The advent of the internet brought about the birth of the blog. Years later, we saw social media begin its rise to prominence. Now, in 2020, podcasts are the new, unexplored frontier of internet media. As our lives have become busier and our technology has become more available, the need for on-the-go, easily consumed content has grown exponentially. Podcasts are here to fill that need, and they are here to stay.As more and more people and organizations jump on the bandwagon you may be wondering, “Is creating a podcast the right step for me to expand my business?”In this post, we’ll cover all of the basics regarding content generation,podcast setup, and monetization so you can better answer that question.
How to Start a Podcast
Like many things, actually sitting down and creating a podcast is usually the hardest part! Before you begin bogging yourself down with technical details, it’s important to make sure that you have valuable content for your podcast. Like websites, ads, and social media content, good podcast content will help to grow your company while poor quality content will drive people away. If you’re not familiar with podcasts, listen to a few. (If you need some inspiration and motivation, check out our post on podcasts for maximizing productivity). Some podcasts are recorded, informal conversations. Others are scripted and done by one person. Still, others are set up like an interview and regularly include guests. Some podcasts last only 20 minutes, while others have episodes that are closer to two hours long. Decide what format and structure will work best for you and your audience.
Speaking of audience… you will also need to decide early on who your podcast is for. What subjects relate to your company and would be engaging for people? Do some research on other podcasts in that same niche. Consider what you like about those podcasts but also the ways in which you can set your podcast apart. Make sure that your niche is something you know a lot about, find enjoyable, and helps to expand your business.
Remember to reach out as well! Chances are that someone in your network has done this before. Talk to colleagues who have made podcasts and see what has worked for them. You may even be able to invite these experienced podcasters onto your show at some point, and that will also help grow your audience.
Make sure you have some content ready to go before you officially launch your podcast. Like blogging, it is easy to have a busy week and get behind on content. Having episodes scripted and ready to go will ensure your subscribers are regularly hearing from you. Most hosting platforms also you to create content calendars. You simply upload your content and set a release date and time. This will help to take a lot of the pressure off of you.
Podcast Equipment and Technical Details
Once you have settled on content, you can begin worrying about the equipment needed for creating a podcast. At the most basic level, all that is needed for podcast setup is a microphone, a place to record,and a recording software. You will also need to set up an RSS feed (more on this later). If you are just starting out, don’t worry about getting more than that. If your podcast takes off, at that point you may want to consider things like headphones, a mixer, a windscreen, etc. to help improve the sound quality of your recordings.
Start with a basic microphone. Again, you can get a fancier one as your podcast becomes more established. Your computer or phone may have one installed, but there are also many highly affordable options available that will (generally) have a better sound quality.
Research recording software to see what will work best for you. There are cloud-based and local-based options. The difference is where the software is stored. A local-based software will likely require a download and will be stored on your computer. A cloud-based software will save recordings online so that they can be accessed anywhere. You should be able to find free versions of both. Again, it may help to talk to others in your network and see what software they use and why.
There are many surprising places where you can record a podcast episode. For instance, you may be able to rent a room at a local library or even at your coworking space. You can also simply record at your home if you live in a quiet enough place. You do not need to worry about getting a professional studio, but if you are really struggling with background noises in your recordings, investing a simple sound shield may do the trick.
Even people who regularly listen to podcasts might not be familiar with an RSS feed. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, and it is simply a text file with information on your website that updates as your website does. They used to be everywhere on the internet, but social media has become a more common way to deliver new content. If you start a podcast,however, it is important to make sure it has its own RSS feed with no other content on it. This is necessary for publishing your podcast on well-known platforms such as iTunes and Stitcher, which will help your podcast reach audiences beyond your regular site traffic. Check with your website host about how to set this up. They most likely already have a plugin or service that will allow you to easily create a separate RSS feed for your podcasts.
Monetizing Your Podcast
Unlike most podcasters, your goal as a business is to create revenue through brand awareness rather than the podcast itself.That doesn’t mean you can’t do both though! While there are many well-known ways to monetize blogs, the ways to monetize podcasts are still being discovered. Advertising is a viable option for generating revenue. A simple way to do this is to upload your podcasts as YouTube videos to take advantage of their pre-video ads. You can also talk to other businesses about sponsorship and partnership. Think of the old radio shows that began with “This episode is brought to you by…” If you do choose to go this route, make sure your partnership makes sense in light of your business’s goals and values.
But remember, as a business owner or freelancer,your best option for monetizing your podcast is to use it to sell your products or services and spread the word about your brand. Make sure that your content niche is related closely enough to your business so that you can work it into your podcast organically. Always remember that your end goal is to increase your client base. It’s okay to shamelessly plug your website or social media pages at the beginning and end of your podcast. As long as you are delivering interesting and high-quality content, people will keep coming back.
Podcasts are the future of internet media because they are easy to consume on the go. If you are ready to launch your podcast, research content ideas before investing in the equipment needed. Also,remember that your ultimate goal is to reach people through this platform. This is probably the best way to monetize your podcast, though additional advertising has the potential to further increase revenue. Happy podcasting!