To say podcasts are the hottest thing since sliced bread is an understatement. Since their inception in 2004, podcasts have skyrocketed in immense popularity among business owners and casual listeners alike. Even celebrities like Dua Lipa are taking a shot at producing their own podcast shows for anyone willing to listen.
And yes, even in this image-dominated world, plenty of people are willing to try podcasts.
Take a look at a recent report from Statista. According to this study, around 120 million people listen to podcasts regularly, and this number is predicted to increase to over 160 million in 2023. That’s a lot of podcast listeners in a span of a couple of years!
As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, so do the opportunities attached to them. Podcasts make it easier for businesses, large and small, to communicate with their target audiences and position their brands as authority leaders in their industries.
When you utilize podcasting for your business efforts, you can influence your listeners to see the value in your services, make purchases and promote your business to others. And all of this can be done without breaking the bank.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to start a podcast for your business.
What is podcasting?
Podcasts are a series of audio recordings centered around a specific topic or theme, just like your average radio show. However, there are key differences between podcasts and radio shows that you should know about.
Most podcasts are created with original content—that is, original talking points about a topic, title, cover art, and style. Unlike many radio shows, podcasts have more creative freedom and stylistic approaches. It can be of any length, style, format, frequency, and topic you like. Some of these shows even delve into niche topics like pop culture and unresolved mysteries.
You can subscribe to a specific podcast through an app like Spotify or Audible, download the episodes, and listen to it wherever you go. If you have a Bluetooth or wireless system in your car, you can even listen to your favorite episodes on the go.
Accessing a podcast only requires the use of a device like a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.
What are the benefits of podcasting for your business?
There are plenty of reasons why starting a podcast would be good for your business. Today, many customers have high expectations from brands. According to Sprout Social, around 64% of customers want brands to foster a connection with them.
The same article also reports that if a brand is able to achieve a connection with its target customers, at least 76% will make a purchase from them over a competitor.
Podcasting gives your business the chance to build relationships with your target customers. It allows you to humanize your brand and provides an intimate setting so that your customers feel like their thoughts and pain points are heard.
Podcasts are also highly engaging. Rather than reading off a list of product benefits or issues, many businesses use storytelling in their podcasts to provide experiences that they know their target customers will understand.
When you attach a story to your product or service, you create value behind it.
If your customers become avid listeners to your podcast, they’ll grow accustomed to associating your business with a certain style, tone, and voice. This familiarity helps to build positive brand equity.
One of the most important podcasting benefits for your business is establishing credibility. Podcasting allows you to explore deeper issues and topics within your industry that you can’t do with other marketing channels. You can become a reliable source of information for issues in your chosen field, which elevates your brand’s exposure to target customers.
How do you get started on podcasting for your business?
To create an engaging podcast for your business, there are several key details you need to think about first. Podcasting isn’t an activity you can rush through and expect fast results.
Like other marketing tools and channels, you’ll need to dedicate some time to cultivating your show so that it brings value to your customers. Yes, you have creative freedom but it’s highly recommended that your podcast aligns with your business objectives.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, be sure to review a few of the podcast basics below to avoid rookie mistakes.
Decide on a niche or theme.
The first step to starting a podcast is deciding on a niche or theme. What do you want the focus of your podcast to be? What are some good industry topics you want to explore? You need to find a niche or theme that’s broad enough to explore various topics but also has a narrow focus that attracts a specific audience.
Brainstorm a list of general topics or ideas you’d like to talk about that aligns with your industry. Include all topics of interest that you think your audience would find interesting. After this, narrow your list down to your favorites. Consider any sub-topics you can discuss.
Seeking a niche that’s underserved in your industry can help you reach audiences that are hungry for such information. For example, instead of having a podcast about the video game industry, you can use your expert knowledge in psychology to discuss video games from a unique perspective.
The worst mistake newbie podcasters can do is try to be everything at once. You won’t appeal to many listeners if you’re too general. And don’t worry about your competition!
