Podcasts are gaining ever more popularity, with an increase of over 24% in the UK audience in the last year! It’s understandable why companies are looking to podcasting to get their message heard!
Where do you start with Podcast Marketing?
But where do you start?
Before delving deep into bringing a podcast together and ordering that Blue Yeti microphone, it’s essential to think about a few things:
- What are you aiming to achieve?
- Who is your audience?
- How are you going to add value to them?
Podcasting firmly sits within content marketing: you don’t start a podcast to sell. Or at least you shouldn’t!
When a member of your audience allows you into their lives by downloading and listening to your podcast, they are looking to get to know you! Your audience is looking for information.
Podcast’s fall perfectly into the top of the Content Marketing Sales Funnel:
Podcasts are a way to show you as the expert in your field and to convey your values and message to attract your clientele, and indeed connect regularly – without selling!
Podcasts are great for reaching a wider audience or reaching your existing audience in a more in-depth way. When delivered well, podcasts build a sense of intimacy and trust between the host and the listener.
If you want to present your company and its brand identity as a subject matter expert on a vital topic, a podcast may be the best way to do so.
The overhead is low, publishing is quick, and you can keep to a schedule you set. Report on newly breaking stories in your industry daily, or take longer, deeper dives into related topics over several episodes.
Where do you start with your podcast journey?
What are your goals with podcasting?
Identifying your goals before your delve too deep into the podcasting concept is essential.
Whether it’s to generate leads for a business, be recognised as a leader in your field, to share an important message or just to have fun – be clear with yourself.
What will your theme or topic be?
Picking a theme or topic will focus your attention, and it can be as broad or as targeted as you decide. The most significant factor that should come into consideration – build your idea around what you are passionate about. Think of the time you will dedicate to the podcast in recording, editing, marketing and researching.
Once you’ve highlighted your idea, it’s time to research – there are many podcasts out there, so think about what you will bring that is different.
Use Apple Podcasts to search for your show’s topic, and indeed listen to a few that are doing well.
Podcast Formats: what type of content will you discuss?
Deciding what you will discuss in your podcast can often be directed by the format that best fits you and indeed your brand. A podcast can take many different formats:
- Non-fiction Storytelling
- Podcast Theatre
Choosing your format is the start of the journey – you need to determine what will be right for you, and indeed what would be best for your audience.
Each type of podcast has it’s merits – and indeed, some are more complicated than others from a technical point.
As a business, you will likely be looking at Interviews, Conversations, Education or Solo Commentary.
Interview Format Podcasts for Business Marketing
An interview format podcast can be one of the easiest to bring together – but has technical issues you need to get around.
Essentially all you need for an interview podcast is a microphone and a good internet connection. However, there are a few caveats which we’ll cover in the technical section further on.
Once you’ve locked down booking your guests, and cleared the technical hurdles, the biggest thing to consider can be interview techniques.
I’m not a qualified expert, but interviewing is something I enjoy and have quite a few tips to share.
- Minimal editing with a naturally flowing conversation
- Each guest will bring fresh energy and conversation – your topic will never run dry!
- Aligning diaries and booking your guests takes time. You can remove some of that stress using Calendly for scheduling!
- You’ll be at the mercy of technology when recording over the internet. There are solutions, but they’re quite costly…
- Interview shows are abundant – you’ll have to work hard to stand out!
Solo-casts or Solo Commentary
From a technical perspective, the easiest of all podcast formats – in practice, one of the hardest to accomplish! Carrying a show on your own, without any feedback takes a special kind of skill.
Remember, even if you choose a solo cast and elect to script your episode, your listeners aren’t expecting a perfect narration as an audiobook – they’re joining a conversation.
One way you can interpret this podcast format, and indeed produce content naturally is through Question & Answer. Ask Science Mike does precisely this, and even my good friend Neale James in his Podcast Fujicast (with Kevin Mullins) uses this format as a section of each show – something which became very useful during the daily show that came with the Covid-19 lockdown.
Engaging your audience and making them part of the show with the questions brings an additional dimension to the podcast and can be very
- No schedules to sync, you need only yourself and a mic!
- You’ll build a personal relationship with your audience as you’ll talk directly to them.
