This guide on podcasting was created by Natalie Drozdz, a student at the University of Montana, devoted cat mom, and podcasting enthusiast.

A microphone used for podcasting

What is Podcasting?

A podcast is a digital broadcast made available on the Internet. The word “podcasting” is derived from “pod” as in Apple’s iPod, the popular portable audio player, and “cast” from “broadcast”, meaning “to transmit for general or public use.” Podcasts are not only a great way to deliver content for people on the go, but they’re also an ideal tool to build a following and a sense of community. Blockbuster podcasts like NPR’s “Serial” with millions of listeners have brought a lot of attention to podcasting. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults listen to podcasts at least occasionally.

Source: Nielsen Homescan Panel

Michael Wolf, the chief analyst of NextMarket Insights and a notable podcaster, sees podcasting as a less crowded content channel than blogging. It has deeper engagement, as listeners tend to stay tuned in longer than with blog content. If you do it right, there are many advantages to starting a podcast of your own: finding new audiences, leading to less competition, and creating a greater intimacy among them.

Throughout this guide, I’ll discuss all things “podcasting” including how to get started, good podcasting equipment, how to create good content, and lastly, how to promote your podcasts.

 

How to Get Started with Podcasting: Simply start with a microphone.

Podcasting: Where Do You Start?

With the right strategy, you can launch your podcast and begin creating impact and income in whatever industry you chose. The top podcasts are reaching millions of people each month and monetizing their audiences to sustain thriving businesses. Here are some useful insights to starting your podcast:

  • Choose Your Niche and Topic
    • It helps to have a personal connection to your audience, so you can understand their desires and what they struggle with. It’s recommended to do niche research and identify who your competition is before you dive in. Ideally, you want a niche that isn’t very competitive. However, I would highly advise seeing who’s ranked in the top 100 of your niche and listen to their podcasts to understand what makes them successful.
  • Title Your Podcast
    • Make it simple yet memorable. If you have an established brand, you may want to title your podcast the same as your brand. Remember to include central keywords that your audience may be searching to help them find you.
  • Create Podcast Artwork
    • Your podcast artwork will appear as the thumbnail image next to your podcast. It needs to be a visual representation of your show. It should be eye-catching and attractive to strike peoples’ curiosity. Many podcasters hire a professional designer to create their graphic, so I recommend you do the same.

      Here are some podcast artwork ideas designed for iTunes

Look here to see a few more ideas on how to start a podcast and podcast artwork.

A Beginning Guide to Creating Energized Podcasts

Podcasting for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Getting Started With Podcasts

 

To be able to record high-quality audio, USB Mics are great for beginner podcasters

Podcasting Equipment 101

A quality podcast will mean quality equipment.

  • Microphone
    • USB Mics – most common and simple piece of podcasting equipment, because it plugs straight into your computer. These are ideal for beginners, especially for those that record solo/monologue type shows.
    • XLR Mics – these are for more flexibility to have multiple people join your show. These need additional equipment to run because they don’t plug straight into your computer. Check out the best podcasting mics roundups for my top picks.
  • The Recorder
    • You now need a podcast equipment option for capturing and storing your audio. This could be anything from a phone to a computer, to a dedicated digital recorder itself.
    • Digital Recorders – these are a great option for someone who wants to podcast on the go but is looking for sound quality above what you’ll get with a smartphone. They also offer a lot more settings and options for creating audio, because that’s what they are naturally built for.
    • Computers – there are multiple options available when it comes to recording directly into your computer. You can use a Digital Audio Workstation like Audacity or Adobe Audition, for starters.
    • Smartphones – you probably already have a default recording app on there. Recording into a phone can be extremely convenient, though it lacks flexibility and options for a dedicated digital recorder. However, it’s a great starting point.
  • Headphones
    • These are a vital part of the equipment lineup. You should always “monitor” your recordings, even when doing a solo show. This means using headphones while recording so you can hear exactly what is being captured. You’ll also need headphones to hear your guest if you run an online interview show. Here are some best podcast headphones roundup for a few great options.

  • Production
    • When we get to the editing stage, the “podcasting equipment” is just as simple as a computer. However, it’s the software and tools you use on a computer that requires a little thought.
    • As mentioned before, Digital Audio Workstations, like Audacity or Adobe Audition, are both great options for post-production.
    • If you want to do some editing, as well as add an intro and outro track, check out Alitu. It’s an app that makes it easy to record, produce, and publish your podcast.
  • Publishing
    • Finally, the publishing stage. To upload your podcast for the world to hear, you need to sign up to a media host. It’s basically where your podcast lives online and places like iTunes and Spotify will look towards it to pull all your content for. Check out this link to get the best information on how to effectively publish your podcast.

Here are a few more links for more info on podcasting equipment:

Podcast Equipment – Everything Needed to Build your Studio

10 Technology Items You’ll Need to Start a Podcast

It’s important to create engaging podcasting content to keep people listening.

How to Create Good Podcast Content

If you want engaged listeners, you have to create engaging podcast content. This should be the type of content they can’t get enough of. Here are a few tips for you to refine your podcast episodes to keep your audience listening.

