Complete Guide To Starting Your Own Podcast
Why Would You Start Your Own Podcast?
I’m not sure if you’re one of the millions of people globally who listen to podcasts but I have to admit I find a certain joy in having access to information that fits inside of a commute or other times I’m watching a video is not practical, such as at the gym. Back when I had a long commute with my 9:00 to 5:00 job it was a lifesaver in making my commute feel shorter but also to feel like I was making headway in my life by education.
As far as why YoU should start a podcast first things first, it is an incredible opportunity to be able to spread the vision and message of your business to others into an audience that quite honestly loves to be educated.
Many other platforms, especially the visually dominated ones like Instagram or Tik Tok are more driven to entertainment. Unless the information are are highly visual the other exciting part is stripping out the audio from videos you make or voicing over blog posts to expand the reach of content you’ve already gone to the trouble of making. I don’t know about you but I love being able to take a little effort and greatly expand its impact.
The Audience for Podcast is Huge
The audience for podcasting is huge and continues to grow each year.
I’m sure with the recent outbreak in covid the numbers will change due to more people working from home but irregardless the volume of people who are listening to podcasts on any given month is enormous.
Podcasts Have A Great Value Proposition For Your Audience
As I mentioned before, having an audio podcast as an extension of your business’s messaging can be valuable especially if the content that you’re making is practical. As people’s time becomes more and more limited and sought for being able to have a medium that is available whenever a person has time available is incredibly convenient.
(Learn more about Ruben here https://www.instagram.com/ruben__ruiz/)
Podcast Have A Large Captive Audience
Mobile phones were a game changer when it came to people’s attention. As you can imaging this affects TV ads, radio ads, and billboards (people texting while driving). These platforms no longer had a captive audience. That audience, when bored, could jump on their phone and enjoy other content.
On platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin we can all be consuming content while simultaneously getting push notifications. Because of the amount of people listening to podcasts on commutes there are far less distractions and your audience is far more captivated by the sound of your voice.
Starting a Podcast Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive
One of the best things about podcasting is a low barrier to entry when it comes to equipment and the expertise to pull it off. Below we have a list of equipment for the best possible podcasting situation within most people’s budgets. However, the only thing you really need to start a podcast is a pair of headphones and the phone.
Starting a video podcast is an option as well, which we’ll talk about at the very end, but it takes additional equipment and expertise. Still even other podcasters outsource editing to free up their time and avoid learning the technical aspects of it.
Audio Podcasts Do Not Have The Same Pressure As Video
Many business owners and marketers do not feel confident about their ability to deliver on camera or how they look. I must admit that despite being a videographer myself there is another level of pressure when trying to deliver an engaging message. After all it not only has to sound good but has to visually be captivating as well.
For those who do not like this pressure or simply don’t have the skill set and charisma needed to do well on video, audio podcasts are an incredible medium to remove those pressures and focus on the message.
Podcasts Are Great for 1-1 Networking
While I don’t fit into the people hating tendencies of some introverts, there is a certain social anxiety that I get from going to large networking groups. Having talked to many business owners I know that I am not alone in this fear.
The best part if you decide to do an interview style podcast your guest is either not present with you (zoom meeting) or you only have to worry about a one-on-one conversation rather than trying to work a room. I’ve been able to leverage podcasting to build great relationships and will never go back.
Equipment You Need To Start Your Own Podcast
The foundation of your podcast quality is how it sounds. A microphone is important for many reasons outside of just getting a clear recording of your voice. It also can reduce ambient noise and distractions that could cause people to grow tired of listening to you.
I’ve listened to podcasts that have noise in the background or simply sound like they’re talking 10 ft away from their microphone and it ends up becoming too hard to pay attention. Those of us that communicate regularly know that it is hard enough to get people to absorb your message and take it from knowledge to practicality. You do not want the way in which they hear your message be more difficult than it needs to be .
There are variety of microphone prices and capabilities but it’ll be on you to decide whether you want something that can clip onto your outfit, sit on your desk, or the classic podcast look of having the boom arm the holds the microphone out in front of you that could be retracted for more usable desk space when not in use. To make your life easier make sure the microphone uses USB rather than XLR.
Recommended Desktop Microphone – Blue Yeti – $129.99
Clip on Mic – Rode Smartlav – $77.53
Boom Mic – Rode NT-USB Mini – $229.99
If you have decided to use an external microphone, certainly the next step is determining how you’re going to record your audio. Most phones have a built-in way of recording whether it’s voice notes or other three third-party apps that are free. You certainly do not have to record by a means other than your phone but certainly if you have gotten a higher quality microphone like a Bue or Rode podcaster microphone being able to plug into a computer will be necessary with USB.
