Listen Up: Everything You Need To Start a Successful Podcast
Podcasts have become a craze over the last few years, and they show no sign of slowing down any time soon. They are booming in the UK with almost 6 million adults tuning in each week. That’s a lot of potential listeners.
So if you have a blog, it may be worth considering starting a podcast. It opens out your content to a wider audience, builds your brand, allows you to reuse your content and can even help develop your speaking skills.
Read on for an overview of how to make a podcast and a few tips for success.
How To Make a Podcast
Before you take a look at the tips for podcasting success, it’s best if you can make a podcast first. It’s actually pretty easy to make a podcast, even if you have limited technical skills. But you will need to look into acquiring some equipment.
Be aware, if you want to start a podcast, you will have to be ready to commit. It’s important to treat podcasting the same way you would treat any other big project. To begin with, it will take time to make a podcast, but as you progress it’ll become easier and easier.
Here is our simple guide to get you started making your first podcast:
1. Make Decisions
You might be rearing to go and start recording your first podcast, but first, you have some decisions to make. Very important decisions. You need to think about your theme, format and equipment.
Just like blogs, you podcasts need a niche. And just like blogs, podcasts can be about literally anything. Choose something that you are passionate about, but remember, unlike blogs, people expect experts on podcasts, so make sure you know your stuff.
Once you’ve got your theme, create a catchy title around it.
The format your podcast takes is essentially the framework. Be sure the format remains constant in each episode. Think about the length you want the podcast to be, whether you want to have a script or go unscripted, your post schedule and if you need artist consent for music or videos.
What type of podcast do you want to do, you could do:
- Solo podcast or use multiple hosts
- Case studies
- Educational podcasts
- News recap
Just to name a few!
Luckily, setting up for podcasting doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
You will need:
- Microphone – An external, such as a USB microphone is a good choice. Be sure that it records in high quality too, as listeners can tell the difference
- Software – This is for editing and luckily there are plenty of free options to start out with. As you progress you may want to splash out on a paid version, but there’s no point rushing into that as there are decent enough free versions
- Optional extras:
- Pop Filter – decreases explosive breath sounds
- Mixer – for greater control and effects options
2. Record Your Podcast
Now you’re all set up and ready to go!
Start by opening your software and having a play around. Make sure your microphone interfaces correctly and find the best position for recording. Through trial and error, find the correct distance from the mic for the best sound. Also, position the mic slightly above your mouth and slightly to one side, so that you talk past the mic and not directly into it.
Once you’re more familiar with your software and are set up correctly, you can start recording your first podcast. To record:
- Ensure there is total silence in the recording space
- Record five seconds of silence, this is called “Room Tone”
- Start your recording
3. Post-production Work
It will take time to master editing; expect trial and error to begin with. Start with the basics for your first few podcasts and try extra techniques as your confidence grows. Basics to editing include:
- Know your goals – what length should your podcast be? Should it be fast paced or slow?
- Ensure the vocal volume is constant throughout
- Reduce ‘dead space’
- Pay attention to your breath, but be sure not to edit in an unnatural way
- Trim fillers and false starts – It can be tempting to delete all fillers and false starts, but remember to preserve inflection. If you make the sentence sound unnatural by editing, it’s best to leave it as it was
After you have completed editing you need to upload it to a podcast host. There are plenty of sites that let you upload your podcast for free, but be sure to do your research and pick a reliable host
4. Get Your Podcast Out There
What’s the point of creating a podcast if you are not going to share it with the world? First things first, submit your podcast to directories such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
Next, get on social media. Share, share, share! Share on as many social media channels as you want. If you use a song from a local artist or have had a guest, be sure to tag them too. Also, use social media to maintain interest between episodes.
Don’t forget to give your podcast a home too. Make a website for your podcasts. If you are already blogging and podcasting is your next step, you can always use your current site to house your podcast.
Podcasts are recurring media, so you can’t do just one. Before you start on episode two think about what worked and what didn’t. If you had guests, ask them. Your first few episodes are bound to have teething issues, but don’t let that put you off. You’ll soon get into the swing of things.
You’ll need to make lots of episodes, and depending on your planned scheduled it may be quite regular. Ensure you don’t run out of ideas by keeping a running list of ideas that come up.
Tips for Success
- It’s not about selling. Podcasting is mostly an opportunity to establish credibility and enhance industry standing, reputation and authority. It’s not about self or brand promotion – listeners will naturally research the business, if they like the content.
- Embrace the medium. It takes a lot of effort, about 4-6 hours to produce a 20-30 min show. Most podcasts struggle to reach double figures, that’s 10 episodes. You’ve really got to like audio as a communication style. Some of us are visual and prefer Facebook or Instagram.
- Sound like a podcast pro. Nothing encourages a listener to unsubscribe like poor audio quality. A dynamic microphone such as an Audio-Technica ATR2100 costs about £50 and gives you good quality on a limited budget.
- Um, you know, er. Recording the show is the fun part, and many top podcasters claim not to edit at all, saying their listeners like ‘a natural sound.’ Mostly though, it’s worth spending the time to edit out the long pauses and ah…hmmm…you know…any mistakes you make.
- Get ready to launch. The majority of consumption happens in Apple’s podcasting app. It’s best to launch with multiple episodes – ideally 3 – to create more downloads and get noticed.
- The biggest mistake is not starting and trying to make everything perfect, to begin with. Episode 1, no matter how much you prepare, is going to be pretty atrocious compared to episode 100. You’ll naturally improve, honing the content and show structure along the way.
Podcasts can open doors for your blog or business. Cheap and easy to get started, they may be just what your Digital Marketing strategy is missing. If you want to improve your business’ digital marketing, take a look at our Digital Marketing course developed with Google.