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Interested in Getting into Podcasting? Here’s a Quick Checklist for Starting a Successful Podcast

by Alexis Davis | The Web Writer Spotlight: Jul 3, 2017

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Podcasting is hot right now. It seems every entrepreneur, blogger and even major online news organization are dipping a toe into the digital audio waters – and for good reasons too.

Podcasting is a powerful marketing weapon. A successful podcast can help you establish your authority, expertise and credibility online, while building a great relationship with your listeners.

 

Build Great Relationships with Listeners Using a Podcast

 

Podcasting allows listeners to consume your content without disrupting their daily routines. A podcast listener doesn’t have to keep her eyes on a video, or on a screen to read a blog post. She can consume the content you offer while also doing something else (i.e. driving to work or working out at the gym), without disrupting her day-to-day life. This is part of why this content format is so powerful. Podcasting fits seamlessly into people’s lives.

People consume podcasts differently too. While the average length of a video on YouTube is 4 minutes and 20 seconds as per MiniMatters (the time it takes to view a typical online video in full), podcast episodes generally span from between 30 minutes to sometimes as long as an hour and a half. That’s ample time to share your message and showcase your expertise to listeners.

But, podcasts can be tricky to execute. There are those who have claimed “podcasts don’t work” or there is too small of an audience to justify the investment. In most cases, though, the quality and reach of your podcast will be directly proportional to the time and resources you put into it, which is why you need to plan well beforehand and after you launch your podcast.

If you are ready to start a successful podcast, there are some key things you should consider to ensure you’re off to a winning start.

 

10 Things to Consider when Build a Winning Podcast

 

Every podcast is different, but these quick tips and considerations should help you navigate your way through the process and hopefully make your podcast efforts easier, stronger and more successful.

 

1. Choose a Topic You Are Passionate About.

 

Starting a podcast takes a lot of hard work (maybe more than you think). It’s important to prepare psychologically for the work ahead. Choose a topic you are passionate about and can talk about naturally. When you choose a topic you’re passionate about, you will be able to stick with it for the long haul. 

To identify that topic, ask yourself if you can fill 30 to 60 minutes just talking about your topic off the top of your head. Good! You found your topic. Now make it interesting and valuable. Search iTunes for other podcasts in your niche. Did you choose a crowded niche with many existing podcasts? Think of ways to differentiate your show from others, such focusing on a sub-niche.

 

2. Invest in High-quality Equipment and Audio Editing Software.

 

If you are on a tight budget and starting off solo, kick things off with an affordable, good quality microphone like the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Mic. Record and edit your shows using free computer software like Skype and Audacity, and host your shows on Libsyn ($5/month). Strive also to invest in higher-quality equipment and audio editing software that will make a huge difference in the quality of your sound. For example, you can invest in better sound recorders such as the Tascam DR-60D, Tascam DR-100mkII and Zoom H5 that are all good choices for recording into a computer.

 

3. Be Open to Employing In-house or Freelance Help.

 

Podcasting can be quite demanding and time consuming. If you are trying to record a remote interview, for example, you may find it necessary to hire a freelancer to do a tape sync. In such cases, it’s advisable to hire a producer or editor to help you out with production. Reach out and employ other people’s help whenever you need it. This can make a huge difference in quality of your show and also protect you against burnout.

 

4. Pick a Dedicated Space for Recording.

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Picking a dedicated recording space can make a huge difference in creating something good and also in your producer’s ability to make quality episodes. You can set up a recording space at home (a home studio), or set it up as a production space in an auxiliary facility – the quietest place to record.

 

5. Polish Your Podcast Aesthetics.

 

Music and art for the podcast are oftentimes among the last decisions made when making the show, but these are critically important for creating a successful podcast. Pay a little extra for original music, rather than using cheesy stock music. The investment can pay huge dividend. And think hard about the podcast’s logo design. A logo sets your podcast, brand apart and also serves to give a good first impression for prospective listeners.

 

6. Choose the Right Show Length.

 

The length of a podcast can encourage or discourage people from listening to your show. Break down the show into segments and allot an appropriate amount of time to each segment. Generally, 30 to 50 minutes is a good length for a full episode as it is long enough to pack in quality, in-depth conversation, and short enough to fit within the typical work commute. Some people opt for quick episodes of under 20 minutes each, which is still okay as long as you are consistent with your show length. You don't want to set your audience's expectation for 40 minute episodes and then deliver a 15 minute episode. People might come out of the show feeling shortchanged.

 

7. Set the Show Schedule.

 

Pick a publishing schedule that works for you and your audience. You already know who your target audience is. Determine if you will publish your podcast once or twice a week, or even once a month. Whatever schedule you choose, keep it consistent. A quick way to lose audience membership is to release a show six weeks in a row, then go on hiatus for several months. People appreciate a regular schedule and a regular release day in the week.

 

8. Build Community Around Your Podcast.

 

Uploading your show to Apple Podcasts and crossing your fingers that people will find it is not a plan to build community. Research topics that garner the most interest from your audience and let them help shape the direction of the show. Ask for feedback, conduct polls and surveys, and also pitch relevant publications for coverage. Cross-promoting on podcasts with similar audiences is an effective marketing strategy that'll bring in more subscribers. Keep a close eye on your podcast's analytics using tools like blip.tv.

 

9. Integrate Your Podcast with Social Media. 

 

Social media integration helps your audience spread the word about your podcast faster. But, while sharing is great, podcast ratings are arguably better. Ask you subscribers to rate and review your podcast on iTunes and other podcast directories. This will help to boost its standing within the iTunes directory. Subscriber ratings and reviews are one of the best ways for your audience to help you get discovered.

 

10. Monetize Your Podcast

 

Similar to starting a profitable blog, starting a successful podcast should be about producing quality and authentic content first and then monetization second. Monetizing your podcast can entail selling advertising placements on your show. However, just like advertising on a blog, selling advertising on a podcast requires a large audience to bring in real revenue.

A more viable – and perhaps more rewarding – option is to simply build your personal brand using your podcast as the medium. A strong personal brand can translate into speaking engagements and other attractive business opportunities. Just look at people with strong and profitable personal brands like Susan Cain, Seth Godin, Marie Forleo and Gary Vaynerchuk to see how this can be a more rewarding monetization strategy.

See Also: Are You Using Micro-Influencers for Your Online Marketing Efforts?

 


Alexis Davis is a senior staff writer at WebWriterSpotlight.com. She covers social media and other digital media news affecting creative writers and online entrepreneurs.


Image credit: Flickr user Rosenfeld Media.

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