Choosing Your Podcast Show Format
There are many different formats that you can use for your podcast depending on the kind of podcast you want to do. Certainly for comedy it may be more difficult for you to feel like you can be funny when you’re simply talking to yourself rather than having a guest on your show. A guest may provide the comedic chemistry needed.
For others of you, having it be a solo podcast where you share a journey you’re going through with more personal experiences maybe just the ticket. You may find it less distracting and more enjoyable than having good guests. It’s completely up to you but we will go over the different formats below.
Solo or Group…or Both
A vast majority of podcast shows I listen to have more than one person talking. I find that a conversation between multiple people can add a lot of chemistry and excitement to the podcast. I personally listen to a majority of educational podcasts and find that having different perspectives help.
My friend Mary Zarob with Q. Contrary, while a tailor, custom clothier, and designer, tends to listen to sports podcasts. The arguments and clashes of opinions on players and what teams are performing well or poorly are certainly in the DNA of being a sports fan. The idea of having a single perspective simply does not make sense to me in that environment.
With a group conversation the message that you’re trying to put forward begins to become watered down as other perspectives join the mix. If you desire to have a more polished presentation or your simply communicating to your audience ideas that you have thought through, having a solo podcast would probably be the best option.
Serious or Humorous
Entrepreneurs and business owners often feel to be taken seriously they need to have a serious tone. Poorly positioned comedy can potentially damage a brand’s reputation but I would venture to say that humor is what keeps people engaged and it’s worth a little risk. I have listened to several podcasts of which humor is a very small part and still find them enjoyable. However, I will be the first to admit that I can choke down good information from just about any presentation if I want the info bad enough.
A brand expert I know ended up starting his own podcast because he felt like the podcasts that were out there did not meet the tone and messaging that he wanted to communicate. Here’s what he has to say about why he started a podcast…
(Listen to his podcast)
Scripted or Organic
You may want to have your ideas presented in a more concise manner. At that point having a more scripted podcast may be best for you. On the other hand you may want your podcast to feel a bit more organic and having an unscripted or lightly scripted podcast may be the best fit for you.
Personally I choose to go nearly unscripted rather than have what I say completely written. I go off questions and outline key points so that I can have creative freedom on how I express my opinions but still have structure in the way that the podcast is laid out so that people are able to follow along.
Creating The Artwork and Intros For Your Podcast
Podcast Episode and Channel Art
Most podcasts will have the option for you to be able to have channel art and episode art. Channel art is the “profile pic” of your podcast. Episode art gives you the ability to create a thumbnail that can grab people’s attention and clearly communicate what that specific podcast is about.
One serious drawback that we had to work through as we created artwork for our podcast is the incredibly small size of the art. A thumbnail is smaller than your pinky finger and that doesn’t give a lot of space to communicate much. Our suggestion would be a large text and very little other visual elements so that people are able to easily read and understand what you’re presenting.
For channel art it would be either a headshot if it is a personal podcast or simply a logo. Again you run into the situation of a very small visual real estate. A simple logo will often do the trick to have enough brand recognition that people can identify what podcasts are listening to at a glance.
Professional Podcast Intro
If you’re looking to have an incredibly professional presentation look no further than a professional voiceover for the intro of your show. This is not a requirement but something the many podcasters have decide to do to be able to differentiate their podcast from others. A professional introduction will be a way for you to quickly communicate what your podcast is about and who you are so that first time listeners or occasional listers can be reminded and understand what to expect.
Contextual Episode Specific Intro
One tactic that we have started to do as we continue our journey in optimizing our episodes is having an episodeal intro. This intro gives some context and really warms people up for the discussion they’re about to consume. It is no secret that people’s attention spans are lower and lower and being able to deliver a snippet of audio to get people hooked helps them figure out if the episode is about to listen to is relevant and worth their time.
One recent podcast I listened to the business name of the guest had changed from the time they recorded till it was published. This and other things like running a promotion is handy to have for an ending snippet of audio and continues to allow you the opportunity to differentiate your business.
Editing Your Podcast
Free and easy – Garage Band (iOS)
GarageBand is free and comes default with Mac computers. The program is really intended to track and mix music but it will do wonderfully to record, edit, and sweeten the audio that you recorded for your podcast. Being able to record straight to the editing program helps eliminate any transfer of information between devices which increases your workflow efficiency and decreases the chances of information getting lost, damaged or erased. The interface is simple, clean, and easy and most people can be functional with a 20 minute YouTube course or some trial and error.
