Every business needs a voice and when you start a podcast, you can literally have a voice and share your message with the world. The word “podcast” was coined by Ben Hammersley for The Guardian in 2004 by combining two words: iPod + Broadcast. Simply put, podcasts are digital audio content that can be downloaded or streamed. Podcasts are portable and can be listened to at your convenience. Since time is precious, people actually prefer listening to podcasts during the drive to and from work, while at the gym, washing the dishes, or when relaxing. There isn’t a more simpler way to pick up something new, get news updates, or just be entertained.
What makes podcast different from broadcast content is its “Narrowcast” specialized content, which caters to a genuinely interested, niche audience. It is a great way to build your brand, connect with your existing customers, start meaningful conversations with others you wouldn’t normally be able to reach out to and gain more credibility.
Your Podcast Is A Business Asset
Don’t expect your podcast to be huge financial asset to your company right out of the gate but compared with the cost of traditional and online marketing, it does give a great ROI on your time—that is, if you’re going to charge for it. And when your podcast hits a certain number of downloads, you can get advertisers and sponsorships for your show. It is no longer a fringe platform, since subscriptions crossed the 1 billion mark a long time back in 2013, and podcast listeners have crossed the 75 million unique listeners per month mark. According to Nielsen, 112 million Americans have listened to at least one podcast. In this article, we walk you through the process of starting your very own podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, Google Play, and any other platform offering the real estate.
The Podcast Workflow:
Plan, Record, Edit, Upload. Promote.
Content Strategy and Ideation
It is imperative to develop a content strategy for your podcast. First decide on the theme and topic/s and then plan the structure and format of your podcasts. Ideate and list content for a few episodes in advance so that you don’t hit a roadblock later. It is also important to fix the approximate length of the episodes and stick to a regular uploading schedule so that your audience know what to expect.
What Equipment Do You Need To Start A Podcast
The only things you do need to essentially start a podcast are a cell phone to record, and/or your laptop, an internet connection, and something relevant to talk about that appeals to your niche audience. Since podcasts are audio-based content, you might look into investing in some good quality audio equipment to record and publish your podcasts.
It is much nicer to listen to clear audio so do buy a solid microphone. If you are a solo podcaster, you can use USB mics that plug directly into your USB port with a USB cable and fortunately, they don’t cost a fortune either. Check out some of our recommendations below –
For higher-quality podcasting microphone setup, you can try
Rode Podcaster Booming Kit: Podcaster, PSA1 Arm, and PSM1 Shock Mount
You need to know how you sound to your listeners so you also need a pair of quality headphones to check the actual audio quality when recording. Good headphones block out ambient sound and you get minimal sound leakage so you don’t lose out on feedback. Check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x and the Sony MDR7506 headphones for your podcast recording.
To record and edit your podcasts, you could just use free GarageBand (pre-loaded on Mac computers) or Audacity (downloadable for Mac & PC) and directly save your audio as MP3 files (at 128kbps/44.1Mhz – Bitrate and Sample rate) for high quality audio at a low file size. You can read up on this tutorial on Audacity to learn how to record and fix minor issues like plosives and other odd noises. Alternatively, you can use the professional Adobe Audition on the Creative Cloud subscription. If you going to interview guests from around the world on your podcast or will be conducting interviews on Skye, you need call recording softwares. The most popular softwares used for this purpose are Ecamm Call Recorder for Mac and Pamela for PC.
How To Distribute Your Podcast
Once you have recorded and edited your podcast, you’ll want to upload it for everyone to hear. For that you need to sort out distribution / hosting service, syndicating your RSS Feed with directories and podcatchers and the launch & publicity. The former hosts your media files so that anyone can download them and a RSS feed is generated with information on each episode (name, episode, description, artwork, show notes, etc.) so that “podcatchers” (like iTunes, Overcast, Soundcloud) know where to download the file from. There are many distribution platforms available so finding one that fits your needs best is pretty easy. Once you submit the feed, you should typically receive a reply about the status of your approval within 24 – 48 hours.
The Best Distribution & Hosting Services for Podcasts:
Here are a few podcatchers that you can submit your RSS feed for:
Create Your Website
Alternatively, you could get your own website and web host for your podcast besides uploading it to iTunes, Soundcloud and other channels, which would give you full control over the feed, design, and features of your podcast. You can have a separate podcast page that lists all of your episodes, or even add episodes into your existing blog listing. When you self-host your website, you will need to get a domain for your website (preferably the domain of your podcast name) and then have it automatically redirect back to your business website.
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Promote Your Podcast
The success of your podcast will depend a lot on promotion, just like any other major marketing campaign. There are a number of ways to generate buzz about your podcast.
- Convert your episode content into multiple forms of media. For instance, use your podcast content as a blog post, publish it as a guest post on another site with a link back to your podcast website or even post a series of social media updates.
- Promote your podcast on affiliated social media platforms for your business and also your personal accounts to let your customers, family and friends know about it. Increase your network through content marketing, advertising, and social media, and push that audience to your podcast.
- If you have guest speakers on your podcast then request them to share the podcast episode with their audience. Grow your network by reaching out to other podcasters about becoming a guest on their podcasts.
- Create a signing sheet to your mailing list on your site and encourage people to subscribe to your podcast and share it with others.
- Remind your listeners to leave an iTunes review of your podcast. Encourage it with an incentive to engage with your channel such as giveaways, prizes and special mentions to regular listeners.
Stick to a few of these promotion activities for every single episode in order to extend the number of your podcast listeners.
Jump On The Podcasting Bandwagon
Even though starting your podcast may sound like hard work, it is definitely worth the time and effort considering the benefits that it may have for you and your business. Don’t hesitate to take the podcasting plunge in order to connect with your audience and expand your business. Do listen to HostLabs ‘Inside the Lab‘ to learn tips and tricks related to web hosting, website building and development.