To diversify your audience reach, starting a podcast could be the right move for your brand.
About 75 percent of Americans are familiar with the term “podcasting” (up from 70 percent in 2019), while about 50 percent of all American homes are podcast fans, according to compiled statistics by Podcast Insights.
Perhaps you already have an idea and are ready to jump in, but beware: It’s estimated that there are at least 1.75 million shows already (and they’re definitely not all delivering on invested time and resources).
To help your new podcast get heard (and not get lost in the noise), here are nine tips to help you get started.
Set your purpose and goals
It’s imperative that you get specific here. Not only do you want to nail down exactly what your show is about, but you want to formalize your goals for the podcast as well.
Typically, the best way to define your niche topic is to think about the cross section of your expertise and your target audience’s interests.
Who are you trying to reach? Resist the temptation to say “everyone.” Any piece of content that fails to target a specific group fails to reach most. This includes podcasts.
When thinking about your target audience, consider:
- Age range
- Employment status
- Hobbies and interests
- Social lifestyle
- Hopes and dreams
- Challenges and pain points
In other words, don’t be afraid to get as specific as possible when deciding what your show is about, but ideally, you want the topic to have enough potential content angles to explore as you get going.
When setting your goals, think S.M.A.R.T.:
Think through it: Why do you want to create this podcast? Understanding what ROI (return on investment) you’re aiming for will help you not only launch it but make decisions about its path along the way.
Start thinking about a name and logo
Just like tweets, the shorter you can make the name of your podcast, the better.
If it can be just one word, that’s even better. Many of the top podcasts today are just one-word names:
And truly, if you glance through names of top podcasts as a whole, you’ll see very few that are more than two or three words.
Brainstorm your options and present those ideas to friends and colleagues. Get feedback. Take your time settling on the best podcast name.
When it comes to designing your logo, simple and bold are approaches to keep in mind. Remember that many podcast listeners are scanning or discovering new podcasts on their mobile devices, which means: small display.
Your logo is an opportunity to visually communicate the idea of your podcast, and it also needs to make sense at a tiny size.
A short but sweet description also will be needed to inform listeners of what your podcast is about. Be clear and concise because this is how you can snag new listeners.
Decide on your format
Your podcast has a variety of options when it comes to its format, including:
- Storytelling (fiction or nonfiction)
Formats largely can be categorized as structured (with a number of segments potentially strung together) or unstructured (such as a panel conversation or interview that lasts the duration of the podcast).
Interviews can definitely make or break a podcast. Your interviewees could be big audience draws and add leverage to your episodic marketing, but they also could need to reschedule or cancel entirely. The more you can “bank” interview recordings before you even launch, the better. It also is in your best interest to compile a long interview “wish list.” Don’t hold back from who you would love to interview. You never know when someone might say yes.
To find more interview leads, consider joining HARO as a journalist. It’s a largely untapped source of potential experts you can interview.
In regard to hosting, there can be one host or any number of hosts on your podcast.
When deciding on your number of hosts, know that while you can have more control with a single host (possibly you), all the work can then likely fall on your shoulders. Multiple hosts can share the workload, but that does mean less control and the potential of at least one host losing interest after a while.
This is also the time to determine the frequency of your podcast. Commonly done are:
- Every other week
You’ll also want to decide whether this is a serial (set number of episodes) or a recurring podcast (ongoing).
There’s no particular benefit to any of these timed formats other than what suits your resources and overall podcast format.
Frame your podcast with intros and outros
Intros and outros are 15 to 30 seconds at the beginning and end of each episode. They are an opportunity to set the tone of your podcast for your listeners.
Typically, an intro will mention the name of the show as well as who the host is. You can use the same intro for every episode or change it up by season or even by episode. Just make sure that there is some consistency so that you’re maintaining the tone of your podcast.
The outro is the wrap-up segment of each episode. You can add a call-to-action where you mention your podcast’s social media handles or a website where listeners can learn more about your brand.
Background music is commonly used in intros and outros, but you’ll want to ensure that you’re using copyright-free music. Doing so will help you avoid any lawsuits or other issues.
Brainstorm episode subjects
Like any other content calendar you would create for a blog or social media posts, your podcast deserves the same amount of planning.
Start by writing down any and all episode ideas related to your podcast. If your format is interview-based, you’ll want to start documenting all possible interviewees.
For inspiration, browse through related blogs and books. Even the table of contents of books can be a great seed for brainstorming.
Planning-wise, don’t stop until you can sketch out at least three months of episodes. Then, plan to revisit the brainstorming process monthly after that. This will help your consistency and organization.
Select the right equipment and software
Sound quality is everything in podcasting. There is an expectation of clear, no-background audio. Because the competition in podcasting is high, you can’t settle for anything less.
So, while you don’t necessarily need super expensive equipment to record your podcast, you’ll definitely want more than the built-in mic on your smartphone or computer.
At the bare minimum, you’ll get better audio recordings with a quality microphone and headphone set with your computer.
In addition, you can consider using a:
Be sure to find a quiet space. Consider all outdoor noise that could be picked up even through a closed window and even indoor noise that could be created by such things as an HVAC unit.
Editing your audio recordings is an obvious key component to making your podcast high-quality. Audio editing software options include (but are not limited to):
You’ll want to explore options for your podcast hosting as well. Podcast hosts are places to store and distribute your podcast’s audio files. Some top podcast hosts include (but are not limited to):
Often, your podcasting host will help you connect to podcast distributors, such as iTunes, Google Play and others.
Repurpose your transcripts
Creating and publishing the transcripts of your podcast episodes to your website or other platform will not only help your search engine optimization (SEO), it gives you additional content to use and promote.
Practice makes perfect
Your first episode does not need to be your first recording.
This means that you can practice as much as you want, recording, editing audio and so on. You can record in different spaces to determine the least amount of background. You can even practice how close you’ll want your microphone while speaking.
All of this helps ensure quality recordings the first time around when you are recording “for real.”
Your podcast marketing matters
Just like you would plan out your podcast episodes, you also want to plan out the marketing surrounding each episode.
This includes thinking through posts across all existing social media channels, as well as mentions or features within your regular email marketing.
If you have guests on your podcast, consider asking them to promote the episodes that they’re featured in on their channels.
You’ll also want to plan out a campaign announcing the launch of your podcast. This should be geared toward your target audience and can include social media ads (like on Facebook) to get the word out even further.
The question of whether you should create a separate social media presence specifically for your podcast depends on you and your brand. If you already have a well-established, branded presence where it makes sense to promote your podcast, then creating all-new accounts shouldn’t be necessary. If you don’t have any established presence that can be tied to your podcast, then you might consider creating one.
When launching a new podcast, take your time. Podcasting is a marathon sport, not a sprint.
The key is planning, consistency, quality audio and topics that truly engage your target audience. You might launch with a small audience and no advertisers, but the more consistent you are, the more you can build that follower base, and the rest will lead to your achieving your podcasting goals.