The number of podcast listeners in the US alone was around 120 million in 2021. This number is expected to increase by about 20 million each year. With the massive demand for it, podcasting for small businesses should be considered as one of their marketing strategies.
Podcasts refer to episodic series of audio files focused on a specific theme or topic. Many popular brands like Nike and Microsoft use podcasts to share insights into the industry and provide solutions to their audience’s inquiries.
This article will explain the benefits of making business podcasts and walk you through the podcast creation process from conception to launch.
Benefits of Podcasting for Small Businesses
From an audience perspective, podcasts are convenient as users can listen to them while doing other activities, like jogging, driving, and cooking.
On the other hand, podcasts also bring many advantages for businesses, such as:
- Building brand authority. Insightful podcasts help establish a brand as an industry expert and build audience trust.
- Reaching more potential customers. Podcast platforms have a large user base that can be your prospective customers and followers. In fact, podcast listeners are more likely to follow brands on social media than those who don’t listen to podcasts.
- Varying marketing campaigns. Some people prefer listening to podcasts rather than reading blog posts or watching videos. It’s also possible to repurpose podcasts into social media posts or videos.
- Generating an additional revenue stream. The more popular your podcast is, the more likely the opportunities to monetize it through sponsored content, ads, or affiliate marketing.
- Developing a broader network. Inviting guests on your podcast can help you build connections with authority figures in your field, including business partners and industry experts.
How to Start Your Own Podcast
This section covers the seven steps to creating a podcast, including tips and tools to get started.
Plan a Concept
Planning is the initial and essential step to start a successful business podcast.
First, choose a specific topic that aligns with your business to convert listeners into customers effectively. For instance, eBay’s podcast covers tips on building a business from hiring to pricing and reinforces its branding message throughout its podcast episodes.
List up to 20 different episode ideas to ensure you have enough material and expertise to discuss the topic.
Next, pick a name for the podcast. A show named ‘Our Weekly Bulletin’ is too vague to attract listeners, so make it clear, concise, and specific. For instance, Sephora has a podcast series titled #LIPSTORIES to share and discuss their line of lipsticks and the women that inspired the products.
Then, brainstorm the description for each episode explaining the author and podcast details to potential listeners. Also, aim to include relevant keywords to boost search engine optimization (SEO).
Finally, design a compelling cover art because 62% of people will likely listen to a podcast if they like its visual design. When creating this, follow your brand guidelines to maintain brand consistency and help existing customers recognize your podcast.
Select a Format
There are several types of podcast formats:
- Solo shows. Takes the form of a monolog where a speaker offers information or opinions about a specific topic.
- Interviews. A conversation between a host and a guest with unique experiences or particular expertise.
- Co-hosting shows. These consist of two or more hosts discussing a topic.
A suitable podcast format will depend on the topic. Some concepts work well with a single host, while others need multiple perspectives. Choose one or adopt a hybrid format according to each episode.
After selecting the format, determine the podcast length. The average podcast length is 25 to 30 minutes, reflecting the average commute duration in the US.
In terms of release schedule, weekly is the most common because it enables the podcaster to develop a personal connection with the audience without feeling overwhelmed with the production process.
Prepare the Equipment
To start, it’s possible to record a podcast with only a smartphone and headphones. However, invest in a microphone if you have the budget to increase the podcast quality.
One of the most popular options is Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB. It has USB and XLR plugs that connect straight into a computer. This microphone also has a headphone jack so you can hear yourself recording.
Then, consider buying a pop filter to reduce smacking sounds that people commonly make when speaking to a microphone.
Also, a podcast should ideally be recorded in a quiet room. Therefore, consider using sound-absorbing materials on the walls of your recording room or renting a studio. For an affordable option, many podcasters record in a closet where the hanging clothes and carpeted floors absorb ambient noises.
When everything is ready, it’s time to begin the first recording session. Make sure to create a script or topic outline to stay on track.
Generally, an episode format includes:
- A teaser and intro music
- A welcome message by introducing the show and guests, if any
- The main interview, discussion, or monolog
- A summary of the podcast episode
- The closing and call to action, like asking the audience to subscribe or review the podcast series on iTunes
The goal of each episode should be to demonstrate your knowledge and educate the audience. But in doing so, avoid overselling your products or services.
If you plan to have an interview or co-hosting format, reach out to these individuals, then decide a schedule and how you’ll record the sessions – in-person or via remote recording. For remote interviews, many small business owners use apps like Zoom, Skype, or Iris.
When inviting guests, it’s best to ensure they haven’t talked about the exact same topic on other podcasts before. Alternatively, add different questions if you decide to discuss the same subject matter.
Edit the Recording Results
Now, put all the recording results together. Popular tools like Audacity and GarageBand are often recommended, but can be intimidating if you’ve never used audio editing software.
In this case, Alitu can be an excellent solution. It automates many technical aspects, like audio cleanup and double-ender recording mergers. Alitu also provides a music and jingle library that you can use as a background track or transitions between segments.
A handy tip is to first edit the content for clarity by cutting out mistakes and hums, then work on noise issues. After that, add royalty-free jingles and music to complete the podcast.
Launch Your First Podcast Episode
Write the podcast title and description once you finish editing and exporting the audio. Then, upload it to your business website and chosen distribution platforms.
Note that you can’t directly upload the audio to podcast directories like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. First, you need to sign up for a podcast hosting service to store the audio files, such as Buzzsprout or Anchor. The host will then give you an RSS feed to submit to podcast directories.
After uploading the podcast to the sites, announce it via social media or send an email blast to your audience.
Podcasts are in demand, so it’s time for your business to create one and reap the benefits. Podcasting for small businesses could have benefits to increased customers, extra income, and a more extensive network.
Follow these steps to begin a successful podcast:
- Create a plan, including the podcast topic and name.
- Determine a format, like solo or co-hosting shows.
- Prepare the equipment, such as a microphone and pop filter.
- Start recording and reach out to guests.
- Polish the audio using editing software, like Alitu and GarageBand.
- Upload the audio file to a podcast host and share it with the audience.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the advantages and steps of making a podcast. Now, let’s put them into practice. Good luck!