Although it may seem like every business created a podcast during the COVID-19 lockdown, they are still surprisingly rare. Podcasts that continued past the first few episodes are even rarer!
There are only around 2 million podcasts worldwide and it’s estimated only half of those are still active. Considering there are over 200 million companies worldwide, you’ll see that it’s actually very few businesses that have taken a leap into podcasting. So creating your own podcast is an excellent way to stand out from your competitors.
Setting up a podcast can seem like a daunting task, but they’re not so bad once you get used to the process. In fact, they can actually be a quick and simple way to get your content out in front of your audience.
How do I know? I started my own podcast last year. I’d never created one before, but after the initial learning curve I’m absolutely loving it and I know you will too.
Why Are You Creating A Podcast?
This is the most important thing to consider when creating your podcast – why are you doing it? It’s not all about sales, businesses create podcasts for lots of different reasons. Here are some examples:
- To get investment in your product or service. Podcasts are a great way of raising your company profile to attract investors.
- To raise the profile of one of the company members. One of the best examples of this is The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett, CEO of the Social Chain agency, which is very much focused on raising his profile rather than the agency as a whole.
- To sell products or services. By sharing your expertise on a subject matter, your audience is more likely to trust your products and services, and then choose you over competitors.
- To make money from your show. There are several ways that you can do this such as sponsorships or affiliate links.
- To entertain. You might just want to do a podcast for pure fun, entertaining your audience and making a name for yourself.
- To help with business development. A podcast is a great business development tool where you can invite your prospective clients as guests. It helps them get to know you and lets you showcase your expertise in a non-salesy way.
Your reason for doing your podcast must be clear before you do anything else, otherwise you won’t get the results you want.
Choosing a Name, Topic, and Format
Once you know why you’re creating a podcast, it’s time to set the direction you want it to go in. A podcast is part of your marketing, so it needs as much thought as possible to ensure it aligns with what your target audience will listen to and help achieve your goal. Think about:
- Who do you want to attract? Who are they, what do they do, and what are their habits and behaviours?
- How do you think your audience would listen to the podcast? On a commute? when cooking dinner? Did you know that nearly 64% of people listen to a podcast during their commute to work? It’s a great time to capture your audience’s attention if they are commuters. Knowing how your audience listens, will help you decide on the structure of your podcast e.g. make it the average length of a commute, or the length of time it takes to cook a family dinner.
- What are they interested in? Do they want deep conversations about strategic topics, some real-world tips and advice, or just some entertainment?
- Do they have much time to listen? e.g. if they are time-poor you may want to have a shorter podcast. There’s no fixed length needed, you could have a 10-minute episode or 1-hour episode – it all depends on your audience.
- What format do you feel comfortable with? Are you going to record the episodes alone or invite guests? It’s generally easier to have guests, as conversations tend to flow easier and you have someone to bounce off. Guests could be team members, clients, prospects, or industry experts – depending on what fits your audience and business goals.
Once you’ve answered those questions, it’ll be easier to define the type of podcast, format, topic and name.
Software and Equipment
When it comes to podcast recording, the easier you make it to do, the more likely you are to do it.
When I first started I made the mistake of recording away from my desk in an area where I had to set up all my equipment each time I wanted to record, this was a lot of hassle and made me not want to record each episode. I recommend that you record at your desk or set up a dedicated area to record where your equipment is always ready to go.
- Recording Software: Streamyard is one of the best software you can use for recording podcasts, it allows you to record audio and video at the same time, lets you brand your videos, and add guest names and it’s so simple to use. Most podcasters record the video of their podcast as well as the audio, this gives a great deal of flexibility when you want to market your show as you can use video snippets or even put the whole podcast video on Youtube. Once you’ve finished recording you can just download an audio mp3 file and a video mp4 file. I do recommend the paid-for version of Streamyard that comes in at $25 a month, as the free version is a little too restrictive. As an alternative, Zoom is also popular with podcasters.
- Microphone: As podcasting is audio, sound is really important. The first thing I invested in was a decent microphone. The Rode NT-USB is a great choice as it’s great quality and good value. The Blue Yeti is also another great choice.
