Want to be heard? Then listen up, here’s how to start a podcast
Podcasts are powerful, engaging, and here to stay. In fact, businesses everywhere are starting to jump on board, entertaining their customers and prospective clients with the latest news and company updates.
While the chances are that this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about podcasts, we’re here to convince you that there’s never been a better time to start buying into the hype.
Marketing podcasts have a special knack for reaching out to audiences with stories in a way that’s mobile, conversational, and totally binge-worthy. Figuring out how to start a podcast means that you open yourself up to a range of benefits. Just look at these stats from the 2016 Edison report:
- Podcast listeners grew 23% from 2015 to 2016.
- The same percentage of Americans who use Twitter, listen to podcasts (21%).
- People who listen to podcasts weekly enjoy about 5 a week.
- Digital marketing podcasts are as bingeable as Netflix.
Impressive, isn’t it? Now think about the fact that by 2020, it’s estimated almost all new cars will have a connection to the internet. When people are bored of listening to music, where do you think they’ll go? They can’t watch YouTube while driving, but they can listen to marketing podcasts as much as they like.
If you’re looking for a way to build a bigger audience, or deepen the connection with the one you’ve got, we’re going to show you how to start a podcast, and what you need to think about before you begin.
Welcome to the age of the podcast.
Marketing podcast: The evolution of a new medium
Before we get onto how to start a podcast, let’s start by looking at where this form of marketing came from. Marketing podcasts rose from humble beginnings, to a powerful instrument for broadcasting brand personality.
For those who aren’t entirely sure what we’re talking about when we refer to a “podcast”, it’s basically a lot like a radio show with a few crucial differences. With a podcast, listeners can tune in whenever, and wherever they like, from their computer, iPod, or smartphone. In fact, the term “podcast” comes from the word “iPod”, and the word “broadcast”.
Podcasting is still a relatively new medium. In 2003, radio had already been around for almost a whole century, and digital audio devices had already been on the market for years. Bloggers were even trying to add their voice to the online world by publishing MP3s online. At the same time, the RSS file format was being used to syndicate content.
In 2001, Adam Curry and Tristan Louis, alongside the founder for RSS, Dave Winer, came together to create support for a specific enclosure element in the RSS feed. In June 2003, Stephen Downes introduced the aggregation of audio files with RSS in his “Ed Radio” application.
By September 2003, Winer had created an RSS feed for his colleague in Harvard, Christopher Lydon. For a number of months, Lydon had been linking his MP3 interviews to his blog, which focused on coverage of the 2004 presidential campaigns. Having Lydon’s interviews for RSS enclosures inspired Adam Curry’s pre-iPodder script and experiments.
By 2004, “How to start a podcast” articles had emerged online, and by 2005, a single Google search for “How to start a podcast” would give you about 2 million hits.
How to start a podcast: Why you need to find your voice
So, that’s the history out of the way, now let’s get to the important question, why you need to start podcasting in the first place.
A lot of people consider marketing podcasts to be little more than an audio version of a blog, but they’re so much more than that. Digital marketing podcasts can inform, educate, entertain, inspire, and most importantly, connect you to your audience.
Podcasts connect the creators of content with the people who want to consume it, and they do so in a way that’s difficult to duplicate with other content mediums. Unlike blog posts, where writers attempt to imply a voice through their use of syntax and grammar, or videos which can be time-consuming and expensive to produce, a podcast is cheap, easy, and full of emotion.
The biggest benefit of a podcast is simply that it’s an accessible way to give your audience access to a live, human voice, with all the subtleties of inflection and emphasis the average consumer wants. In a world of digital autonomy, the podcast can breathe life into your brand.
We all know that content is crucial to killer marketing and brand awareness, but businesses are still underestimating the value of learning how to start a podcast to deepen customer relationships. Here are just some of the reasons why you should launch a podcast, and find your voice:
1. People really like podcasts these days
Podcasting started to make its way into the mainstream during 2015. Today, research reports that one-third of all Americans over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast at least once. On top of that, growth in the area has continued to remain strong over the last seven years, with more people tuning in almost every day.
In fact, there are many experts in the marketing space that believe 2017 will be the break-out year for business podcasting. That means that now’s the time to take advantage. The sheer number of people listening to brands online makes podcasting a clear part of any content strategy.
2. Marketing podcasts are easy
Videos can be complicated. You need to think about sets, backdrops, the way you present yourself to the camera, and all the nitty gritty stuff like lightning and editing. With digital marketing podcasts, you just hit record and start talking. As soon as you have an angle that resonates with your audience, you can further expand the use of your podcast to inspire articles, eBooks, and infographics too.
