Podcasting is quickly becoming one of the latest trends in digital content and marketing strategy. We discussed the benefits of podcasts and other long-form media in a blog and a video discussion several weeks ago. This week, we outline a podcast starter kit that will show you why you should start a podcast, what you should know before you begin recording, and how to take your podcast to the next level.
Should You Start Podcast?
Absolutely! All you really need is a few pieces of equipment and something to say.
Podcasts can be easy to produce and create what several sources are calling “intimacy plus.” This is essentially a window into or connection between the podcast creator and the listener.
The sense of community that revolves around podcasts is the reason they are so valuable and successful and you can harness that community to create a collection of extremely loyal customers.
In a business setting, podcasts are an excellent way for people to interact and get to know your company and brand. Especially when you feel that you have valuable messages to share with your audience.
Are You Ready to Start a Podcast?
When it comes to podcasts, everyone wants to be the next viral sensation. However, before you jump into it, we strongly encourage you to ask yourselves a few questions:
What Are Your Goals and Expectations in Starting a Podcast?
Make sure you know what you’d like to accomplish in starting your podcast. This will help dictate content and help manage expectations. Reach and adoption take consistency and effort so if your expectation is to gain a big following and reach hundreds of listeners, you must prepare to invest time and resources. On the other hand, if you’re content to simply share your knowledge into the ether because it’s therapeutic or serves as a resource for you existing audience, that’s great! It is however, important to understand your hopes for the media upfront.
What is Your Format and How Are You Going To Attract Listeners?
Podcasts come in all shapes and sizes. When you’re deciding how you want to format your podcast, reflect back on your goals. There are 6 main formats of podcasting; interviews, conversational, educational, solo-casts, non-fiction storytelling, and fiction storytelling. Most of these are pretty self-explanatory, except for solo-cast. This is where there is no co-host and the creator must speak and lead the entire thing on their own. Most podcasts have multiple speakers, but this is still a great way to do it.
There are so many podcasts out there. It is important to know how you will make yourself stand out. The most common style of podcasts is the interview format.
However, several celebrities have podcasts that are interview-style and it can be hard to compete. So, it is important to distinguish your podcast and make it something different. Even though he already has clout, Dax Shepard does a great job differentiating his by embracing and recording in a very relaxed “armchair” environment.
Another way to attract listeners is by promoting your podcast. We will get more into this in the Community Management section, but promoting a podcast has some unique steps that you may not be used to. The biggest reason for that is because podcasts are dispensable. It is really easy to move from one to another and forget about the first one. So it is important to establish yourself in a community of podcast listeners and provide value in their community. Go to where your listeners are, then they will come to you!
By knowing your goals, you can determine what format or style is best for your audience, what communities to invest in, and how to keep and gain new listeners. But there is one other thing you need to commit to in order to have a successful podcast. You need to be consistent.
Are You Willing To Be Consistent?
Many people like the idea of a podcast but quickly lose interest after not seeing immediate results. Creating something new takes time and if you don’t see immediate results, keep going. Listeners will come and start to expect new episodes if you stick to a consistent posting schedule. This will also increase engagement and listener interaction.
After you have considered and brainstormed the ideas above, it’s time to start the process of recording your podcast. From here, there are several different directions you can go regarding equipment and costs can vary with that as well. The first step is to go back to your goals and decide how you want to set up your podcast. You can record and produce a podcast for free by using your phone and a carpeted room or you could go and spend thousands of dollars on professional microphones, audio mixers, lighting equipment, headphones, etc.
It is all up to your discretion, but we recommend starting small and working your way up to nicer equipment as your listener pool expands. In the end, the equipment isn’t what is going to get you more listeners, the story of your podcast and brand is.
But Wait, There’s More
There is so much more to podcasting than just hitting a record button and uploading it to Spotify or Apple Podcasts. The above information should be enough to get you and your podcasting desires started, but in order to make an effective and engaging podcast, there are a few other things to consider.
You need to create a brand for your podcast. Even if it is an extension of your business, your podcast will need to have a name, look, feel, and brand that is distinguishable and unique. It can and should complement your business’s branding and content, but still, be discernible. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. If you need help creating a new brand, check out our blog Building a Brand in 5 Simple Steps.
In order to really boost your engagement and loyalty, you need to invest in your listener community. Like we said earlier, people expect consistency and will anticipate your next episode, but podcast listeners want to interact and discuss what they listened to! It is important to give your listeners an avenue to discuss with you and each other. A great place to begin is starting a social media account to follow along with your podcast. This will give you a place to put content and make it more shareable and accessible to people, as well as a place for your listeners to interact with you.
How will you monetize your podcast? With enough listeners, you open the door for potential sponsorships and advertisers. This can be overwhelming if you are unsure where to start or what to say in your podcast to fulfill your sponsor agreements. This is a very important part of creating a podcast that lasts, but it can detract from putting energy towards your content. It is important to have a balance between the sponsorships and creating relevant content for your listeners.
We hope you found this article helpful. We strongly urge you to start creating more content for your brand and a podcast is a great and simple place to start. However, before you do, make sure you have clear goals and are ready for the commitment. Podcasting is fun! Enjoy yourself, be yourself, and let your customers in on the culture of your brand. If you have any questions about podcasts or are looking for a place to record your first season, reach out! VSG has a studio space equipped with all the gear needed to produce your podcast and a team dedicated to helping out.