- Editing audio: You may need to trim your audio and add on the intro and outro (if you want them), so you’ll need an audio editing program. You really don’t need anything too fancy so free software like Audacity or Ocenaudio should be enough. Audio software can be a little confusing for beginners, but there are plenty of YouTube how-to videos to follow to help you along.
- Uploading to channels: You’ll want to put your podcast on to the major channels, so you’ll need some software to help with that, something like Libsyn will do the trick (I’ll cover this in a little more detail later in the blog).
Nice to have, but not essential:
- Lighting: As I record the video, I have 3 small LED lights that help light me and my recording space – especially when I’m recording at night or in the winter. You don’t need anything too pricey, but they do really improve the quality of the video you produce.
- Camera: If you want the video you record to be of decent quality, you might want to invest in a separate webcam – I went for the Logitech Brio which has a great picture and won’t break the bank.
- Stands: I also invested in a desk mounting arm for each of my lights and webcam so that they are always attached to my desk and ready to go when I want to record.
- Video Editing: If you decide you want to use the video you’ve recorded with your podcast (whether you upload it to YouTube or use snippets of it in your marketing), you might need some video software to edit it. There are some great, free apps out there you can use such as DaVinci Resolve or Hitfilm Express that will do a great job.
Intro and Outro
Although not completely necessary, a small intro and outro to encapsulate the podcast are a good idea. They just add a finishing touch. But if you feel it’s too much work or too complex, then don’t include them – it’s much better to get your podcast out there, don’t let them be a barrier. The best format for the intro and outro are:
- Intro: Use an enticing 10-second snippet from your podcast right at the beginning of the show before starting any intro music – this gives people a glimpse into the episode and entices them to continue listening. Then go into a voice-over with music telling people about the show.
- Outro: At the end of the podcast use the same music you had at the beginning of the podcast, and include some voiceover calls-to-action such as “if you enjoyed this podcast, please rate it 5 stars”, “if you want to get in touch, email me on xxxx”.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, just you talking over some royalty-free music. I can highly recommend Five Notes Media who has kindly made some free music for content creators to use, or if you want a wider selection to choose from I used Premium Beat by Shutterstock, which is good value and has lots to choose from.
You can use the programs I mentioned earlier in this post Audacity or Ocenaudio to layer your voice-over and music to create the intro and outro.
Getting Your Podcast Found
Ideally, you need to upload your podcast to all the major platforms so that it’s easy to find, plus it needs to be available to apps like Podcast Addict which allow users to find podcasts easily. To do this you really need a podcast hosting platform that will allow you to upload once and push out to the other platforms in one go.
I have Libsyn, but there are others such as Buzzsprout or Podbean. You just want to make sure that they upload to popular platforms such as Apple and Spotify. Apple is the biggest podcasting platform in terms of download numbers, so it’s vital you get seen there.
Launching & Marketing Your Podcast
On podcast launch, make sure that you have more than one episode available so that people can listen to more than one if they enjoy the first episode. I’d suggest two to three episodes are uploaded on launch day.
One of the best ways to market your podcast is with a two-week countdown to the launch with a new piece of content every day. Your launch day is important as if you get enough listens on the first day you might even make it into the iTunes charts!
I did a behind-the-scenes launch for my podcast which worked extremely well. I photographed my podcast setup, had guest reveals, showed the artwork, got my audience to guess which intro music I chose, and much more. It really got the audience engaged in my launch.
Once you’ve launched, keep the marketing going with a mix of marketing content – video snippets, audiograms, quotes, and if you have guests make sure you get them to share that they have been on your podcast. You can use the content for organic and paid marketing – on your social media, in newsletters, on your website, in paid ads – it really is so versatile.
Also, make sure your podcast episodes are released consistently throughout the month. People love to know when to expect your next episode. Mine goes out every Monday morning and I know some of my listeners have my podcast as part of their Monday morning routine, where they listen on the commute or during their morning walk.
I wish you luck on your podcast journey, it’s great fun and a very rewarding marketing activity that will help you stand out from the crowd.