Written by: Jayanta Ghosh
The article published in the previous issue introduced you to podcast. Other key facets to consider are mentioned in this article.
As most of you are now aware about podcast, its history and its benefits. How to start podcasting and use it to grow your business, connect with other leaders in your space, deepen your relationship with your audience and much more is what this article will focus on.
It is encouraging that podcasting has seen an explosion in recent years but India has remained out until recently even though the US average listener listens to five different podcasts per week. So it is the right time now to explore podcast and grow with this platform.
A podcast is much more than just a recording of people talking. Podcasting can be incredibly beneficial, but those benefits usually take a long time to come into effect. You not only need to commit to mastering the technical domain of podcasting along with consistently reaching out to guests, but you also need to commit to a regular release schedule. Your listeners need to know when to expect a new episode from you. Create a schedule and stick to it, even if the results aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like.
Challenges that must be overcome
Initially you may have a lot of resistance while starting a podcast. Fear of public speaking and reaching out to strangers is just one of them. There are all sorts of technical requirements, like recording and editing episodes, dealing with feeds, embedding podcast episodes into your site and more. Most of the software are user friendly and easy to use and it does not take more then 2 to 3 days to get familiar with all intricacies that surround them. Luckily, one always has youtube tutorials to fall back upon.
Planning your podcast
If you already have a website and you’re looking to add a podcast then you probably already have an operational niche ready for you. If you haven’t started out online yet you may need to spend a little more time during the niche selection phase. To resolve this just ask yourself a few questions to help you narrow down on your area of operation, zero-in on a subject that you have an affinity for and you are ready to start your podcast.
You may want to understand completely the subject that you finally choose and decide on an appropriate audio format. The next step will be to list out anticipated problems revolving around your chosen subject and think about using your podcast to give solutions. Choose a subject that has enough ramifications to go on for multiple podcasts. Think about the kind of guests you can invite to be a part of your planned series.
Naming your Podcast
Your podcast name is incredibly important, but a lot of beginner podcasters tend to overlook its value. Your podcast’s name is going to be with you for the long-term and plays an essential role in giving life to your brand. The best alternative is to choose a name that gives your listeners a clue to what your podcast is all about. Register an appropriate domain name as well so once your podcast gains popularity you’re not battling for it.
Format or Structure of your podcast
Most podcasts tend to have a familiar episode format. The biggest distinction is if you’re opting for an interview-based show or stand-alone concepts. You are obviously free to innovate and create your own format. The structure needs a lot of thought. For instance, you may start a story-telling podcast with an introduction to a voiceover or theme song followed by an author intro leading on to the main story and finally having closing thoughts on the episode.
The structure that you use will be dependent on whether or not you’re interviewing guests or if you’re creating all of the content yourself. Down the road, you may even incorporate advertisements, which usually occur during the introduction, and/or sometime during the story.
The length of each episode will depend upon the type of content you’re producing. Most podcast episodes typically run from 20 to 45 minutes. The length isn’t as important as making sure your content remains compelling throughout. For example, if you have a killer episode that’s 45 minutes long, there’s no need to cut it down to 20 minutes. The opposite is also true, for instance, if you have 15 minutes of solid content, it isn’t worth padding it with another 15 minutes of unnecessary filler.
The kind of hardware needed
The things you need to create your podcast include a microphone, headphone, and a quiet space to record an episode. As a beginner you may start recording using Apps in your smartphone and a basic headphone and get familiar with the whole process but later on you must upgrade the hardware. For those not shy of investments, opt for a good condenser USB microphone that you can plugin directly to your laptop through USB ports. Nmaes like Blue Snowball, Blue Yeti or Audio Technica AT2020 are good to go if you want to record indoors. If you are looking to do some kind of interview show or any travel show, in which you need to record outside, it is better to go for a portable recorder like Zoom H1N or H4N as these are really efficient and popular devices.
You also need a pair of headphones while recording your podcast, nut honestly any of the available over-ear or on-ear brands or even earphones will do.
Edit your Audio
A Digital Audio Workstation or DAW is a program you need in your computer to record and edit your audio. While technically you ‘can’ use platforms such as Skype, Zoom, etc. you will most likely have poor audio quality for your podcast. It will be prudent to opt for Logic Pro if you have a MAC, and Garageband or Audacity if you are a Windows user. If you don’t have any DAW, than you can also use Zencastr which is a great platform, and recommended as remote audio recording software for podcasters. What sets Zencastr apart from the other popular tools is its design.
Uploading your Podcast
With your podcast finished you’re going to need a place to host your media files. There are multiple different avenues you can use to host your podcast. Some of the most popular are Soundcloud, Libsyn, Podbean, Podomatic, and Fireside.
Soundcloud is a great option as it includes a very high-quality media player and offers competitive pricing for beginners. You can also make your podcast publicly available on the Soundcloud site, which could lead to new listeners. Moreover, if you’re looking to embed your podcast episodes into your existing website you can easily do that with Soundcloud.
You may also upload your podcast to a ton of different podcast directories, which can help to improve the reach of your podcast. Explore Stitcher and Blubrry but the one place you really must be uploading your podcast is iTunes if you really want to make it big.
Including Show Notes On Your Site
If you have your own website that’s related to your podcast you may want to embed each episode into your site, as well as include show notes. You can embed your epodes using any of the media hosting options above. However, Soundcloud makes including easy. To embed with Soundcloud just follow the steps below:
Navigate to the Soundcloud podcast episode you uploaded > Click on the share option and select embed and you’ll see the HTML code that you can copy and paste into your site > Create a new blog post on your site and copy the code into the post > Below the audio file you can then create a separate blog post, or just post the transcript of your podcast below.
For show notes you can either include a word-for-word transcript of the episode, or you can create an entire blog post about the topic that pulls out the best bits of information. You can experiment with both to see what your audience resonates with the most. If you want your podcast to be successful you’re going to need to do a lot of promotion. You can’t expect your podcast to grow on its own without any help at your end unless you’ve already built up a large and engaged audience via other means.
Promoting your Podcast
One solid way of promoting your podcast is to create multiple forms of media from each episode you produce. For example, you could turn an episode into a blog post and then even as a guest blog to be published on other websites, a series of social media updates, or even cool shareable images. Overall, you’ll have a bunch of methods available to promote and grow your audience for your podcast. Instead of trying to do everything it is vital that you have a set of promotional activities you use after every single episode. This will help your podcast gain traction over time.
Audiences take a while to build
You may have dreams of creating a podcast that achieves millions of downloads and is one of the most popular podcasts in your space. Numbers like these don’t happen overnight. Creating a large podcast audience is a long-term game. Just because you haven’t seen the results you’ve been looking for after a few episodes doesn’t mean you should give up. With podcasting the results will come so long as you stick to a regular publishing schedule, promote each episode, and keep improving the quality of your podcast with better guests, improved material, and higher-quality production.