Podcasting has exploded in recent years. We listen to them when we drive, cook dinner, and do the laundry. And they’re one of the first things we turn to when we’re looking for information on specific topics or a source of entertainment.
If you’re a fan of the content type, you might have wondered how to start a podcast for your company or for yourself. If so, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we discuss why podcasting is a fantastic content marketing medium and how to start a successful podcast in six simple steps. If you’re at all interested in producing audio content, keep reading. We have a lot of great information to share.
Before we dive into how to start a podcast for your company, let’s talk about why you would even want to in the first place. Take a look at these stats:
- Podcasting is growing rapidly. In 2018, there were 550,000 podcasts and 18.5 million episodes. In 2019, the number has jumped to 750,000 podcasts and 30 million episodes.
- 51% of the U.S. population, or 144 million people, have listened to a podcast. 32% of them, or about 90 million folks, listen on a monthly basis.
- Those who listen to podcasts are much more likely to earn $75,000 a year, placing them in the top 29% of American earners.
What do these stats tell us? That podcasting is popular and a fast-growing content type. But unlike other content channels, it’s not yet oversaturated. The numbers also inform us that many podcast listeners are affluent and have money to spend.
Start Your Podcast in 7 Simple Steps
Okay, you’re ready to start your very own podcast and just need to learn how. We’re here for you! The six steps below will give you a solid understanding of what it takes to start and run a successful podcast. Follow them and you’ll be well on your way to podcasting success.
1. Get the Basics Down
Before you record a single word, you need to get a few basics down first. By answering these six questions, you’ll ensure your podcast is set up for success from the very beginning.
What Will You Talk About?
What topic will your podcast talk about? For example, you could cover marketing best practices, sports teams in your hometown, or pop culture, just to name a few ideas.
If you already have a business that you want to promote via your podcast then your topic needs to be related to your company. If, on the other hand, your podcast is your business, you have more freedom in this area. The key is finding a topic that you can commit to and doing research to make sure there’s a viable audience for that kind of content.
Who Is Your Audience?
Speaking of your audience, who are they? The more you know about them, the more effective and well-received your content will be.
Imagine your target audience is fitness enthusiasts; people who love the gym and are looking for expert tips on how to better sculpt their physiques. You probably wouldn’t want to create a podcast about losing weight. Your audience is already fit and this kind of content just wouldn’t appeal to them.
So make sure you understand your target market before you start recording podcast episodes.
How Long Will Episodes Be?
Next, you’ll want to choose an episode length to shoot for. Do you plan to record short episodes that your audience can consume quickly? Or do you really want to dive deep into different subjects and create longer episodes?
The right answer for your podcast depends on your content and your audience. Can the topics you’ll be talking about be covered in less than 15 minutes? And does your audience have the patience to sit around for upwards of an hour to listen to you speak? You’ll need to decide that for yourself, but in general, 20 – 45 minutes is a good length.
When Will You Release New Episodes?
Let’s talk about timing. Will you release a new podcast episode every day, once a week, twice monthly? The perfect schedule for you is whatever you can commit to. If you’re really busy and can only carve out time for one episode a month, go with that. You can always increase your frequency down the road.
The more often you can create content the better. But don’t promise your audience episodes every day if you can’t realistically stick to that schedule. You’ll end up looking like a flake and your audience will dwindle because of it.
What Format Will You Use?
Format refers to the way your podcast episodes are presented. For instance, you can go with a solo format where you simply talk into the microphone about a specific subject and then publish the result. You can also do an interview style show where you invite guests and have a conversation with them.
Other formats include co-hosted shows, docudramas, and roundtable discussions. Choose the format that best serves your chosen topic and the audience you plan to serve.
What Will You Call Your Podcast?
Once you have answers to the previous five questions, you can determine the name of your podcast. We recommend tackling this question towards the end because the other questions may affect it. For example, you wouldn’t want to call your podcast “Mike and Marty Teach Marketing” if Marty had to drop out of the project for personal reasons and you’re now doing a solo show rather than a co-hosted one.
When choosing a name, make it catchy but easy to remember. If possible, include a few keywords in the title to help new audience members find your show.
What Will Your Show Artwork Look Like?
Finally, you need to either design your show artwork or have it designed by someone with those skills. This is an important piece of the podcasting puzzle! If your artwork looks professional and appealing, more people will click on it to listen.
So take your time and invest some money if needed to get this element right. Also, make sure the artwork size is at least 1400×1400 and no larger than 2048×2048. If you need to hire design help but don’t have any personal contacts in that area, look to Fiverr or Upwork.
After you’ve answered these seven questions you can move onto the next step, which is “Invest in the Right Gear.” Let’s talk about that…
2. Invest in the Right Gear
Once you have the basics down, it’s time to invest in the right gear. This is an exciting time! But don’t get too carried away and spend thousands of dollars on top-notch equipment unless you have the budget for it. You can still create high-quality podcasts with basic gear.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A Computer: We’re assuming you already have one of those, right? But make sure you have a solid machine that’s up to the task of recording and editing audio.
- A Microphone: There are A LOT of mic options out there, some of them cost thousands of dollars. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a huge budget, we suggest a quality USB mic like the Blue Yeti, or Samson Go Mic.
