As the popularity of audio entertainment shows no sign of slowing down, we take a look at how to create, launch and promote your podcast.
Film reviews and sporting analysis, true-crime tales and business advice—podcast enthusiasts are tuning in to a diverse range of offerings from across the world. To help people who are thinking of starting their own, we’ve spoken to podcast experts Paul Boag, Courtney Carthy from Nearly Media, and Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen, the duo behind The Daily Talk Show. Read on for practical podcasting tips.
From defining your concept to preparing to press record for the very first time, we look at how to take your initial idea and start turning it into a reality.
Whether you want to kickstart a personal project or are looking to add audio into your company’s marketing mix, it’s essential you have a plan in place. This means answering that all-important question: why are you starting a podcast?
A podcast can serve many purposes. Your goal might be to:
For Paul Boag, the goal was to fill a gap he had identified and create content aimed at designers, developers, and website owners: “Back in 2005, I was shocked to find I could subscribe to a podcast on knitting but there were no podcasts dedicated to web design. I decided to remedy this situation by starting my own.” Now, 15 years later, Boagworld just recorded its 25th season.
Whatever your answer to the question "Why are you starting a podcast?" might be, write it down now and refer back to it as you develop your show's concept to help keep you focused.
What your podcast will look like?
What will your podcast say?
Time to scope out the ‘competition’, as this will help define your approach further. Executive producer Courtney Carthy, of Melbourne’s Nearly Media, recommends looking at what podcasts are already out there and inhabiting a similar space, before asking yourself the following questions:
This background research will also help when it comes to making decisions on these potential podcast avenues:
No one wants to listen to a rambling recording. To keep them on track, Josh Janssen and Tommy Jackett, hosts of Big Media Company’s The Daily Talk Show podcast, use Trello to help them organize upcoming topics and define what they are going to talk about each episode:
They describe this process as creating a roadmap for where they want the episode to head and what they want to touch on in order to avoid going off on a tangent.
For Paul Boag, this ideation stage focuses on a number of episodes: “These days we plan seasons lasting between 12 and 15 episodes. Each season has a topic, and we plan content around those seasons. For example, we recently did a season on encouraging conversion with episodes on designing calls to action and writing compelling copy. However, we have a lot of listener content too in the form of questions, guests and even listener-submitted recordings.”
If you don’t have access to a recording studio (and it’s unlikely you will if you're just starting out), look for a small space that’s filled with material that can absorb sound and help reduce excessive reverb or echo—think furniture, carpets, and curtains. Look for ways to soundproof the space to keep out unwanted external noises, and remember, the cleaner the audio recording, the easier it will be to manage the technical aspects of editing and mixing.
Time for a few practical considerations, like finding the right tech and uploading your recording to hosting sites and directories.
“We place a big emphasis on technology and how it can help us to better communicate with our audience,” say Josh and Tommy. And while they like to keep on top of new protocols, products, and software that can assist them in producing the best possible podcast, it’s certainly not the end of the world if you haven't got heaps of technical experience.
With just a few basic online tools, you can get started on your podcast journey. However, if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remember that people will listen because they love your show and not because they want to analyze the sound quality or your editing skills.
Really, you could start recording your podcast armed only with your phone and a pair of headphones, but to give yourself the best possible start, it’s worth investing in a USB microphone. Once you've plugged this into the port on your computer, go into the settings of your audio recording and editing software and select the microphone as your audio input.
The editing process is where you split your podcast into sections, cut unwanted material, remove audible distractions, and insert intros and outros. When selecting editing software, look out for apps that make life as easy as possible by offering:
While Courtney recommends Reaper, the popular editing applications Audacity and Adobe Audition CC also tick all the above boxes.
The first thing to be aware of, explains Courtney, is the difference between hosting sites and directories.
Once you’ve finished recording and editing your podcast, export the audio as an MP3 file and upload it to a hosting site such as Acast, Anchor, Libsyn, Luminary, or Transistor. They will generate what’s known as an RSS feed, which is what you can then submit to directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and TuneIn.
