A Quick Starter Guide to Building a Podcast

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Podcasts are a great way to reach a wider audience, and the number of people that are listening to podcasts is steadily growing.

44 percent have listened to a podcast, and over a quarter of all Americans listen to a podcast at least monthly, according to Convince and Convert.

If you see a content or knowledge gap in your industry that would be served by a great podcast, consider creating a plan to start your own. With a little bit of prep work building the editorial strategy, finding guests and building it into your existing content, a podcast can be a valuable resource for your audience. It also builds thought leadership and allows your organization a reason to build relationships with industry influencers. Here are the basics of what you need in order to build a podcast from scratch.

everything you need to know to make a podcast

The Basics of Creating a Podcast

To get up and running with a podcast, you’ll need the following things at a minimum:

  • Hosting provider, like Blubrry or Libsyn with an RSS feed
  • Branding: a logo and a square cover image for the podcast apps and iTunes store
  • Copy that includes the title, description and host bios for various podcast profiles
  • A website or blog to post episodes and recaps

As your podcast grows, you could also have separate social media profiles for the show, but that isn’t a priority when you’re just starting out. However, it’s always a good idea to reserve the handles and website URL of your podcast name when starting, even if you’re not sure that you’ll use them.

How to Build a Podcast Editorial Strategy

Many podcasts don’t succeed because their “Who and Why” aren’t defined. The hosts want to do something in their industry, but if it’s not specific enough, listeners will become bored or confused by the episodes. There are so many podcasts being created each week that unless you have a specific niche, it may fall flat.

For example, if you were creating a marketing podcast, your angle might be analytics or AI in marketing. Simply launching another podcast about marketing, unless you’re a well-known thought leader, could fall flat.

The “when” of podcast episodes is also very important. Release new episodes at the same time every day, week, or month so that subscribers know when to look for them. This helps your podcast be a part of your listener’s routine, and they can learn to trust you. When you launch the podcast, do so with more than one episode (some experts say up to five). Steady output of episodes after that ensures the podcast is fresh and relevant each day or week.

As your niche and publishing strategy are defined, you can start building a schedule spreadsheet to assign guests and outline episode topics. It’s best to record episodes are far in advance as you can (for podcasts that have evergreen content) to avoid any scheduling or technical issues that may interfere with putting out new episodes. Often recording 2-3 episodes ahead is a good buffer, but even one ahead is better than recording that week’s podcast a few days before, if you can help it.

How to Find Guests

Finding guests to be on your podcast is often the hardest thing for new creators. This is especially the case when their existing social media or website audience isn’t big enough to help get the podcast more visibility early on. If that is the case with your online presence, you can offer other incentives to potential guests to make your podcast seem more appealing, like donating to a related charity in their name or promising to spend X amount of dollars on paid social media promotion to get their episode in front of more people.

If you have a good industry network, it is best to start with people you know to get some episodes published. That way you can refer to those episodes later when reaching out to other experts that don’t know you personally.

When propositioning a guest to come on your podcast, be sure to outline the benefits of both sides. State what it is about their experience or knowledge that fits with your podcast, such as “your work with the high-risk schools in Detroit makes you a perfect guest for our podcast on education in the US,” and give dates of availability or an online calendar scheduler URL right up front.

In addition, make sure they know that the obligation to record is very little in comparison to the benefit they’ll receive: “It will just take 30 minutes of your time and we will promote the episode to our 25K audience on Facebook and Twitter, as well as our thousands of monthly readers on our blog. We also will be sure to link to your social profiles and website in the show notes.”

When they do agree, be respectful of their time, and don’t go over the allotted minutes. Follow up when the episode is live with links and promote the episode as promised. Completing your promises makes the guests more likely to share the episode and recommend the podcast to others. If they enjoyed recording the episode, you can ask them to refer any other potential guests, which can help make the process easier.

How a Podcast Can Work with Your Existing Content Strategy

Podcasts are often out in their own stratosphere due to the amount of work and unique format, but it is possible to work a podcast into your existing content strategy. One great way to do this is by repurposing and cross-promoting existing and new content that you’ve created alongside podcast episodes.

For example, in the show notes of the podcast, you can list related blog posts where you’ve covered the episode topic in more detail. You can also then go back to those blog posts and link to the new podcast episode, or even embed the player into posts so readers can listen immediately. Experiment with different cross-promotion tactics to see what works.

Another way to leverage existing content with podcasts is to use it as inspiration for new episodes. Look at your top ten performing blog posts on your site, and use them to form the first five or ten episodes. It’s easier to find and pitch guests when you have a specific topic you can research.

You can also schedule podcast episode topics based on upcoming campaigns for your organization. If you are promoting a new AI product, for example, you can have your next two or three episodes be about AI that include a mention of your new product. Make sure any URLs or promo codes given in the podcast are unique, so you can track conversions from the episodes.

Recommended Tools

Here are some tools that can make the process of starting a podcast much easier:

  • Rev.com: audio transcription service for $1/word that often only takes a few hours
  • Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player: allows you to capture listener’s email addresses in the embeddable player
  • Libsyn: podcast hosting
  • PodSearch: the free podcast directory
  • Stitcher, iTunes, Spotify, PocketCasts, Android: All places you can submit your podcast RSS feed for inclusion

The author has no affiliation with the above tools.

Podcasts are a great content format to try if you see a need in your industry and don’t mind the extra work that comes with finding guests and recording episodes. Try experimenting with different formats, topics, and strategy to grow your audience and expand your influence.

Are you ready to record? Good, then you’ll want to have a project management software tool to keep your schedule on track. Making a podcast is just a project, after all, but ProjectManager.com is not just a software tool. Because it’s cloud-based, you get real-time data and online Gantt charts to help you plan ahead and not get behind. See what it can do for you by taking this free 30-day trial.

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