Sure, podcasts may not necessarily receive as much attention as videos when it comes to marketing tools. But what you may not realize is that is quickly changing with the exponential rise of the podcast in recent years.
After all, there is nothing more convincing than the human voice.
It is imperative that businesses produce content as widely as possible and the podcast is one type of content to accomplish that goal.
The podcast, the name of which is a melting pot of both Apple’s “iPod” and “broadcast,” came into existence in the early 2000s. It is similar to radio, but there are some differences that separate the two. It is easiest to think of a podcast as an audio show.
More technically, it is a set of digital audio files that your audience downloads. A main difference between a podcast and radio is that your audience can subscribe to your podcast and tune in at a time that is convenient to them rather than listening to it live.
The fact that they can do this on their mobile phone is part of the reason why podcasts have become so popular.
What Podcasting Can Do For Your Business
So, what can producing a podcast do for your business? The benefits of podcasting are many, particularly when it comes to podcasting for your personal brand.
First of all, podcasts allow you to build your authority as a business and spread your knowledge in a way that allows people to connect with you. Brands are built upon this very connection and the results are immense in terms of conversion.
Secondly, podcasts provide you with a lot of exposure, allowing you to attract a specialized niche audience that is interested in your content and, by extension, the services and products that your business offers.
Indeed, podcasts translate into real engagement. One survey of 300,000 podcast listeners found that 63% of them went on to buy a product mentioned by the podcaster.
It is also a great way to tie together all of your marketing efforts. For example, you could use it as an opportunity to discuss your recent blog posts or to speak about your social media platforms.
Unlike other mediums, the podcast also allows you to keep people’s attention for an extended period of time, which translates into an impact that withstands the test of time. Video is usually hailed as highly compelling, but podcasts are compelling as well – they are just different.
When considering the benefits of the podcast, it would be remiss to not include a mention of the convenience of the podcast form, another element that other mediums can’t offer.
Podcasting allows your audience to consume your content while on the go, like while commuting to work or while out for a walk without require their absolute full attention.
This is why you should podcast.
At this point, you are probably wondering how to make a podcast. Perhaps you are overwhelmed just thinking about it. The thing about a podcast is that it is relatively easy to do – probably much easier than you think.
How To Start A Podcast
When it comes to how to create a podcast, all you need to have is a microphone, a set of headphones and an Internet connection. The recommended software to edit your audio is free. All of this combined makes the podcast quite inexpensive to produce.
It does require a few technical skills (particularly when it comes to embedding the podcast into your website), but once you have set everything up, producing a podcast is quite seamless. Some may even call it easy.
Once you have your equipment, you could create a podcast in under two hours. There are a lot of great tutorials out there and we have combined them to create the most extensive guide on how to start a podcast, breaking it down step by step. Think of it as a “how to podcast” kind of tutorial.
STEP 1: Podcasting Equipment And Software
The first step when it comes to how to start a podcast is to have your equipment and software in place. As we’ve mentioned, all that really means is a microphone and a set of headphones. The recommended software is free.
Now, the most important thing we can tell you is that the sound quality of your audio is very important. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to purchase the most expensive microphone on the market (although, that is certainly an option).
Here is a list of the equipment and software you will need and some of the best options to accommodate every budget.
We cannot say it enough: sound quality is key. People will simply move on otherwise. Great sound begins with your microphone. A great option for those just starting out is the Blue Snowflake ($65).
Even with a cheaper microphone, you can still achieve great sound quality once you edit your audio with the software we will mention below.
A mid-level and yet higher quality microphone option would be the Audio-Technica ATR2100 USB ($100).
A top of the line microphone that many people use is the HEIL PR40. One benefit is the ability to remove background noise. This microphone retails for around $300.
However, if you don’t want to go all out on an expensive mic at the beginning but you are willing to spend a little bit more, a cheaper alternative to the most top of the line mic is the Rode Podcaster which retails at $250.
If you want to get the best sound quality possible, here are some additional accessories you could purchase that, while they aren’t necessary, will certainly create great sound quality: a pop filter and a shock mat.
Lastly, a digital audio recorder is not necessary, but if you think you will be producing podcasts for the long haul, this will ensure that you don’t lose your content in the event that your computer crashes and you experience a loss of data.
After you have recorded your audio, you will need to edit it. When it comes to free software, the most highly recommended options are:
Audacity (Mac and Windows Users)
In addition to Audacity, you will also want to download Chris’s Dynamic Compressor Plugin.
GarageBand (Mac Users Only)
GarageBand is relatively easy to use with its drag and drop style.
To interview someone on your podcast, you will also need to invest in the following software.
Call Recorder for Skype (Mac Users)
Pamela for Skype (Windows Users)
Keep in mind that when recording someone, recording in a carpeted room is ideal because the carpet will absorb the sounds and prevent echo. Also ensure that you turn off all diegetic sounds, including the fan, heater or air conditioner.
Ensure that your speakers are off and your headphones are on when recording an interview.
STEP 2: PODCAST CONTENT & FORMATS
Now that you have equipment and software in place, it is time to actually record your podcast. When it comes to podcasting for your business, your content is key.
It is easy to be a podcaster once you have a certain structure in place.
One of the most common questions regarding podcasting is how long each podcast should be. Some podcasts are between three and five minutes while others can be as long as an hour. There is no magic number when it comes to length.
How long it takes you to share your content will determine your length, which will vary for everyone. The key is to make the lengths of your podcast consistent so that your audience knows what to expect.
