You’ve been thinking about it for some time. Now it’s time to pull the trigger. Before you do, you need a podcast starter kit, and I’ve got you covered.
Starting a podcast can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. Podcasts can be viewed in two ways.
First, it can be a powerful form of Content Marketing.
Content Marketing is the process of creating media for your business to attract an audience. Over time, the content builds trust, which will then turn into paying subscribers. It’s a long term form of Marketing that has exponential returns.
The second reason is that you have something to say, and a podcast is the best way to get your message out there. In the process, the podcast becomes the business itself. From there, it can evolve into whatever you want.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget some key elements that make a podcast great. This podcast starter kit is a checklist that ensures you have the best start as possible. With these things in place, you can build substantial numbers quickly. All things considered, podcasting is still in the infancy stage. According to Small Business Genius, there are only 750,000 uploaded podcasts online. Compare that to the over 500 million blogs online today. So it’s vital to get the basics down as it can set you up for fantastic growth in the future. Here’s what you need to have in place before pressing record:
Before starting any project, you should know WHY you’re starting the project in the first place. It’s easy to jump onto the podcast bandwagon. What happens when you don’t feel like recording or just lose interest?
We see, for example, that Joe Rogan has a 9-figure podcast. But he’s been podcasting for over ten years in a setup that’s nothing like what we see today. I’m sure he did not have the will to get them done each week. It’s by understanding his WHY that he pushed through the tough times and lazy moments.
What is your WHY?
Be clear on the reason and have it printed and stuck up close to you while on this journey.
It sounds trivial, but you should have a name lined up for your podcast. It’s easy just to use your name or your company’s name. Unless you’re well known or named Oprah, it’s challenging to draw an audience from your name alone. It can also be a future asset that’s not tied to your image. Consider something simple, yet catchy that will grab someone’s attention. If you need help, come up with a few names and shop them around to a loved one or friend. Pick the one that speaks to you out of the top three.
Consider the type of podcast that will attract your desired audience. While you can do a solo podcast, the interview podcast is the most popular today. Conversations with subject matter experts can create real breakthroughs for you and your listeners. Interviewing is a skill that takes time to develop; however, it can turn into a great show with the right guests. Other format styles include co-hosting, storytelling, or repurposing content into audio. Decide on the format, or mix them up to create your process.
Popular podcasts now double as video content. It’s a great way to get two bites of the content apple. Uploading your podcast to YouTube helps your listeners build a deeper connection with you. However, there are additional editing, expensive video recording equipment, and logistics required. If you have the resources and are comfortable on camera and audio, consider adding video.
It’s essential to have some goals in mind. KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are measurements of success. As podcast numbers are difficult to measure, the best practice is to track the number of downloads. Set a realistic goal. For instance, don’t aim for 10,000 downloads in your first month as it can lead to frustration. Research the stats for podcasts in your field and set a goal that reflects that. Other KPIs you can consider include sales or subscribers.
When launching your podcast, have at least three episodes planned and recorded. If you’re looking to build an audience that will stick around, you need to give them a reason. If you only launch one, that listener will forget about you. If you build a small library upfront, the subscriber base will only grow.
Podcasts have a low barrier of entry. Yes, you can start a podcast with just your phone and headset. However, if you’re looking for a studio-quality experience, invest in a capable USB or XLR microphone. You can record your audio files onto your computer, but a portable recorder like the Zoom H4n Pro 4 is a powerful investment. For online interviews, consider Skype, Zoom, or a paid app like RIngr for high-quality interview recordings.
Audio is a delicate medium, and simple mistakes can create a poor recording. Poor sound can create a poor listener experience. Additional tools can also make the process easier for podcasters. Make sure to get a pair of headphones, boom arm, and shock mount for improved quality.
Where are you going to record your episodes? Space has a direct impact on the quality of audio. Large rooms with hard surfaces can create an unwanted echo. It’s essential to get a small area that you can then treat with material to dampen the audio. If you’re recording video, you can set up a space that’s not only visually appealing but acoustically sound.
