For those going on their sixth straight month of working from home or taking a break from helping their third grader master multiplication tables online, chances are they’ve tuned into a podcast as one way to give themselves a break, learn something new or continue connecting in a socially distanced world.
Edison Research data for 2020 shows that 55 percent of Americans have listened to a podcast and 37 percent are monthly podcast listeners. With growing numbers of fans across all age groups and genders, podcasting has become a medium that offers businesses and brands a real opportunity to connect with their targeted audiences in a focused and personal way.
The key to a successful podcast is good storytelling, whether you’re helping people learn a new skill, explore an interesting point of view or be entertained. That hasn’t changed, although the prospect of starting a podcast during a global pandemic certainly can seem more daunting.
To start any podcast, three steps are generally required:
- Record the podcast either in a studio or through a third-party service with high-quality sound equipment
- Upload the podcast recording to a podcast hosting service such as Libysn, Podbean or Anchor to create an RSS feed
- Push the newly created RSS feed to Spotify, Apple Podcasts or any service that accepts RSS feed submissions
Step one tends to be the most challenging for new podcasters. Questions such as, “Do I have to have a degree in audio engineering?” are typical.
Fortunately, we can assure you that capturing high-quality audio from the comfort of your home is easier than ever. After trying Zencastr, and researching Squadcast, we have found that Riverside.fm is our preferred online podcast recording platform. It has a simple online portal that offers .wav audio and 4K video recording for all your guests with a simple user interface that even allows for live streaming to Facebook and YouTube.
Ease of use is critical when managing hosts, co-hosts and guests, and Riverside.fm checked all of our boxes for our recording and streaming needs. Although Zencastr and Squadcast offer similar options, Riverrside.fm offered the trifecta of high-fidelity audio, video and streaming for our online podcast production process — and their customer service has been top notch!
You’ll also need to understand what kind of audio equipment to buy to capture high-fidelity recordings. The audio equipment market has adapted to the demand for simple and easy-to-use microphones to take advantage of podcasting’s increasing popularity.
The Blue Yeti is the most popular USB microphone on the market and can be used with any of the above third-party services with ease, making it our top recommendation. Many new podcasters start with this microphone and seasoned podcasters have grown to rely on it as well.
With the production side of podcasting out of the way, it’s time to address the most important step: your podcast’s topic.
Deciding on a podcast topic is something that may take one minute or one year. There is no secret recipe to creating the next podcast that goes viral, but there are some widely accepted guidelines and questions to ask when narrowing down potential podcast topics:
- Does the topic allow for you to repeatedly find new material for 10-, 20- or 30-minute-plus episodes?
- Do you have connections with interesting and available guests who can comment knowledgeably on the topic, giving you new material?
- Is the topic oversaturated in the current podcast market? If not, great! If so, what new and unique angle could you take to entice potential listeners?
- Most importantly, are you passionate about the topic, and can you be an engaging host?
Starting and maintaining a podcast is always a learning process for new hosts, but with careful planning, hard work and a passion for storytelling, starting a personal or corporate podcast can pay dividends when deciding how to adapt your marketing and communication efforts to a socially distanced world.
Martin Waymire recently helped launch two new podcasts, The Smokin’ Rope Podcast by Redemption Cannabis and The EOB Podcast by the Michigan Association of Health Plans. Give them a listen and let us know what you think.