Seize the moment! How to plan, implement and launch your business podcast
Back in February, Andrew wrote a blog post about the importance of considering podcasting in your B2B marketing strategy. Since then the world has turned upside down. The pandemic has changed working practices forever, as well as the way we are accessing and using all forms of media and technology. With more and more people being told to stay at home, and media becoming more accessible, there’s never been a better time to launch a podcast. In fact, new research published by Medium proves that the podcasting industry is not just surviving – it’s flourishing.
So how do you go about putting together your own together? Before you even look at the practicalities, there are several things you need to consider. What is your main topic? How many episodes do you plan on producing per week or month? Who is your audience? What format do you want your it to take? What are you trying to achieve?
In this post, we’ll walk you through every stage of creation, from planning to publishing. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to make a podcast, and hopefully be motivated to do it as soon as possible!
Planning your Podcast name, topic, schedule and format
Before choosing your podcast name, do your research – make sure there aren’t any other shows already using it, or something very similar-sounding. Try and be creative, yet descriptive – descriptive podcast names are immediately identifiable to their target audience. It’s also best to avoid overly long podcast names stuffed with keywords as Apple Podcasts in particular have really started to clamp down on this. Also remember that whoever hosts your podcast will need to say the name quite a lot when recording episodes, so make sure it rolls off the tongue easily!
Now you have your name – you can start planning your episodes and schedule. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how often you should record a podcast – the best schedule is the one that you can stick to. Give some thought to whether you want to record as a solo podcast, a co-hosted podcast (you and a colleague) or an interview-style podcast with a host to ask the questions and keep the guests on track.
It’s best to have content for at least the first 4 or 5 episodes planned in advance, to help you with booking guests, and scheduling according to news stories, times of year, product launches etc.
The length of your podcast is up to you – and should depend on how much content you have. A
short podcast is typically around 15 minutes and a long podcast is anything over an hour. In non-Covid circumstances, many people think about the time of the average commute (said to be around 20 minutes) as a good length to shoot for. But anything from 20 up to 45 minutes is within the “sweet spot” for an episode length.
Recording your podcast
Now you’ve done the groundwork and planned out your first few shows – it’s time to get recording!
Firstly – you need to ensure whoever is being recorded has the right equipment. As a general rule, the more limited and lower cost your setup and equipment, the more limited the sound quality of your podcast will be. A simple USB mic will normally do the trick – but it’s worth testing everyone’s tech beforehand to ensure the quality.
Next, you need to choose a recording platform – and in these times, it needs to be one that works well remotely. Whilst the simplest way is to record Zoom or Skype calls, these don’t often give the best quality, or ease of editing. There are several better alternatives on the market, that record the audio locally for each person on the podcast, so that even if there are issues with your internet connection during the call, the audio quality stays high.
At Artisan Southwest, we use Zencastr as our platform of choice, but there are plenty of alternatives at various price ranges, including Squadcast, Ringr and CleanFeed. You can also record in some of the podcast distribution platforms, such as Podbean.
Now you’re all set up and ready to record! It’s worth giving some thought as to how you are going to pre-plan each episode – if you have multiple guests, it’s worth having a short prep call to make sure everyone is familiar with the subject matter, and to run through the podcast etiquette. If you have a host, make sure it’s clear who will be introducing the guests, and who will be taking the answers to which questions.
Editing your podcast
Congratulations! You’ve recorded your first episode! Now time for the fun part – editing!
As with recording platforms, there are many different options for editing your podcast. If you are a macOS user, look no further than GarageBand, a great choice for first-time and even experienced podcasters. If you are not a mac user, then there are still plenty of great options out there, including Audacity, a free cross-platform audio editor, Adobe Audition, or Hindenburg’s Journalist.
Editing your podcast is like putting together all the pieces of a puzzle – you need to make sure that that the volume levels on each track are consistent throughout, that there are no overly long pauses or hesitations, and that the narrative flows naturally. As you listen, make a note of the timestamp of any noises such as doors slamming or phones ringing so that you can edit them out as needed. And of course – don’t forget to add an intro and outro, which can be reused on other episodes if needed. This can, of course, feature any music you have licensing rights to.
Hosting your podcast
Now you have a nice shiny podcast ready to go – you need somewhere to host it. You’ll need to use a media hosting service to house your audio files, with either a website set up on their site to deliver them, or to place them on your own existing website. Again – multiple options exist for you to use. Two of the best and most-widely used are Podbean and Buzzsprout, both of which have a set of auto-submit or guided-submission tools which make it easy to get your podcast into Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and other popular spots. If creating your own podcast landing page, make sure it has a strong design and is SEO optimized to make it easy for people to find and listen to episodes. Along with on-site streaming, make sure you add direct links to your podcast via the main podcast app icon buttons.
TIP: when uploading your podcast for the first time, bear in mind it can take each podcast provider 5 – 10 working days to approve your content.
Promote, promote, promote!
Your final step – getting it out there! There are a lot of podcasts on the market, so it is definitely not a case of an “if you build it, they will come” scenario. You have to actively work to drive listeners to each and every episode of your podcast, which means marketing and sharing it the same way you would blog posts or any other online content. Promote on as many social media platforms as you can, and make sure you ask your podcast host and guests if you are using them to share on their own social channels.