More and more online publishers are using podcasts as a way to broaden their business, reach out to new listeners, and grow their brand. With nearly 68 million Americans listening to podcasts on a monthly basis, podcasts are a content strategy with incredible growth potential. Whether you want to use a podcast to push traffic to another content platform or you want to use it as another stream of income, it’s a savvy way to expand your brand right now.
There are several aspects to starting a podcast, and several considerations you will want to make before you begin.
Determine your topic and niche
Unless you are a celebrity or have a huge loyal following, you will likely need a hook that will attract listeners to your podcast. Most likely, you will want your podcast to represent your other online platforms. For example, if you write a blog about low-carb eating, you will likely want your podcast to be in this vein. If you write a fashion blog, you will likely want to podcast about fashion. However, you also want to research what podcasts are already finding success in your niche and find a way you will differentiate yours.
Become a podcast researcher
If it’s not something you already do, you need to listen to podcasts on a regular basis. In any business and any creative endeavor, it’s wise to know what success looks like and what elements come together to make a podcast work well. Listen to podcasts in your own genre, but also listen across genres. Make notes about what works and what common denominators are present in large-platform podcasts. Pay attention to formatting, how they do ads, and production values. Listening to other podcasts is your crash-course education in what works and what doesn’t.
Decide on your format
Most likely, you will either want to have a co-host or do an interview format. It’s not impossible but it is very difficult to do a podcast as one person. Generally, the conversation helps keep the energy up and keeps it from sounding like a monologue. You will also want to consider whether or not your show is scripted or spontaneous. Again, listening to other podcasts will help you determine what style fits with your topics and also your own personality.
Invest in a good microphone
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to start a podcast but a good mic and headphones are a must. You do not want to be using your computer’s ambient microphone or your headphone mic. You can get a great podcasting mic from Amazon from between $100-300.
Consider who will edit the podcast
Most likely, you will make a few blunders each episode that need to be edited out. Plus, to really sound like a polished podcast, you will want a static introduction and some music at the beginning and end of each episode. You will need some basic editing skills to do this or you could also outsource to a podcast editor. You can usually use basic editing programs like Audacity or Garage Band.
Determine how you will publish the podcast
In most cases, you will want to make sure it is served on all of the major podcast platforms, like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts. There are a number of professional podcast hosting companies that can do this for you for a nominal fee, such as Blubrry, Podbean, Buzzsprout, and Podomatic.
Create a website or channel to host your show notes and episodes
If you already have a blog, you may just want to create a channel within your blog. On the other hand, if you have a co-host or want it to be a separate website, you will want to create a new site. Create a new post for each new episode that has a catchy title and a brief description, as well as links to any products you discussed in each episode.
Develop a monetization plan
For most beginners, there will be a growth period where you may not make much money. But you do want to have goals and a game-plan for the future. Once you have reached a couple thousand listeners per episode, you can begin to shop with ad networks to try to secure ads during your show. Typically, podcast ads are written collaboratively between the brand and podcast host and read by the podcast host.
Develop a promotion strategy
You need to have a clear plan for capturing listeners. If you are already an online influencer, this will likely look like promoting to your current audience. You can also look into strategies like trading interview spots with other podcasters, trading ad space with other podcasters, or boosting or promoting links to your podcast on Instagram or Facebook.
Create an editorial calendar
You want to determine how often you podcast (weekly is typical) and be a couple weeks ahead of your schedule. You want to decide where and when you record, keeping in mind that you will want to have your podcast finished about two days prior to going live.
It’s going to be a learning curve, but the best way to start is to just get going!