- No one to bounce off, you need a special dedication and energy to hold the show (and your audience) on your own.
Conversation Podcast Format
There are a few considerations to a discussion or panel podcast, not least of all the logistics of bringing people together regularly.
Firstly, everyone should have a high-quality microphone, whether they are in the same room or not. Second, there are several technical hurdles to jump when recording several sound sources – especially when in the same space.
Of course, there are many advantages to this podcast format.
During the show, there is a shared responsibility for the content, and of course, the camaraderie between the panel.
The Podcast Panel format can be brilliant – and indeed, some of the shows I listen to most are panel format.
One of my favourite shows to listen to is Dubland from the Headstuff Network. With Suzanne and PJ, the show is incredibly entertaining, though definitely not PG…
- Less structure means less time planning – a brief outline can be enough for each episode.
- You can bounce off one another so as not to run out of things to say!
- To keep your audience wanting more, you’ll need to be creative and targetted with your topics to keep your listeners coming back.
- Dependent on where your co-host is located, you may have to record separately and edit the tracks together – recording over the internet with the compression involved will not leave a balanced edit.
Depending on how you’re pitching your podcast, it could well be that education format sits best with your brand. Each episode will feature a specific lesson or takeaway, with listeners ready to tune in and learn.
Learning by listening can be advantageous as you can tune in whilst driving or walking the dog, and revisit the episode and the show notes (complete with handouts) to delve deeper into the topic.
In my library, there are several education podcasts from Being Boss:
to the Official BNI Podcast:
- High-value information, precisely what your audience is looking for.
- Easy to create supplementary content, including PDF downloads and sign-ups for courses to give your audience more of what they want!
- Some topics are difficult to cover without supporting visuals – you’ll need to get creative here. Of course, show notes are brilliant, but you want to ensure the listener can grasp everything through audio.
Name Your Podcast
I think it’s important to outline everything about your show before you come to the name – after all, the name is what you will be ‘stuck with’ for all time!
Try to pick something catchy, memorable and something that will rank well for your podcast’s relevant keywords.
Here’s Apple’s advice for picking a good show title:
Pay close attention to the title, author, and description tags at the and level of your podcast. Apple Podcasts uses the title, author, and description fields for search. The metadata for your podcast, along with your podcast artwork, is your product packaging and can affect whether your podcast shows up in relevant searches, and how likely users are to subscribe to it.
Make your title specific. A podcast named Our Community Bulletin is too vague to attract many subscribers, no matter how compelling the content.
From Apple’s Podcast Best Practices.
Podcast Length and Publishing Schedule
The best way I’ve heard the ‘optimal length’ of a podcast described is by Buzzsprout.com:
“Your podcast should be as long as it needs to be, without being any longer.”
If the content you are creating is quality and engaging, be confident – people will keep listening.
How often you should publish your podcast also comes in to question. Many of us will be looking at podcasting as part of our content marketing, so there is only a finite time available.
The most significant point here is to create a habit – build a connection with your listeners, and be regular with your content.
Regular content, published when your audience will expect it, is far better than being sporadic.
For you, it may be daily, or weekly, for many (myself included) it’s fortnightly. Find what works and stick to it!
The Technical Side of Podcasting
As I said at the start, podcasts have a low barrier to entry – it’s relatively easy to begin the process with little overhead or experience.
You can start recording a podcast with your phone and a pair of headphones – it is the content that is crucial.
People will put up with less than perfect audio if the content is excellent…but of course, it’s all about brand and impression!
Picking the best equipment and the right setup for you can feel confusing!
Depending on the format you have chosen for your show will determine the setup you need.
If you’re recording the podcast on your own, in a Solo-cast or Interview setup, you will need:
- a microphone
- a set of headphone
- a piece of software to record into
Now, when it comes to the microphone, the amount you spend will be determined primarily by your budget!
When recording audio, I’ve used everything from shotgun microphones to handheld vocal mics, lavalier microphones and cardioid studio mics.
They all have their place, but when it comes to podcast recording, there are some great microphones to look at in more detail. Still, it’s also essential to buy a microphone that you can easily record from – it’s no good having a great mic with only an XLR connection, and nowhere to plug that in!
