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Remember 10 years ago when podcasting was still this cute, niche little thing that people didn’t really “get”?
Well, that cute little trend is now a multi-million dollar industry that helps millions of businesses and creators add another source of revenue to their income.
In this article we’re distilling our 12 years of podcasting experience to share with you everything you need to know about producing, distributing and marketing the podcast that’s going to have your dream listeners clamoring for your episodes.
So, let’s dive in.
Podcast Primer: why Podcast for your Business?
In a nutshell, there are 3 main reasons why you should start a podcast for your business:
- Podcast usage is growing and you’re offering another avenue for new potential customers to connect with you
- You build authority and trust with people in your target audience
- You can use it to add a new revenue stream to your business by monetizing your podcast
One of the main reasons that podcasting has boomed in popularity is that it’s a form of content that we can consume while we go about our busy lives.
While many people love reading blog posts and watching videos on YouTube, they can’t really do anything else while they’re doing that. Podcasting allows them to listen to content on-the-go and with our hectic schedules, that’s really appealing.
We can listen to podcasts while commuting, going for a run, walking with our dog, cooking in the kitchen and just generally going about our lives.
This might account for the fact that podcast listeners have grown 30% in the past 3 years alone.
And a quarter of Americans polled who listened to podcasts listened to an average of 6 hours 39 minutes’ worth of content in just a week.
In one week!
Another reason to finally create that podcast for your business is that by providing helpful content that benefits your target audience you become a trusted source of information for them.
This means they’re more likely to do business with you as you’ve already proven that you can solve their problems.
Finally, the big M…
Podcast monetization isn’t as passive as YouTube monetization, but you can monetize your podcast by having sponsors or creating exclusive content for paying members. The amount you’ll earn from your podcast depends on your audience and niche but you can expect to earn at least $500 a month with the right strategies in the beginning.
But some podcasts go on to earn their creators up to $10,000 a month.
So, have we convinced you that podcasting is awesome and you absolutely should do it?
Great, now let’s look at how to produce one.
The 4 Phases of the Podcasting Process
There’s so much more to podcasting that just recording. We like to break it down into 4 distinct phases:
- Pre-production & Planning
- Post-production & Editing
- Distribution & Promotion
Now, let’s look at each one in turn.
Phase 1: Pre-Production
Pre-production means what you do before you hit record.Think of it as the foundation of your podcast which can be divided up into: market research, preparation and planning, outlining your episodes and preparing your equipment.
Before you sit down to record anything you need to define who you are creating this podcast for.
Is it for side-hustlers who want to monetize a skill online?
Is it for C-suite executives who are trying to improve their management style?
Is it for vegan athletes?
Without defining who your audience is, what struggles they have and what goals they aspire to, you’re going to end up with a show that falls flat. So sit down and decide who you are trying to serve with your podcast and then conduct some market research to learn more about their struggles to give you endless content ideas.
Ways to conduct market research for your podcast for free:
- YouTube: find industry relevant YouTube videos and check the comments section to see what types of questions your target market is asking
- Twitter: search for key terms in your industry and find related tweets, follow industry influencers and follow the threads and conversations happening there
- Surveys and interviews: sending out surveys and conducting interviews is without a doubt the best way to understand your target market
- Reddit: check out subreddits in your niche and do some spying to see what people are talking about
Preparation And Planning
Once you’ve established your audience and done some research it’s time to put all that research to use.
Leverage your market research to start coming up with topic ideas for episodes that help answer your target audience’s burning questions. Create a spreadsheet or Google doc with all your ideas.
Next on your to-do list is to either script your episodes or create a bullet-list of talking points to help you stay on track while you’re recording.
You’ll also need to make decisions about:
- Episode length: keeping episodes relatively short (under 30 minutes) will encourage new listeners to tune in.
- Episode format: will you be a solo host like the equivalent of a YouTube talking head video? Will you have guests for each episode and do interviews? Or will you have a co-host?
- Intros and outros: find some great music using a royalty-free resource like Audio Jungle and pick your intro and outro music
- Create cover art: you can use a graphic design tool like Canva to create great cover art for your podcast. Just remember to keep it simple and keep text to a minimum
Scheduling guest interviews: if you plan on interviewing guests on your podcast get those interviews scheduled with a tool like SavvyCal.