No podcast starter kit is complete without some beautiful music. Pick a fresh sound and style for your intro and outro to give your show a professional feel. You can’t use any copyrighted music for your podcast, even if you decide not to monetize the show. There are some sites you can get Royalty-free or Creative Commons music like Free Music Archive, Pixabay Music, and Audiojungle.
After recording your episodes, you can just publish them and share them for consumption. But there’s a critical step you need to take first; editing. For a great episode and listening experience, editing minimizes background noise, balances the audio, and lets you cut and move around clips. You’ll need to add your intro and outro too. There are a host of editing tools available, with Audacity, Garage Band, and Logic Pro, the popular choices. It takes time to learn how to edit, and many podcasters outsource the process. Even if you choose to outsource, it’s good to learn how to edit your podcast so you’ll know what to look out for when you pass the task on to someone else.
After recording and editing, the files need to be hosted online. Sites like Spotify and iTunes don’t host your content but helps with distribution to an audience via RSS feeds. You can host it on your website like WordPress, but that’s a nightmare for bandwidth. Choose a service like Buzzsprout, Podbean, SoundCloud, or Transistor that have free and paid options available. In most cases, you can also distribute your episodes straight from these providers.
To start building traffic, you can use the built-in audience available on popular platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, and Podbean. Most podcast hosts allow you to share your feed on multiple platforms. Choose 3-5 to start with, then move to other platforms if there is little effort to do so.
Like any product or service, you can’t build it and expect your customers to come. You need to promote and market the content, so people know it’s available. Choose 2-3 social media channels and create clips and written content to build awareness. Other promotional plans include guest interviewing and connecting with the media or journalists to write about your show.
The best podcasts are the ones that look to solve a problem, challenge, or change the lives of the listeners. If you can add value and avoid the fluff, you’ll get more engaged subscribers who will be willing to return the favor in the future. Focus on trying to solve a problem in each episode. That can be the type of questions you ask, extensive research, or addressing complex topics.
So someone has listened to your podcast. Now what? What are the next steps? By getting the listener to stay for the entire episode, you’ve built some trust. Leverage that trust by using another ask or “call to action (CTA).” This would be a page where they could learn more about your products and services. That could prompt increased sales and clients. Be clear with what you want them to do next.
Podcasters should work on building relationships with their listeners. Engaged listeners will be more likely to share the content and make future purchases. In your podcast notes, leave an email signup subscription or run a competition to get more listeners to part with their contact information. From there, you can start episodes when they launch for immediate traffic. You can continue to engage and sell, improving your revenue regardless of the type of business.
Speaking of revenue, have a plan on how you can generate income from your podcast, even with a few episodes under your belt. From a Content Marketing perspective, make sure that you have a funnel in place, with your podcast sitting at the top of the funnel. Consider placing ads at the top or middle of the content, even with no downloads. There are some channels like Anchor that give you access to ads almost immediately. Monetizing your content from the start gets you into the habit of selling, recording ad rolls, and actively growing your revenue.
Without a doubt, creating any form of content requires patience. Both the process and growth take time. If you’re in it for immediate numbers and revenue, you’re set up to fail.
YouTuber Shelby Church interviewed podcasters who make several thousand dollars per month. Each stated that it took somewhere between 6-18 months before they generated enough downloads to make significant revenue. Having patience goes back to understanding your WHY. When times get tough, and there’s no real movement, the reason you’re podcasting will see you through.
The most crucial tool in the podcast starter kit is to be yourself! Don’t try to imitate any famous podcaster or celebrity. Avoid mimicking popular show formats. Do what comes naturally to you. Don’t change your voice or personality. You or your business have something to offer the world. It’s important to own your experiences, values, and style and be unapologetic. People can tell if you’re fake. You will burn out, and your podcast won’t last.
Using this podcast starter kit, you’ll be able to produce quality content that will grow a substantial following. It’s essential to have a plan before you start, the right equipment, and goals to make it fun, yet challenging. More importantly, seek to add value. Find different ways to solve problems in your niche and a simple way of expressing those ideas alone or with a guest. Invest your time, energy, and the right equipment, and you’ll crush it in no time.
Need more help to grow your podcast, improve your content, and reach new revenue heights? Let’s connect here for content straight to you.