How to Start a Podcast – The Complete Beginners Guide to Podcasting

Podcast Marketing - How to Create, Publish and Distribute your Podcasts

Podcasting has now become an integral part of Digital Marketing and as a result the business of podcasting is growing exponentially. Not always the best measure, but the total digital ad spend on Podcast alone is projected to hit $1B by 2020. Add to that there are 700,000+ podcast currently in the Apple directory.

So the real question is Podcasting here to stay and how should marketers integrate podcasting as part of their digital marketing tactics?

To answer this question and many others, I recently had a chat with Carey Green, CEO of Podcastfasttrack.com where we spoke about all things podcasting! Click on the video above or keep reading a summary of our conversation.

Background History of Podcasting

Adam Curry, who was the MTV DJ turned podcaster is really known as the father of podcasting. He started way back in 2003-04 time frame. Then it didn’t really take off until Apple revolutionized the industry with iTunes and then the legendary iPhone launch. That is when Podcast really took off, especially when they shipped all the new iPhones with the Podcast app widget pre-installed with the phone. Today, this ecosystem has grown tremendously and Apple alone has 700,000+ podcast alone in its ecosystem.


 

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Now, here are some fun podcast statistics *…

  1. There are 700,000+ Podcast in the Apple directory.
  2. There are 29 Million podcast episodes
  3. There are Podcast in 100 different languages
  4. 51% of the US population have listened to a podcast
  5. 22% of the US population listen to podcasts weekly
  6. 28% of people in the age range 25-34 listen to a podcast
  7. 45% of Podcast listeners are likely to have $250,000+ annual income
  8. 54% of Podcast are consumed on the Apple ecosystem (includes phone, mac, watch, etc)

And here’s the kicker…69% agreed that Podcast ads made them aware of new products or services.

Now, as marketers we love these kind of statistics to back up our case on why Podcasting is a viable marketing tactic. If you are a smaller company then you may start your own podcast and if you are an enterprise marketer then Podcast advertising could be your next customer acquisition channel. All in all, Podcasting is a viable marketing tactic and just like any marketing tactic there are some building blocks into how to make this a successful part of your overall digital marketing mix.

So let’s dive into how to get started with Podcasting. Just like any marketing channel to succeed you need a solid strategy in place. And just like anything companies and markers should answer three basic questions.

  1. How will this podcast be of value to the listeners?
  2. What Message will I be delivering to my audience?
  3. Why Am I doing this?

 

How Will This Podcast be of Value to the Listeners?

This is super critical as most marketers are most interested in gaining benefit and very few really ask how can my product or service be of benefit to the user? This is a user centric thinking and if marketers can adopt this then there will be many lean products and leaner marketing budgets.

My guest Carey Green summed it up really well by saying “people take the time to think through a strategy behind their podcast even if it’s just a hobby podcast, because your goal really is to serve an audience. You’re not just there to be self-serving and just kind of use it as a personal journal or diary in most cases where you’re just getting things off your chest.” This is a very important point as if you really want to rant then you have Twitter. For example, when I started with my BobCast Podcast, my idea was to create a medium where people can learn digital marketing from leading industry experts and also ask questions around digital marketing. Hence learning was a big value I wanted to provide to my listeners with my BobCast podcast.

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What message will I be delivering to my audience?

A message is super critical as that is something you will be delivering each week depending on your podcast publishing cadence. With our podcast, we have played around with few categories but we stick to the core of our mission and that is to educate our listeners on all aspects of digital marketing.

Carey had something interesting to add here “You’ve got to craft messages. It takes time to figure out exactly how to deliver it in the best way and I think podcasters need to take a cue from communicators who’ve been communicating along that premise for years. They need to get more intentional about their content and so sit down with a piece of paper, jot down in 10 minutes the number of topics that you could speak to authoritatively or intelligently and then for the next 10 minutes. Organize and prioritize the ties those put them in a sequence that makes sense and then for the next 10 minutes create three sub points under each one and what you’re going to wind up with is 10 to 15 to 20 episodes worth of content that came right over your head in your experience that you can begin speaking on”

Why Am I Creating this Podcast?

As marketers we need to create a metric on why we are doing what we are doing. This means what is your goal in creating a podcast – generate leads, build personal brand, bring change in the world, create awareness about something. Whatever the cause may be it is important that marketers nail this part down. Because only after you are able to answer this question of why you are doing this will you be able to measure if you are succeeding in what you set out to achieve.