  • Talk About Things You’re Interested In
    • This may sound obvious but choosing a topic you like talking about is the foundation of podcasting. Not only does it help you produce engaging content, but it’s also a key factor in consistently creating new episodes for your audience to enjoy.
  • Focus on Your Target Audience
    • As I said at the beginning of this guide, it’s best to narrow your focus to a specific listener who will get the most value from your content. It’s important to do a lot of research between podcast episodes. Read the comments on your podcast’s social media posts or think about adding more to popular topics from past episodes. Better yet, ask your fans directly. Use an email list and social media pages to ask for listener input about what they want to hear. Once you have your ideas, go through each one and ask yourself if the content focuses on your listeners’ needs. Will it add value to their life? Will they sit and listen to the entire episode? Is this the content they’re craving?
  • Stay On Topic and Don’t Wander Too Much
    • As you get better at podcasting, you’ll start to have more fun creating more comfort-ability behind the mic. However, it’s important to make sure the conversation doesn’t stray too far off-topic. To keep yourself on track, I suggest following a script or at least an outline to keep the conversation on a set plan. This isn’t saying that all tangents are bad but it’s important to keep adding value to your listeners by staying focused. Luckily, you can always edit out certain segments that stray too far in post-production.
Barack Obama sitting down for a podcasting interview
  • Invite Experts Onto Your Podcasting Show
    • Every niche has many experts that like to hit the “podcast circuit.” They are probably on a different show every week. These are great guests to have on your show because they know how to perform on a podcast, however, your listeners have probably heard of them before. Sometimes it’s even better to go after great storytellers, even if they are less well known. Learn as much as you can about your guests before you record so that you can prepare many questions, instead of trying to come up with ones on the spot. These questions should challenge the guest to come up with unique answers so your interview is special and different from any other one they have done before.
  • Tell Your Fans Where to Learn More
    • There is no way to cover everything in a 30 or 45-minute segment, so your listeners may still have questions about the topic you covered. The most engaging podcast content helps listeners explore further and gives them ways to learn more. For each episode, think of relevant resources you can direct listeners to later. This includes relevant articles, YouTube videos, blogs, or books that dive deeper into the topic. Whenever possible, offer specific resources and make it easy for the listeners to find what you are talking about. You could add these resources to your show notes for your audience to easily access the information.
  • Post Transcriptions of your Episodes 
    • This is a bonus tip to get all of the value out of the work you put into creating a great episode. Including episode transcriptions on your website provides SEO value so that new listeners can discover your engaging podcast content as they search for information about the topics you are covering. By providing search engines additional content to your “crawl”, your podcast is more likely to show up in search results and in turn, raise your audience numbers.

For more information about creating great podcasting content, here are a few more resources:

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Great Podcast that People Listen To

7 Secrets To Producing Engaging Podcasting Content

10 Tips on How to Create a Remarkable Podcast

Learn How to Market your Podcasts Effectively

How to Promote Your Podcasts

The #1 Goal: Do Well on iTunes!

iTunes is responsible for as much as 70% of a podcast’s listens and downloads.
Listen on Apple Podcasts

Here are a few tips for podcasting promotion strategies I’d highly suggest trying.

  • Leverage your Guest’s Audience
    • Make it easy for guests to share by creating snippets and quote images. This works well especially when your guests have big audiences and followings. One idea is to send them a reminder on the day their podcast goes live that includes a series of shareable media: pull quotes, images, links, or prewritten tweets and status updates. From this thread on Growth Hackers, there’s some interesting advice to treat podcast promotion like you would content promotion. Here are a few insights:
      • Quality > Quantity
      • Solve a problem
      • Provide actionable insight
      • Hustle just as hard to distribute as you did to create
  • Promote on Social Media … in a dozen different ways
    • Share rich media, soundbites, videos, images, teasers — anything you can think of
      • For starters, share an update when the episode first goes live. Then, keep sharing. You could pin your episode tweet or Facebook post, featuring the iTunes URL. Create quote images in Canva or Pablo. Share these standalone social updates with a link to iTunes. Here’s a good Canva Template. Create 15-second soundbite clips. Upload to Soundcloud. Then share on Twitter. People can play the audio right from their Twitter stream. Tease the next episode 24 hours ahead of time. Reshare the podcast episode multiple times. Talk about the behind-the-scenes details in an Instagram story.
  • Release at least 3 podcasting episodes on launch day
    • Sometimes, people can leave negative reviews, because they were upset there was only one podcast to listen to.
  • Convert the audio to a YouTube video
    • Name your video “Interview with … ” for potential SEO
      • It’s important to re-purpose a podcast as many ways as possible. Some companies mix live video with the live podcast interview. However, with a YouTube version, there are many benefits. It’s a video to share on social media, closed captioning and transcripts automatically from YouTube, and SEO benefits. Screenflow is a great resource to build a fast video version of a podcast.
  • Find Partners to Mention You
    • Mention brands in your podcasts. They might just mention you back!
      • This strategy relates to content marketing where there is often a reciprocal effect when you mention a business in a blog post. Many times businesses mention your post on their social channels. For podcasts, it can work in a similarly. If you mention any businesses or brands in your episode, this provides an opportunity to reach out to those brands afterward to give them the good news of being featured. A simple email might be enough to do the trick.

Here are a few more resources helpful to businesses who need help planning and promoting their podcasting episodes:

Podcasting: An Opportunity for Business

5 Best Tactics to Promote Your Business Podcast

How to Promote and Monetize Your Business Podcast

Great Marketing Podcasts on Apple Podcasts

 

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