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Podcasting isn’t hard to do. You just need to know where to start

Podcasts are fun, easy to make, and can be informative to your target audience. They build credibility and trust in your business and show that you really know your stuff.

Podcasts are a great way to market your other content, both on your website and your socials. As a bonus, you get to build additional awareness of your business. A lot of small businesses want to start a podcast but don’t know how. So here are a few things you should know before you get started.

What topic should I pick for my podcast?

Having a topic area or theme for your podcast sets an expectation to listeners of what the content will be like

Finding a topic worth talking about is the first thing you need to do before starting your podcast. If you’re not sure what you want to talk about, try making a list of topics that interest you and then narrow it down to the one that excites you most. Or even do what I recommend all bloggers and podcasters to do when starting out:

  1. What are the 10 things that people ask you the most?
  2. What are the 10 things that you wish people asked you the most?
  3. What are the things that come up as search suggestions in Google when you search for what it is you do

This gives you a baseline of content ideas to work from and guide you in the kind of format you’d like your podcast to be. Do you want to be a Joe Rogan? Or interview expert guests? Maybe you want to tell stories that spark your listeners’ imaginations?

What format of podcast should I do?

There are many different formats of podcasts, varying from large expensive productions to one-person shows

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these six different types of podcasts to see what kind you’d like to run. What you choose is up to you as there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts that run in all these formats.

  • Interview Podcasts – one host, one guest
  • Conversational Podcasts – open conversation
  • Monologue Podcasts – one person expressing opinion
  • Storytelling / Investigative Podcasts – highly produced serials and stories
  • Roundtable Podcasts – expert panel with a host
  • Theatrical Podcasts – like a recorded TV drama, except it’s audio
  • Repurposed Content Podcasts – blogs and YouTube videos turned to audio
  • Hybrid Podcasts – creating you own combination of the above

For example, my podcast is a hybrid of Monologue and Repurposed Content because my blog posts are turned into podcasts, and sometimes I pull content from a YouTube video and use the audio for my podcast, particularly if I’m running a series on YouTube.

What equipment do I need to start a podcast?

You probably already have most of the things you need to start a podcast

Once you have an idea of what type of podcast you want to host, it’s time to start thinking about equipment. There are four important pieces of equipment that every podcaster should have:

– A computer, tablet or mobile phone – to record and edit the audio

– A microphone – an external high-quality microphone will make a huge difference

– Headphones – so you can hear back what you recorded without distractions

– Audio recording software – running on your phone or computer to collect the audio and edit it

While apps like Anchor.FM on mobile phones are capable audio editors and simple podcast makers, if you really want your podcast to sound good, you need to approach podcasting with a little professionalism.

If you want to take it seriously, you’ll need a computer with basic editing software so that you can edit out any mistakes or pauses in conversation. You don’t need an expensive computer as basic audio editing isn’t very resource-intense. Just don’t try doing it on a Chromebook as you can’t install software on them.

You’ll also need headphones so that you can clearly hear what you’ve recorded without surrounding noises and low-quality computer speakers. Those tiny little holes in your laptop don’t produce a sound that will be anything like what your audience will hear in the earbuds or external speakers.

When it comes to software, Audacity is a free audio recording software program that will suit your needs just fine. You can level up to something like Adobe Audition, but only get it if you already have the Abobe Creative Cloud suite already.

Microphones can be picked up for as little as $30 online. Though you do get what you pay for. Aiming a little higher for a Blue Yeti, Rode or even a Shure microphone will set you back from $120 to $400 but the quality of your recording will be far superior.

How do I find the right topic for my next podcast episode.

When you pick your overall podcast topic, it helps you to focus on what the episode should be about

Podcasts are a great way to share your expertise and help others. But how do you choose a topic for each episode? How long should it be, how often should it be and how does it get out to people in the first place?

When it comes to searching for the topic for each episode, regardless of the format, ask yourself:

  • What do my customers or listeners need? What do I want to talk about?
  • What can I teach that is valuable and informative?
  • What is the best way to promote my brand through podcasting?

If you want to share your expertise, there’s no better way than with an informative podcast. And podcasts help with your search engine ranking as long as your brand is aligned with your website and there is a link between the content you’re producing on the web and what you’re presenting on your website.

If you’re trying to drive more traffic for your business, hosting interviews with industry experts or leaders in the field is a great idea. People love to hear a variety of voices on podcasts, especially if they are lengthy and run at over 15 minutes. These kinds of podcasts give people the information they need and give you the chance to promote your brand at the same time.

Also, think about what content will be easy to consume and retain when people are on the go at any time of the day.

