Podcasts seem to be taking over the world today. They cover a wide array of topics, giving audience niches everywhere fresh new content to enjoy. If you’re one of the millions of people who regularly listen to podcasts, you understand why they have become so popular. And perhaps you yourself have thought about giving the podcasting game a go. Maybe you are extremely passionate about a specific niche topic. Or perhaps you have insight and expertise you want to share with others. But what do you really need to do to start your own business podcast? What gear and software do you need? Where are you going to record? What kind of format do you want to utilize? Over the next four weeks, we’re going through the ins and outs of podcasting ranging from your podcast topic to the gear you need to get your podcast into iTunes.
A Brief History of Podcasting
Previously known as “audio blogging”, podcasts have roots dating back to the 1980s. With the introduction of broadband Internet access and digital playback devices, like the iPod, podcasting began to take hold in pop culture in 2004. And in June of 2005, Apple felt the technological pressure and added a directory of podcasts in the iTunes Music Store.
This area of content delivery has grown, adapted, and expanded over the years. In 2014, Serial, a podcast from This American Life became a surprise success with 68 million downloads by the end of its first season. It also became the first podcast to win a Peabody Award. Serial blazed the path for niche podcasts and opened the door for a number of new storytellers and fact-sayers to begin using their voice.
Today, there are an estimated 115,000 plus English-language podcasts available at little or no cost to listeners. And according to a 2017 survey done by The Economist, 42 million Americans above the age of twelve listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.
How to Start a Business Podcast 101
There are a number of things you’re going to need to consider, learn, and experiment with if you are going to start your own business podcast. Over the next four blogs, we will cover a number of these topics giving you all the information you need to begin. The first things to consider – and what we will cover today – will be:
- Committing to your topic
- Podcast format
- Your podcast studio
Choosing a Podcast Topic
We’re guessing you have a topic in mind as this podcast will be related to your business. Take a moment and think about both your expertise and what really gets you excited about your business. What are the aspects of your business that you want to be spending most of your free time learning about and discussing? Passion is the greatest tool you’ll have in your podcasting arsenal as it will help you keep your podcast fresh and keep the content flowing. Not to mention, your listeners are probably listening to your specific podcast because they share that passion. Hearing the excitement in your voice will help keep them inspired, encourage them to continue trusting your expertise, and even attract new listeners.
Questions to Consider: What is your podcast going to be about? Can you describe it to a client in 3 sentences or less? Consider what value your podcast will add to their lives.
Choosing Your Podcast Format
Do you plan on hosting your business podcast alone? Or will you be utilizing a co-host? Do you plan on hosting guests for interviews? Or are you planning on sharing a monologue or educational session? If you do plan on having guests, will they podcast with you in person? Or will you use conference software like Zoom or Skype? Is your podcast going to be all audio? Or do you want to film for video? These are all formatting questions you’ll need to answer before doing anything else. By determining these aspects now, you can then determine your hosting needs and the gear you’ll need to get.
In regard to solo podcasting vs. having co-hosts, there are a number of pros and cons to each. When going solo, you have all administrative and creative control. The content is created and pushed through you and you alone. With solo podcasting, you can move at your own pace and only have to fight your own schedule. On the other hand, a co-host can help you move through content faster and take some of the workloads off of your plate. However, juggling two different schedules can create some roadblocks.
Questions to Consider: Audio or video? Are you going solo or will you have a co-host? Will you have guests that you interview? Will you take calls or questions from your clients or audience? If so, will that be in person, online, or a combination of both?
Your Podcast Studio
Finally, let’s consider where you are going to record. Do you have a place in mind already? Is that place quiet? Can you hear outside traffic? Construction? Kids yelling or dogs barking? If you can hear these things, is there a place you can go where you hear less of it? Perhaps a basement or top floor? If you are facing these obstacles, maybe choosing a specific time of the day or week may help to alleviate many external noise issues.
Now, what about the internal noises in the space? Are there any loud or rumbling heating/air-conditioning units that can’t be turned off? How loud is your computer fan? If you’re able to, take some time to actually sit in the space where you would like to record and listen as intently as you can. Do this a few times on different days at different times in order to give you the data you need to make the best decision. It’s important to note that the space doesn’t need to be so quiet you can hear a pin drop. A properly set up microphone can eliminate some subtle noise issues – but still, do your best to choose the quietest place you can find.
Questions to Consider: Where do you want to podcast? What outside noises can you hear that may potentially interfere with your podcast? And what about indoor noises? What can you do to avoid or negate those issues?
Setting Up Inside of the Space
Depending on the studio you choose, you may need to do a little bit of work inside before you can begin recording. Go to the spot in the room you think you’ll be recording and start talking. Does your voice echo as it bounces off the walls? If you can’t tell, stand in a closet full of clothes and begin talking. Your voice should sound almost dull, that’s because the clothes are absorbing the sound waves. Use this quality of sound to compare when you talk in the spot, you’ll think you want to record in.
If the space you’ve chosen has a lot of echo and reverberation, you can use tools and items to absorb some of the sounds. Simply adding things like furniture to provide more deflection of the sound waves, rugs, curtains, pillows can help create a space that sounds better when you speak into your microphone. Also, try different spots in the room if that is an option available to you. Recording from the center of the room could sound much different than recording in the corner. Pick the spot that is most forgiving.
TIP: You can always use your phone as an audio recorder. Hold the phone about a foot away from your mouth and say a few sentences into an audio recording app (you can find free ones in the app store, which is fine for this purpose). Do this in both the closet filled with clothes and your future podcast studio. Now listen to both recordings with headphones on and see how your voice sounds in each space. This can help you determine if you need to utilize sound absorbing tools or not.
Questions to Consider: Is your studio quiet enough? Or does it have too much echo? Can you add things like furniture, rugs, and pillows to absorb some of the sounds? Can you move around the room to find the best recording spot?
Business Podcasting Bonuses
Podcasting has a number of benefits for businesses. However, we want to make sure we disclaim that it will take some time and effort. Podcasting requires you to carve out time and invest hours into building your platform and audience. And just like your business, you may find it’s often on your mind.
The good news is that podcasting also comes with its plethora of benefits. They include:
- It’s an Alternative to Video
- Helps in Building Better Relationships with an Audience
- Easy to Create and Start
- Highly Engaging
- Great Method for Teaching
- Creates Brand Awareness
- Increase Traffic Generating
- Builds Authority
- Additional Revenue Stream
- Vocal and Communication Skills
Strategy Before Tactics with onCOREventures
Strategy is Doing the Right Things. Tactics are Doing Things Right
At onCOREventures, we believe in the method of strategy before tactics. The first step in realigning any marketing approach and establishing a plan is by taking the time to understand your audience. Once a target audience is identified, you can begin uncovering the key issues those audience members face. If you can understand their pains, you can begin connecting with them on new levels based on the trust that you understand their specific challenges and headaches.
Strategy is about picking the right goals and objectives, while tactics are how you go about achieving those goals and objectives. Tactics are much easier to implement if you have a strategy – and that’s because an objective and direction are already defined. While tactics are wonderful and are required for your business’ growth and success, it’s the strategy that focuses on the bigger picture aimed towards results.
It can be extremely difficult to pull back and look at your marketing strategy without any bias. If you feel your marketing strategy could use some tweaking or know you can help more people but don’t know how to reach them, the team at onCOREventures is ready to brainstorm and strategize the best marketing solution for your business. For a FREE Marketing Check-Up report and consultation, click here!