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First of all, to be most effective, like all things in business, you need to have a strategy for your podcast. So, ask yourself these questions:
- What will make your show different?
- Will you have podcast guests?
- What’s the purpose of your podcast?
And here’s the great part: there’s no absolute right or wrong way to podcast. Well, I mean, podcasting outside while your neighbor mows the lawn might be the absolute wrong way to go about it, but other than that, I think you’re probably safe.
Going back to what I was saying, there’s no absolute right or wrong way to podcast. If you don’t want to have guests, you don’t have to have guests. If you want to have 10 minute episodes or 80 minute episodes, you can. What matters is that you have a strategy about the content you’re sharing.
Select a topic that you will love to work on for the long term, and a format that works for you. It could be a weekly solo show on veganism or an interview show on intuitive eating, but define your niche and purpose clearly before you do anything else. If you’re doing an interview-style podcast, create a long list of potential guests.
Think of podcasting like a megaphone. You grow audiences and followers on other platforms and podcasting is no different. However, the experience of choosing to subscribe to a podcast is more like an email newsletter subscription. If your listeners choose to subscribe to your podcast, they get notifications and downloads specifically about your show. There’s a little more weight behind that subscription than just clicking follow on Instagram. It’s unlikely you will be forced to listen to a podcast on a topic that you don’t enjoy. On a platform like Twitter or Facebook, however, you never know when a rant about taxes or politics is going to pop up in your feed.
I chose to start this podcast for a few reasons. To be frank, one of those reasons was that I knew podcasting was growing in popularity, without being too saturated. The data shows that there are 750,000 active podcasts, compared to 23 million YouTube channels and over 600 million blogs. As I wanted to dive deeper into serving the health and fitness niche, I thought a podcast would be a good outlet.
Similar to YouTube, I love that podcasting allows you to connect with people on a deeper level. It’s easier to convey emotion and tone, maybe even sarcasm, when you can see or hear someone.
And speaking of hearing someone, let’s move onto the next thing that you need to know about starting a podcast: the equipment.
If you’ve heard me talk about the equipment you need for YouTube, you’ll remember that I always say you don’t have to be fancy. You can start a channel with just your iPhone and some natural light from a window. And while you don’t have to be fancy for podcasting either, we do need to put a little effort into the equipment for a podcast.
The reason we need to invest more into podcasting equipment is because we’re only consuming the content one way–through our headphones. On YouTube, there’s such a wide variety of production levels, and you consume that content both visually and audibly, so we can excuse the lower production quality a little bit. When it comes to consuming podcast content, we have a lot of high-level content to compare it to––radio shows, audiobooks, and high-level podcasts like Serial and This American Life.
The great news is that good quality podcast equipment doesn’t have to be that expensive. Sure, you could go blow a couple thousand dollars if you want to go all-out. But there are reasonable microphones that will sound better than you just using the mic on your Apple headphones. If you remember, at the beginning of this episode, I mentioned my second business, Easy Peasy Studio… well, we have a whole page of recommended equipment to help you get started. So, hop over to EasyPeasyStudio.com and check it out.
I also want to share one quick hack you can use for improving your audio, especially if your office or room is not carpeted. In a room without carpet, or honestly even a room that just doesn’t have a lot of stuff in it, you have a high chance of your audio sounding really echo-y, which is not great, obviously. So, rather than forking up thousands of dollars to get your room carpeted, there are two things to do: sit closer to the mic, and grab some pillows and a blanket.
Some mics, like the Blue Yeti USB microphone, have different settings that will affect how your podcast sounds. The Blue Yeti, for example, has an omnidirectional mode which means it picks up allllllll the sound around it. Or, the other, better, mode, would be to use the cardioid mode, which only picks up the sounds directly in front of the microphone. Not all mics have these different options, so to help, sitting closer to the mic can help reduce any background noise or echo.
And if that doesn’t help, that’s where pillows and blankets can come in handy. Putting pillows or blankets on your desk, right around your mic can help, or if you’re sitting super close to a wall, you could even try propping a pillow up against the wall. Some people also go as far as to podcast with a blanket draped over them and their mic, to make their own miniature sound booth.
Lastly, if you are interviewing someone for your podcast, be sure that both of you are wearing headphones, so no echo happens. Doesn’t matter what type of headphones, that won’t affect anything in your recording.
Honestly, it’s hard to grow a podcast with no audience.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are significantly less podcasts than YouTube channels and blogs out there. So, for that reason, it’s easier to potentially grow your podcast, especially if you have a big launch for your podcast and create momentum. And while I said you don’t have to, it does help if you have guests on your show, because they (hopefully) share their episode with their audience.
