(By Traci Long DeForge) Podcasts are trending right now because they are accessible, portable, and listeners can listen to them whenever it is convenient. It’s different than video because you can take them with you without being tied to the screen. People listen to podcasts in the car. You can take the podcast with you when you’re working out in the gym or on subways, planes, and trains. The popular concept of releasing daily snackable forms of content is catching on because they’re produced as focused, topic-specific content that you can grab on the go.
Have you thought of starting a podcast but don’t know where to begin?
The first step is to get very clear on why you want to start a podcast. Are you a business owner who wants to grow their business? An entrepreneur who wants to get their message out? Are you an artist or an author and want to position yourself as an expert in an industry category? It is important to figure out exactly what it is you want to talk about on your podcast and how you want your show to sound. Do you want to interview guests? Repurpose already existing blog posts into engaging audio files?
You can dive into the next steps once you’ve fleshed out the concept of your show and figured out why you want to do it.
As you evolve into the production stage of creating a podcast you need to commit to consistency. Committing to consistency means having consistent schedules for both the recording of your show and releasing it. The show needs to go out at the same time of the day, on the same day, every week. You may only have the bandwidth to release an episode once a week or prefer to release a series of multiple episodes. The important thing is to honor the schedule you committed to because your listeners could be disappointed or lose interest if you’re not delivering it consistently.
Investing in quality production audio has become increasingly more important. Apple is releasing approximately 8,000 new podcasts per week. There are over 550,000 podcasts on iTunes right now so the quality of your audio will be a big factor in your competitive edge. You may not be able to budget for a producer when you’re first starting out so invest in a quality microphone and, if you have a co-host, make sure that you both use the exact same microphone to ensure the best possible sound. Some recommended microphones for podcasting include the Blue Yeti USB Condenser Microphone, Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamics USB/XLR, or Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone. Prices range from $64-$150. Consult with an audio expert before you purchase one to really understand the differences and which is better for your recording scenario. There is no reason to overpay when you don’t have to. You want to be sure you’re getting the right quality for your production goals.
One of the secrets of success in creating an engaging show is remembering that the first five to eight minutes are the most important in capturing your listeners. You’ll want to make sure you use those first precious minutes to bring in the listener and captivate them so they will want to listen through to the end of your episode.
Should a local business be starting a podcast to increase their influence?
The great thing about podcasting is your ability to use it to position yourself as an expert. Whether you’re a local business or you want to reach new customers outside of your regional area, you can view the podcast as an originator of your marketing content, one of the things that Produce Your Podcast recommends to our clients is to start your podcast as the hub of your marketing strategy. You can record your episode once, transcribe it, and take that written content and use the edited version as a blog post. These transcriptions can be repurposed into social media and email newsletters and used in other kinds of digital marketing. Podcasting is very efficient as a business development tool. It gives your customers a way to get to know you. People like to do business with the people they can trust. A powerful connection emerges between you and your listeners and as a result, they are more likely to convert into new customers.
The best thing you can do today to launch your podcast is just get started. It’s not too early. It’s not too late. There’s still plenty of room in the podcasting market to have a successful show. Go ahead and jump into the trend. The sooner you get ahead of it the more effective it will be for you. Find the right partner to work with you if audio production is not your thing. Seek out an expert who can help you if you want to start a podcast and you’re not sure what to do next. Reach out on social media to ask questions or join Facebook groups with experienced podcasters who can help you get through the process. The hardest part is beginning but you’ll be glad you did!
Traci Long DeForge is the founder of Produce Your Podcast, a podcast consulting agency. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org