With over 2 million podcasts in existence today, chances are, you’ll face competition no matter what niche or theme you decide on.
Demonstrate quality and expertise by discussing a specific topic you know about. You can always expand beyond your chosen niche as your podcast gains traction.
Select a name.
Choosing the right name for your podcast can be a hassle. You can opt for a name that serves as a brief summary of your podcast and what it will be about.
For example, some podcasts with descriptive names include Crime Junkie, a podcast that delves into true crime stories, The Daily, a podcast about daily news stories by The New York Times, and Stuff You Should Know, a podcast that compiles interesting facts about different topics in society and culture.
All of these podcasts have names that let the listener know what they should expect when they listen to it.
Another option is to pick a name that’s attention-grabbing and unique but aligns well with your chosen niche. One podcast name that serves as a great example is Criticism is Dead. This show revolves around reviewing and analyzing popular TV shows and films with a more nuanced approach. Its name is clever and catchy but doesn’t deviate from its niche, film criticism.
When choosing your podcast name, make sure you don’t include your name or even your business’s name unless you are a well-known expert in your field.
If you’re a public figure, you’ll be able to capitalize on your own name but for lesser-known podcasters, using personal names in a podcast title may confuse potential audiences.
Choose a format.
There are many different types of podcast formats, including solo, co-hosted, and interview shows. Currently, the most popular podcast format is interviews. This format is usually done with one host and a guest but can also be done with a co-host or multiple guests.
It depends on the topic and interview questions that you decide to ask. To create good interview questions for your podcast, it’s important to perform significant research on the planned topic and your guest so that your show is fruitful and engaging.
Of course, just because many podcasts are in interview-style format doesn’t mean you have to do one.
A solo show allows you to have honest conversations with your audiences. These shows are usually not scripted and sound natural to the listener. You also have the option to run a co-hosted podcast where you share your mic with another host.
For these types of shows, each presenter should create a structure that allows for a natural, organic flow of discussion in every episode. This helps prevent the podcast from becoming cluttered with too much commentary from the two hosts.
You can also switch up the format by having a podcast that’s a solo (or co-hosted) show for the first half and an interview-style Q&A show in the second. It’s up to you to decide what format you would like to do.
Of course, the format of your podcast is just one piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need to decide whether you’d want to record additional elements that boost the appeal and professionalism of your podcast.
This includes intros and outros, voiceovers, and music. Make sure these features align with your podcast’s tone and personality since they serve as the first impression for potential audiences.
Decide on length.
The average podcast is around 43 minutes and 24 seconds long. This is a great starting length for many podcasts since it’s long enough for engaging discussions. If we delve deeper into different podcasts available today, many top shows fall between the 30-to-70 minute time length.
There are also other great podcasts that are just under 10 minutes. So how long should your podcast be? Well, there are no “perfect” podcast lengths and what works as the “average” may not apply to you.
There are numerous so-called “experts” who claim that certain lengths are the best for podcasts because they’re the average time a person drives. However, you should never determine your podcast length with industry statistics or averages.
Podcasts vary in format and style so they’ll also vary in length. What matters is how much you have to say about a specific topic without losing focus.
There are five-hour-long podcasts that appeal to a specific audience because they involve lengthy conversations about a topic of interest. Similarly, a 6-minute podcast may attract a certain audience that needs quick information on the go.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different podcast lengths. When you’re starting out, you can vary your show’s time to see what works best for you. That way, you won’t feel pressured into meeting a specific timeframe for every episode.
Make a consistent upload schedule.
Consistency is key with podcasting. If you’re trying to build brand awareness or leverage business credibility, you must record and post an episode each week.
And you must maintain it.
Infrequent posting makes it harder for your podcast to gain traction with target audiences. It also causes your listeners to tune out in favor of competing shows.
Therefore, take time to plan and decide on the best dates to record, edit, and post your episodes every week.
