Much like its radio predecessor in the early 20th century, podcasting has seen a significant explosion in growth and adoption in recent years. There are currently an estimated 700,000 active podcasts with over 29 million episodes available. While podcasting has become a wildly popular medium, it’s not as simple as hitting record and having a conversation. Before you start, pause to consider these aspects first in order to have a successful podcast launch.
Step 1: Preparation
A podcast requires a clear strategy in order to work. You have to establish your goals and then structure your podcast to meet them. Ask yourself what you want your podcast to accomplish. Do you want to promote your product or service? Are you looking to educate others about your industry? The answers to questions like these will serve as the roadmap for your podcast.
Choosing the Right Tech Stack
Podcasting doesn’t have to be an expensive enterprise, but it is important to have the right technology and equipment. Chief among these are microphones and headphones, which can both have a significant impact on the quality of your podcast. It might be tempting to use your computer’s microphone, however, you and your listeners will be much better served by a high quality, stand-alone microphone. This same principle applies to headphones, as being able to hear yourself and your guests clearly is key to conducting a successful episode. If you’re in the market for something simple and inexpensive, the Samson Q2U is the microphone for you. Conversely, if you think you’re ready to step up your podcasting game, you can go with the higher quality and more expensive Rode Podcaster.
You’ll also need somewhere for your podcast to live, and sadly, it cannot be on your website. Your website is actually where you’ll link to the podcast that has been uploaded elsewhere, but more on that later. Most podcast hosting sites offer a subscription service, so while it will cost you, you’ll have access to a range of stats and insights about your podcast that can help you determine its performance and success. If you only need the basics, Buzzsprout provides a user friendly interface to get you up and running in a few minutes. However, if you are anticipating hosting multiple shows at once, the pricier Transistor.fm might be your best bet.
Step 2: Production
If you are not a professional, the prospect of producing the audio for your own podcast can feel daunting. While there are a lot of moving parts, there’s also an equal number of programs, software, and technologies to help make the process simple and smooth.
Assets and Planning
In addition to the audio content, your podcast will require its own creative assets. This encompasses everything from the logo to the theme music to the social media hashtag. Moreover, you’ll want to plan out other considerations like how often you publish an episode and if you want to have guests on your podcast.
Podcasts often sound like informal conversations, but that doesn’t mean you should record yours in the office breakroom or around your kitchen table. To get high quality audio, you’ll need a high quality recording space. And like almost everything else about podcasting, you can do it well while on a budget. A silent, distraction-free environment is a necessity and often, all you need to do is retreat to your home office or secure a recording booth in a studio.
Even the most seasoned podcasters run into hiccups (or coughs, or mispronunciations). Luckily, there are numerous software programs available to make editing your podcast a breeze. Some of these might already be installed on your computer, like GarageBand, and others may require an additional download. Like with most other technologies, you’ll be able to decide how elaborate or not you want to get with it. For the freebie version, check out Audacity, and for the higher-end setup, look into Zencastr.
Step 3: Promotion
Your mom may be your biggest fan, but she can’t be your only one. Getting your podcast in front of the right audience is as important as the podcast itself. Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal to distribute your podcast far and wide.
Before your podcast even gets off the ground, you need a place for it to land. In the tech world, this is called a landing page or microsite. It’s the special section on your website that will store all things related to your podcast like past episodes, show notes, related blog posts, and Twitter streams. You can also turn up the volume on this page by adding calls-to-action to subscribe to email newsletters and behind-the-scenes content. Media mogul Gary Vaynerchuck takes his podcast landing page to the next level with extra large subscribe buttons and personal notes about his show, The GaryVee Audio Experience.
Even though podcasts are all the rage right now, there is still room for the written word in your content repertoire. Not only will a blog about your podcast drive traffic to your website, but it will also allow you to keep engaged with your listeners off-mic. If well-executed, a blog will capture the essence of your show and entice readers to subscribe. If you’re looking for some inspiration, step back in time with the Ben Franklin’s World podcast to see an example of a blog well done.
A podcast won’t get your audience’s attention in less than 10 seconds, but an animated video or pull quote graphic can. Set up social media profiles for your podcast on all relevant platforms and use them to break down your podcast content into snackable bytes. And, don’t forget to follow and engage with your listeners. An example of a podcast crushing it on social media is NPR’s How I Built This, with its enticing, thought-provoking posts.
Build a database of podcast leads and nurture them with email messages. Give them sneak peeks with behind-the-scenes content, keep them updated on future podcast episodes, and craft a relationship with your audience that extends beyond a microphone and earbuds.
As you can see – and hear! – there is a lot that goes into launching a successful podcast. That’s why your friends here at eCity Interactive are ready to help you find the right talent for your podcast, secure studio space, build an audience, and so much more. Let us join you on your podcasting adventure and help get you on-air in no time.