But speaking of sharing, let’s talk about the hard part of growing a podcast. It’s hard to share a podcast episode. I have friends and family who literally don’t know how to listen to a podcast, and there are probably people in your audience who are the same way. Once people do figure out how to listen, it’s hard to share. People can take a screenshot and post it on their Instagram stories––which I’d love if you did that right now for this episode––but it’s basically impossible to share a single episode on your desktop.
Overall, it’s just not that easy to share podcast episodes, which I wish Apple would work on. And that’s why you sharing podcast episodes with your friends and followers is so beneficial for podcast creators. If you want people to do the same for your podcast, why not do it for the podcasts you already listen to?
Here’s a quick overview of what all goes into running a podcast.
- You’ll need to name it and come up with the cover art for it
- You’ll need to choose a podcast host, and if decide if your podcast will be shared on your website or if it’ll have its own dedicated website
- You’ll need an interview scheduler, like Calendly or Acuity, if you’re doing interviews
- You’ll need to decide what equipment and tech you’ll want to use to record your episodes
- You’ll need to decide whether you’ll be editing your own podcasts or hiring someone to edit for you so you don’t have to mess with it
- You’ll need to decide if your episodes will have show notes or transcripts
- And you’ll need to, or should, create graphic templates for you to share your episodes or for your interviewees to share their episodes
Optimizing your podcast when you have no audience.
I’ve mentioned before that I also post my podcast episodes on my website, as blog posts. Regardless of whether or not you do that, it’s important to optimize your podcast episode titles to increase the chances of your content pulling up in searches online. I’ve talked about SEO in-depth on here and on my YouTube channel, but just as a refresher, the easiest way to optimize your episode is to think about what people actually search, and to be as specific as possible.
So for example, instead of just naming your episode, 5 Workout Tips, it would be better as 5 Lower Body Workout Tips for Women. I’m specifying what type of workout and who it’s for. If you are ever discussing something specific like a brand, a supplement, a particular way of eating, a place, etc., that’s important to include in the title as well. You don’t have to make it an overly long title, or keyword stuff it. Just don’t even mess with that.
Once it’s optimized, you’ll want to be sure that you are driving plenty of traffic to your content. Lots of people share their podcast on Instagram, but I’d also recommend sharing your podcast on LinkedIn as well.
Make sure it’s available on multiple podcast platforms.
I first want to clarify that this does not mean posting your podcasts on YouTube, because that’s not effective. But, you should be able to distribute your podcast to multiple platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.
I use Audioboom to host my podcast, and they make it very simple to distribute to all of these platforms, and I’m sure other hosts are similar. Even if I’m not actively listening to podcasts on these other platforms myself, there’s potential for other people to find me there. My podcast is available on a few different platforms, and I really only mention that it’s available on iTunes or Spotify, just to not overwhelm people.
While we’re talking about podcast distribution, I think it’s important to also mention social media distribution. It’s not the easiest to share an episode link from iTunes, which is another reason I like to have my podcast episodes on my website – it’s much easier to share a blog post on social media! So, be sure you’re sharing new podcast episodes on whatever social media platforms you use… Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Getting the podcast episodes transcribed.
Now this is not sponsored, but I am a huge fan of using Rev.com.
To get your podcast episode transcribed with Rev.com, all you have to do is upload the podcast file, pay the $1/minute fee upfront, and then once your order is submitted, you just wait a few hours and your transcript will be in your inbox! You can also include a glossary of terms to help out the person transcribing your podcast, if you’re talking about anything with a really weird or complex name. The final transcript will come in a document so you can just download, copy and paste it into your blog post.
Again, if you listened to last week’s episode, we talked about the SEO benefits of posting videos on your website. Transcribing your podcast episode gives Google more data to index for your website. And, if someone comes to your site and doesn’t love listening to podcasts, they have a blog post to read because of your transcript. Not to mention, you can also use some excerpts from your transcript to create Instagram captions as you share about your episode.
Create audiograms with Headliner.
There are a few different apps out there to create audiograms, but Headliner is the app that I use and am familiar with, and I have some tutorials over on my YouTube channel, if you’re interested. (You might also like to hear how YouTube has changed my business!)
Audiograms, to be clear, are the clips you see on Instagram with a still image and audio waves that move as you hear someone speak in the background. The reason I’m bringing these up today are that they are a more dynamic way to share your podcast episode! You can share a clip and give people a sneak peek into the podcast content, and hopefully if it’s a good clip, that will intrigue them enough to go and listen.
When people are thinking about starting a podcast, most people think just about their microphone and topics. But, it’s everything that you do after recording that can really make a difference. So just to recap, optimize the title of your episode, share it on multiple platforms, get the episode transcribed, and share audiogram clips on social media. (Be sure to share your episodes when you are on someone else’s podcast, too!)
If you have any questions about podcasting, or content creation, feel free to DM me on Instagram @jesscreatives.