The Marantz MPM-1000U is cracking microphone for the budget, and being USB is ready to plug straight into your computer.
The Samson Q2U is a microphone ready for USB and XLR recording.
Mid Range Option
The Blue Yeti is the World’s Number 1 premium USB microphone, and it’s easy to see why. With a choice of pickup patterns, the microphone offers excellent flexibility to a simple studio. The mic also has a built-in headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring – helping to ensure your recording is as anticipated.
Premium Options – require an XLR interface!
The Rode Procaster is a fabulous microphone, but it does require an XLR interface. The one I recommend is the Focusrite Scarlet 212:
The Focusrite 212 is a fabulous piece of equipment that will work as an audio interface for two separate sources, into your computer or iOS device. (Focusrite also has a podcast package with the 212 and their Studio microphone, which you can find here.)
An alternative that is worth consideration – especially if you will be recording interviews in person – is moving to lavalier microphones!
The Rode SmartLav with SC6 adapter for iOS devices (lightning connector) is a fabulous piece of tech that I often have in my bag, just in case!
Supplied with the interface adapter and two high-quality microphones, the kit can be great to have in your bag if you are out on location.
While the microphone is important, there are a few things that make a difference to your audio capture:
1. Acoustic Filter and Wind Screen
Working to eliminate background noise isolating the microphone and giving you clear and concise vocals.
This can be a much cheaper option than acoustically treating your room, especially if you are only recording on occasion.
2. Solid stand and microphone mount
A solid stand and shock-absorbing mount are important to add to your toolkit, especially with cardioid microphones. Without a shock mount, any movement on the desk will travel through the microphone and distort the sound. There are often mounts to match your microphones, so have a search!
Another alternative to the desk mount can be a boom arm – personally, I love them, and use the Rode Boom Arm with my Rode Podmic.
Software options, much like microphones, come in so many different options. Some are free, others have an upfront cost, while others require a subscription.
Audacity is a free and powerful piece of audio software. Coming with pro-level features, if you take the time to learn the software, you won’t need anything else!
GarageBand comes pre-installed on most Apple computers and is a feature-packed piece of software. There are a host of people who love the interface of the software, and it’s more accessible than audacity.
Hindenburg is a pro-level audio editing suite build specifically for radio and podcasts. It’s not a cheap option, but it offers a lot of built-in podcasting features.
If you already use Adobe software and you have a cloud membership, you likely already have access to Adobe Audition. It’s an incredibly powerful piece of software and my chosen platform.
Descript is a little different to the other options, but it’s worth investigating. As you can see in the video, the editing is text lead, but it’s packed with useful features. Repurposing the content from your podcast into a blog post or article is incredibly easy too when you’ve edited in Descript.
Long Distance Recording
If you frequently have interview guests on your podcast or record with a co-host, you will likely need to record in different locations.
Here are some options to consider:
Zencastr is a fabulous solution for distance recording, and while currently audio only has advantages over the other solutions below.
Zencastr is incredibly simple to use for your guests but provides you with a host of tools. The most important of which, however, is how Zencastr records the audio. Rather than compressing the audio and broadcasting over the software, it locally records the audio in hi-fidelity quality, uploading to the site for you to edit.
It’s not cheap, and it’s a specialised piece of software you’ll likely only use for podcasting, but it’s quite brilliant!
Zoom is an incredibly powerful tool for online interviews and meetings, and it’s my primary platform. There are a few hints and tips involved to get the best out of the software, including recording separate tracks for each speaker’s audio. Unlike Zencastr, the sound is compressed, but separating into individual tracks allows post-production of each track.
However, the audio quality is quite substandard and inconsistent.
Recording Your First Episode
So from all the planning, and getting the equipment in place, you need to pick a place to record!
In an ideal world, you’d be in an acoustically treated room, with reflection and absorption panels and bass traps. However, if podcasting is just a part of your content marketing strategy, that likely won’t be an option.
There are certain things you must do to improve your recording quality:
- Remove unnecessary noise. That includes electronic devices in the background (computer fans and whirring hard drives will sound terrible on your recording), and also people! Find somewhere quiet and isolated to record.
