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Podcasts 101: What You Need To Know Before You Start

Jul 11, 2024 | Digital

Home > Podcasts 101: What You Need To Know Before You Start

It seems nowadays that everyone has a podcast, but what really goes into it and how do you start one? Don’t worry, we got you covered. 

What is a podcast? 

A podcast is a free digital audio or video program that’s made up of a series of episodes that are recorded and edited and ultimately can be downloaded or streamed on the internet by listeners. Your listeners can subscribe to the podcast and listen to it whenever they want. Podcasts vary in length, tone, format and style. They can take on a variety of styles as well such as conversational, theatrical, story-telling or even a monologue. While this form of content is typically free, lately podcasters have created content that’s exclusive to paid subscribers. 

Why are podcasts so popular? 

One of the most appealing things about podcasts is how easy they are to enjoy – many of them are free to listen to and they are easy to listen to on the go or at home. Due to the fact that there are such a vast amount of podcasts – it’s likely that you will be able to find one on the topic you’re interested in whether it’s for pleasure or educational purposes making them ideal for multitaskers. 

Should you make a podcast? 

Podcasts are a highly effective content marketing tool and it can be a great way for you to reach a new audience or stay connected to your current audience. But let’s dive into some pros and cons to answer this question. 

Pros of making a podcast: 

Starting can be inexpensive 

Starting a podcast takes time, however equipment wise you don’t HAVE to start off with a huge investment but it is key to make sure you have clear audio regardless of your setup. If you don’t want to buy any equipment, starting with just a zoom call can also work.

Easy to access 

Podcasts provide a convenient and accessible way for your audience to engage with content on their own schedule and terms. Listeners can tune in whenever it suits them, making podcasts a versatile medium for reaching and resonating with a broad audience.

Great way to share information 

Podcasts serve as a versatile platform capable of effectively conveying a wide range of messages. Whether you’re unveiling a new product or educating your audience on complex topics, podcasts offer a powerful means to engage listeners and communicate your message with depth and clarity.

Increase your reach

A successful podcast has the potential to exponentially grow its audience through organic word-of-mouth referrals, reaching individuals who may have previously been beyond your traditional reach. This viral spread can significantly expand your listener base, fostering greater engagement and visibility for your podcast content.

Cons of making a podcast

Time 

Creating and promoting a podcast requires dedicated time for recording, editing, and strategic marketing efforts to attract and expand your listener base. It’s a comprehensive process that demands careful planning and execution to effectively reach and engage with your audience.

Not everyone listens to podcasts 

While podcasts are increasing in popularity, not everyone listens to them. So keep that in mind when you are determining your podcast niche as well as if it’s the right fit for you!

Must be entertaining 

If your podcast fails to captivate and entertain its audience, listeners may quickly seek out alternative options. Therefore, it’s essential to invest ample time and thought into crafting engaging and compelling content that resonates with your target audience. This ensures that your podcast not only retains listeners but also continues to attract new listeners over time.

Scaling up can increase costs 

While it can be inexpensive (aside from time) to start, if you want to upgrade your microphones or add a video component to the podcast it CAN become expensive quickly.

Top tips for creating a podcast: 

Choose a topic / purpose

Know why you are creating a podcast and what your topic focus or niche is. Understanding the what and why is crucial as it will be what brings everyone together and keeps it together. Without this is like navigating without an end goal. Your niche is what you focus on within your given topic, the angle which you approach it from. 

Pick a name & branding

Create a name for your podcast that is memorable and relatable to your topic, niche and industry. In addition to a name, you need to ensure that your branding is set up for your podcast so that any content you put out can easily be identified as a part of your podcast. (There’s that brand consistency again that we love to talk about so much!)

Choose a format – focus on what value you give to your listeners

Podcasts come in various formats: will yours feature interviews, co-hosted discussions, or a narrative style? The choice is yours! However, regardless of format, it’s crucial to deliver value to your audience. While you might be tempted to focus on personal interests or interview guests, it’s essential to consider what resonates with your ideal listener. Visualize your audience and ask yourself: What am I offering them? Why would they choose my show among countless others? To keep your audience engaged, reinforce actionable takeaways from each episode, respect their time by keeping content concise, and actively involve them by seeking feedback and addressing their questions and comments during the show.

Monetizing takes work

Majority of podcast creators begin with a negative cash flow as they invest in starting equipment. Common way to monetize your podcast is to land sponsors but be aware that it takes a long time to start earning money from sponsorships. There are a variety of different placements per episode that can be done that are typically based on a cost per listeners. 

  • Pre-roll and post-roll ads – 15 seconds of content before and after the main episode costing around $15 per 1,000 listeners
  • Mid-roll ads – longer advertisements in the middle of the show tend to cost a bit more as they interrupt the podcast for example $20 per 1,000 listeners. 
  • If you do not want to run sponsored ads, you can ask your subscribers to pay you directly. This is when users pay you for additional ‘premium’ content.

If you have under 1,000 subscribers, it can be difficult to find sponsors who would be willing to pay you to run ads on your podcast episodes. Overall, it’s difficult to monetize your podcast and make a substantial income until you have a solid listener base. 

Starting a podcast can be hard but also very rewarding

Starting a podcast takes some planning to ensure you are creating high quality content that provides value to your audience. While you don’t need to spend a fortune on your setup, it is important that the right equipment will make a difference and that you will need to spend more time especially initially. 

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