Before recording you need to have both your recording equipment and your tech stack set up. Buying this equipment will be your initial investment to launching your podcast and here’s exactly what you’ll need to budget for:
- A podcast hosting platform: this is where you’ll upload your podcast episodes. Your hosting platform will distribute your podcast to places like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher etc
- Microphone: do not cheap out with your mic – you don’t have to break the bank, but you need to invest in a good microphone to help ensure audio quality
- Digital Audio Workstation (DAW): this is the software you’ll use to edit and polish your raw audio files
- Good headphones: this is important when it comes to editing your podcast so you can better hear things like annoying pops and background noise
- Transcription Software: this is optional but it’s great if you want to include a written transcript with your show notes
Best podcasting mic
We swear by the Shure MV7 microphone for amazing sound quality. The Blue Yeti mic is also a great option.
Best Podcast Hosting
You can’t go wrong with Castos. We’ve been trusting them for years with our podcast and have no complaints.
Best Audio Editing Software
Descript: a great user-friendly tool that’s also very budget friendly
Audacity: a free and open source software that’s been trusted by podcasters for years
Best Transcription Software
Descript may be a DAW, but it also produces great transcripts that are highly accurate. Another great option is Rev.com, but this is pricier.
Best Headphones for Podcast Editing
Beats EP Wired On-Ear Headphones: these headphones provide brilliant clarity, breadth and balance
Phase 2: Recording Your Podcast
When it comes to your podcast you have only one way to engage your audience’s senses: their sense of hearing.
No fancy video transitions or pretty images are going to keep them listening to your episode; it’s just the power of your message paired with a great listening experience.
So, how do you make sure you’re providing your listeners with that great experience during the recording process?
- Buy a pop-screen: these are super cheap and can help reduce hard pop sounds you might make when pronouncing Ts and Ps
- Avoid recording in big, cavernous spaces: you’re likely to get more echo if you do
- Add some acoustic panels to your walls
- Ask guests to wear headphones to avoid your voice being echoed back through their speakers. Also ask them to use a proper microphone (if they don’t have a microphone AirPods do a pretty decent job)
- Speak close to your mic
- Record in your closet! This is a podcasting classic to help you produce better audio. The small space and all the soft clothes create some fantastic acoustics by dampening any echoes
- Reduce background noise: make sure any pets are out of the room and record at a time when you know you won’t be disturbed
When recording remember to have your script or bullet list of talking points handy so you don’t fall off track, but also know that if you do need a moment to compose yourself you can hit pause on your recording and come back to it when you’re ready.
I would also recommend recording straight into your DAW so you can save time uploading the mp3 file later.
Phase 3: Post-Production
The post-production phase is when you’ll edit and polish your raw audio.
Opening up a program like Descript can be intimidating for beginners, but by putting the work in during the recording process you’ll reduce your editing time tenfold.
Remember – no amount of great editing can compensate for a bad raw audio file.
During the post-production process you’ll want to add in your intro and outro music and you may want to insert any sponsorship ads that you’ve previously recorded. Make sure to keep your intros, outros and sponsorship messages neatly organized in a folder so you can reduce time adding them into your raw recording. We love using Descript as our main DAW because its interface is neatly organized, it’s fairly priced and the fact that you can edit audio by editing text is truly unique. You can easily cut filler words and long silences from your audio by simply deleting it on the text file. This type of audio editing via text also makes it super beginner friendly.
Descript also has various audio effects that can clean up your audio file.
Here are some ways you can instantly polish up your audio with Descript:
- Compressor Effect: by applying a compressor you’re minimizing the gaps between the softest and lowest sounds to help you maintain an overall loudness that doesn’t include annoying peaks and valleys
- Studio Sound Effect: this effect takes incoming audio and highlights its desired aspects and strips away reverb, mic noise and other unwanted background noise in a single click
Ducking: this allows you to automatically lower the volume of other tracks whenever a speech track is present. This is great for when you need to do a voice-over to lay over a music track, such as for intros and outros
Make sure to invest in good quality headphones as this can have a dramatic effect on how well you edit your audio. You won’t pick up things like background noise as easily with cheap, low quality headphones.
Phase 4: Distribution and Promotion
You’ve gone through so much effort to create a podcast worth listening to, so don’t forget to actually promote it!
Many podcasters just expect their ideal listeners to stumble upon them on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, but the work is not done once you upload your episodes to your podcast host for distribution.