So now after you have answered the basic questions of your raison d’etre the next steps are the three steps of podcasting –

  1. Creating
  2. Publishing
  3. Distributing

Step 1 – Creating a Podcast

One of the most critical pieces you would need to create your podcast is the equipment. Now, we have come across companies who are “podcast creation agency” who charge an arm and a leg to create podcast for brands. I have also toured co-working spaces where they have created a “podcast recording studio” for their members. So there is quite a range when it comes to what kind of equipment you need to create your podcast.

To that question, Carey had a very practical response in ”Audio quality matters more and more as time goes on. That’s because the brands are coming in and are producing these stellar quality shows. And the reason that matters for your small indie podcaster is that you’re not just competing against other podcasters in your niche or who are speaking about what you speak about. You’re competing against every form of digital content that people consume because you’re vying for their time. And so if your quality is such that it hurts their ears or is unpleasant to listen to or just isn’t fun they’re going to go somewhere else no matter how interested in your topic they are. So quality does matter. Now do you need a full blown studio? No you don’t. But you do need to have a decent microphone. You need to have a relatively quiet place to record where you don’t have a lot of room echo. You need to ensure that you’re using decent software that can capture the audio well in the average person can do that for less than two hundred dollars in equipment and a little bit of foam on the wall perhaps sometimes you don’t even need that. My best podcasting studio ever was a walk in closet and I just I put my desk in the back of the closet left all the clothes where they were and it was perfect for soaking up the sound so most people have that sort of a resource to get started.”

So here are the checklist items you need to create your first podcast:

  • A good microphone
  • A quiet place to record
  • Make sure there is no echo in the room
  • If you have guest speakers then ensure that they have a good microphone

Step 2 – Publishing a Podcast

Now that you have recorded your podcast the next step is to take that audio file and publish it correct? Well, yes it is easy once you start but the technical reality is that your podcast are published on various platforms like Apple Podcast, Google Play, iHeart Radio and so on with the help of RSS feed. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and this technology feed has been around since the early 2000’s. The RSS feed is a variant of XML file that allows computers and platforms to read and process code in standardized, computer-readable format. This ensures that data is updated in almost real-time.

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The most important thing you would need is a media host which can store all your podcast episodes and then publish an RSS feed for the different podcast platforms. There are many media platforms out there like Libsyn, BuzzSprout, Podbean and many others. Just like your web hosting provider your media platform needs to be stable. Our guest Carey Green had a word of caution for our listeners “I think your media host does matter because you’re media host needs to be number one reliable. It needs to be staffed by people who care about podcasting and have been in the industry for a while and people who keep up on the changes because the big dog in the podcasting space for example is Apple and Apple makes changes to their ecosphere all the time. And if you’re podcast host isn’t keeping up with those things and isn’t making changes to enable you to take advantage of the changes Apple is making then you’re gonna be left out in the cold and Apple may even exclude you from their directory which is the biggest one out there. Cause you’re not keeping up with their standards. And so I always recommend some of the big media host.”

Step 3 – Distributing a Podcast

Distributing a podcast and getting more listeners is the big elephant in the room. But just like any marketing campaign, don’t expect that you will launch a podcast and they will come. Getting listeners and subscribers just boils down to old school marketing. To that our guest Carey had this to add:

“It all boils down to good old fashioned marketing, Yeah like link building for SEO, promotional social media even print media. If you have the budget to promote your show via print media anything you can do to get the word out about your show in a way that shows the value that it’s going to add to listeners is going to help because podcasting like any marketing is kind of a long game. Build momentum over time and as your show grows listeners share it with someone else. And the ball keeps rolling. You have seen shows that started out with 20 or 30 or 40 listeners that are now up to thousands of listeners per episode just because they kept at it and they kept providing great value.”

And that is the key here – Keep providing great value and keep at it by way of publishing regular podcast episodes.

10 simple ways you can start distributing your podcast to increase your subscriber base:

  1. Create a dedicated Podcast section on your website showcasing all your podcast episodes
  2. Include it in Podcast directories like Apple directory, Google Play, iHeart Radio, Stitcher and so on
  3. In addition to major directories like the above submit to other podcast directories
  4. Promote it on Social Media channels like Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram
  5. Create Instagram stories around your podcast episodes
  6. Promote it on your blog posts, articles
  7. Ask your network to share your podcast. If you have guest speakers, then create custom banners to promote their individual podcast
  8. Promote it on your business cards and other print collaterals
  9. If you are a public speaker then announce it during your presentations
  10. Create retargeted ads through the Google Display Network or Facebook retargeting

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