The level of technology we have today means that anyone with a laptop and a decent microphone can start their own show. The key is not to overthink it. Stop worrying about hating the sound of your voice when it’s recorded – we all do that.
3. Build your content mix
Even if you understand the benefits of having a comprehensive marketing mix, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to create enough content, with a low budget, to fill the appetites of your customers. Learning how to start a podcast could be the best way to attract attention and build your engagement arsenal.
For instance, you could:
- Ask an expert in your niche to give you an interview.
- Transcribe work into an eBook series.
- Record versions of your most popular blogs.
- Create valuable new visuals and infographics based off your musings.
4. Cast a wider net for brand awareness
Podcasting can also be a great way to cast a wide net for your business and deliver more people to the beginning of your marketing funnel. Audio content, unlike written blogs, is super-easy for customers to consume when they’re exercising, walking their dog, or commuting to work.
Basically, you’re opening yourself up to constant new opportunities to reach out to your customers wherever they want to be reached. Let’s face it, even your brand’s biggest fan won’t be able to listen or read everything you make. That’s why it’s such a good idea to design content to distribute across various mediums.
5. Position yourself as an industry authority
One interesting thing about human psychology, is the fact that we’re far more likely to retain information from someone we feel “connected to”. The problem with a lot of blogs, is that some brands don’t know how to establish a personality or voice that their audience can respond to.
If you’re worried that things are getting lost in translation, then learning how to start a podcast could be the solution. With podcasting, you get the benefits of subtle nuances in meaning, emotion, and tone that are less likely to be misinterpreted.
One of the reasons that podcasting has become so popular lately is that it feels inherently intimate. With a podcast, you can leverage a deeper connection to build your authority as an influencer or thought leader in your chosen industry.
6. Marketing podcasts improve brand consistency
Finally, you already know that the content that you produce needs to be consistent. If you’re worried about being able to upload blogs the recommended four or five times a week, then marketing podcasts will help you to maintain consistency for your audience, while giving them a wider range of things to browse.
Podcasting gives you another platform in which you can engage with your audience on a consistent basis. For instance, maybe you’d post a blog on Monday and Friday, while on Wednesday, your audience can expect a new podcast.
How to start a podcast: What to do before you hit record
There’s a lot to be said for the value of a personal brand in today’s business world. Unfortunately, having a catchy slogan and an impressive logo isn’t enough to make you stand out in the modern marketplace. What’s most important for any brand is to earn a personality, and there are few better ways to show your personality than a real, live voice.
So, when it comes to learning how to start a podcast, what can you do before you hit record to make sure that you have the best impact on your audience, and make your personality shine? First, you’ll need to make sure that you’re prepared with the following features:
How to start a podcast: Feature 1: Your goal
Look for guidance into any marketing strategy anywhere on the web, and you’ll find that they all have one essential element in common: a goal. Before you begin podcasting, you need to know what you want to get out of it. While simply recording and posting digital marketing podcasts can be a lot of fun, the chances are that you’re going to want real ROI at the end of the day.
Crucially, marketing podcasts can be simple, but they also require a ton of commitment. That means if you’re not willing to stick religiously to your schedule, you’ll struggle to get much done. Start your podcast strategy by outlining an overall goal, and remind yourself of it every time you start to waver. Once you have your goal in place, the rest will follow.
How to start a podcast: Feature 2: Your theme
We’re not going to get into the hardware and software that you need for a podcast in this article – that’s something better left for another day. However, what you will need is a solid theme. While you can just hit record, and let the chips fall where they may, that strategy won’t do much for your brand image, or your customers.
Choosing a theme should be easy enough for any business. After all, you want to draw people to your company, so your theme should be your industry, niche, or marketplace. Just be careful to make sure that your posts aren’t too technical, boring, or jargon-filled. Have a little fun with it.
How to start a podcast: Feature 3: A script
Figuring out how to really appeal to your audience through your podcast is a long-term strategy that requires significant dedication, and a thorough understanding of your user personas. Of course, once you understand basically what your podcast is going to be about, you can start thinking about the format that you want to use with a script. For instance, a podcast template might look something like this:
- Featured information
- Call to action
The important thing to remember is that all your marketing podcasts won’t necessarily be the same. Let yourself have some flexibility, while sticking to the core values of your brand.
How to start a podcast: Feature 4: A name
Your podcast might be a great way to engage your audience, but it’s not going to do much if your customers can’t find it. That means you need to find a name for your podcast. You might use a name that links in with your blog, or you might choose something that reflects your brand manifesto.