If you feel overwhelmed, produce a few episodes for yourself to have an idea of what the process is like and which days of the week work for you.
Pick recording equipment.
You don’t need to have the most professional recording equipment to create a podcast. Many newbie podcasters record their shows with their smartphones. If you decide to go this route, be careful with the type of audio quality your smartphone may have.
Low-quality audio can make your podcast sound amateurish—and that’s not something you want audiences to associate your brand with. Investing in a high-quality microphone and recording software is the best place to start.
A good microphone doesn’t typically cost a ton. Some quality options include a USB microphone that can be plugged into your laptop or desktop computer. You can also search the market for basic and high-quality mics like:
Many of these microphones are popular among podcasters. Depending on the format of your show, be sure to purchase microphones for any co-hosts and possible guests you may have each episode. Remember to record in a quiet area and to purchase pop filters (“popper stoppers”) for quality recording.
Choose your editing style.
Along with microphones, you’ll need quality audio recording software to create your podcast. There are plenty of software options available for podcasters such as:
GarageBand is a professional audio software that’s user-friendly and contains various features to record, edit, and mix your audio the way you want it. To learn how to use this software, be sure to give YouTube tutorials a look. GarageBand is only available for Mac and iOS users.
Audacity is an easy-to-use audio recording and editing software available for podcasters to use. This software is free, open-source, and contains a variety of features for audio processing. Some key features include plugins, effects, and easy editing capabilities. Audacity is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and other operating systems.
- Adobe Audition.
Adobe Audition is an audio recording and editing software that allows you to create, mix and design your audio with ease. It’s a comprehensive tool with useful features such as display, recording, editing, and mixing for audio content. This software also works well with other software in the Adobe Creative Suite like After Effects and Premiere Pro. Adobe Audition is only available for Windows and Mac users. It can be purchased separately or as part of the Adobe Creative Suite.
Alitu is an audio software that makes recording and editing podcasts efficient and easy. This tool is cost-effective, flexible, and automates every aspect of the audio editing process. It automatically cleans your file so that you sound clean throughout your recording. The software also uses a drag and drop method so that you can go back to focusing on your show. It’s available for Mac and Windows users. Different pricing premiums are available on its website.
Figure out how to host.
Once you’ve edited and recorded an episode of your podcast, it’s time to export your work onto a media hosting platform. Media hosting is the only way you can submit your podcast to websites like iTunes and Spotify.
Most media hosting platforms require a subscription fee to save your audio files. These services may also provide marketing tools and metrics to help you promote your show. Some popular media hosting sites are Buzzsprout, Libsyn, and Blubrry.
After you’ve chosen your media host, the platform will provide a “URL” that you can submit to iTunes, Spotify, and other audio listening websites. You can then promote your podcast to potential listeners from your social media and other marketing channels.
Decide how to share and promote.
We recommend sharing and promoting your podcast after you’ve already uploaded several episodes. This will help you generate excitement and give your listeners enough content that convinces them to stick around.
Promote your podcast on your business’s social media channels. Ask your target audience what they think of your show. Encourage them to subscribe and leave a review. When you build a large following, your podcast is likely to be featured on Spotify or iTunes.
And as you would do with other content, don’t forget to repurpose your podcast into a blog or social media post. Anything you discuss that’s relevant to your industry can be transformed into digestible content to build your online presence.
You may have never seen it coming, but podcasting is an effective marketing tool that you (and other business owners) shouldn’t ignore. The overall process behind podcasting sounds intimidating but the opportunities it provides for businesses are endless.
And the industry is still young compared to other marketing channels!
By creating podcast content, you can generate a significant following, engage with your target audience (who could be your potential customers), build brand awareness, and establish your brand as an authority leader.
Once you have the basics of your podcast mapped out, you can begin building close relationships with your audience and elevate your brand to another level.
Read our blog, How to Advertise on Instagram in 2022 to learn the best tips on how to leverage your brand’s advertising efforts on Instagram.