If your podcasts are longer than 45 minutes, however, it is a good idea to break up your podcast into segments as this gives your audience time to collect themselves. One way to create these segments is to include a bit of music between each one.
One of the most popular types of formats when it comes to podcasting is the interview-based podcast, which adds a lot of interest to your podcast. Then, there are solo podcasts, which are easier to produce. Multi-host your podcast for a more conversational feel, even!
A video podcast offers the unique benefits of podcasting in combination with the highly engaging form of video. Another option is a question and answer kind of format.
The Structure of your Podcast: What to Say
It’s a great idea to provide a structure to your podcast for the same reason that keeping your podcasts a consistent length is: your audience knows what to expect. The structure below will guide you on how to fill the space your podcast.
This is how to do a podcast the right way.
A Brief Sentence About Who You Are + Episode #
You could add a bit of music between this and the overview of your content.
*Important Tip: It is absolutely imperative that all of your music is royalty free, which means that you have permission to use it or that it is not under copyright.
An Overview (1 minute in length)
An overview where you provide your audience with a brief glance at what you will cover in your podcast is a very good idea. It is a great way to keep your audience interested.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the balance between wanting to establish a connection to your audience by sharing personal information while still delivering informative content.
First, you do want to get to the bulk of your content as soon as possible. However, it is still important to share a few small pieces of personal information about yourself, either at the beginning of the podcast or throughout.
The key, however, is to keep the personal information brief. In mastering this balance, use common sense.
The Bulk of Your Content
After you’ve introduced yourself and provided a brief overview or summary of what you will cover in your podcast, it is time to get into the bulk of your content. Content is, of course, very important.
Outro: Call to Action
The final step in your podcast is the outro. Do not overlook this as it will remain with your audience after the actual podcast has ended. It is very important to include a “call to action.”
This could be something like suggesting that your audience follows you on Instagram, Twitter, etc. Make this “call to action” different every time.
Also direct your audience to your blog. (You could also remind them to check out your blog at a few different points during the podcast itself).
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when recording your content so that your sound quality is as good as it could possibly be:
- Keep your mouth a consistent distance from the mic throughout the podcast to ensure that the sound level does not change throughout.
- Do not record in the red. While you want to get as close as possible to the red area (this will produce the best sound possible), it is imperative to avoid actually entering into it.
STEP 3: Exporting And Tagging Your MP3 File
Once you have edited your podcast, you will need to export your podcast and tag it. First, export your podcast as an MP3 file. Next, tag it (this is also referred to as editing your ID3 tags).
The purpose of this is to provide various audio players with specific information about your podcast, such as the episode name, etc. Here are some tips when it comes to ID3 tags:
- When naming your podcast, ensure that you use a lot of keywords.
- Artwork is very important as this is part of what will attract people to your podcast. Always follow the guidelines set forth by iTunes since this is by far the most popular directory.
For example, ensure that your image is 1400×1400 pixels. Also, avoid including text in your artwork because it can become unreadable on things like iTunes.
STEP 4: Web And Media Hosting
Now that you have exported your MP3 file, where do you save it? In short, you have two options: your web host (such as directly on your blog server) or a media host.
The best option is to use a media host. Keep in mind that your audience can still access your podcast from your blog even if you go with a media host. The reason why this option is better is that it won’t consume your bandwidth and cause your website to crash.
When choosing a media host, you have a few different options. A great one is Libsyn.com, which charges a flat fee as opposed to charging you by the gigabyte.
What is also great about Libsyn is that it gives you unlimited bandwidth. This means that as your podcast audience grows, you do not have to spend additional funds to grow alongside it.
STEP 5: Set Up Your RSS Feed And Publish
At this point, you are almost on your way to being able to publish your first podcast. While setting up your RSS feed requires a little bit of technical skill, you will only have to do it once.
So, what is an RSS feed and why do you need it? You need this in order to submit your podcast to iTunes, Stitcher Radio and any other directories. This can be thought of as an informational file regarding your podcast, which will include things like a list of your most recent episodes.
However, you do not want to submit your podcast to iTunes and other distributors until you have published at least five podcasts on your website (we will cover more on this below). This is very important.
The easiest way to create an RSS feed is with a plugin that is designed to host your podcast on your blog. A highly recommended option is the Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin.
Once you have installed the plugin, don’t forget to add information to the “iTunes Program keywords” section (this will be in the settings category). This is very important because it will allow people to find your podcast more readily when they are searching for podcasts to listen to.
Now, you can go ahead and publish your first podcast, which is similar to posting a regular blog post. When it comes to your podcast, here are some good things to include:
- An image (this will make people share your content more readily)
- Information regarding the content of the podcast
- A “What You Will Learn” section
- Resources (links mentioned during the podcast, etc.).
STEP 6: LAUNCHING YOUR PODCAST
As we mentioned above, do not submit your RSS feed to iTunes until you have published a minimum of five podcasts.
Having more podcasts in your repertoire will equal more downloads and ideally more subscriptions and reviews. These three things are key to being listed in the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes, which will garner a lot of exposure for your business and brand.
To maximize the number of downloads as much as possible, you should aim to post two episodes a week for a period of eight weeks. Eight weeks is the amount of time that iTunes will include you in their New and Noteworthy section, which is why this period of time is crucial.
Here are a few additional ways to promote your podcast: use your e-mail subscription list to inform your readers of your new podcast. You could also collaborate with businesses by offering them free advertising.
As you can see, there are many benefits of starting a podcast. Podcasting for your business can take your marketing efforts to new heights.