All About Podcasts—And Why You Should Start One

6 Ways to Get Started and Build Your Brand

You probably know what a podcast is—a digital file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. You might have even listened or subscribed to a video or audio podcast as a series, getting notified as new episodes are launched. But have you ever thought of starting one yourself?

With more than 700,000 podcasts, up from 550,000 in 2018, popularity is booming. There are many reasons why you might want to get started. Talking about new products or services can help expand audiences. You can even make money, or at least residual income. Content can be monetized via subscriptions or podcast sponsorships. Or maybe you just want to enhance the image of your brand on the web.

Even if you don’t yet have an established audience or following through a website or social media, it is super simple to get started podcasting. Following are the steps to get started.

1. Develop Your Podcast Concept
Think about why you are starting the podcast. It could be to generate business leads, be recognized as a leader in your industry, to share tips or important messages on something you are passionate about, just for fun or to establish an image.

Next, decide what your podcast will be about. For example, a company that sells botanical oils and beauty products might focus on organic farming, plants and botanical flowers. Or, a social media company might give a new tip every episode.

Stick to one topic area and make sure it is something you are passionate or knowledgeable about. People are bombarded with so many messages. Don’t water down your podcast by making it too broad or varied.

Do a little research on your chosen subject to see the volume of podcasts that already exist in that space. Listen to a few, noting what you like and what you would do differently.

2. Know and Develop Your Audience
While you are developing your subject, think about your potential audience. What interests do they share? Imagine your typical audience members. Invite questions and comments and listen to their feedback. Adapt your subject matter as you follow their interests.

3. Equipment Setup
One of the great benefits of podcasting is how affordable it is to get started. You can start recording a podcast with your smartphone and a small tripod and grow your way into a $20,000 podcast studio. Today’s smartphone technology, for audio and even video, is highly capable. Besides, it’s the content that is the most important part. People will tune out quickly to a boring podcast.

Another option is shooting with a DSLR camera. Canon makes a popular Video Creator kit that works with several camera models.

No matter whether you use your phone, a DSLR or video camera to start, make sure you use an external microphone. This added quality makes a world of difference, and you can pick up a good lavalier mic for less than $100. This Shure MVL is a solid mic for $69, or choose the budget Audio Technica ATR3350iS for $29 which comes with an adapter so you can plug both the mic and headphones into your smartphone. If your podcast grows and you are enjoying it, you can always invest more money later in better gear.

4. Where to Hose
You will need a publicly accessible server to host your podcast. According to Podcast Insights, these are the top 5 podcast hosting companies in 2019:

+ Buzzsprout
+ Transistor
+ Simplecast
+ Podbean
+ Castos

Some podcasting hosts include a customizable page for your show. Otherwise, consider building a simple website or blog to embed your shows

5. Promotion
Once your podcast is up and running, there are several avenues you can use to promote it to get broader exposure. Consider making a separate Facebook page with the same name as your podcast show, linking your podcasts. From the page, you can share show posts to different Facebook groups that might be interested in the subject matter. You should also upload podcasts to YouTube, iTunes, and other social media such as Twitter. There might be a few specialty sites or blogs that would like to link to your podcast. Be informational rather than pushy to gain audience.

6. Monetize Your Content
As your podcast takes off, companies might want to sponsor your show if they have complimentary products or services. Weave a customized mention into the show. Just make sure your supporters are products and services you would use yourself, since you are essentially endorsing them.

Large and popular podcasts charge a nominal subscription fee—something to aspire to.

Podcasts can be a great way to share your passion for a subject or advertise your brand on a fast-growing platform.

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