Podcasting is hot right now and we’re not just saying that because we have one 😉
According to PodCast Insights, there are 30 million podcast episodes and 51% of people in the United States have listened to a podcast! So those customers you want to reach? They probably listen to a podcast.
And not only are people listening to podcasts, but they are also actively engaged with podcasts. According to that same study from PodCast Insights, 80% of podcast listeners listen to all or more of each podcast episode and podcast listeners listen to an average of 7 shows per week!
Now, after reading all of that, you might be thinking: “Hey, maybe I should start a podcast too!”
You might also be thinking, “Where do I even begin?”
And a few of you might even be thinking, “What the heck is a podcast?”
Good news, you’re in the right place because we were wondering how to get started ourselves just a few months ago!
We sat down and asked ourselves, “Hey, how does a small, bootstrapped team put out a really fantastic podcast without spending all of our time on it?”
And these are the exact steps we took from that conversation to Social Post, our weekly podcast!
If you want to start a podcast as part of your business, the first thing you need to determine is your format.
There are a few different podcast formats. Here are the top ones you might want to consider for your podcast.
This format is what many listeners think of when they think of podcasts. Interview-style shows feature one or two consistent hosts and a new guest on each episode. Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas and The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes are two popular examples.
If you do want to start an interview-style podcast, you should make sure there is a common theme, either with your guests or the message you are trying to share with your guests. In the examples above, John Lee Dumas only interviews (you guessed it!), entrepreneurs. While Lewis Howes guests are from a variety of different industries but the common theme is that all his guests share inspiring stories about what makes people great.
The pros of hosting an Interview-Style podcast is that your audience will hear from different viewpoints and get a well-rounded view of your topics. The cons of this format are that researching guests, scheduling different interviews and pitching to potential guests takes extra time and energy!
Conversational podcasts have multiple hosts discussing a specific topic in each episode. Call Your Girlfriend hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow is a popular conversational podcast where two friends call each other to discuss recent events in pop culture and politics.
The pros of a conversational podcast are that they are usually less structured, which means less planning is involved. However, you will need to work to make sure your topics remain consistently valuable so your audience stays engaged!
In a solo-cast podcast, one host shares about a topic. The host can bring in guests occasionally but the main format is the podcaster speaking a monologue about a topic. Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast is an excellent example of a solo-cast.
One of the biggest pros of a solo-cast is that you don’t have to schedule recordings around anyone else. This makes it much easier if you just want to batch record a month or two of episodes! The cons of a solo-cast is that you’ll be responsible for all of the content as there’s no co-host or guest to lean on!
Each of these podcasts have pros and cons and the right format for you depends on your business and goals.
We found that the easiest way to create a podcast was to have a solo-cast where we upcycle existing content. We already create content on our blog, our YouTube channel and in our newsletter and as a small team, we didn’t think we could create much more original content on a regular basis. (We see hustling content creators! It’s hard work!)
We decided to use the fantastic content we already have and provide it in a new format. This way, we’re upcycling the content we’ve already worked hard to create and reaching a new audience of people who may not love reading blog posts every week.
One important thing to note when considering any of these formats, you can script them if that’s easier for you! Not everyone is comfortable chatting off the cuff and you certainly don’t need to be! Creating a script for you, or you and your co-host or scripting your questions for guests can be an easy way to communicate your content. For Social Post, we simply read our blogs for the week which makes it much easier than talking off the cuff.
Choose the format that feels most comfortable to you! This is your podcast and you want to enjoy it! After you have decided on your format, we recommend mapping out your first few episodes because it’s best practice to launch with at least 3 episodes.
The tools for a podcast are surprisingly simple. We were able to produce our podcast with just one microphone and editing software. We use this microphone, which was probably the most expensive part of our podcast launch (minus the time we spent, of course).
For recording, we recommend Garageband, which comes standard in Macs. If you’re a PC user, you can also use Audacity. You can also use either of these to edit your podcast after you’ve recorded. If you’re looking for a little more sophisticated editing software, we recommend Adobe Audition (this is what we use).
You may have to practice getting comfortable with the mic and hearing your voice recorded. It took our Digital Content Manager a few tries in the beginning to feel comfortable recording. But remember, the more you practice, the more comfortable you feel!
Keep in mind, there are dozens of software products to help podcasters produce their show, and hundreds of microphones and gadgets. Keep it simple when you get started. Going down the rabbit hole of researching tools can keep you from starting.
(And yes, you may also be tempted to do some karaoke with your microphone. Go for it, we won’t judge!)
Once you have the tools in place, there are still a few more things you should put together before you start recording and promoting your podcast.
The first is the title, subtitle, and description of your podcast. Do a quick search to make sure your title isn’t already taken. When coming up with your title, be sure to pick something that’s easy to say, easy to spell, and easy to understand quickly who your podcast is for.
Dr. Kevin Christie could have called his chiropractic marketing podcast something clever like “Marketing Adjustment” or “Misaligned Marketing,” but he stuck with The Modern Chiropractic Marketing Show which clearly defines the topic and speaks directly to his target audience.
Once you have those, you’ll need to record your intro. This is what people hear in the first minute or two of your podcast. You don’t have to include your entire title, subtitle, and description but you should include the name of the podcast, the name of the host and a little bit about the show. You can also add some music to your intro. You can find royalty-free music in Free Music Archive or in YouTube’s Audio Library.
Then, you’ll need to create your graphics. This is for the cover art of your podcast which will show in podcast directories, making it one of the first impressions you’ll make on your audience!
It also displays in your audience’s media player when they are listening to your podcast so you want your graphic to reinforce your brand.
And you don’t have to be a master designer to make this happen! You can use Canva or Crello to easily create beautiful graphics. Just make sure they fit Apple’s specifications. As of 2019, Apple requires images to be no larger than 3,000 x 3,000 pixels and no smaller than 1,400 x 1,400 pixels.
We recommend making the title of your podcast very clear. Here’s the cover art we designed;
After you have all of your elements in place and you record your first few episodes, it’s time to upload your podcast!
Typically, you’ll record your episodes as MP3 files.
You can’t just upload your MP3s to iTunes. Instead, you need a place to host your files. A podcast host is a company that’s optimized to host and serve your podcast files. They’ll also provide you with a unique RSS feed that lets iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast directories see and share your show! It’s no different than an RSS feed for your blog.
After you’ve uploaded a few episodes to your feed, you can then submit to iTunes and other podcast directories. It may take a few days to get approval but most shows are approved within 7 days.
And that’s it! Easy, right? You now have created a podcast, recorded it and uploaded it to your podcast feed so it will be ready for launch.
We also recommend creating a page on your website. Even though you won’t host your podcast (Libsyn does that for you!), you should still have a dedicated page on your site for SEO purposes and to promote your podcast even more. You can embed audio files on this page, add show notes and descriptions or even have an email opt-in to grow an email list for your podcast.
Podcasting isn’t going away. In fact, it’s trending towards more massive growth over the next few years so it’s worth examining if it’s the right avenue for your business.
As with everything, talk to your customers first. If you find that they love podcasts, then it might be the perfect marketing channel for you to try!