Have something to say? If you’ve been looking for a way to express yourself and engage with an audience that is interested in the same things you are, creating a podcast might be the perfect way for you to find your voice.
Podcasts are emerging as the next big thing when it comes to sharing content, which is why entrepreneurs, professionals, and brands are adding them to their marketing mix. According to Podcast Insights, there are over 1,500,000 podcasts in the world as of October 2020.
Statistics aside, creating content for podcasts is easier than any other format. You don’t need exceptional writing skills, you don’t have to create top tier graphics, and you don’t have to film and edit videos.
If you’re convinced that podcasts are for you, read on to learn more about how to plan, create, and promote your podcast in 5 easy steps.
Pick a topic
The advantage of a personal podcast, as opposed to one by a business, is that you have the freedom to talk about anything. But in order to attract listeners and build a reputation as a podcaster worth listening to, you must talk about something that adds value to the lives of your listeners, whether in the form of entertainment or knowledge.
Start by digging into your passions:
- Are you a well-traveled person with tips and tricks up your sleeve?
- Are you a cinephile, an audiophile, a foodie, or a voracious reader?
Topics such as these allow you to use your expertise to talk to a niche audience. But you can also use your storytelling skills to talk about aspects of your personal life, such as romantic relationships, friendships, family, or career. Such topics are more real and relatable and might appeal to a wider audience. Moreover, you may find solace in expressing your thoughts and emotions.
Create a framework
There really is no ideal format for a good podcast. In fact, since this is a personal podcast, you are free to choose your own adventure, as long as you have something interesting to say and there are people willing to pay attention to it.
Having said that, you do want to maintain some uniformity in your podcast episodes. Not only does that give people an idea of what they should expect, but it also makes your job of producing the podcast easier. Here are a few things you should consider when planning your episodes:
Duration: Ideally, you should aim at shorter episodes to start with in order to get people hooked and then expand to longer episodes depending upon the listenership you garner. The duration will also depend upon how many people are participating in your podcast, which brings us to the next point.
Format: Are you going to host it alone or will you have a co-host? Are you going to invite guests to interview? Involving another person can help you gain a wider audience. You can even share the production and promotion responsibilities with your co-host. Another option is to have a solo podcast but reserve a short section in the end for a live Q&A.
Structure: This includes your intro and outro music, placement of advertisements, mention of sponsors, and the duration of different segments of your episode such as introduction, main content, questions from listeners, sign-off, and call to action.
Register a domain name
People use platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud to find and stream podcasts, but these are not platforms where you can actually register your podcast. You still need a website to upload it to, and from there it is distributed to platforms that you choose.
Registering a custom domain name has several advantages. Let’s examine them by using a make-believe podcast called “John Talks” as an example:
It allows your podcast to stand out. Even if it’s hosted on an existing website, you can register a different domain name for it that redirects people to the podcast page. So, your podcast URL can be www.johntalks.online instead of something complicated such as www.websitename.com/johntalks.
It comes across as more legitimate and authoritative and is also much better from a promotional aspect. For instance, www.johntalks.online is much better than johntalks.freehostwebsite.com, which is promoting the host website more than your podcast.
The domain name you pick should be short and simple, ideally no longer than three words. It should pass the "radio test", meaning it should be easy to recall even after a person has heard it just once.
It should also communicate what your podcast is about because, unless you are a famous personality, people will not be enticed to listen without knowing what they’re getting into.
For instance, instead of just saying www.johntalks.online, you could say www.johntravels.online or www.johneats.online, depending upon what the subject of your podcast is. You can also use new domain extensions to specify your niches, such as www.johntalks.tech or www.johntalks.fun.
Deliver the best sound quality
Unlike videos where people can rely on visuals, the only way for you to engage with your audience in a podcast is through sound. You need to make sure that people can hear you loud and clear without any disturbance.
Fortunately, you don’t need to hire an expensive recording studio to record your podcast. Here are a few tips to ensure good audio quality without breaking the bank:
Use a microphone and headset
Avoid using the built-in microphone on your phone or laptop. You should invest in a good-quality external microphone to sound professional. You should also ensure that every speaker has their own headset to avoid audio feedback. The MXL 990 Condenser Microphone is known to work well in home recording studios, while the AT2020USB+PK recording set (microphone + headset) by Audio-Technica delivers high quality at a relatively affordable price. You can also consider the MDR-0756 professional headset from Sony.
Check the acoustics of your room
If you're recording your podcast at home or office, choose a room that has the least level of noise. Typically, smaller rooms have less echo. Find a room that is away from the street and close all doors and windows. If possible, record your podcast at night when people are asleep and there is less ambient sound.
Do a trial run
Do at least a couple of test recordings to learn what the best settings are, such as the volume on your microphone, your distance from the mic, the level of ambient sounds (including your breathing), and whether your recording room needs any adjustment.
Find the right software
There's a variety of sound recording and editing software available, depending upon your budget, quality considerations, and your editing skills. The most popular ones include GarageBand, Audacity, and Reaper. If you’re not familiar with using such software, there are several tutorial videos on YouTube to learn from.
Submit and Promote
Now that you have your podcast recorded and ready to go, it’s time to get the word out and find your listenership. Finding and growing your audience takes time and patience but there are a lot of steps you can take to increase the organic reach of your podcast.
Submit it everywhere
The more platforms you’re visible on, the more likely people are to come across you. Apart from usual suspects such as iTunes and Soundcloud, you can also register on podcatchers like Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Podbean.
Promote on social media and email
Whether you’re going solo or have a co-host or a guest, make sure that everyone is on board with promoting the episodes on their respective social media accounts and mailing lists. You can provide others with ready-to-share material such as soundbites, quotes from the episode, and graphics to make sharing easier for them.
Transcribe and refurbish
If you have a YouTube channel or a blog, get your podcast episodes transcribed and upload them as an article on your blog or as a video with captions on YouTube. Not only will it increase the reach of your material to other media, but it will also help with SEO.
Once you have found your way around creating your podcast, you must focus on delivering great content consistently to keep your listeners coming back. In order to get new listeners hooked, it is best to release at least a couple of episodes at once to give them more substance. As you and your podcast grow together, you can diversify the range of your subjects, try different formats, invite guests, and even graduate to better quality recording equipment to up your game.
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