Over the past four years, the number of Americans who listen to podcasts has nearly doubled according to Edison Research and Triton Digital. The largest demographic of listeners are millennials who hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
Many business owners are joining the ranks of other successful podcasters because the return on investment is great when it comes to retaining listeners. According to Podcast Insights, 80 percent of all podcast listeners keep listening to all episodes they begin every week. Making podcasting a great alternative or supplement to blog posts.
There are many ways small businesses are getting involved. And the good news is that creating a podcast for your small business is relatively simple and – even better – relatively inexpensive.
For example, Rebecca L. Weber hosts a podcast called The Writing Coach Podcast, for freelance writers who are in business for themselves. She offers strategies on how to overcome hurdles like setting company policies, boosting your bottom line and getting clients to pay on time.
Chicago-based Basecamp, a small business that helps other companies to perform digital collaboration, hosts Rework, a podcast that offers tips on more efficient and effective ways to work and run a business.
No matter what type of podcast you hope to create for your small business, before you launch your first episode, here are some tips and tools to consider when starting a podcast.
1. Find a topic that will resonate with listeners.
Think about a topic you can commit to that will resonate with you, your customers and potential clients.
Then ask yourself:
- Why am I doing this podcast?
- What does success look like?
- What type of thought leadership do you want to be known for?
- Is this sustainable for a long period of time?
2. Use a catchy name.
The right name can make a difference. Like a TEDx stretched out over multiple weeks, a podcast is a branding tool that will help you become known for whatever topic you’re speaking about.
ThePodcastHost.com’s Matthew McLean suggests using one of three formats:
1. Consider a creative name that is abstract but memorable. Think 99% Invisible or The Moth.
2. Use a descriptive name such as Marketing Over Coffee, Startups for the Rest of Us and The Science of Social Media.
3. Or use your name such as Noah Kagan Presents, or Chris Ducker Podcast.
3. Get well-designed cover art.
A picture is worth a 1,000 words and having good cover art can make a difference. You can hire a graphic designer, or if you’re savvy enough, do it yourself.
If you’re going the latter route, think about your color schemes and stick to three or four colors. Keep the text simple and easy to read with a design that illustrates the essence of your podcast in an eye-catching simplified manner. Need ideas? Checkout the simplistic design used for the StartUp podcast.
4. Create an intro with music and verbiage.
While having great music isn’t a requirement, it certainly helps. Marmoset curates emerging artists and you can purchase their music via podcast licenses that range from single episode to series use. Other options to purchase podcast music include Jamendo, 909 Music and Envato’s AudioJungle.
Besides having music, structure your podcast intro and outro with a tagline. Your introduction should include the name of your podcast, the episode number, title, identify the name of the host and who you are, information about what the show is going to be about. And make sure your intro sets the tone for your podcast. For example, for a more conversational format, say “I am (insert name)” instead of “My name is (insert name).”
5. Decide on your format.
Being consistent is important. Your audience will come to love and expect a certain format. Decide how you’ll set up your podcast and stick with a format.
Ask yourself, “Do I want to….”
- Do solo commentary?
- Conduct one-on-one interviews?
- Have a panel of guests for an interview or discussion-style show?
- Do you want it to be conversational and potentially co-hosted?
- Or more educational with non-fiction storytelling?
As a small business, you’ll want to make sure your voice and tone resonates with your ideal customer and target market.
6. Set up your recording studio.
There’s plenty of equipment you can buy, but start with the basics.
Besides having a good computer, you’ll want a good microphone — not the one that is built into your computer, a usb microphone is best. Consider using Blue Yeti or Audio Technica ATR2100 USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone.
You’ll also likely want a microphone stand or boom arm to hold your microphone like the Heil Sound PL-2T Overhead Broadcast Boom and a pop filter, a circular piece of mesh that goes between you and the microphone to filter out plosives — sounds that can come out with hard consonants like the letters “p” and b.”
If you are conducting interviews, a good recorder such as the Zoom H6, Zoom H4n Pro can help you record in stereo, multi-track or the 4cH mode which are good for getting live room sound via its built in microphones and two external inputs.
7. Investigate editing tools.
There’s free audio editing software like Audacity and Garage Band. For a more robust program, you can pay a subscription service such as Adobe Audition or a flat fee to Logic Pro. Another option some entrepreneurs are using is Alitu which offers a 7-day trial and can help produce your podcast by cleaning up your audio, trim your recordings, create theme music, add ID3 tags for meta data and publish to your hot for $28 a month.
8. Find a place to host your podcast.
Even if you already have a website and web host, you’ll need someone separate to host your audio files. Libsyn, is one of the most well-known, but there are plenty of others. Each have different algorithms for how they track downloads. We Edit Podcasts offers an extensive list and breakdown on two options.
9. Promote your launch.
Ever since the hit podcast Serial gripped the nation in 2014 with its whodunit investigative reporting about a murder, listening to a podcast has become more mainstream. But how often a podcast is downloaded can vary from a couple hundred to hundreds of thousands per episode.
Encourage listeners to leave reviews. Some podcasts will offer a free Kindle book or read the person’s review on their next episode. Regardless of what your podcast is about, it will take a while to become more comfortable in front of the microphone.
Hosting a podcast is about sharing interesting experiences and giving unique insights into your business or mindset, something only you can provide. By building your brand this way as a small business entrepreneur, you can potentially bring in new customers, create engagement and positive interaction within your community.