Content comes in various types be it text, image, video or the very recent form, Podcast. Brands and Content creators have time and again improvised their content options based on their requirement, target audience and product/service they intend to promote. Many leading individual influencers and brands have taken up Podcasting and have been very successful in scaling up their influence and brand value in the world of Social Media. From the likes of Gary V to Dirty John to Stuff you should know to Moneycontrol Podcast to Ek Kahani Aisi Bhi everyone has scaled up a new audience for their content and the trend is slowly catching up with Indians. Are you wondering to start a Podcast of your own? If yes, then this blog should help you understand the complete ABC to XYZ of starting a podcast.
What is a PODCAST?
The most basic definition of a podcast is; it is a form of audio blogging where each podcasting episode is similar to an independent blog post covering a specific topic.
Podcasts mostly follow a subscription based business model where every new episode is automatically downloaded in systems, smart phones, podcast apps etc of subscribers via web syndication.
The name PODCAST was suggested by Ben Hammersley combining two words iPOD (a brand of media player) and broadcast in 2004.
With the growth in demand for voice assistants like Alexa & Google Home, the future seems even brighter for Podcasters.
According to research, the majority of podcast listeners belong to the age group of 25-54.
Getting started with Podcast
- The first and most important thing required to start a podcast is overcoming your fear of rejection. Once you clear this step, 50% of the work is done.
“As always Starting Problem is the Biggest Problem”
- Selecting the equipment: – If you are a brand or company then its best advisable to go for a professional podcast set up to ensure the best quality output.
However, if you are just starting up and looking to experiment with this type of content before going all guns blazing, then a basic essential set up is what you need to invest in.
A basic podcast set up with all necessary equipment would cost $100-200 while a complete professional podcast set up can cost a minimum of $1000.
Equipment for Podcast
Microphone: If you are planning to skip this with your laptop mic or your regular earphone or headphone mic then probably you are not that serious about starting a good podcast. A good quality microphone is a must for every podcaster to ensure good clarity and quality output.
Now coming to the specifications for a podcast mic, there are two types of microphones available in the market for podcasts. One with a USB connection and the other one with an analog XLR. A person with more technical knowledge regarding sound and music would any day opt for an analog XLR over a USB port.
Audio Interface (For Analog Microphone users): An analog XLR microphone cannot be directly connected with a computer or laptop. In such cases the XLR is connected to this interface which transmits the audio signals to your computer/PC. Price for an audio interface starts from $100 and can go up to $1000. However, a basic audio interface would work in case of podcasts ensuring good quality output.
POP Filter: In case you are opting for a professional setup that costs a minimum $1000, you would surely want it to last long enough for you to have the maximum ROI.
A pop-up filter though not mandatory ensures longevity for your microphones and also eliminates popping sound during the speech.
Headphone (Optional): A headphone is needed just to ensure everything is going normal for your podcast and for the podcaster to maintain a single tone of voice when LIVE.
However, this is not mandatory as you can still go ahead without it if you got a dedicated team with you while recording LIVE podcasts.
- Editing a Podcast: When it comes to a podcast, the recording is more easy than editing. The options of editing software vary based on the type of operating system a podcast user is using.
For Windows: The popular options are Audacity (Free), Hindenburg Journalist (Paid) and Adobe Audition (Paid) to name a few.
For Mac: Garage Band is included in MACs for free.
All tutorials for podcast editing are easily available on YouTube. Remember to export the file after editing in MP3 format only with a bitrate of at least 128kbps.
- Selecting a Name, Podcast Music and Podcast Cover Art: Even if a Podcast is all about sound but the look and feel factor on directories plays an important role to attract listeners towards your content.
Podcast Name: Ideally the name should always be in sync with your content, brand, personality and moreover the value you try to add through your podcasts.
For Example: – Planet Money, The Dave Ramsey Show etc.
It’s advisable, however not mandatory to include a high search volume keyword or a general term in your podcast name relevant to the topic your podcast caters.
Podcast Music: For any video content creator the first 5-10 seconds of his/her video determines if a viewer will watch the entire video or just bounce off for some other content. Similarly, for a podcast a good intro and outro music along with an introduction is very crucial to ensure audience retention. You can check out for list of royalty-free music providers for your podcast here.
Podcast Cover Art: Even though podcast is all about sounding good to the ears, the first thing a listener will notice in any podcast directory is your cover art. So your podcast content comes secondary here and podcast cover art is more important to ensure your content reaches the relevant ears.