When choosing a podcast host it’s really important to understand what platforms they’ll be distributing your episode to. Ideally, you want a podcast hosting platform that will distribute your content to the following platforms:
There are more out there, but these are among the most popular so you definitely want to make sure you’re appearing on them.
Apart from making sure you’re distributing your episodes on the right platforms, what else can you do to promote your podcast?
Here’s our top picks for getting discovered and increasing the reach of your listener base.
Start a Newsletter
A newsletter is a regular email you send out to subscribers (remember you need their permission – don’t break GDPR law!). You can create a free resource like a guide and give it to listeners in exchange for their email addresses. Link to your freebie in your podcast episodes to encourage sign-ups.
Once you release a new episode, send out an email to your list letting them know what they’ll learn from your new episode and include a link to the episode. This will help encourage people to discover more of your episodes and you’ll build a loyal fan base of engaged listeners.
Create Audiograms for Social Media
An audiogram is a snippet from your episode that you embed alongside an image. We use them all the time for Entrepreneur’s Enigma (see below). The idea is to pick out a really interesting piece of dialogue from your episode and use it to tease your audience about the value that will be packed into your episode. You can create these for Instagram or Twitter using a graphic design tool like Canva. You can also pick out great quotes from your episode and turn them into static images for Instagram or LinkedIn.
Be a Guest on OTHER Podcasts
Networking with other podcast hosts is a great way to start getting asked to appear on other people’s podcasts. This has the benefit of giving you a platform to grow your email list by including a link to your freebie in the show notes.
You could also promote your podcast directly, but most people will be more motivated by a free resource than checking out a podcast and gathering emails is a crucial step to growing an audience.
Advertise on Someone’s Newsletter
Many indie creators share your exact audience and will allow you to advertise your podcast (or your freebie) to their subscribers in exchange for a fee.
This type of paid advertising is usually much cheaper than social media and has the added benefit of the audience paying more attention to the sponsorship as we tend to listen to recommendations way more than regular ads like social media ads.
Invite Guests to your Podcast
Bringing on other people to your podcast is a way to get in front of more people. Reach out to other creators who share an audience with you and pitch them to be a guest. They will usually share the episode that they appeared on and in doing so invite their audience to come check out your podcast.
Write in-depth Blog Posts to go with your Podcast Episodes
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for podcasts isn’t always easy, especially when compared to how discoverable video content is. However, there is a way to increase the searchability of your podcast by writing in-depth blog posts to complement your podcast episode. You can write up (or hire someone to write) a great blog post that’s SEO optimized and embed your podcast episode at the top of the post.
This will capture people searching for the topic you cover in your episode and also encourage them to check out your podcast. Just don’t forget to add links to subscribe to your show!
If you’ve got the Vision for your Podcast, Let us Produce it for you
Here’s an ugly truth: most podcasts fail.
In fact, less than 20% that launch one year make it to the next and the reason is usually burn-out.
Podcasts take a ton of effort and producing one while juggling your regular job grinds most creators into the dirt, but that doesn’t need to be your story.
We can take care of your podcast production and marketing so you can focus on creating and enjoying that extra source of income and referrals from your well executed podcast strategy.
Take advantage of our 12+ years experience producing successful podcasts to make sure your podcast isn’t in that 80% bucket that folds after one year.
FAQs about Podcasting
How much money can I make podcasting?
According to Riverside.fm, you can expect to earn at least $500 per month in the beginning if you monetize correctly. However, this number will vary greatly depending on your niche and audience size.
How much does a podcast producer cost?
A podcast producer will cost you somewhere in the range of $500 to $2,000 per episode. But this will depend on how many episodes you’re producing a month and what type of package you agree to with the individual producer. For instance, it’ll cost you more if you want help with marketing as well as production. Reach out for an obligation-free quote from Goldstein Media.
What are the steps in producing a podcast?
Producing a podcast can be divided into the following categories:
- Pre-production: ideation and planning
- Production: recording
- Post-production: editing
- Distribution and promotion: marketing your podcast
Which platform is best for hosting a podcast?
Without a doubt, Castos has been setting the standard for the best podcast hosting platform on the market for years now.
Is it free to publish a podcast?
You will need to invest in equipment in the beginning, especially a good microphone. It’s also possible to host your podcast for free on a platform like Anchor.fm, but be cautious here. Free platforms usually mean that you lose some type of creative or even copyright control on your content. Always check the terms and conditions for free podcast hosting platforms.