledge to it? There are around 600,000 podcasts available, why would people want to listen to yours?
After picking a topic of discussion, make sure that it will be broad enough that you can talk about it for a long time. Something short and specific may seem like the proper choice, but this can actually lead you to limit your audience and not have enough episodes to attract and keep potential listeners.
For instance, the title of your podcast may be, “Traveling through the Midwest”. You may have a business that specializes in camping gear and equipment. You can certainly talk a lot about the Midwest, but having a topic that limits your area of discussion will consequently limit your outreach. Keep the topic broad and try to come up with an interesting and catchy title.
Next, you must decide on the type of podcast that you’ll be hosting. Will you have a co-host or will it just be you? Deciding on whether you want another person working with you is another important step of the process. Make sure to pick someone who is just as knowledgeable and shares the same level of passion and enthusiasm on the topic.
Additionally, having a co-host is a great way to have engaging and refreshing discussions. This will be beneficial, as it will keep listeners entertained and wanting to come back for more. You can also split up work between the two of you; one person may be in charge of editing the recording, and the other may be in charge of researching and writing.
Equally as important, is finding a schedule that you and your co-host can agree upon. If you’re already having issues deciding on a specific time each week to plan and work, you may be better off finding another person, or ultimately chose to host it by yourself.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest microphone and recording software, but spending a little extra will go a long way in establishing a professional podcast. You may already have recording software built into your laptop. If you own a Mac, you can use GarageBand to record your sessions.
If you don’t have any built-in software, you can easily purchase from a wide variety on the Internet, and they usually aren’t too expensive.
Just as important as having the proper software, is having a good microphone or two. You can find an endless amount of quality mics that are around $100, and they will do the job perfectly. Here is a list of popular microphones, which can all be found on amazon, that won’t force you to break the bank:
- Blue Yeti Microphone
- Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/Microphone
- Blue Encore100i
You need to choose the kind of artwork you want to represent your podcast. Firstly, it will make your podcast look more professional. iTunes won’t display a podcast without an artwork image tagged to it. Don’t forget that iTunes is a search engine, similar to Google. You want people to be able to see your podcast and subscribe. If your podcast is listed at the bottom of the page, or several pages after, it will hurt your chances of being discovered.
Also, having a piece of artwork allows you to be creative with your podcast. It is often the very first thing that people will see when your podcast pops up in the search query. Make it look as unique and appealing as possible.
After finding the right equipment and artwork, you must decide on the format of the episodes.
A standard structure for a podcast usually consists of:
- Intro Music
- Ad spot
- Call to action (Review and subscribe!)
- Outro music with teaser for next episode
This layout may not appeal or work for you. If so, find out what does! Consistency is key, not only for you but also for what your listeners can expect on a daily or weekly basis.
Make sure to leave spaces in your format for sponsors and advertisers. This will allow you to make money while hosting your podcast. This is the primary way that podcasts make money. Furthermore, having some free space will allow you to mention any products and services you offer. If you listen to a lot of podcasts, you are aware of the breaks in between conversation that promote products and services.
Now you’re all set up and you are ready to launch your very own podcast!
After Launch, Now What?
The most important thing is to create and release new episodes consistently. This will provide you with a loyal audience that will help build your brand.
Another idea to acquire and retain listeners is to give rewards out. One of the basic laws of economics is that people respond to incentives. Give out free samples of your product or services. It could be something small, pertaining to your business that will allow you to introduce your business to new customers.
There you have it! The majority of the work comes through preparation and foresight. Starting a podcast can be difficult at first, but once you have several episodes under your belt, you’ll get use to it in no time.
How Can I Take My Podcast Further?
The very best podcasts mention and have a link that directs people to their website. This is where a podcast can really add value to your business. According to Midroll, 61% of listeners purchased a product or service after hearing it advertised on a podcast. This is a great opportunity to increase sales and brand awareness to a large consumer base.
If you already have a business and are going to start a podcast, make sure to let people know! Creating a buzz through a pre-launch page is a great way to have an audience ready from the very first episode. Mention it on your website and through email marketing.
Next, you want to make transcriptions of each episode and post it on your website. Transcriptions are a great way for search engines to discover your podcast online, allowing for more traffic directed to your website.
Don’t know how to transcribe your podcasts? There are many services, available at a low cost, that will transcribe your podcasts in a very short time, usually in a day or two.
Creating a podcast is a great way to assimilate new customers to your business. They are relatively cheap to start and maintain, and users can listen to them practically anywhere, on any device. Now that you have a template of what to do and how to begin, go out and start podcasting!