When choosing the right name for your podcast, think carefully about your niche, and user personas. Think about what will resonate with your audience, and focus on being clear, and concise – not clever. If you’re going the “personal branding” route, then you won’t need your website URL or company name to match the name of your podcast.
How to start a podcast: Feature 5: A website
Last, but not least, before you create your podcast and submit it to Apple and the iTunes playlist, you’ll need to create a place where your episodes live, and a real-time feed that updates whenever you post a new episode. This might be a good time to re-think your website, so it feels as fresh, modern and energetic as the podcasts you’ll be creating.
WordPress is a good option for podcasting purposes, as it allows easy organisation and publishing. It also creates an RSS feed automatically for your podcast.
How to start a podcast: Killer digital marketing podcasts
One of the best ways to not only boost your understanding of podcast value, but also discover more about the techniques that are used to engage an audience, is to listen to some of the experts that have already got the technique down to a fine art.
There are currently about 57 million Americans regularly tuning into podcasts, listening to insights about marketing, entrepreneur development, business, and more. To help give you a little inspiration, we’ve put together this quick list of exceptional podcasts you might just enjoy.
1. Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income is a podcast by Pat Flynn, which has quickly grown to be one of the most popular sources of information for people who want to learn how to make money on the web.
Flynn is “the” expert when it comes to understanding passive channels for income, and he actually hosts three podcasts, all from his website. Still, it’s “The Smart Passive Income” podcast that people love the most.
Mixergy is easily one of the best business podcasts around for entrepreneurs. Hosted by Andrew Warner, each episode features a new interview with a successful entrepreneur, and the collection currently includes insights from more than 1100 massive founders. Overall, the podcast focuses not only on developing your own business, but finding a vision for your brand too.
3. The Art of Paid Traffic
Rick Mulready is the genius behind “The Art of Paid Traffic“, a podcast designed to offer insights into solutions for online lead generation. Some of the most recent podcasts on his channel include explorations into stats and traffic metrics, so you can understand exactly what they mean to your business.
4. Hack the Entrepreneur
Hack the Entrepreneur is a three-times-a-week podcast that’s run by Jon Nastor. It’s designed to explore the various habits, struggles, and fears that the average entrepreneur faces on a daily basis.
Intended for those just starting out, as well as people with a little more experience, the podcast delves into solutions for success. This is a great podcast for people who don’t have much time to waste, as Jon gets straight to the point with every episode.
5. Call to Action
If you’ve heard of Unbounce thanks to their online blog, then you should probably give their podcast a listen too. The “Call to Action” podcast is great for those who are wondering how to start a podcast, and want a chance to gather some inspiration.
Through in-depth interviews with experts, the Unbounce team show you everything you need to know for more success in your marketing campaigns. There’s also plenty of offers for different resources, marketing tools, and events too.
6. Marketing Over Coffee
Last but not lost, Marketing Over Coffee is a fun and engaging podcast that features Christopher S Penn and John J Wall. These podcast episodes aren’t as long as some of the other options out there, at about 20 minutes a piece, but they contain plenty of valuable information.
The intention of the podcast is to be conversational and casual, with plenty of tips on SEO, social marketing, copywriting, search marketing, and even affiliate questions. Showing their dedication to their customers, the couple also regularly respond to questions from their listeners.
Digital marketing podcasts: Do you need one?
For businesses today, podcasting is an opportunity to convey and spread your message as a brand to the world around you. If you’re looking to improve brand awareness, or simply ensure that your customers know your brand manifesto, then this is the channel for you.
The human voice remains to be one of the most persuasive marketing tools around, but it’s something we’re simply not exposed to as often as we should be anymore. Shopping online, and the digital world means that anything with a human element automatically gets more attention than its automated counterparts. If you can take advantage of a podcast to offer relevant, valuable information to your audience, then they’ll reward you for it with long-standing loyalty, and better conversions.
According to Artur Meyster from the “Breaking into Startups Podcast“, learning how to start a podcast gives businesses the chance to naturally capture audience attention. It’s a chance to explain your mission and show your unique personality to your audience in a way that they can instantly respond to.
Our advice? Get a strategy for your podcast and know what you’re doing from the very beginning. Have a launch date in mind, a format for your posts, and people who can help you to design everything from your website, to the imagery you use for your branded elements.
With a podcast, you can expand brand awareness, spread ideas, and serve individuals who want an alternative way to consume your content beside the standard video, infographic, or blog post. All that, and you get to use a strategy that’s cheap, simple, and effective.
Don’t you think it’s time you learn how to start a podcast for your brand?