- Consider adding thick blankets to hard surfaces around you – this helps stop reflection. Or indeed record in a room with lots of soft furnishings!
- If you cannot treat your space, isolate your microphone with an acoustic filter.
With your space selected, set up for audio equipment and run a few tests. Record and listen back. Test your internet recording and critically review the quality of the recording. Finally, ensure you are using headphones that isolate the guest audio from your microphone – and ensure your guests have headphones too!
I’m not a radio producer, but I know what sounds terrible on audio recordings – distracting Pops and Hisses!
Distracting ‘plosives’ are caused by air rushing at the microphone – you can omit the problem in a couple of ways:
- move off-axis angling the mic towards your mouth – this way your breath goes past the microphone, resulting in a more natural sound
- consider adding a pop-shield if your microphone is particularly susceptible to the effect.
When positioning your mouth to the microphone, a useful guide is to have your mouth 2″-4″ from the mic!
(Image Credit: www.buzzsprout.com)
Finally, relax and don’t worry too much. If things go awry, or there are the occasional stammers or slips you can edit these out in post-production!
Editing Your Podcast
After choosing your software, and recording your episode, it’s time to delve into the edit.
Run through your recording and remove unwanted sounds and even whole sections, ensuring to trim the show of anything unnecessary.
When setting up your non-linear editing platform, follow the following:
- Use Track One for your main audio – your voice!
- Place guest on a track below.
- Separate your background audio and music on to another track.
- Use noise reduction on your tracks.
- Normalise your recorded tracks to be -2.0 for peak amplitude.
- Amplify sections that are still too low.
- Use the compressor and equalisation tools to tweak your final sound.
Tip: If you record your audio in a separate program to your editing suite, when exporting the audio, export as WAV files rather than MP3 – you only want to use compressed MP3 files when you finalise the edit!
Podcast Intro + artwork
Podcast intros can be as elaborate – or indeed non-existent – as you like!
If you listen to a range of podcasts, you will see vastly different approaches.
Back of The Grid – a Formula1 podcast I listen to changes their intro every year editing together iconic soundbites from the previous season.
It certainly takes time, but it’s quite different!
Full Disclosure with James O’Brien takes a different approach, front-loading each episode with an advert, then diving straight into the content.
Listen to a few, find which style fits best with you and your style and go with what feels authentic. Remember, you can always upgrade your podcast intro down the line.
Podcast Theme Song
If you decide on an intro, you’ll almost certainly want to add some intro music. You must search for royalty-free music for use in your podcast, or find places you can purchase your chosen tracks.
Potential places you can head for podcast music include Audio Jungle and Audio Blocks. Both different offerings, with Audio Blocks working on a subscription service allowing you to download multiple files each month!
While the principle content of a podcast is the audio, it’s important not to discount the relevance of great artwork.
There are a few technical things to follow:
- The image should be square
- 3000×3000 pixels
- RGB colourspace
- PNG or JPEG file type
There are also things to consider to make your artwork stand out and stay timeless:
- Your artwork should visually communicate the subject of the podcast – but avoid including a microphone (unless your podcast is about podcasting!)
- Design for a variety of sizes – ensure it looks good even at 55×55 pixels.
- Don’t use too many words in your artwork.
- Be consistent, and match your design to your existing branding!
You can do it yourself, or commission someone to create your artwork for you! Canva is a brilliant tool to create your artwork, but utilising professional design work from 99Designs or Fiverr can be great!
You need to host your podcasts on a specialised provider – it’s not merely a case of uploading the MP3 to your website/server!
Buzzsprout is a brilliant hosting choice, and where I host The Personal Connection. It’s an amazingly simple platform to use and great to launch your podcast. It’s not the cheapest, but it is brilliant!
Libsyn is a popular choice, and it’s incredibly reliable. The monthly pricing is cheaper than Buzzsprout but is limited on monthly storage, so compare the plans carefully.
Soundcloud is a free option that is very popular but lacks some of the features of the options above. There is more you will need to do to get your podcast out there!
Your podcast host will help serve your podcast to the popular services including Apple, Spotify and Stitcher.
