Running a podcast is a great way to promote your brand. But it requires pre-planning to get it right.
Before you start your own podcast, make sure to follow these six steps:
- Create Your Concept
- Set Up a Studio
- Practice, Practice, Practice – Then Record
- Choose the Host With the Most
- Don’t Stop Promoting…
If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, you’re in good company. In 2018, there are estimated to be over half a million active podcasts and over 18 million episodes.
In a media-saturated world, podcasts offer something different. They’re conveniently portable for listeners who are on the go or engaged in another activity (like driving or cleaning). Podcasts build a sense of intimacy and trust between the host and listener. And this type of ‘conversational marketing’ is clearly working, as 70% of listeners say that the products and services they hear about on podcasts are relevant to their interests.
If you’re thinking about shaking up your marketing mix by starting your own podcast, we’re the first to say: go for it! If you’re starting a podcast, there’s a whole lot of aspects you need to plan and consider – be it content, the technical side of recording and distributing, how to build an audience, and much more.
So let’s get this show rolling with six important steps that will get you started:
1) Create Your Concept
Podcasts cover every subject under the sun! Unless you are an expert on an extremely niche topic, you’re likely joining a very competitive playing field. Your task is creating a podcast that is a bit different or unique, where your personality, passion and perspective can shine. Take your podcast subject and give it a twist that will make it stand out and draw in the listeners.
Just as important, you’ll need to define your target audience. Who would be interested in your podcast and why? What age group are they, and where are they located? Search for podcasts similar to yours, and listen to what they are doing. How can you do it differently, or better?
2) Set Up a Studio
For first time podcasters, it may come as a shock that you can’t just fire up your laptop and record into your headset. A good podcast needs good audio equipment to achieve a professional sound quality that will be easy to listen to.
The best content in the world won’t be heard by anyone if it’s too faint, too loud, cuts out all the time, or has constant background noise. However, there’s no need to break the bank on podcasting equipment. Check out this comprehensive rundown of the equipment you need.
For example, if you’re planning a smaller, modest podcast, you may be able to compromise on sound quality by recording on your iPhone with a compatible plug-in microphone. Sketch out your needs, your desired results, and your budget – then you’ll know how best to equip your studio.
When you’re just starting out, it can take time to become familiar with the rhythm of podcasting. Especially if you’ve never done anything like it before, the act of speaking to an audience, getting the pace flowing, and using an engaging delivery style can be a challenge.
For this reason, it’s best at first to work off a thoroughly devised script. Later, once you’ve found your feet and feel more confident, you can start ad-libbing, and give some freedom to your podcast. But for now, start writing a solid script that will cover your podcast from start to finish, and won’t leave you hanging on air.
When developing your script, remember: A good podcast has much in common with a great conversation – albeit one-sided. Use stories and personal examples to craft important points. Make sure your points are always relevant or applicable to your audience.
You can even incorporate interviews, or work with a co-host to create fresh, interesting dialogue.
4) Practice, Practice, Practice – Then Record.
So your script is perfect and you’re ready to record! Not so fast…
Just like you’d never go live with a webinar without a few dry runs – you can’t record your podcast until you’ve practiced, practiced and practiced some more. Particularly for the first few episodes, until you’ve become accustomed to the process of recording – both the technical side and the presenting side – the more you practice, the easier it will be when the RECORD light is on.
During your practice runs, test out different speaking styles and tempos. Keep it natural, as if you are speaking with a friend. No one wants to hear a boring monotone voice. On the other hand, don’t make it too sing-song style – that can be annoying and doesn’t sound very professional.
If you’re going with theme music, try out a few styles and see how they blend in with the feeling you are trying to create. Most importantly, take your time. It’s better to spend more time practicing and building your confidence now, to save you headaches in the recording studio.
5) Choose the Host With the Most
Now that you’ve got audio files of your podcast, you need to choose a hosting service to store and present your podcasts to the world. There are many podcast hosting services available, ranging from free hosting to paid services. You can see a pretty comprehensive list of podcast hosting options in this helpful post.
Each hosting service has varying features and benefits, so you’ll need to do a bit of research to see which one is the best fit for you and your budget.
Keep in mind that an RSS feed is really important for your podcast. An RSS feed enables your listeners to subscribe to your podcast and instantly receive new episodes when you release them. You may want to use a hosting service that will create a podcast RSS feed for you; most of the best podcast hosts do offer this feature.
If your hosting service doesn’t do it for you, you can create your own podcast RSS feed.
6) Don’t Stop Promoting…
Now that you’ve got an active podcast, you’re going to need to promote it nonstop. But before you do, you’ll need to come up with a killer title and cover artwork that reflects the personality and uniqueness of your podcast.
Once you’ve got that down pat, you’re ready to promote. There are a few ways you can do this. Firstly, you’ll need to promote it on iTunes and Google Play Store. Any professional podcast needs its own website. The website is the face the podcast presents to the world. It can include your podcast episodes, a blog, more information about you, your business, products and services, a comments feature for your listeners, and much more. Other great ways to promote your podcast are via social media and content discovery platforms.
Podcasting is no overnight task. If you’re not very technically savvy, the audio recording and hosting aspects may seem the most daunting. But in fact, if you follow a few clear steps, you’ll get the hang of these in no time.
The true challenge when it comes to podcasting is finding your niche, focusing on a subject in a way that’s never been done before, and creating an individual voice that listeners will relate to and want to come back to again and again.
Once you’ve got mastered that, you’ll be well on your way to starting your own podcast.