How to Start a Successful Podcast
Starting your own podcast is a great way to build a real connection with your target audience. Instead of the inconsistent connection you make on social media platforms, podcasts present you with the opportunity to engage with your audience in a long-form content format. It’s also much more convenient for people to consume your podcasts than it would be for any blog posts you create, because people can listen to podcasts while they’re doing household chores, exercising, or even while driving.
The popularity of podcasts has been growing exponentially in recent years, and research has shown that the number of podcasts has doubled over the last four years, to the point where more than 67 million Americans now listen regularly to a podcast each month. In addition, there is plenty of room for more podcasts on the Internet.
When you consider that at the beginning of 2018, they were 440 million blogs on the Internet, 50 million YouTube channels, and only 550,000 podcasts, it should be apparent that many more podcasts can be accommodated online. This being the case, you should seriously consider starting up your own podcast to promote your business, your hobby, or maybe even your church activities. Here’s how you can go about starting up your own podcast.
Develop a concept for your podcast
There are any number of podcasts which you might be able to create, including podcasts focused on science, history, popular culture, or almost anything else. The only real limitations to coming up with a concept for your podcast is your own imagination. Before you begin, consider the reasons you are starting a podcast, and what your podcast will be about. When you have answered these two questions to yourself adequately, you will have gone a long way toward developing a concept for your podcast.
It may be that you trying to generate leads for your business, or that you wish to be recognized as an authority in your field. You may also want to share important news events with others, or it might be that you simply want to have fun with it. After you’ve figured out why you want to start a podcast, you should turn your attention to what the podcast will be about.
This can be either a very broad category, or something extremely specific like promising baseball rookies. Whatever you choose, it should be something that you’re very enthusiastic about, because you’ll need to be researching it on a regular basis and discussing it on a regular basis with all your followers. When you’ve decided on what your podcast should be about, it’s a good idea to do a little research and find out if there are other podcasts with a similar topic and format. If you do find others, you won’t necessarily have to abandon your topic, but you should at least think about ways that you could make your podcast better than the competition.
Choose a format for your podcast
There are a variety of formats which you can choose for your podcast, starting with whether you intend to be a single host or to have a co-hosted podcast. You should consider whether you’re going to deliver scripted content, or whether you’re going to primarily feature live interviews with individuals of interest to your audience. Whichever format you choose, make sure it’s something you’re very comfortable with, because if you aren’t comfortable with the format you’ve chosen, it will definitely show to your audience, and your viewership will undoubtedly taper off.
If you are unsure about the kind of podcast you’d like to host, a few ideas are educational podcasts, scripted fiction, scripted non-fiction, news recaps, and interview podcasts. While these are the most common current formats for podcasts, you’re certainly free to come up with an entirely new format that you’re comfortable with, and which will have interest to your audience.
Procure software and recording equipment
One of the great things about starting your own podcast is that you can do it very cheaply. Starting with just your iPhone headphones, you could grow your podcast into a very popular and lucrative enterprise in just a few months, if your podcast really takes off. All you really need to get going, at least in terms of hardware, is a headset, a microphone, and possibly a boom arm and shock mount. You can get a package of all these hardware materials either online or at your local electronics outlet.
In terms of the software you need for your podcast, you should have some editing software, so that you can enhance the sound quality of your podcasts to make it as appealing as possible. Here too, the cost of your investment will be very inexpensive, and you can easily get a very high-quality package of software that will make editing your sound quality very simple. Some of the best software packages available for this purpose are GarageBand, Audacity, and Hindenburg. Some of these software packages are available for free and can simply be downloaded from a website, while others cost less than $100, and include more professional capabilities.
Record your first podcast
Before you attempt to record your first podcast, you should listen to a number of other current podcasts in order to pick up some pointers on how it’s done, and how you should present yourself. In order to avoid falling into the trap many podcasters make by rambling once they start an episode, you should prepare a solid podcast outline which you can stick to, so that you stay on topic.
This need not be anything very detailed, but if you just invest 15 or 20 minutes in preparing a general outline which includes specific bullet points at various junctures, you’ll definitely have a better chance of avoiding the rambling style many podcasts take. If you have a co-host for your podcast, make sure to go over this outline with your partner so that you are in agreement, and so that you can coordinate the material mutually and stay on topic.
This will help to avoid having both of you go off on tangents, and either confusing or losing your entire audience. When you have everything prepared for your podcast, you should try and find a room which is fairly large and has plenty of open space, so that you don’t get excessive reverb in your sound quality.
If you do record in a small room that has hard surfaces all around, you can probably count on a lot more echo being introduced into your sound quality. Now that you are ready to go, just record your first episode, and start enjoying the positive feedback which comes to you afterward. With a little bit of luck, you’ll achieve your stated objectives, and you will be motivated to continue on in the wonderful world of podcasting.
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