Biz Tips: Is This Thing On? A Fool Proof Guide to Starting a Podcast

Biz Tips: Is This Thing On? A Fool Proof Guide to Starting a Podcast

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Is This Thing On? A Fool Proof Guide to Starting a Podcast

Prince Abid

Content Marketing can be a mixed bag of various types of mediums. When you reach into the bag, things that come to mind are videos, blogs, and social media posts. Podcasts are your next big step in creating a deeper engagement with your audience. Podcast popularity has been thriving as of late and shows no sign of slowing down. In the last year, 124 million Americans have listened to a podcast. Spotify plans to spend up to $500 million within the industry as they recently acquired Gimlet and Anchor. Podcasts are cheap to make and easy to consume. They are a refreshing alternative to both music and screen time, perfect for commutes and multitasking. People are all about being entertained, learning, and staying informed all while on the move. Here’s what it takes to dive headfirst into starting your own podcast.

Why Should We Listen?

First, establish who would even be willing to listen. Give your target audience a reason to listen. Podcasts are a great way for sport franchises to keep their target audience (fans) engaged during season in between games and more importantly, during the off season. Case in point: The Lakers produce a co-hosted podcast with Emmy Award Winning Sports Reporter Suzy Shuster and Aaron Larsuel to discuss Lakers news and break down the upcoming season. Their listeners gain valuable insight to their team and its decisions including exclusive interviews with guests like NBA legend and beloved Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You’re probably thinking “I’m not the Lakers, I don’t have the access to guests like Lebron James or Shaq.” That doesn’t matter, just give your audience that angle they find valuable or interesting to keep them coming back.

Which Podcast Is Right for You?

Then, decide the best podcast format to present your content. Format is key to consistency which is vital to successfully building an audience. Interview shows like The Joe Rogan Experience hosted by comedian Joe Rogan are the most popular for various reasons but there are many different formats that can work. Educational, non-fictional storytelling, fictional storytelling, solo host shows are all possibilities you should consider when presenting your content in a fresh way. Just how long do you talk for?

Be realistic with yourself, how much time and resource can you commit to producing your podcast?

Podcast episode lengths can vary. Take in consideration when and where your target audience is listening. Are they commuting? Doing busy work at a desk? Whatever it is, make a show outline that supports your audience’s routine. The U.S. Census Bureau states the average, one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes. This is backed by Stitcher’s statistic that the average listener stays connected for 22 minutes. A podcast ranging from 20–60 minutes could work with this in mind. One tip is to test length variations. At the end of the day, the meat of the content is most important.

Decide how often you will release a new episode. Be realistic with yourself, how much time and resource can you commit to producing your podcast? Once you go down this road you’re in it for the long run my friend. There are a couple of things to consider when deciding the frequency you will be publishing new episodes.

  • Will you be having guests interviewed on your show?
  • Do you have a co-host with a different schedule?
  • Is your content even refreshing enough to keep people tuning in each episode?

The Top 25 podcasts schedule publish once per week. Weekly episodes give you enough time to both coordinate with your co-host, potential guests (if applicable), and record and edit your podcast.

So What You Workin’ With?

Adobe Audition

Podcasts can be recorded with the bare minimum like your smartphone. But if you are going to take this seriously, you should consider investing in a quality microphone. There are many great, easy-to-use, USB microphones like the Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone. No, this is not product placement, neither are the rest of the products I suggest throughout this blog (I wish it was), I just genuinely like the products at the price. After we get our mic settled we need to figure out which recording software works best for us.

How Needy Are You?

Deciding on which recording software to use depends on the needs your podcast format will have. Does your show co-host live 15 minutes away from you or in a different state? Will you have guest call-ins? Is this a one host show as a solo cast? There are countless ways to record and edit your podcast but these are my favorite. Adobe Audition is my first choice and has a great user-interface that is easy to pick up. This workstation can be used to edit, mix, and record your audio all in one place. Audacity is another alternative that is easy-to-use, free, multitrack editor and recorder, did I mention it’s free? Take your pick, you can’t go wrong. Both software sets are all you need if you will be recording your podcast locally without a remote co-host or guest call-in. If so, you will need a means of recording and receiving their files remotely.

Individual audio files are essential to producing a quality podcast.

There a couple different ways you could approach this minor issue. You could simply record your Skype calls using a software like Call Recorder. Or look into other podcast call recorders like Ringr and Zencastr. I prefer using Ringr for a couple of reasons: price, track-splitting, and other powerful features. Ringr allows users to schedule and host calls up to four guests including themselves. Guests call-ins usually do not have quality microphones and have access only to their built-in laptop mic or smartphone, both are usable with Ringr. Ringr has a free app which allows guests to download and simply enter a call specific code located in your email invite to join your recording session. The audio quality is surprisingly great even for a smartphone user.

After you are finished recording, Ringr allows you to download individual audio files for each participant in the call. Individual audio files are essential to producing a quality podcast. Once you collect all of your audio files you can start editing your podcast within the audio software you chose before.

Um… Can You like Please Stop Saying That?

