When many of us found extra time on our hands during the spring 2020 lockdown, perhaps moreso during the current one, it’s no surprise that projects we’ve been toying with for years, such as starting a podcast, have suddenly become viable activities.
Podcasting is growing quickly as a publishing platform and a quick Google search will produce lots of results about the practicalities of getting started. Apple even have their own Podcast support page to help you understand more.
But, before you dive right in and start recording your first podcast, we’ve got a few things for you to think about (read on to the end and find out the biggest secret to successful podcasting).
Why are you starting a podcast?
It may be that you just want to have a personal hobby project which is completely separate from your business – although even then, you should understand your reasons why to help you stay motivated when difficulty strikes.
However, when it comes to podcasting for your business, you’ll need to treat it like any other form of content marketing. Podcasting is a great way to build authority, demonstrate your expertise, build connections and entertain your potential customers, which is all good, if that’s where they like to hang out.
So, before investing too much of your time, do a little market research and also answer the following questions:
- What’s the purpose of your podcast?
What are you looking to achieve?
- What will you be talking about?
- What value are you adding?
Who is your podcast for?
Unless you’re clear on who you’re producing your podcast for, you’ll find it very difficult to grow an audience.
People need a reason to listen, which means giving them content which they’ll find interesting, useful or entertaining. It could be helpful to create a listener profile to use when planning new episodes. By asking yourself whether your proposed topic is something which your listener profile would enjoy or find interesting, you can ensure that you’re recording valuable content which keeps them coming back for more.
Unless you already have an audience lined up, you’ll start off talking to a void but if you continue providing people with a reason to listen, you’ll have them coming back for more. One tip is to plan a list of topics before you even get near a recording device.
Do your research
The author Stephen King said, “if you want to be a writer, you must read” and the same is true with podcasting. Listen to other podcasts and note:
- What you like about them
- How they’re structured
- How they’re presented
- What elements you can bring to your own podcast
It’s also useful to speak with more established podcasters as you’ll often find them willing to pass on helpful information. However, remember that they may have spent years honing their craft so be sure not to compare yourself to them
What format will your podcast follow?
The first thing to consider is whether your podcast format will be a solo host (you talk all the time about a specific topic), a co-host (either a colleague or complementary business) or an interview (where you speak to a series of other people).
Each have their own advantages and disadvantages:
- The solo host is the simplest format with the least pressure. You have complete control over the topic and can re-record parts where you’re not happy. However, listening to just one voice can be monotonous and you could become stale and run out of things to say.
- The co-host podcast can be really fun if you click with each other but remember that the conversation still needs to have some structure. Having one person as the main host will also help to make things run more smoothly. One disadvantage to co-hosting is that recording and editing an additional voice makes things more complicated.
- Recording interviews will give you some interesting content to share with your listeners, but lining people up and arranging the actual interview can be lots of work. Interviewing can also be difficult if you’re not a natural, plus there are the additional recording and editing issues as before.
Another consideration is how long your podcast episodes should last. To some extent, your content will determine this (it’s a mistake to waffle just to hit a specific time). Having said that, it is useful to let your listeners know the average length of time they can expect to be listening to your episodes.
When it comes to the frequency of new episodes, consider what you can stick with on a regular basis. If you can only manage once a month, it’s better to produce 12 really great episodes a year than 52 fairly average ones.
Recording your podcast
Before getting too hung up on buying the best equipment, remember that you can start your podcast by doing a simple recording on your phone or Zoom.
We spoke to Business Village tenant Natalie Jackson from Totally Runable who started a podcast earlier this year. Her first episode was an interview with sports journalist Carrie Dunn, recorded on Zoom and uploaded to You Tube. They had some great social media feedback about the episode and have decided to continue with a series of role model interviews to be released next year. Whist they are now introducing more technology, her recommendation for anyone interested in podcasting is to just get started and press record.
Craig Burgess from Genius Division hosts several personal podcasts. He reiterates that people shouldn’t get too hung up on technology but stresses that individual voices should play at the same volume level to make it easier for audiences to listen. By recording the voices on separate audio tracks, the voice levels can be matched and faded in/out during editing.
Editing and sharing your podcast
With your raw recording completed, you’ll want to hit the editing studio. Mac users will have GarageBand already installed, but Audacity is a free of charge audio editing software which can be used on both Windows and Mac computers.
You can also check out a free podcast launch accelerator from our good friends at Podcast Success Academy on this link
You may think that a file link on your own website is the simplest method to share your edited podcast, but caution is needed, especially as podcasts utilise RSS and can’t be shared via a link on your own website. You could look for a podcast host, they will both host and share your podcast to platforms such as Apple, Spotify and Google. You could use Anchor.FM or check out Captivate.FM based in Sheffield and run by Mark Asquith who is hosting our first podcasting workshop for The Business Village on February 17th, you can reserve your FREE seat here
In summary, if you have an idea for a podcast, take a step back and consider the basics before getting started. Podcasting for your business is just another form of content marketing and you need to do your research to make sure that you get a return on your investment.
Whilst podcasting can be as simple as pressing record on your phone or a Zoom conversation, using a little technology can make the finished result more polished and give your listeners a better experience.
And the biggest successful podcasting secret? Learning how to make the content of your podcast interesting to others!
Massive thanks to the following people who gave their time and knowledge during the research of this blog post:
Craig Burgess, Genius Division
Natalie Jackson, Totally Runable
Mark Asquith, Rebel Base Media