A cover art typically looks like an image of size 50X150 px when viewed in any directory.
Podcast Description: Needless to say if its online you need to ensure a proper SEO plan to promote it organically in SERPs. No brownie points for guessing why you should be adding a good description for your podcast along with your content related keywords. A good description also acts as a deciding factor for listeners once they browse through your episode listings.
- Selecting a Podcast Hosting Service: Just like a good hosting for your blog website ensures a seamless and better user experience for your website visitors, similarly, a good podcast hosting provider ensures your listeners have a streamline experience while downloading or streaming your audio content.
In case you are wondering to link it with HostGator or Bluehost then you are on the wrong track. A hosting service for a podcast is different than that of web hosting service providers. In the case of a podcast, hosting services are built on media servers that can store large media files and support high bandwidth for listeners to download or stream episodes without buffering.
Some of the top-notch podcast hosting providers are Soundcloud, Podbean, Podomatic, Fireside etc. While selecting the host do note if they provide RSS support and embeddable player option. Site builder is not a mandatory option to look for while selecting a podcast hosting service as you can still build your website without using this feature.
- Selecting a Topic for your Podcast: Before we proceed to recording, you need to zero down on your podcast niche in order to ensure you create a different identity and audience for your content.
Select any particular category and its recommended to prepare a content calendar accordingly covering every episode. This would help you in maintaining consistency and better audience retention for your podcasts.
In initial stages do listen to other podcasters and the topics they are covering. Try to have deep dive for the same topic or present the same content in a re-phrased manner. This would help you understand the podcast eco-system before you put all your time and money into it.
Another best and easy way of selecting a podcast topic is to hit the Google keyword planner tool. You can select the topics based on search volume of keywords to stay in the trend.
Also experiment with different podcast formats because there is no thumb rule that you should stick to one. Start with a solo podcast and eventually collaborate with others for a session together.
- Recording your Podcast: With all your equipment, hosting and editing software ready, now is the time to start recording your content.
Podcasts can be of three types: –
# Solo Podcast
# Podcast with Multiple people at same place
# Podcast with multiple people from different places
To record your content, you can either use Audacity or Skype (Paid) based on the specifications of your equipment and number of people in your podcast at any given moment. Windows users can also use VoiceMeeter or Virtual Audio Cable for recording purpose.
- Publishing your Podcast: After recording your audio blog, it’s time to edit the content for a more noise free and quality output. Editing part is covered in point 3. You can also go through podcast editing tutorials based on the software used for better results.
Now after editing, publish your podcast by uploading it to your podcast host provider. After signing up, just follow the instructions.
Important: Get your Podcast’s RSS Feed from host provider.
- Promoting your Podcast: After all the hectic work to get started with your first podcast, now it’s time to make your podcast reach to the listeners.
Once you have uploaded your audio content on a hosting provider, you have to add it on your RSS feed and the URL in your directory. From here the directories will automatically fetch your episodes as you keep on adding them in your hosting server.
Some of the top-notch directories to get your podcast listed are: –
# Google Play Music
Owning a website to promote your podcast is always a good idea. A podcast website will not only help in better discoverability of your content on the web but also help you execute a 360-degree marketing campaign for your podcast and at the same time also open up for more monetization options.
Recommended: Use Powerpress (WordPress Plugin) as it allows you to import your podcast’s RSS feed in WordPress.
- Mistakes to Avoid while getting started with Podcast: Now you are all set to become a Podcaster. However, to differentiate yourselves from the crowd you need to ensure you don’t commit some of the common mistakes: –
# Not planning your episodes in advance: This is a common problem that every content creator makes. Remember content has always been and will remain the king, so the better you plan your podcast episodes in advance the higher chances and more time you have to produce quality content and attract more listeners. Better planning also ensures you post in regular intervals and longevity for your podcast channel
# Not Promoting your Show: Any sort of expenditure in Marketing is always taken as an investment. During initial days you have to promote your shows actively in order to ensure discoverability and establish a name of yourself in the already crowded podcast market.
This is why most successful podcasters always have a website that ensures them to run 360-degree online marketing campaigns.
# Do your Research: In this information age, you cannot just come with any random stuff and expect to grab ears for your podcast. After selecting your topic for an episode, allow yourself ample time to do research about it. A proper researched script would any day ensure higher audience retention for your podcast.
So get started with your Mic Testing, 1-2-3-4, and start your first recording.