Tenor

Have you ever noticed how often people say um, uh, and like? Try listening to an hour long recording of yourself. Even if you don’t (I bet you do), there will still be unwanted sounds in your recording you wish never happened. These can range from mic bumps, background noises, sniffles, sneezing, coughs, etc. All of this can be easily cut out of your audio using audio software. Without going too much in to detail, here are a few quick tips you should consider while editing your podcast:

  1. Cut out unwanted sounds
  2. Cut out awkward pauses between conversation and questions (within reason)
  3. Add fades when necessary after cutting audio to avoid clips and pops
  4. Adjust audio levels of too loud or too soft recordings, or normalize your audio
  5. Seamlessly edit out any sections of the podcast deemed unfit by yourself or for your audience
  6. Add Vocal Enhancer within Adobe Audition for an easy boost in sound quality

Once you are done editing your podcast we need to mixdown and export this bad boy in two different formats. Once, as an MP3, and a second time as a WAV. So how are we going to get this podcast distributed?

Find Your Podcast a Home

The easiest way to get your podcast out into the world is to use a podcast hosting site like Buzzsprout and Libsyn. I personally enjoy using Buzzsprout because, yup, you guessed it, it’s easy to use. Buzzsprout has a simple user interface that allows you to upload, promote, and track your podcast across multiple podcast directories like iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, etc. This is where you will set cover art, episode titles, descriptions, and tags. The hosting site of your choosing automatically creates an RSS feed for your podcast. Your RSS feed is used by different podcast directories to locate and mirror your podcast episodes where listeners can discover, subscribe to, and download. Various directories take hours to a week to approve your podcast after your submission. Once approved their directories will refresh themselves often to reflect your most recent podcast episode. iTunes/Apple Podcasts seems to have the longest automatic refresh time unless you manually refresh it via your iTunes Connect account.

Make a great first impression, stand out and avoid cluttering design wise.

Before & After Podcast Cover Art

A quick note about deciding on cover art for your podcast. Take into account the different sizes your cover art will be seen across different directories and screens. It could be very small or very large. Make a great first impression, stand out and avoid cluttering design wise. The ideal cover art should be JPG or PNG, 1400 x 1400 pixels, and under 500kb in size.

Check out My Mixtape I Mean Podcast

https://medium.com/media/0ed74ecadacd97c07d2f44f2805b5ab6/href

How are we going to build an audience from scratch or get my pre-existing one to listen quickly? Soundbites are your friend. Instead of simply posting your cover art with a caption saying something along the lines of “Hey give me a chance and check out this recording of my voice.” Why not show them right then and there? Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all allow video posting. A soundbite is no different. Use video editing software like Adobe Premiere to create soundbites or short video clips to promote with on social. Pick 15–30 sec out of your podcast WAV file that you think your target audience will find the most interesting and entertaining. Use your cover art or preferably a relevant image to the soundbite to use as a visual. If you use your cover art repeatedly you can guess how ugly your feed is going to look in the long run.

Be sure to review each of your podcast directories’ analytics for your podcast.

Before we can start posting our soundbite across social media, we need to decide on the best location to funnel our listeners to. This would either be your personal podcast feed located on your hosting website or one of the podcast directories of your choosing. Take it a step further and use a URL shortener like Bitly to customize your link and keep track of your engagement. Plus, no one wants to see a long ugly URL anyway (especially Twitter). If your show includes guests, using their audience is vital to growing your podcast listener base. Make sure to provide your guest with the soundbite to promote across social. Here are a couple more quick tips to use on social.

  • Post your soundbite on both your Instagram feed and story with a swipe up link
  • Change your Instagram website link in your bio to your podcast link
  • Use appropriate tags and hashtags to your episode content and guests
  • Cut a full length video of your podcast to post on YouTube with different cover art dimensions (1920×1080)
  • Shorter soundbites equate to quicker start and finish listens and higher viewer counts
  • Plan guests or relevant content around specific announcements and news and release episodes at the same time
  • Be sure to remind your audience to subscribe and listen wherever they choose to listen and when new episodes will be published

All of this is great once you get the ball rolling and are consistently publishing episodes and soundbites, but you need to back it up with analytics. Be sure to review each of your podcast directories’ analytics for your podcast. Some of them are simple clicks and others like iTunes Connect provide great insight into how long your listeners stay listening to your episode, hours played per device, how many devices are subscribed, etc.

Episode titles, descriptions, and tags performances can easily be measured by the amount of clicks each episode are receiving. Joe Rogan takes the simple approach of titling each episode by the episode number and his guest’s name. His descriptions are short and simple giving a brief introduction to who they are and what they came to discuss.

The ability to see when your listeners decide to drop off and stop listening to your episode at a specific moment in your podcast is extremely valuable. This could be an indicator of how to structure your episode, whether it be length, show structure, or subject. If people aren’t sticking around to hear your off topic tandem, maybe you should stop with them all together.

Is This Thing Still On?

Don’t wait on podcasts, it is one of the best ways to build an audience and support a pre-existing one. Level up your content marketing tactics and figure out a way to throw podcasts in your bag. Give your audience a reason to listen to you. Choose the right format for your podcast and it’s content. Spend little to no money producing your podcast and expanding your reach. Make yourself and your brand visible in every shape and form possible.

Silicon Drive provides next-level marketing for emerging brands 🌴 ✨ Find us here 📷: silicondrive

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Is This Thing On? A Fool Proof Guide to Starting a Podcast was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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