Podcasting is a kind of content marketing that allows you to establish yourself (or your brand) as an expert in a field. It is a promise of trust and a handle into your world. When done right, it could prove to be a perfect way to add value to your potential clients’ lives and be a go-to for those with questions.
In recent weeks, we have registered and uploaded podcasts for a medical practice, a hip-hop channel, a comedian, a law firm and a creative agency. We can see a lot happening in this space, and we would like to answer any questions you may have.
Essentially you only need to have a phone to create a podcast. A lot of people record, publish and distribute their podcasts on smartphones. However, considering that podcasting is an audio-only (or audio first at least) medium, we recommend having a microphone for each guest or at least a microphone with a low noise floor for multiple guests.
Modern marketing challenges are 1.) standing out from the noise and 2.) converting leads into money. By creating a platform from where you can differentiate yourself from many others doing more of the same, you will present a handle for potential clients into your world. It provides you with the opportunity to communicate your personality and values informally. We all want to believe that our brands have souls. In a podcast, your brand’s soul can shine, and you can build your tribe. We know that tribes can move mountains; logos can’t! Your listeners could eventually become your brand advocates, promoting your brand or service even when you are busy working on other things.
As long as you offer value in one or more of the following:
And as long as this is authentic in who you are and what you stand for, you should be fine, and your audience should grow over time.
There are many kinds of podcast formats out there, and it could be worth your time to listen to a couple of them before you embark on your podcasting journey.
To successfully record, edit and distribute your podcast, you will need hardware and software.
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This recorder lets you dial in guests via BlueTooth and record each audio track as a separate (isolated) audio track. Soundies love tracks with only one sound source because they can edit that track without meddling with the other audio tracks.
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Software: We use Audition. It is a linear recording and editing app that is part of the Adobe suite. Recording happens in the same way a music producer would record a musician or singer in real-time. The Adobe suite can be costly for people not looking to design and edit daily, so a great (and free) alternative is Audacity. Download it here.
Environment: You need a quiet space to record your audio. The user experience when it comes to recording sound is essential for this. Sitting in a bustling coffee shop might feel right for the guests, but it is an awful experience for those having to listen to it. No matter how good your chemistry or content is, this is stacking the odds against you. Instead, use a room with books and clutter. The enemy of audio recordings is flat surfaces off of which sound can bounce. Cover your desk with a throw or even a towel and plop a cushion or two beside your laptop (or close to where the microphones are). Doing this will “eat” some of the reverberations and produce a crisper, clearer audio track.
The most important thing to remember is that the learning curve with audio is not as steep as with video editing. With a bit of time, you will be able to edit music into your podcast, record intro’s and outro’s and present a comfortable audio experience to your audience.
If you would like a couple of tutorials on the basics, check out these Audacity tutorials in recording and cleaning up the audio:
Be aware that you cannot use music by your favourite artist or band just because you like it. As always, copyright applies, and you will have to use royalty-free music if you would like to produce content that will pass the checks. Here is a list of references where you can find music to use in your podcast.
1. Pixabay: Copyright-free stock music by a community of creators
2. YouTube Audio Library: Huge selection of royalty-free music
3. Incompetech: Wide-array of tracks created by a solo artist, Kevin MacLeod, whom you have to credit when using this music
4. The Free Music Archive: Expansive, free music library for podcasters
5. Musopen: Classical music tracks
6. CCMixter: A community music remixing site
Your podcast will require a podcast host (like a website) where it will live digitally on a server that will feed it to podcast platforms all over the world. There are numerous podcast distributors with ranging solutions. These hosts provide a portal to where you can upload the audio file, the podcast and episode artwork.
Firstly, you have to be realistic about your content. Attention is the new currency, and asking a stranger to listen to you for 1 minute is a lot. Asking them to listen for 30minutes or an hour is almost insane if you think about it… Why would someone do that? Ever? The answer is in your value offering. Our brains are programmed to tune out everything that does not promote our survival or progress. Subconsciously our minds are trying to do as little as possible so that we’ll be ready when the lion appears around the corner, and we might need to kick into action. Use this as a yardstick to gauge your offering and make sure your value switch is on – at all times. The virality of any content is a factor of the value it offers to the audience, not the brand it represents. If your downloads seem disappointing, remember to put a face behind every hit. If your podcast receives 50 downloads, remember to imagine a room of 50
Here is how you can accelerate the velocity of the uptake in your podcast.
A.) Start with your friends and family. Ask them to listen to your podcast and give honest feedback on the content. Ask them to rate and share the content with someone if they found it valuable.
B.) Create a lot of hooks. Prep images and brand elements that you can recycle (for future episodes) aligned with who you are and how you want to be perceived. Branding is the promise of what you’ll offer your audience.
Here is a free PhotoShop file (https://bit.ly/3r0zF6Y) that you can download. We use this to create story art for Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Keep it consistent. Spend time planning this with your designer or use Canva (also free) to make sure your design elements are on point! Remember that this is the only initial handle that you are giving the potential listener. In this day ‘n age, unfortunately, the promo material is more important than the content. Without the former, the latter is useless.
C.) Make it as easy as possible for people to listen to your podcast! Some may listen on Spotify, some on Apple. Some may choose to listen on embedded web players. Perhaps you want to share a video version on Facebook and Youtube? To avoid link overkill, we use https://odesli.co/ (another free service) Odesli.co groups all platforms into one link for users to select their preferred platform. Here is an example of the result.
Podcast stats are not great. If you geek out on data like Facebook insights, or Youtube studio analytics, it will be a let-down. It is only recently that Apple Podcast Connect started reporting on a “per second” metric that will show how many people reach the end of a podcast, something we use in video ROI measurement daily. This is changing. More and more providers are getting onboard with better tools to equip podcasters.
It is interesting to compare stats of content (in this case, a 45-minute interview) for which we have both video and audio formats. Web shows like these are the audio stripped away to be a podcast and the video content published to Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Some of the brands we create content for might enjoy 20 000 video views on Facebook (organically), while the same piece of content as a podcast might only reach 400 podcast downloads.
The difference, however, is that the fallout rate for video content is almost immediate, whereas it is much more gradual for podcasts. Because video is a “click-see” solution without any barriers to the reward, the uptake is fast and painless. If you want people to listen to your podcast, you have to understand that there are hoops for them to jump through before you win them as listeners. They have to, firstly, be audio consumers. The number of people listening to podcasts is exploding, but this is still a mere fraction of people accustomed to the click-reward way in which youtube, Instagram and Facebook have trained us to devour content. When you reach them, they then have to subscribe to your podcast and on their preferred platform, whether Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google or wherever they may listen to their content. But, and this is a big but! (and I cannot lie) When we upload audio content as podcasts, there is always massive overlap with other episodes on audio platforms that is never quite the same for video content. It’s as if the compounding effect for audio is way higher than for video. What this means in terms of content marketing is that your audience base in the audio realm is more engaged, more likely to resonate and more likely to finish longer-form content than video consumers might be for the same brand. If you aim to build an audience that will become your brand advocates, you cannot ignore this.
In a big move, Facebook has recently announced that they are rolling out Podcasts on Facebook. It is now in beta testing, and some US users (about 1% of US Facebook users) can listen to podcasts on a “Podcasts” tab while on Facebook. Interestingly, Facebook will allow the sharing of one-minute segments with friends, as well as the option to comment on the timeline (like Soundcloud).
Whether you are a hobbyist with an idea or a brand looking to grow your impact, good luck and happy recording!
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John-Henry is the founder and owner of The Media Farm and has been creating television, films, music and digital content for more than 15 years.