Podcasts started primarily for entertainment, but now they’re also a great way for businesses to reach their prospects. People spend 30% of audio listening time on podcasts, among the listeners are 39% of business owners of small to medium-sized companies.
That makes this a great time to start your business podcast. This guide will tell you everything you need to get started.
If you’re new to the podcasting world, a podcast is an online audio series. Like a TV series, it has episodes and seasons.
You can listen to podcasts from any device, whether it’s a phone, tablet, or desktop computer. That easy accessibility is one of the reasons for podcast popularity. Many people enjoy listening to a show during their commute.
As a business owner, this gives you an opportunity to connect with your audience in a different way. You can reach people who don’t feel like they have time to read content.
Podcasts also establish your authority and demonstrate your expertise, which builds trust with your audience.
Decide on Your Theme
Like all the best business podcasts, you need to start with a good theme.
As a business, your topic should align with the rest of your marketing materials. Like your written content, the goal of your podcast should be to provide value and give people helpful information.
If you’re not sure what to choose, go to iTunes and browse their categories and sub-categories for podcasts. Look at the popular podcasts in your category to get some ideas.
You also want to find the sweet spot for your topic, one that’s broad enough for you talk a lot about but specific enough to be relevant to your audience.
Before you commit, come up with a list of at least 10-15 episodes that you might create. This will help you decide if you have a good theme.
Pick a Name
Next, you need to brainstorm some podcast name ideas.
You might be tempted to put your own name in the title, but that won’t help unless you already have a large following.
If you’re just getting started, you’re much better off picking a descriptive name, so your audience knows what you’ll be talking about. Bear in mind that you can also add a short description, so you don’t have to put everything in the title.
Choose a Format
You also need to think about the format of your podcast. One option is a good story podcast, but a more popular format for businesses is the interview style, like this podcast.
The interview style has a couple of benefits. You’ll get a wider exposure by talking to people who already have a following, and you don’t have to come up with a topic for each podcast.
If you have a lot of your own content to cover, you can do a solo monologue, where you share stories or ideas with your audience. Another option is to have a couple of hosts for the show and have more of a dialogue.
You can also have a mix, where you sometimes do a monologue and other times interview a guest.
Whatever format you decide, make sure you have an engaging, conversational style. No one wants to listen to a podcast that sounds like a college lecture.
Length and Frequency
In order to be a top podcast, you need to have a consistent length and frequency.
For the length, podcasts can be anywhere from five minutes to a few hours. More typical ones are about the length of a commute, between 20-45 minutes.
Think about how much material you have to cover and how long it will typically take. You don’t have to make every podcast the exact same length, but your audience will prefer having some regularity.
Consistency is even more important with the frequency. If you’re trying to build a following, you should release an episode on a regular schedule, usually once a week. Stick to the same day and time, so your listeners know when to expect a new show.
Choose Equipment and Software
You can’t be one of the top business podcasts without the right equipment to record and produce your podcast.
It’s possible to start a podcast with just your phone but to get a more professional sound, invest in a USB microphone that you can connect directly to your computer.
You’ll also need to have some software to record and edit. For Mac owners, GarageBand is a great choice, since it’s free and typically comes already installed. If you have a PC, consider applications like Adobe Audition and Audacity, which are similar to GarageBand.
If you’re doing an interview, you’ll need to use a service that allows recording calls. You can do this with apps like GoToMeeting, WebEx, or Skype with Call Recorder. That way you can interview people in any location.
Cover Art and Music
Although podcasts are mostly about the audio recording, it doesn’t end there. You need some kind of cover art, and having some intro and exit music gives your podcast a more polished feel.
The cover art is a square image that appears when people are browsing podcasts, with the goal of conveying the subject of your podcast.
An important point to remember is that the image and text need to be recognizable at a small size, down to 300 x 300 resolution, since many people access podcasts on their phones. If you’re having trouble doing your own design, it’s worthwhile to invest in some outside help to get the best image.
Music is also a nice touch, but make sure you don’t use anything copyrighted without permission. Look for royalty-free music or consider paying a one-time fee to use a specific song if it works well with your show.
Before you can publish your podcast, you need to create an account with a media host so you can store your audio files.
Hosting is a subscription service, and it does more than store your files. Media hosts act as a link between you and directories like iTunes, as well as giving you marketing tools and podcast websites. Some popular hosting options are Libsyn, Blubrry, and Buzzsprout.
Launch and Advertise
When you’re ready to launch, make sure you do some advance advertising. Announce the podcast through email and social media, and think about setting up a dedicated page on your website for the podcast.
You can also consider releasing a few episodes at once. This will help establish your podcast and hook your listeners.
If you get some people listening and reviewing your podcast right away, you’re more likely to get picked up by the New & Noteworthy section in iTunes. That will give your podcast – and business – a big boost.
Perfect Time for a Business Podcast
This is the perfect time to start your business podcast. Starting one takes a little effort, but it’s well worth it. Once it’s set up, you can start to have fun with it, and it’s a great way to build your audience and establish your authority.
Looking for more business ideas? Keep browsing our blog and search “Business”.