Content marketing comes in many different shapes and sizes, and nowadays, creators have a lot of options and platforms to create content. Podcasts have been around for quite a while, but in recent years the industry has begun to really flourish.
We are in the golden age of audio, with more music and podcasts created today than ever before. The Infinite Dial 2020 report by Edison Research shows that podcasts today reach 1 in 3 Canadians (A18+) every month.  According to a study by Chartable, 2020 saw a more than 280% increase in the creation of new podcasts — from just over 300,000 new podcasts started in 2019 to almost 900,000 in 2020. That’s almost two podcasts started every minute throughout the entire year!
What is a podcast?
According to the dictionary “Podcast is a digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series, that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer.”
A rise in podcast popularity
There are several reasons for the rise of podcasts. Firstly, podcasts are easy to consume. People can listen to podcasts in the car, at the gym, when cooking, and even at work. Another reason podcasts are easy to consume is that they can be listened to on any device. People can listen to podcasts on their phones, computers, or tablets wherever or whenever they want. For the most part, podcasts are free to create and free to listen to.
It can be relatively easy to start one because you do not need a recording studio or any certification to get started. Also compared to other content platforms, podcasts allow you to create an intimate and more personal relationship with your audience.
How to start your own podcast
If you have some ideas to share with the people and thinking of starting a podcast and wonder where to start, this guide will explain step by step what is necessary to start podcasting.
Choosing the Content
The very first step to starting a podcast is choosing and defining the type of content you would like to create. To understand the demand for your topic, start by searching the web for that topic and get an idea of how popular it is. Look at website results and social media engagement. Additionally, you can use the Google Trends reports to get an idea of popularity over time, and popularity by region if that is relevant to the topic. Always think about what people can learn from your podcast. Give your audience not only a reason to listen but also a reason to come back for more.
According to survey findings from Statista, the most popular podcast genre in the United States was comedy, with 22 percent of respondents to a survey stating that they were very interested in podcasts designed to make them laugh. News podcasts and those based on true crime were also popular choices, as well as sport and health and fitness.
Creating Your “Identity”
Don’t forget that many people who will find your podcast will find it through a simple search. Your podcast name should be clear and your audience should be able to understand what the podcast is all about from just the name alone. Having a very descriptive name may help optimize your podcast’s searchability on platforms. Writing a description of your podcast and including relevant keywords also helps with the search engine optimization (SEO) of your podcast listings.
One approach in naming podcasts is combining two words to make your own. For example, Atlassian combined “team” and “chemistry” for their podcast titled “Teamistry” and right away you know the show is about team chemistry. This name is memorable, unique, and communicates several things in a single word. Teamistry podcast is about the chemistry of unsung teams that achieve the impossible.
Another example of a great podcast title is “Philosophize This” which is a podcast dedicated to sharing the ideas that shaped the world. Anyone interested in an educational podcast about philosophy can easily understand what the podcast is about.
Having an intro for each episode of your podcast adds an extra layer of professionalism and personality. Usually, the intro is short voiceovers with intro music that covers the podcast, episode number, the hostname.
There are many websites that have music you can legally use on your podcast. You can get subscriptions that give you access to huge libraries. It is also possible to find free music if you search for ‘creative commons’ licensed music on the web.
As we said before, setting up a podcast is free. You can use a free podcast hosting service and free audio software to upload your shows to sites such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. However, one of the biggest podcast recommendations is to invest in a good microphone. After all, it’s the microphone that captures your voice and translates it from physical sound waves into digital bits and bytes. A good microphone can cost hundreds of dollars, but also there are a lot of much more affordable options in the market.You can check out an article from Rolling Stone to find out recommended microphones for podcasting.
Another important factor to pay attention to is background noise because podcasting is all about audio. Podcast listeners are often on the go and they want impeccable sound quality that provides a great listening experience wherever they are. For a better audio experience, we have some tips to eliminate ambient noise.
Most of the time people don’t even notice specific noises that are in their houses because they are probably used to the sound that their electronics make so they don’t even hear it anymore. However, that sound is there, and the microphone will pick it up. Turn off any electronics such as ceiling fans, air conditioners, or room ionizers when you are recording and stuff towels under the door. It filters the amount of sound from inside your house into your recording area.
How To Grow Your Podcast
Being consistent is one of the important keys to your success. A lot of great podcasts struggle because the creators fail to publish new content on a consistent schedule. It is important to show your audience that you are serious. If you plan on releasing a new episode each week, do it at the same time and on the same day.
Consistency is also key for creating engagement. An engaged listener is one who looks forward to every new episode. They follow your social media profiles and support you with their feedback. They share about your show and help you attract new listeners.
If you are having a hard time publishing consistently, we recommend creating your own podcast editorial calendar. This calendar gives you a big picture view of your production process and makes you consistent by making you aware of due dates or what’s coming up next.
Lastly, if you can’t publish an episode on time, it’s important to let your listeners know. Announce to your fans why you’ll miss the usual publishing time and when you will publish the next episode.
Build your online presence
Online presence is the collective existence of a business or an individual that is found online via searches. Having an online presence is essential to the success of any business or individual. It allows people to find you, interact with you, and trust you.
Social media is a great way to build your reputation because social media is possibly the first place when potential customers or audiences are researching you or your brand. You have to be active online across different social media platforms.
Today, a lot of brands and companies believe that investments in podcasts will benefit them as a whole, and see an overall benefit to both usage, engagement, and retention.
One of the great examples of podcasts is the #LIPSTORIES podcast by Sephora. Sephora celebrates a line of lipsticks and the women that inspire them. Each podcast episode features an influential woman telling her own #LIPSTORIES and seeks to encourage other female leaders, creators, and activists. This is a great example of how brands can use podcasts to support their online presence.
Listen to your audience
Your audience should be your top priority. Find ways to get your audience engaged, with you and each other, to further strengthen relationships. Having your own podcast community is like having your own marketing team. The better your relationships are with your listeners the better reviews they will give and the more recommendations they will give you.
Keep in mind that your focus should always be the value that you are providing your listeners, and not how you can convince them to share your podcast. If they find value in tuning in, that will automatically encourage them to share the podcast. A way to understand your audience is by asking your listeners to leave a review. Having more reviews can help you get more listeners. Your audience can give you ideas for choosing a new topic, thoughts on the length of the podcast, or some areas to improve yourself. To encourage reviews and engagement, you can reward the listeners too. Offer some gifts as an incentive to your audience to leave a review.
Collaboration is key!
Lastly, collaboration with other co-hosts is a good idea to grow your podcast and expand your audience. New listeners, such as co-hosts fans, can be earned in this way.
It’s a lot easier to motivate yourself if there’s someone else relying on you too. A co-host might give you a whole new angle to approach the topics you discuss on your show. Also adding just one more voice to make it a conversation rather than a monologue can make a podcast more fun to listen to.
In summary, podcasting is not easy but it is rewarding, and the benefits of this medium are endless. It is now your time to find the motivation to record your first episode and sit behind the microphone.
1) Research, E. (2020, June 24). https://www.edisonresearch.com/. Edison Research. https://www.edisonresearch.com/the-infinite-dial-2020-canada/
2) How podcasts powered through the pandemic: 2021 Trends & predictions. (n.d.-b). Chartable. https://chartable.com/blog/2020-year-in-review#fn-1