This article was written by “Sir” Isaac Smith, a remote audio producer. He specializes in helping authors, speakers, and coaches generate exposure for their written work and tapping into new audiences. He works with his wife from their home in Hawkins, TX, where they help authors convert written work into audiobooks or even a podcast. Currently, he works as a narrator and hosts the BusinessRPG podcast.
Today, over two million podcasts exist. In the U.S. alone, over one hundred million people listen to podcasts. According to a 2019 Discoverpods.com study, podcasts were considered a top source of media consumption, even over books and blogs.
So what is a podcast and why start one?
If you want to be seen as an expert or thought leader or if you want to educate and entertain your target audience, then you should consider podcasting. It’s a platform for generating exposure, developing your network and attracting and educating your target audience. A podcast can help your sales pitch reach places and people you couldn’t before.
Podcasting is a medium worth considering for many reasons. Compared to the thirty-seven million YouTube channels and over one billion Instagram accounts out there, the competition in podcasting is much more limited. Although there are more than two million podcasts now, less than half are actually active (see podcastinsights.com and nealschaffer.com). So, you would compete with less than fifty percent of the current market.
Now consider how many of those podcasts focus on your same topic. iTunes has nineteen primary categories to choose from when you upload podcasts to their platform with several subcategories. That means, on average, whatever category you chose, you are competing with just over five percent of the existing podcasts looking for attention. Add this to the fact that podcasts have over 100 million listeners in the U.S. alone and that we are STILL in the early phases of this industry. It’s easy to see that the time to start a podcast is now!
What does it take to get started?
The first thing I recommend is to sit down and write out as many episode ideas as you can. The more ideas you have, the better. It is a great indicator of how creative you can be as the host. You will also see if there is enough content in your scope of expertise to keep a show going. I tell people to come up with forty episode ideas before they start. If they can make it to forty, they’ll have plenty of time to come up with more as time goes on.
After you have your content ideas, you need to decide how to present them. I ask new podcasters to share with me some of the podcasts that they most enjoy listening to. If you know what you like to hear, odds are your target audience will like that format as well. Copy and paste what you can, and find a way to make it your own. If you can do that, then you can make it as a podcast host.
What equipment should I use?
If there is one thing I want you to walk away with, it’s this: Keep it practical.
There is a quality sound option for every budget out there, and you don’t have to be a sound tech or producer to make it happen. The base set-up you need is a laptop, host platform, recording software, a USB microphone, headphones, and a quiet place to record with very little or no echo.
Host platform: A host platform will be your guide when it comes to launching your podcast. A good free option is Anchor.fm, but if you want premium service, I recommend the $12 plan with Buzzsprout.com.
Recording Software: I recommend Garage Band or Audacity. Both are free, and even some professionals use these rather than paid options out there. Either will get you the baseline audio you need to record a quality podcast, and they are forgiving when it comes to learning how to edit. If you would like to do an interview style podcast, I recommend Zencastr. It works a lot like Zoom but is free and will let you record up to 8 hours of content a month.
USB microphone: The AT2005USB is a very simple microphone that has great quality and works with more advanced equipment if you ever need to upgrade your set-up. All you have to do is plug it in and turn it on. No complicated equipment past that.
Headphones: Most any headphones will work, but I recommend something that will completely cover your ears. Panasonic has a simple set that I’ve used on other projects. You don’t need anything fancy, remember we are keeping it practical. If you want to take your audio quality to the next level, get a Boom Stand and Pop Filter.
You can also consider hiring a producer like myself, who can help you make a strategy for your show, guide you through the production and launch process and manage your show so you only have to worry about recording content. If you would like to learn how I help new podcasters launch and maintain their podcast, find me on LinkedIn.
If you are looking for a unique way to connect with your target audience and you have a lot to offer someone, then podcasting is the platform for you. There is such a low barrier to enter and this medium is growing fast. The time to get started is now!
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