According to the 2017 Infinite Dial Study conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital, podcasting awareness is on a steady rise with Americans. Forty percent of Americans over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast while 24 percent have listened to a podcast in the past month, an increase of 21 percent from 2016.
As more Americans embrace audio podcasts and become regular listeners, many are taking the plunge to start their own. However, starting a podcast is more than just hopping on a trend bandwagon. This is your chance to reach your audience on an intimate level and connect with them by sharing valuable information that they care about. Doing this ultimately positions you as an expert within your industry, which helps grow your business in the long run.
Much like maintaining a company blog or social media accounts, though, a podcast won't be beneficial if you aren't committed to it and don't have a strategy in place. Keep the following in mind to prep you as you get started.
Determine the Five W's and 1H of your podcast
Before you start fantasizing about all of the sponsors your podcast will attract or media outlets that will talk about you, go back to basics. What’s the purpose of this podcast, anyway? Answer the 5 W's – who, what, when, where and why – and 1 H (how) to better define your goals.
- Who will be hosting? Will you be doing it solo or with a trusted partner?
- Who will you interview? (That is, if you plan on interviewing anyone.)
- What will you be talking about? Do a little research to find out what other podcasts in your industry are like and determine if you'll be discussing a broad or more niche topic.
- What will your name be and what will your logo or design look like? Think outside of the box and get creative while tying your overall aesthetic back in with what you do.
- What kind of equipment will you need to record and edit your podcast? (This tends to be more than just having and using a working microphone!)
- When can we hear your next episode? Plan your schedule to make sure loyal listeners know when your next episode will air, whether it’s weekly or monthly.
- When will you record? Set aside some time as needed to get in time to record and edit the podcasts.
- Where will the podcast be available to download? Will you include the RSS feed on your website, embed it on sites like Soundcloud or Stitcher, or upload to a player like iTunes?
- Where will you promote this podcast? Will you share the news in a company newsletter, via social media or with partners?
- Why are you podcasting? How will creating this type of content benefit you and your business?
- How long will each episode be? Short and sweet at half an hour or less, or much longer and involved at two hours per episode?
- How can listeners engage with you? Make sure you let them know where they can reach you with any questions, thoughts or fan mail they might have.
Will you monetize the podcast?
Depending on the type of business you run, a revenue strategy for your podcast may or may not be a main priority for you. If it is, determine how you'll bring sponsors on board while keeping in tune with the mission of what you do and the overall podcast theme. If you have a podcast that is about food, for instance, you might include ads from companies like Blue Apron throughout each episode that consistently tie in with what you have to offer.
How can you keep growing your audience?
Earlier I talked about how listeners can get in touch with you. Now let's reverse it: How can you get in touch with listeners? Once you've established your audience, how can you continue to grow it?
It's all about reviews and ratings. Ask listeners to subscribe so they never miss an episode. Request that they leave reviews. Reviews give your podcast credibility, and if you distribute in iTunes especially, ratings help boost its iTunes directory standing.
Don't be afraid to give your podcast a little social media love! If you're directing listeners to find you on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, create posts that engage, like polls, or ask questions where you can learn more about what they're interested in or want to hear from you next.