Why Starting a Podcast is the Right Move for Your Business
Let's be real, podcasting has been around for a while now. In 2004, Apple removed the barriers for audio content producers, allowing them to create and share their own radio-like talkshow with the world. You no longer needed to be on the radio to have your voice heard. All you needed was a microphone, recording software on your computer and an RSS feed. Although there have been podcasts on our smartphones since the first Anchorman movie was released (yeah, it's been that long...), it hasn't been until the past two or three years that podcasting has become a widely consumed content medium. And now, there are more new listeners subscribing to podcasts then ever before!
A landscape study conducted by Audience Insights Inc. and Ulster Media, with support from The Globe and Mail titled "The Canadian Podcast Listener" shares the podcast listening habits of 4000 Canadians. The study found that nearly 10 million Canadian adults have listened to a podcast in the last year and that number is growing. More than 70% of listeners started listening to podcasts in the last three years, with 41% starting in the last year alone.
There is also good news when it comes to Canadian podcasters. More than 45% of Canadians are looking for information about Canadian made podcasts. There is a lot of room for Canadian podcasters to reach their audience, and the time to start a podcast is now!
The Passive Medium
Podcasts are a passive medium. That means you don't have to have your phone in your hand, or be sitting in front of a screen in order to consume it. It makes it incredibly easy for listeners to consume content when they are completing other tasks. They can listen on their commute to work, on their morning run, or cleaning the house. "The Canadian Podcast Listener" explains that there are three main reasons that listeners tune into their favourite podcasts.
To be entertained
To hear interesting stories
To learn something new
Podcasts allow listeners to learn something new, become inspired, listen to a story and even catch up on their celebrity gossip, while doing the most boring tasks during their day. If you're cleaning the bathroom, might as well listen to your favourite comedy podcast. If your stuck in rush-hour traffic, might as well listen to your favourite business strategy podcast. If it's cardio day at the gym, might as well catch up on your favourite celebrity gossip podcast. It's just so dang easy!
Starting Your Podcast
If you have been thinking of starting your own podcast and don't know where to start, here are a few tips to get you started!
1. Pick Your Topic and Episode Format
The first step is to determine what you are going to talk about! If you are a brand looking to launch a podcast, ensure that it provides consistent value to your listener. Your podcast shouldn't be a constant sales pitch. If you're a landscaping company, maybe you talk about tips and tricks to keep your garden free of weeds or new trends in patio furniture. Ultimately you are wanting to be a thought leader and prove to your listeners that you are a reliable, knowledgable brand that they can trust!
The other thing to keep in mind is how you are going to format your episodes. When you start off the episode are you going to have a "quick tip of the day", or a catchy intro song? Is it going to be a interview podcast where you bring in clients or colleagues to talk about their stories and advice? If you are looking for sponsorships, where are you going to place the ads? This structure should also remain consistent. You want your listeners to be comfortable listening to your podcast, not being caught off guard by a random ad.
2. Determine Your Publishing Schedule
When are you going to post your episodes? Are you going to post weekly? Monthly? Every week day? Whatever your schedule is, sake sure you are able to remain consistent in the release of your content. Listeners look forward to your content, so make sure that the release of new episodes are predictable.
* Pro Tip: Batch record your episodes! If you are able to record multiple episodes in one sitting, do it! It makes the process much easier for you! Record 4 episodes, edit 4 episodes, schedule 4 episodes, BOOM! You have a month's worth of weekly content!
3. Choose Your Equipment
Building your podcast "studio" can be as simple as using your iPhone to record your episode. However, investing in a small, mobile recording rig can make a huge difference in the quality of the audio that you record for your listeners. Here is the set up that I use to record "The Funny Thing is... with Leaving Thomas" and my clients' podcasts.
Microphone: Shure SM58
This is one of the most reliable, most used microphones ever! If you have sung karaoke, you have probably used one of these. They are affordable, sound good and all around a great choice for a starter microphone. I add a "windsock" to my microphones to limit the amount of "s" and "p" pops when people are talking. SM58 on Amazon
Recording Interface: Roland Rubix22 USB Audio Interface
This simple recording interface is super easy to use and has two mic inputs that can record two separate microphones at a time! It plugs into your laptop via USB and records directly into GarageBand (on Mac or iPad) and any other recording software that you use. Rubix22 on Amazon
I use the SM58's and the Rubix22 with my Apple Macbook Pro and record into GarageBand, the free recording software created by Apple. It get's the job done, and allows me to add sound effects, music and other audio production elements that make an episode sound professional.
4. Record, Edit, Publish
Now that you have your gear, topic, format, and schedule, you are ready to start recording, editing and then share your podcast with the world! There are plenty of podcasting hosting sites that help you distribute your podcast onto multiple podcasting services, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music and Spotify. My favourite is Audioboom. Audioboom allows you to upload, schedule and publish podcasts across the most popular podcasting platforms and also gives you valuable analytics into the listenership of your podcast. The mobile app also allows you to record right from your phone and upload it right to your podcast. Doesn't get easier than that!
Podcasting is a very exciting opportunity for businesses to share their expertise, knowledge and build relationships with potential customers. Becoming a thought leader and a source of inspiration for your listeners can lead to loyal listeners and customers. It may seem daunting to get started, but it doesn't have to be!
Need Help Getting Started?
If you need some help taking advantage of the passive audio experience that is podcasting, lets connect! I would love to help you in any way I can!