Also Free – Audacity (Windows & iOS)
Audacity is another audio specific platform that is free, open source, and available on both Mac and windows users. It’s interface is less than beautiful but it still does a good job being able to cut up sections of your audio into a more produced version as well as having some post production effects to be able to clean up the sound.
A Service To Host Podcast Episodes
Every podcast needs to have a place online that holds the recordings and enables access and playback for people online. SoundCloud is used (especially by musicians) to be able to have a place where their audio clips can be played. I personally use Anchor.fm. It is a podcasting hosting platform where you can listen to podcasts but it also has the ability to distribute your music to other platforms such as Spotify, Apple music, and a host of other platforms.
Currently my podcast with only the effort of uploading to Anchor.fm shows up on 10 different platforms. Pretty nice right?! It is important to remember that a majority of your podcasting listen will come from Apple. Don’t be too picky and short yourself out of opportunities by not having your podcast on other platforms that people may use. I know there have been several podcasts that I have wanted to listen to that are not on Spotify and since Spotify is my go-to music and podcasting player I simply don’t listen to them.
Making Money With Your Podcast
Wow you have made it this far! Congrats! Obviously, doing a podcast is important to you for sharing your message and ideas. However there is another part to it that is important to a lot of people.
After you’ve gone to all the trouble of building an audience you’d be crazy to not wonder how you can monetize this audience. Many business owners decide not to monetize anduse their podcast as a way of helping others so that I feel like they’ve given back for the success that they have gained. Still others monetize the audience they have built by offering ads and sponsorships that genuinely will help their target audience and current listenership.
The brand awareness and reach you’ve created by doing a podcast can certainly help with driving traffic to your own website as you share promotions you are doing. Create calls-to-action to visit your website for more information. When it comes to deciding whether you want to monetize or not there is no wrong answer. It’s completely up to you to decide. Just a word of caution…treat the audience you have gained with respect. Do not send them to businesses or people that will do them wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with being choosy on who advertises or sponsors a podcast. That person will now be tied to you, and you to them when it comes to positive or negative associations. People who spent a lot of work getting the audience they have do not want to send their audience that trusts them to another business that does them wrong. You will destroy your credibility and break trust with your followers.
How To Know When To Monetize Your Podcast
As with any advertising audience size and engagement are always critical for justifying your demands for pay. Businesses are reaching out to you because you have people they think will spend money with them. How many people you have in your audience matters and is leverage for you.
Some chose to wait a long time before they monetize their audience. They do this in an effort to have businesses compete more for their audience which drives up price. Supply and demand. Others need money right away and are excited to get a trickle of income to justify their efforts.
It is completely up to you as far as where monetizing fits in your business goals and the goals for your podcast.
Several of the revenue options are as follows:
Voice ads (similar to radio ads)
Promotion for products/services that you sell
Taking Your Podcast To The Next Level With Video
Increasing Your Reach
Some of you will be wanting to expand into video podcasts. With that you add another layer of complexity but also an incredible increase in reach. Nearly all the platforms that people currently use are visual mediums such as Instagram, Tik Tok. and LinkedIN.
My question is this…if you are already sitting down to record a podcast why not put up a camera and record it so that you can post to all those other platforms? Why reduce your distribution to simply audio podcasts?
Increasing Your Opportunities
With increased presence online through video podcasting the opportunity to grow audiences on other platforms can be leveraged into additional revenue. Imagine being able to sell an advertiser on using your podcast platform, your YouTube platform, and your Instagram platform for advertising.
To Livestream or Not To Livestream
For a third and even more complex layer to your recordings consider live streaming as well. While this will be the most raw version of your podcast it gives people an opportunity to jump on to have a conversation with you and with others. This also gives people an opportunity to see you in your most raw authentic self because you’re not editing out all the “ums” and “ahs”. The pack of polish can be seen as more approachable and “real”.
Using A Phone vs DSLR
One last thing about recording video is deciding between buying a DSLR and using your phone. Both of those viable options and the need for incredibly high quality video is not as important as an authentic delivery. Quality plays into your brand’s perception and is another differentiator between your message and someone else’s.
I for one have a creative agency that shoots videos for clients of a high quality. It only makes sense that the other work that we produce is done with the same level of care and quality. It’ll be up to you to decide how you want to be perceived but for those of you starting on a budget start by simply using your phone.
Honestly, podcasting is a blast for me and I think it will be for you. Most people ask for things without having any way of giving back. I really enjoy using it as a means of meeting people and giving them value right away. I think you will find it opens some great doors for you and eventually can be another stream of revenue. Don’t wait for the right time, don’t wait for the right gear, just do it. Improve over time and pretty soon you’ll be incredibly proud of how you come across and the quality of what you’re creating. Isn’t that something worth pursuing?