When it comes to content creation, we're not just exclusively about videos. Video content is definitely at the heart of everything that we do but we know that with any content strategy, to cover all your bases and extend your reach, business owners must consider a multichannel approach. Beyond the visual mediums, the next best thing is audio, specifically, podcasting.
A podcast is an audio series shared online and accessible by streaming or downloading the file onto a user's device. A podcast can also be described as an audio version of a TV series. The theme or topic generally ranges between 20-60 minutes but it can be longer. What makes a podcast different to a TV series is that in most cases, a podcast will be led by a host who narrates the story or guides the listener through an episode.
If you're thinking about starting a podcast in the near future, we've whipped up this quick guide with keynotes and questions to help you plan and get it going.
What equipment do I need to record my podcast?
Surprisingly, it doesn't require much at all. At the bare minimum, you could use the voice memo app on your iPhone or even record your audio via Zoom. Similar to video production, you can get away with DIY'ing the production but remember that the user experience is key to keeping your audience engaged. If the sound quality is poor, people may not be too excited for the next episode. If you have access to a bigger budget and high-quality equipment, here are the essentials to get:
A microphone - As mentioned above, you can get away with your mobile or computer's in-built microphone but the optimise the sound quality, an XLR or USB mic will always be better. To level up from that, a condenser mic would be best.
Headphones - It's just as important to listen to the production during and after to monitor the levels and detect abnormal sounds to edit it out. If you can, get a noise-cancelling headphone
A soundproof room - Big rooms without soundproof will generally create echoes. You want a room that keeps ambient noises at a minimum as to not distract listeners.
Editing software - After recording your episode, there are elements like music, intros, outros and even ad spots that will need to be edited into the episode. Our go-to software is Adobe Audition because we already use the full Adobe Creative Suite but if you're looking for something free and user-friendly, Audacity is also a good option.
Subscription to a hosting platform - To give your podcast the best opportunity to reach the masses, you need a reliable hosting platform to help you do that. See the next point on how.
How to publish my podcast?
You need to find a podcast platform to host and distribute your series to all the popular publishers like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The host platforms we recommend include Buzzsprout, PodBean and Casted. After signing up to one of these platforms, you upload your audio file, an RSS feed is created and your episodes are distributed to the publishers.
How to start a podcast
1. What will you talk about?
The content makes the podcast. So what is the idea? What is the topic or theme you will cover or uncover? Where can you be of value?
Select a theme that you are curious about, knowledgeable in or that you are passionate about. Having a genuine interest in the subject area will provide you with opportunities to learn more, investigate further and be proactive in providing incredibly valuable content.
Here are some important questions Hubspot has suggested you think about when planning:
Has this been covered before in another podcast? If so, is there another angle I can take?
Is this idea relevant and timely?
Is there an audience for this? If so, what type of listeners will it attract?
Is there enough content to create a season?
Podcasting is easy to get started but it's not easy to maintain. To create a podcast that connects with people and build a meaningful community from it has to have longevity and that can be challenging over time. To build a relationship with your listeners over time, you need to show up consistently and put in the effort.
2. Your show format
Will it be an interview or will it be storytelling? Will you have guests or will you be driving the episode all the way through?
Brainstorm your segments and how you want it to play out. Remember that you need to keep it interesting, exciting and intriguing to keep your audience engaged and on their toes.
3. Record and edit
Once you've got a good plan on what your episode format looks like, you are ready to record your first episode. Don't worry too much about the little imperfections of this recording. If it gives you more comfort, do it in segments so that you can make adjustments as you go (as long as it doesn't interrupt your flow). There will always be something that you wish you said or hadn't said but that's okay. Take notes and be ready to comment on them in the next episode if you want to. In these early stages of your podcast recordings, ask people for feedback and know that worst case, you always have your next recording to improve on.
4. Develop your creative content
A list of content items you need to have ready upon launching:
A short blurb or description about your podcast
Social media profiles
Secure social handles
Social media images: display profile, cover image, podcast image
A website or blog
5. Marketing strategy
People will not listen to your podcast if they don't know it exists. This is why you need to develop a promotion strategy to ensure it gets in front of your ideal audience. The promotion should start even before your first episode goes live. You want to start building hype around your show and launch with a strong listenership. Sharing on platforms you already have a presence is a great way to get it going. If you already have a database or newsletter with a captive audience, utilise those channels to promote your podcast.
Get creative and find new ways to give people a sneak peek into your podcast to entice people to listen to the whole episode.
As you build traction, ask your audience to download, rate and review your podcast to further boost and promote your show across all distribution platforms. It's the most effective way to give your podcast a chance to be seen and heard more.
6. Distribute & Metrics
Who do you know in your network that you can potentially lean on to feature on the show? Are there interest groups on Facebook or LinkedIn you can join to post and share about your new project to? Keep this in mind for when you're ready to push and showcase your podcast series to more people.
Consistently track and monitor the performance of your podcast. Understand which episodes received the most downloads, the most subscribers, what topics were people more engaged with, what's the average listening time, how many unique page views did you get to the podcast page. The more you know, the greater insight you will have to inform you on your next strategy for future episodes.
7. Monetise Your Podcast
Whether or not your intention is to earn an income on your podcast, the truth is, it would be nice if you did wouldn't it?
Sponsorship or partnerships from other brands and businesses is a great way for you to monetise your podcast. This may happen through pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads or affiliate marketing. For any of this to happen, you'll have to actively engage with brands, pitch your podcast and the benefits of partnering with you. Once you've launched and grown a captive audience, the pitch will be easy than you think.
Another way people make money through podcasting is to offer bonus content through exclusive fan memberships, Patreon and/or Stitcher Premium. An example of this is to offer an extended version or segments of your episode in a video format.
Alternatively, you can also maximise your podcast reach by being present on YouTube. With a good home or studio setup, you can definitely access a bigger audience and diversify ways to promote your show.
At ONIX we have a podcast recording kit that we can bring to you and help you produce, record and edit. If you're thinking about starting your own podcast and need some assistance planning or recording your first series, contact us for a chat on how we can help you.