When I hop in the car, the first thing I do is connect the Bluetooth and turn on a podcast. I have almost zero tolerance for local broadcast radio. And you’ll find this is common with a lot of podcast listeners. They have niche interests that radio stations don’t even vaguely touch on.

A podcast gives you content that’ll be available at any time of day. So drop the time-sensitive introductions like “good morning” or “good evening” even if you recorded it live, because most of your listeners won’t have been listening live.

You should also consider how you will promote your podcast through other channels like social media or email marketing efforts. There are many ways to make sure people know about your show! Sharing links to your episodes on Facebook and LinkedIn introduces your podcast to more people. It also shows the fans you already have that they have a new channel to enjoy your content on.

 

Should my podcast be long or short?

In general, the longer the podcast, the more variety you’ll need

Podcasts can be long or short. It all depends on the content you’re delivering and the format you’re delivering it in.

Long podcasts are good for building an audience and telling a story over the course of hours. They’re also good for podcasts with multiple voices, like round tables and theatrical style presentations. Long periods of listening to one voice can be fatiguing for a listener.

Short podcasts are great for people who lead busy lives and need quick information but don’t want to miss out on your content. News, quick tips, sharing expertise and delivering pieces of information rather than deep insights can work well on a shorter podcast.

How often should I release an episode?

There is no rule for release cadence in podcasting apart from consistency

Some popular podcasts, like S-Town, release episodes every week to tell one story and then end. Other shows, like Serial, release episodes one at a time until they’re all released, and then they can continue on indefinitely.

It’s up to you how often you want to release your episodes. And remember, if your podcast is part of a series, you’ll want to release new episodes every few weeks so listeners won’t forget what happened in the first episodes! Leaving too long between releases doesn’t help to gain loyal listeners.

You can also decide on whether your releases are done:

  1. Daily – Like my podcast or Marketing School with Neil Patel and Eric Siu
  2. Weekly – Like This Week in Tech and the Social Media Marketing Podcast
  3. Fortnightly – Like Reply All
  4. Monthly – Like This Is Love and The History Chicks

The important thing here is to be consistent with your releases. Right now I’m on a sprint of daily weekday episodes, but at times, I’ve had months between episodes. That means it takes months to regain the lost momentum when I do stop for long periods. So try to keep it regular. The same day, same time, same routine. That way, your biggest fans will use your podcast like clockwork. You’ll be a part of their daily, weekly or fortnightly pattern.

How much time should I spend on my podcast each week?

If you’re a good multitasker and learn new tools fast, you’ll be at podcasting

Planning your time and sticking to a schedule is key to producing quality content. There is no set amount of time you should spend on a podcast each week, but I recommend dedicating at least five hours per week.

I have a routine each weekday morning where I:

  1. Go to my content aggregation system and pick a topic (5 min)
  2. Go to my AI writing assistant to give me an outline of that topic as an article (5 min)
  3. Spend 30 minutes cleaning up and adding more detail and personality to the article (30 min)
  4. Record the article as a podcast, edit and load up to Audioboom for distribution (15 min)
  5. Publish the article to my websites, Medium and LinkedIn (15 min)

It generally takes me 1 to 1.5 hours each morning to have produced a podcast, an article, several social posts and a video based on the topic.

Some people can produce content in an hour like I do; others might take six hours to make one episode. The bottom line is that if you’re producing one episode per week (or even more), you’ll build the podcast following and the brand awareness that comes with it. The more episodes the more often, the more chance you’ll become part of someone’s routine.

That said, spend as much time as you need to produce great content for your audience!

Where do you publish a podcast?

A selection of some of the more popular podcast hosts out there

The first thing to do when getting started is to upload your podcast to a host. There are many websites that will host podcasts for free and provide you with a quick and easy way to get your content out there.

There’s Soundcloud, Libsyn, Podomatic, and WhatPods

. All of these websites have their own unique features which make them better for different situations. I use a combination of AudioBoom and Podcast.co. I love Audioboom for its simplicity and low cost. Podcast.co, similarly was a lifetime deal that I bought once, so I use it to send the same episode to a different podcast channel.

Soundcloud is great if you want to share your podcast on social media channels. It has a large following and people can listen from the website or download it onto their device. Libsyn offers a lot of useful stats about how often people are listening to your podcast and where they’re listening from in the world. Audioboom simplifies the process of sending your episodes to a range of different channels like Apple, Google, Spotify, I Heart Radio, Tune In and many more. Podcast.co is perhaps the easiest to use system I’ve come across.

For more information on hosting a podcast in any of these places, visit the links above.

Want help with putting together your next podcast? Reach out to me on LinkedIn, Facebook or via the Digital Solutions program in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Facebook Australia, a digital advisor with Business Station, an accredited ASBAS Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.