Podcasting has become a hot trend over the years and over just the last few months I have watched it grow even more. After having been a podcaster of two shows over the last 2.5 years, I get asked a lot of questions about podcasting. Here's a quick read on how I approach my podcasting.
Part 1 - Goal
There are no overnight success stories in podcasting, in fact I would argue it's the longest content game. Sure if have millions of followers already, your show will be much more popular to start, but for the majority, it takes years. Knowing and understanding the goal of the show before you dive in is essential. While it might change over time, it's important to clearly outline the first year goal of the show. For example, the goal I had when starting my first podcast was just to learn how to podcast. I intentionally kept off monetization, sponsors and did not promote the show heavily because I knew it wouldn't be very good and that was okay. The goal was just to learn what all went into podcasting.
Goals can be reaching more of your audience, growing your brand, used as part of your marketing or content strategy; all become very key to how you run your show.
Part 2 - Time
Podcasting is a ton of fun, but also takes a huge time commitment. There is a bit of leg work to get a few things templated, such as when you have time to record, edit, produce and promote your show. Once you have an understanding of how long that might take you, you can get a process templated and automated for a few things. After almost 3 years for a 60 minute episode from end to end it takes me 3-4 hours total of work if all goes well.
Here's a breakdown of the steps I take each week for both my podcasts and their associated time:
- Recruiting, researching and scheduling guests - 1-2 hours per week
- Recording episode - 1 -2 hours per week
- *Editing episodes - up to one hour per episode
- This step is extremely variable. Some people don't edit at all because of the time required. If the recording is flawless it can take as little as 25 minutes, if you have heavy editing to do, you're looking at an hour if you are familiar with how to edit. Initially editing took me closer to 3 hours for a poorly recorded episode.
- Scheduling and show notes for edited Episode - 20 minutes -
- Social media soundbite - 20 minutes - pulling clip during editing, uploading to headliner template, reviewing CC text for errors, editing podcast cover-art in PS, exporting clip and automating to post.
- Promote show - when I have time - 20 minutes per week. Promoting is what I spend the least amount of time on. I release the sound bites and tag the guest when the show drops. After I record I try to add three summary points of what to expect with the episode as a teaser. Promoting a podcast is very challenging because you are asking the use to leave their current platform, which has a low conversion rate.
- Total time invested per episode: 3.5 - 7 hours
It's really up to you how much you want to invest. If you are just hosting your own shows with no guest and don't plan to edit, do sound bites or promote, 2 hours a week is reasonable. It all goes back to knowing your goal for the show.
Part 3 - Audience
Everyone is trying to find their audience. Knowing your audience before you start your show will be the key to its success. My first podcast audience was friends and family who liked my funny weekly stories. It's since expanded to over 60 countries around the world who also seem to enjoy my funny weekly stories.
You don’t need to be an expert, there are so few true experts. We’re all seeking connection, those we can relate to. Share what you know, what you have learned, what you have tried and failed. Just like any other content form, this may take a while to find what resonates with people. Keep exploring. If you're struggling to decide on your audience, just think about what you would want to talk about for an hour a day every week and start there.
Part 4 - Show
Podcasting is a show, whether it's 5 minutes or 5 hours, it's a show. To decide what type of show it will be ask yourself:
- Is this audio only or audio & video?
- Will I be a solo host or will it be co-hosted?
- Will I interview guests?
- How often will the show run?
- Every two weeks?
- Season/Series format?
- How long will the episodes be?
- Is the content going to be used across my other social media platforms?
- Is there explicit content?
- Am I going to look for sponsorships/monetization?
- Am I going to use the show to promote myself and/or a product?
- Am I going to track statistics and engagement across platforms?
- Am I willing to invest in equipment/software to help the quality of the show?
Once you have all these questions answered you can then make a better assessment of the tools you'll need for your podcast.
Part 5 - Tools
There are tons of tools when it comes to podcasting. It can very quickly become extremely overwhelming and costly, especially if you are first starting out. If you're just starting out, don't invest in paid anything until at least 6 months into podcasting. Why? Sacrifice a bit of audio quality, in exchange for your time investment. You might find you hate it and now you have equipment you have no need for, and subscriptions you need to cancel.
Below are the basics you can use to get started today, for free using your computer mic and built in camera. There are a lot more tools available for free, but the above are tools I have used over the years.
Platform to host audio show: Anchor.fm
This platform will allow you to create your podcast end to end in just a few minutes. They handle:
- Cover art
- Editing tools with optional sound bites
- Distribution to all major platforms
- A show website with all episodes
There are a lot of nuances to this platform that many creators have found to be troublesome, which I won't cover in this article. If you want to get started today with a podcast, for free, they are a great free option.
Platform to host audio and video show : Anchor.fm and YouTube
Simply upload your video on youTube and the audio to Anchor and backlink each to your website. Instantly a free audio and visual podcast.
If you plan on having guests on the show you'll want a fast easy way to get them scheduled. Going back and forth to coordinate times could cost you a guest. Use a free calendar app such as Calendly to have a quick link with detailed instructions for the guests. Be sure to include the link to the recording platform and what they can expect from the show.
Recording and Editing:
Here are a few options to use to record and edit for free. There are more options available, including paid choices, but I have used the below through the years. Each has pros, cons and a learning curve. Thankfully there are plenty of tutorials on how to set up podcast recording widely available on YouTube.
Sound bites - Headliner.app
Headliner is free, and pretty powerful. You can use or create your own template to share across social media platforms. There are multiple ways to make sound bites using the tool, including letting it pull sound bites weekly from your show or uploading your own clip.
Bonus - Tips for success!
Build your show in public! If you're having difficulty finding your audience, ask your followers what they want to hear about. This will allow them to feel like they were a part of building the show and help you with engagement.
Record a 3-5 minute intro episode announcing what the show will be about, where people can hear about it, etc.
Have 5 episodes recorded and ready to release before you publish your show. This helps you rank higher in platforms such as Apple and Spotify.
Stop when you want to. There are lots of podcasts that start and end within a few months. That's okay and to be expected! Just like other platforms, podcasting isn't for everyone.
Have fun! If it isn't fun, it isn't worth doing.
I hope this helps you on your podcast journey! Have questions or another topic you want me to cover? Feel free to drop me a line on Twitter.
Check out my shows Talks With SaraNoSocks and Can I Tell You Something Funny.