- Recording and Editing Software: Lastly, you need a software program to capture and edit your audio. For the budget-minded, free apps like Audacity and Garageband (Mac only) work well. If you have a little cash to spend, take a look at Adobe Audition.
While not completely necessary, we also suggest investing in a good pair of headphones, a pop filter, and a piece of call recording software (if you plan to host interviews via the phone.)
3. Record Your Episodes
The moment has finally come: it’s time to start recording your podcast episodes! We won’t get into the technical details of how to do this because that completely depends on the gear you’re using. BUT, we do have a few tips for you to keep in mind as you record:
- Script Your Show: Unless completely off the cuff conversation is your schtick, we definitely recommend scripting your podcast episodes to some degree. You don’t necessarily need to write out every word you plan to say (though you can if you want to), but you should at least have an outline to follow before you start recording.
- Don’t Worry About Mistakes: You’re not producing live episodes. After you’re done recording, you’ll have the chance to edit your content and make sure that it flows well, your voice is always audible, and the information you shared makes sense.
- Be Confident: We understand if you’re a little nervous recording your first podcast episode. It can be nerve wracking at the beginning! But, if you think about it, it’s not a big deal at all. Like we just said, you can always edit out any mistakes you happen to make. So speak with confidence and have fun with it.
The more podcast episodes you record the better you’ll get and the more comfortable you’ll become. So don’t give up if you’re not happy with your first few episodes. Keep at it and you will improve, we promise.
4. Distribute Your Content
Once your podcast episodes are recorded and edited to perfection, it’s time to distribute them to the various podcast directories. These include iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. But contrary to popular belief, you can’t simply upload your content to these platforms directly. You need to go through a separate service, known as a media host.
Once you create your account with a media host and fill in the details regarding your podcast (it’s name, description, category, cover art, etc.), you’ll be able to start uploading episodes. When your content has been uploaded, you’ll be given an RSS feed which you can then submit to channels like iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
We should also mention that if you don’t need to use a third-party service such as Buzzsprout if you just want to host your podcast episodes on your own website, but it’s still recommended.
5. Market Your Podcast
At this point, you’ve nailed down the basics for your podcast, invested in some gear, recorded a few episodes, and distributed them to directories like iTunes and Spotify. Congrats, you’ve come a long way and should be proud of your work so far!
But podcasting will only benefit you and/or your company if your content is actually listened to by your target audience. And unless you get extremely lucky, no one will listen to your episodes unless you market them effectively.
Here are our suggestions regarding podcast marketing:
Make Your Launch an Event
Don’t just upload your episodes to podcasting directories and then kick back and relax. Make the launch of your show an event! How? By telling people about it and asking them to listen immediately after your episodes go live. This will help you build momentum and may even get your show added to the “New and Noteworthy” page on iTunes and similar pages on other directories.
Use Traditional Marketing Channels
Email, social media, SEO tactics, and paid advertising are wonderful ways to promote a business and its products. They can also be used to market a new podcast. If your company already has an email list and social followings, let them know about your new show. If not, reach out to your personal contacts and ask them to listen.
To help your podcast gain popularity and reach more people, encourage your current listeners to both subscribe to your show and give it a review. This will boost listens and help others find your show as they scroll through iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. We even suggest rewarding listeners who do this for you. Prizes can include shoutouts on future shows, free products from your company, or anything else that your audience may find appealing.
We mentioned it earlier but consistency is essential when it comes to podcasting. If you aren’t putting out new content on a regular basis, you’re going to have a really hard time building a following. So do your best to publish new episodes regularly and market each of them via your email list, social media channels, and paid advertising (if you have the funds to take advantage of this marketing channel.)
Take on Sponsorships
Finally, once your podcast has gained a following, you can begin to take on sponsorships. This is a great way to make money from your podcast. But it’s also a fantastic marketing channel. You can work out an agreement with the sponsor that ensures they’ll promote your show to their own followings in exchange for marketing their products or services in your episodes.
There are plenty of other ways to market your podcasts, but the five suggestions below have been proven to work and will get you started.
6. Analyze and Optimize
The final step to producing a successful podcast is to analyze your results and optimize for the future. What can you do more of or change about your show to secure more listeners?
After publishing a few episodes, for example, you may learn that your audience loves your content but hates your show’s cover art. Or that listeners tend to drop out after the 30 minute mark. Or that an interview-style show is better received than other formats. If so, you can look at changing your show’s artwork, producing shorter episodes, or changing your content’s format to better suit listener interests.
The key is to always look for ways to improve. When you find them, act on them! The better your show is, the bigger fan base you’ll build, and the more money you’ll be able to make.
Start Your Podcast Today
Podcasts are an increasingly effective content type. You can use them to help market your company and its products or create an entire business based on your episodes. Whichever route you choose, just make sure to follow the six tips we outlined in this article:
- Get the Basics Down
- Invest in the Right Gear
- Record Your Episodes
- Distribute Your Content
- Market Your Podcast
- Analyze and Optimize
And if you’re looking for a convenient way to store and organize all the audio for your podcast episodes as well as the show artwork, we recommend CleanPix. Our digital asset management platform is powerful, intuitive, and loved by our many users. Try it for free today!– Jacob Thomas