Want your content to reach a whole new audience? Podcasts are where it’s at.
In 2019, 64 percent of consumers know what a podcast is — up from 22 percent in 2006. And, more to the point, 38 percent of podcast listeners have bought a product or service mentioned on a podcast.
Here’s how you can start your own podcast and get a slice of the action.
Let’s start with the basics. A podcast is a recorded show — usually audio only — spread over several episodes. Listeners download the file or, increasingly, stream episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or another platform.
Podcasting was born in 2004 when developer David Winer created a program that could download internet radio broadcasts. Today, there are over 750,000 podcasts spanning 30 million episodes, with topics ranging from the very mainstream to the nichest of the niche.
The typical podcast spans multiple episodes and lasts 43 minutes per episode. That’s a big commitment. So you need to plan ahead if you want to be successful.
Here are four steps you should take before you record a single second:
If you’re creating a business podcast, the topic will be something related to your industry. You should pick a topic:
Some of the most popular podcast formats are:
Of course, you don’t have to stick to a single format. You could mix and match. Just know that audiences like consistency. Following up a big, dramatic story with a panel discussion may confuse them.
Trevor Long, the host of the Two Blokes Talking Tech podcast, says outlining each episode is key:
“…this doesn’t have to mean a minute-by-minute plan, it just means have a plan. What’s first, what’s next, how do you get from one thing to the next, and if multiple people are involved, who’s doing what?”
Having a good idea of what’s going to happen before you press record means fewer false starts and less editing. As The Brad Gilmore Show host Brad Gilmore puts it: “If you don’t plan at all you will find yourself stumbling and bumbling around trying to go from subject to subject.”
It goes without saying. But you can’t host an insightful podcast unless you thoroughly know your stuff.
You should have chosen a topic you’re knowledgeable about to begin with. But, it doesn’t hurt to do some background reading. And, if you’re interviewing, you should thoroughly research your guest.
The beauty of podcasting is that you can start with just your laptop or phone. Although, investing in some good quality equipment will make your podcast more professional.
Here’s a roundup of the basic equipment you should look into.
The microphone is the single most important piece of equipment when recording a podcast. Your laptop or phone’s built-in mic will get the job done. But a good quality external microphone will improve your podcast’s production values by leaps and bounds.
The best microphones for studio recording are condenser microphones. This is because they’re more sensitive so they capture sound more accurately.
You’ll also need to think about how you’ll connect the mic. More expensive professional mics plug into a mixer through a connection called XLR. But, for podcasting, a mic that plugs into your laptop through USB should be more than enough.
Four good and affordable mics for podcasting are:
You’ll need this to record audio, edit it and export your podcast as an mp3 or .wav file.
Your options include:
Planning to conduct interviews? Unless you can do it in person, you’ll need call recording software.
These software programs are both great alternatives and free to use:
These aren’t essential but can greatly improve your podcast:
Hosting is where you upload your podcast so your audience can listen to it. You might think your website is the obvious choice. But this isn’t usually advisable because you probably don’t have enough bandwidth for smooth streaming and downloading.
Instead, you should use a podcast hosting platform.
These platforms are designed to handle the bandwidth demands of audio files.
More to the point, you can only get your podcast on Apple Podcasts — the most popular place to listen to podcasts — through a host.
Here are four podcast hosting platforms worth looking into: