As content marketing continues to take the lead, content creators have a lot of options to choose from. This includes blog posts, social media updates, visuals, video, slide decks, podcasting, and more.
Of recent, Podcast listenership has exhibited tremendous growth. According to Edison Research, the number of Americans listening to podcasts every week increased by 175% over the last five years, with over 90 million listening to a podcast each month.
Therefore, as a business owner, to benefit from this new content direction, podcasting is one of those strategies you should consider to grow your audience and expand your business through content marketing.
In this article, we’re going to learn what a podcast is, how to start a professional podcast step by step, from planning to publishing. By the end, you’ll hopefully be motivated to start podcasting as soon as possible.
What is a podcast and how does it work?
A podcast is a digital audio file that you can download or stream via the internet on a computer, iPod, MP3 player, or any other portable device. With podcasts, you don’t have to necessarily listen in real-time. You can download and listen at your convenient time, at home, in the car, at work, or during a workout.
Podcasts can range from one episode to hundreds of episodes and what is interesting is that you can subscribe to them via a podcast app of your choice and get a notification whenever new episodes come out.
Podcasting started as a way of conveying information to people to build a community of people with similar interests. Today, however, we have podcasts from individuals, companies, radio networks, TV networks (CNN, Fox, ESPN, etc.), storytellers, churches, and more.
What are the types of podcasts?
The Interview Podcast
This is a podcast style that involves one or two hosts interviewing different guests on a single episode. With this particular type, you need simple groundwork. All you need is to research your interviewee and generate a list of questions to ask.
You should also be in a position to convince guests to participate, have the interviewing skills, and of course consistency to release podcast episodes regularly.
The Solo Podcast
This is a simple podcast presented as a monologue. Only one individual runs the show. The content here is normally opinion-based, news-based, or question and answer format. You only need your voice and the topic to discuss.
The Multi-Host Podcast
For listeners who want to hear discussions from different opinions and perspectives instead of a single person talking, this style is the best for you. This is because; this style involves two or more hosts. The different ideas and opinions keep the audience engaged and interested.
What equipment do you need to start a podcast?
If you need quality podcasts, you will need to invest enough in quality equipment. But it all comes down to your budget and goals. You can start small and upgrade later. You can spend around $1,000 for a professional setup or even higher.
In this section, let us talk about the podcast equipment and audio software you need to start a podcast.
This is a must buy. The microphone on the laptop or most headset microphones just doesn’t work. They have a lot of background noise and low-quality sound.
Depending on the budget, you can either buy a USB microphone or an analog (XLR). USB types are budget microphones and can connect to your computer via a USB port. Analog on the other hand is better in quality though more expensive.
For professional podcasting, buy a good analog microphone. Below are some of the recommendations.
Pop filter (optional)
The pop filter is incredible. This device is put over the front of the mic to eliminate popping sound from the user’s speech. It also stops saliva from reaching the microphone, which means long-lasting.
Headphones (may or may not be optional)
With headphones on, you will have a consistent tone, notice if the microphone is getting background noise and above all, you clearly hear someone on an interview because headphones reduce background noise.
The best headphones should be neutral i.e. not being sound unique or treble-forced, comfortable on the ears, and should have isolation i.e. use closed-back headphones so that sound does not leak out and get recorded as background noise. Some of our recommended headphones include;
Audio recording and editing software
This software enables you to record audio on the mic, save it in form of an MP3 audio file, and later edit your recordings.
Below are some of the common audio recording and editing software.
Adobe Audition (Mac/PC)
Music for podcast Intro/Outro
This is basically a collection of music tracks that usher listeners into the podcast and close at the end of the podcast.
There are many places to source music. Below is a list of areas where you can source good podcast intro/outro music.
How to start a professional podcast step-by-step
Podcasts don’t need technical people and neither do they require a lot of money. However, what is most challenging is to create a professional podcast. You have to move from simple audio files to fully functional podcasts.
By professional podcast, we just mean a well-maintained and branded Podcast. With professionalism, your brand is very important. You have to nurture and sustain the Podcast over time. You need a well-planned strategy, regular publishing frequency, and better podcasts.
Below is a simple step-by-step guide on how to start a professional podcast.
Step 1: Choose a niche for your podcast.
Just like blogging, you are required to niche from a variety of ideas. Look for something people would be interested to learn about but does not exist. This is the ultimate goal of our company.
With podcasts, people need expertise. Ask yourself “what is my skill or what are you an expert at?” Another alternative is hanging around experts that you can interview on a podcast bearing in mind that it is not easy to get a good guest you don’t already know.
You can also get a niche by looking at search engine data. Look for keywords that people normally ask about. This will give you a perfect indicator of interest.
Step 2: Choose a Name, Theme Music, and Design
This section has a great impact on your podcast success. Your podcast name is very important. To get a good name, you can browse through a podcast directory or look at a list of the top-ranking podcast to give a picture. Otherwise is your name sucks, people won’t give you any chance.
Use the main keyword that clearly defines what your podcast is all about. For example Dog care, business start-ups, and so on.
You can also pick on a name that is descriptive and appealing to the audience. If you are well-known in the industry or community, you can use your name as a title. For example, if you are a famous footballer, model, name it, you can use your name.
The cover art is also an important aspect have time to see through top podcasts and see what is trending. Otherwise, your theme should feature easy to read content, the name of the podcast, have a colored background, and a single photo image related to the topic.
Otherwise, if you don’t have the skill, pay someone who is experienced at working with podcasts.
Your podcast description
The podcast description should be clear and visible when visitors click through your podcast page. Podcast description tells us what they are all about and why we should listen to them.
Also, your podcast page plus the description feature in search results, in directories, or google. Always include the main keyword and other relevant keywords. All these increase the chances of your podcast showing up as a suggestion.
The first thing listeners associate with your podcast is your intro and outro music. Since they hear it on every episode, make it clear and catchy.
You can search for free music on Free Music Archive if you have a small budget. Otherwise for professional podcasts, I recommend that you pay some amount, less than $20 for the professional-grade theme music. You can try out Audio jungle for hundreds of thousands of tracks to us.
If your budget is a bit good, you can pay a professional to give you a voice as your intro. One example is Tim Paige. There are several others although it takes hundreds of dollars for an experienced professional.
Step 3: pick a podcast hosting provider
With professional podcasting, we need reliable and good quality hosts. Otherwise, listeners will have trouble downloading or streaming your podcast episodes. This means losing potential listeners.
The truth is that every podcast host has advantages and disadvantages. Here are the 4 main attributes to consider when choosing a podcast host.
How much you can offer (price)
With the price, you get more space when you pay more. As a beginner, you can start small and upgrade late when you have made more shows.
Some podcast hosts are easier to use compared to others. You can choose simplicity over power.
RSS Feed support
Go for hosts that automatically create an RSS feed for you.
With any particular host, embedding a player with an episode should not be a problem.
Some hosts give you a site builder to build a complete website and integrate your episode while others simply provide a podcast page that lists your episodes the later seems simpler and less problematic.
Some of the most popular and good podcast hosts include; PodOmatic, SoundCloud, podbean, libsyn, and Fireside. All in all, go for a host that is use-friendly, better price, and style that fits you best.
Step 4: Record your podcast
At this stage, we now start creating our podcast episodes. Begin by setting your microphone in position. Like we discussed above, you can either use a USB microphone which you just plug into your computer or the analog that connects to an audio interface.
There are 3 main types of podcasts we can create at this point
Solo podcasting (one person)
Podcasting with multiple people locally
Podcasting with multiple people in multiple locations
In every scenario, you need the right recording software and the appropriate equipment. In case 2 or more participants recording, you will need a microphone for everyone, and an audio interface that supports many inputs so that you can record and edit many channels.
Step 5: Editing the podcast episodes
Editing an audio file is not any different from editing a video file. You need the right editing software to carry this task professionally. What you should know is that most editing software requires learning. This, therefore, calls for your time and commitment to learning how it is used.
There is an option of post-production service such as Auphonc which can take care of volume normalization, hum reduction, and related editing tasks at a low price if someone does not want to go into editing.
Step 6: publish the podcast
Publishing the podcast episodes is a simple task. It is just a matter of uploading the file to your host provider.
List your podcasts in top directories so that listeners can see your podcasts when they browse. You just have to do it once and your RSS feed will thereafter update as you add episodes. The main directories to add your show include;
With podcasts, all you need is a well-maintained and branded Podcast. With professionalism, your brand is very important. You have to nurture and sustain the Podcast over time. You need a well-planned strategy, regular publishing frequency, and better podcasts.