Marketing Your Podcast
Creating a podcast is great – but if it’s not listened to by your target audience, there’s little point!
You need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Who is it for?
- Where are they on social media?
- When are they likely to be active?
Hashtags to Promote Your Podcast
Being found on social media isn’t straightforward, but there are specific techniques you can employ.
Hashtags can be a great source of information and can help you find your target audience, and indeed interact with them!
Researching hashtags, those your target audience already follow, and indeed what is working for your competition, can help you plan your social media content to match their existing feed.
But don’t forget to put your podcast hashtag into your content, e.g. #ThePersonalConnection in your posts too!
SproutSocial wrote a brilliant guide about how to use hashtags, but critically it’s a GREAT way to reach your ideal audience!
Be careful with #Hashtags!
Along with finding the right hashtags to use, there is also an optimum number for each platform:
(Image Credit: CoSchedule)
Utilising Youtube to promote your podcast!
Youtube is a fantastic tool for promotion.
While it may not be the second biggest search engine, it is one of the most utilised places people head for content!
But how do you use Youtube for your podcast? Does that mean you need to film the podcast?
Not really – filming a podcast, or filming interview content produces a vlog or a vodcast. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do this.
One way you can use your youtube to promote your podcast content effectively can be to create short videos, either from your interview content or as a lead-in from yourself.
Carrier utilised youtube to garner a significant following – and over 6000 views (to date) on their podcast trailer:
I also love the trailer – and indeed the podcast – Blackout:
But you can publish the video of your interviews too, in two separate ways:
1. Share the interview screen recording:
2. Go Live!
RachelVlogs uses precisely this method to gain traction and interaction, and it works brilliantly!
However, probably the best way to utilise Youtube to promote your podcast is simple – create a straightforward video with your podcast audio and your logo as the screen!
Tips for Youtube:
- be focussed with your metadata – it’s vital!
- Utilise tags effectively
- Use your carefully created thumbnail for your channel, and create a thumbnail for each episode – and make it captivating!
- Be social – engage with others in comments to build your presence
- Include a call to action in your videos – you’ve got a new listener, now you want to keep them!
Use Headliner to promote!
Headliner makes it SO EASY to create standout promotional pieces to use across your advertising!
Add transcription / closed-captions to your videos…and utilise the power of repurposing!
Rev.com offer a fabulous transcription service, costing just $1.25 per minute.
Another option and one I often use for podcasts (and subsequent blog creation!) are Descript. With a fixed fee of $10/month, it’s very cost-effective – and as mentioned earlier, can be very powerful as a production tool for your podcast creation.
From experience, descript requires editing, and rev is ready to publish. So it may well come to the time you have available!
However, think of two bonuses with adding transcription:
- Your video can be enjoyed by those unable to listen, potentially while they’re at work.
- You can use the content to create blogs and articles!
Making Money from your Podcast!
Can you make money from podcasting? Yes, you can…but it’s not a quick and easy path!
There are ways to generate income from podcasting, including sponsorship and subscription models.
1. Sponsorship – with a good following or a compelling offer, you can generate financial backing for your podcast by featuring a company in adverts within your content.
It is always best to record the ‘advert’ in your own voice and in your own words rather than featuring a piece from the company. Remember, you are building a relationship with your listeners, so keep it friendly!
2. Subscription – a podcast I love by Andrew Hellmich, PhotoBizX has two versions of the podcast – a free version, and an extended premium edition. The premium edition has extra content from each of the interviews, and also exclusive interviews and content not available anywhere else. The model for this education podcast works brilliantly by giving extra and giving more to the audience.
Find what works for you and build a case for it!
Where to go from here?
So we’ve run through a lot, and I’ve given you the tools to get started.
Taking you from the initial idea and planning, through the technical aspects and finally on to distribution and marketing.
But if you feel you need a helping hand, at Emotive Eye, we’re here to help.
Some of the services we can offer:
- Podcast idea planning and consultancy
- Audio production of your ‘sting’ and beds
- Technical coaching, and producing your first episode with you
- Ongoing editing of your production
- Marketing materials – including headshots, personal branding and video production or design of your artwork
Get in touch, and we will take you through the ways we can help.