If you thought podcasting had its 15 minutes of fame and became outdated, then you obviously haven’t been following the explosive fame of “Serial,” the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads in the history of iTunes. The show centers around a journalist’s re-investigation of a 15-year-old murder story. “Serial” has consistently topped the iTunes chart since it debuted in early October 2014 and averages 1.5 million listeners per episode.
Podcasts are coming back. According to Edison Research, 15% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the past month, up 9% from 2008. And podcasts are up 25% year-over-year.
With its growing popularity, you don’t have to investigate a murder to create a popular podcast. If you are passionate about a topic, want to establish thought leadership, or share your knowledge, then a podcast may be the perfect platform for you.
Here’s a short guide on getting starting in podcasting:
Creating Your Podcast
Come up with your podcast’s title
What is your show called? It could be the name of your blog or of your brand. Don’t forget that iTunes is like a search engine, so add in specific keywords you’d like to rank for.
Choose a host name:
Will you host your own podcast? Or will you find someone else to do it? Will there be one host, or a couple hosts? Either way, think of how you’ll brand yourself and make sure to add keywords (again, to rank in iTunes). For example, you could be “Jane Doe, entrepreneur and fashion blogger” or “John Smith, startup tips for launching your own business.”
Brand your podcast:
Write out some summaries for your podcast. It’s really useful to have some one-liners and longer blurbs on-hand that describe what your podcast is about (especially when you want to submit to directories).
Find or create artwork:
You’re going to need some artwork to represent your show. Although podcasts are an auditory medium, your imagery can help you stand out from a crowd and it will appear on people’s media players when they listen to your show. Think of this image as a logo – you can also use it to brand your podcast’s social media channels.
Deciding what to talk about
The ideal length of a podcast is 22 minutes, which can be a very long time if you don’t have a set plan for what you’ll talk about. If you’re having trouble brainstorming episode ideas, think of your podcast like a very long blog post. Make sure the episode is relevant to your niche and covers a topic that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about.
Find other thought leaders in your space and invite them on as a guest. Interview an expert or have a debate with someone on-air. Or, ask your subscribers to submit questions and answer them during your podcast. Test different formats and see what your audience best responds to.
Logistics and equipment you’ll need:
Get a microphone:
The better your microphone, the more professional your podcast will sound. And it doesn’t need to be expensive either. USB microphones start at around $60, or you could find a headphone/microphone headset for $30. If you’re a Mac user, you could even record your calls with Call Recorder for Skype and edit with GarageBand. For PC users, editing with Audacity seems to be the clear winner.
Set up a feed:
To get your podcast on iTunes, you must create an RSS feed for your podcasts. It’s super easy to do, and it’s free, so you might as well! Just go to Feedburner and set up a new feed.
Submit to iTunes:
Once you have set up an RSS feed, open iTunes, click on the store, click on “Podcasts” from the top menu, and the “Submit a Podcast” link will be in the right column under Quick Links. Enter your feed URL, as well as other required information (your name, podcast description, artwork, etc.). Hit submit, and usually within 24-48 hours, you’ll get an email letting you know if it’s been approved. Then, three to five days later, people can begin searching and finding your podcast in the iTunes store.
Podcasts allow you to build a stronger relationship with your audience. It’s more personal than reading a blog post you wrote – your listeners hear your voice and get to know your personality. It also broadens your reach to new audiences, especially when you submit your podcast to iTunes, where someone could find your podcast by simply typing in the right keywords.