The directory will pull your podcast’s feed details (things like the title, author, artwork, and description), so it’s important to ensure you have filled in these fields correctly. The time it takes for a directory to review, approve, and list a podcast varies between platforms, so familiarize yourself with how the one you are submitting your podcast to operates.
Whether you plan to mark your launch date with a fanfare or minimal fuss, many experienced podcasters recommend having at least three episodes recorded and ready to go before your release. As Courtney notes, you want to avoid falling victim to the dreaded ‘podfade’ at all costs.
By releasing a few episodes from the outset, you not only give listeners the opportunity to become invested in your audio offering, you begin to get into a recording and publishing routine that you can commit to.
As you prepare to launch your podcast, now’s the time to complement it by creating a well-crafted website. Here's why:
Other useful online tools you might want to consider using, according to Courtney, are Chartable to track your podcast’s analytics on an easy-to-use dashboard (which can help you understand who is downloading your content and when) and PodLink (which does what the name suggests—generating a link you can send to people that allows them to listen and subscribe straightaway).
If you record it, they will listen. Well, not quite. In this chapter, we explore how you can market your podcast to ensure it’s ringing in as many people’s ears as possible.
Aside from your intro music and theme song, there are several visual cues that will help aid recognition of your podcast—like your artwork. Make sure it stands out by:
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Here are some tactics and strategies that can help put your podcast on people’s radar and guarantee it stays there:
Sharing is caring:
During the intro and outro of every episode, ask listeners to subscribe, share, rate, and review your podcast. It doesn’t have to sound like a sales pitch—simply explain that if they like what they hear, they can support the podcast and help it grow by doing one or all of these things.
Social media is a great way to interact with and grow your audience, so think about which channels the people you want to connect with are using, and start posting. We aren’t talking about whole episodes—instead, share audio clips and video teasers, and add value with ‘behind-the-scenes’ insights and information that’s relevant to your followers. Make it a two-way conversation by asking followers what topics or guests they would like to see featured in future episodes.
Go the extra mile:
Make a bigger splash on social by putting some marketing budget behind posts that link to your podcast’s landing page and to individual episodes. Paid ads are a great way of targeting specific audiences and ensuring your podcast pops up in their feeds. However, if you want to keep costs to a minimum, leverage other people’s social media accounts—for example, create a podcast press kit for guests to easily share the episode.
Find your audience:
A podcast is nothing without its audience, but there’s no guaranteed formula for finding them, as Josh and Tommy know: “There’s no easy way to find an audience, there’s no hack, we're still finding ours. You just need to show up consistently, and if you do that in a way that’s true to who you are, and celebrate those doing fantastic stuff around you, you’ll find your tribe.”
As for the channels and platforms, their aim is to be anywhere that can serve their audience.
Contact the administrators of Facebook Groups and the owners of blogs that resonate most with your audience, and ask them to share your podcast.
Network with other podcasters:
Working with other podcasters and engaging in cross-promotional activities can be a great way of getting your name out there, as Courtney suggests:
Start by reaching out to shows that have a similar size audience to yours and are within your podcast’s niche, industry, or genre.
When it comes to distributing your podcast, here are a few promotional channels you could consider:
Upload the MP3 file to SoundCloud, and people will be able to play the audio from their Twitter feed. In fact, you could use SoundCloud as a platform in its own right.
Convert your podcast into a YouTube video by either:
Remember to add links to your podcast website and social channels, as well as details outlining how people can subscribe to your podcast, in the description. And because YouTube’s algorithm will suggest your other videos, it’s easy for users to find and watch more of your content.
Instagram and Facebook
If you have made a video, then create a few short clips and share these soundbites on Instagram and Facebook. They should only be a couple of minutes each, and they should encourage the viewer to watch or listen to the whole episode and share the snippet with friends on social media.
So there you have it. Thanks to Courtney, Paul, and Tommy and Josh for all their insights. We hope that this gives you some tips and inspiration to get started with your podcast. For more podcast marketing ideas, check out our social media marketing guide, and for unlimited creative and digital assets to create, launch, and promote your podcast, sign up for Envato Elements.